A New Chapter
Wow. Eight years. That’s how long ago I started Tapity. I was a freshman in college at the time. Little did I know what kind of crazy journey I was about to embark on.
This post marks the end of that journey. Tapity’s last full day of operations was a rainy Wednesday a couple weeks ago.
There are too many things I want to share, some of which I may get to in time, but I mainly wanted to talk about why Tapity is closing and what the future has in store. This was an amazing chapter, so closing it is sad. On the other hand I am very, very excited for the next chapter of my life.
Yes, the App Store is a super tough marketplace to compete in. However, that is not the reason I am shutting down Tapity. I am actually quite optimistic about the App Store after seeing some of my friends find sustainable marketing strategies and do very well — Readdle and iTranslate are a couple of great examples. There are also still quite a few individual indies that make a living off the App Store, though many of them are under the radar. I am pretty confident that, if I had the heart to do so, I could probably make a pretty good go of it if I were to start from scratch again.
But I don’t really have the heart for that right now. Without the team, Tapity wouldn’t be Tapity. We are family (in some cases, literally), and those relationships will continue as we go our seperate ways. By far the most rewarding part of Tapity was getting to work with these incredible people every single day, and that is what I will miss the most.
So yes, we probably could have paired down and kept Tapity going at some level, but I didn’t have the heart for that. After we sold Hours, we struggled to figure out what to do next. My dad, Todd (Tapity’s CEO), and I had been doing this for a while and were open to the idea of something new. But the team we had was really special and we wanted to see if we could keep it together.
We received a few acquisition inquiries. It would have been a way to do something new, capitalize on what we had, and keep the team together. Ultimately, we spent too much time exploring that route and there didn’t end up being a fit. Meanwhile, we didn’t have any revenue generating products and our burn rate was quite high.
After the acquisition talks ended, we spent the little runway we had left to see if we could redesign ourselves to be a services company. We had done services before and had some good experiences and some bad experiences. We thought that maybe we could redesign the way we did services to maximize the good experiences and minimize the bad. However, the end-of-year dry season was upon us and, while we did land some clients, it was too little, too late. We also realized that products were in our DNA and client services were just not. Meanwhile, our runway was gone.
It was time to move on.
The toughest part was telling the team. We had been transparent with them all along but it was still quite a blow for all of us. We had grown to be so close.
Drop, our color picker for Mac, was our last hurrah. It was a side project that Christain started in order to learn Swift. I contributed a few design ideas and helped with some of the tricky programming problems (color profiles are the worst!) It launched a few weeks ago to great reviews, plenty of Apple love, and was the #1 app in Developer Tools for the better part of its first month. Revenue was actually better than I expected.
I’m really glad the team got to share that one final launch together. It was a great reminder of all that we have been able to accomplish together as a team. Grades won an Apple Design Award. Languages got up to #5 overall (fulfilling my life goal of beating Angry Birds in the charts), was critically acclaimed, and was selected by Apple as Editors Choice and Best of 2012 award for Intuitive Touch. Hours disrupted the time tracking industry. I still hear from people who were inspired to do great things after reading one of our articles.
It was a great run.
Christain and I will continue to support and develop Drop on the side. I won’t have time to support Grades and Languages and don’t have time to focus on selling them, but I would certainly consider an offer if one arose. If you are interested, check out this post (ignoring the prices, I would accept less).
Now I’m going to risk sounding like an oscar acceptance speech but I am so thankful to the team for sharing this incredible journey with me. Christain, Ben, Mike, Stephen, Nathan, and Susanna — I will miss you all so very much. Thank you mom for extending your motherhood to the whole Tapity family and supporting us through thick and thin. I’m so grateful that I got to spend the last five years working with my dad every day and that our relationship has grown stronger because of it. Not too many sons get that opportunity.
I am also thankful to folks like David Barnard, Alex Marktl, Ray Wenderlich, Dan Counsell, Ken Yarmosh, Denys Zhadanov, Robleh Jamah, Marc Edwards, Michael Flarup, Jerry Beers, Mike Rundle, John Wilker, Nathan Barry, Federico Viticci, Matthew Panzarino, Ally Kazmucha, Alex Heath, Rene Ritchie, Ellis Hamburger, Bryan Chaffin, all the fine folks I worked with at Apple, and so many others who supported me, mentored me, and cheered Tapity on.
And finally, my wife Mindy. Despite all the crazy ups and downs, despite the anxious uncertainty of not knowing when we would be able to pay ourselves (sometimes for months on end), despite me having to work through nights and weekends to push a product out, she was always there to support and encourage me and I can’t thank her enough for that.
I am super thrilled at all the opportunities the various members of the team are getting for the future.
As for me, I have been thinking about doing something completely new for some time. After spending a few weeks talking to some really great companies, I have decided to join a startup in Silicon Valley and will be moving my family out there in late January. Though this startup is extremely well funded and has some of the best talent in the industry (including a very high profile CEO), they are shrouded in mystery and rightly so. A lot of startups aspire to change the world but I think we really have a shot of doing that in big way.
Though I won’t mention the name, I will say this much: the spreadsheet revolutionized how every day people solved problems with technology for the last 40 years. We are building something that will revolutionize productivity for the next 40.
I couldn’t be more thrilled. It is by far the most challenging problem I have ever worked on and I can’t wait to tell you more about it in the coming months. I’m also really looking forward to connecting with all you fine folks in the bay area so don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter or email.