How Aussie iPhone developers found success in the App Store

Behind the scenes at the Collect3 development house

Though it may not seem like it at first glance, Australians are making a serious dent in the iPhone App Store. From games to utilities, Aussie iPhone developers are making immensely popular iPhone apps. Collect3 and sister company Revolutionary Concepts are proving that great app ideas and close attention to detail can yield rewards.

Offering one of the most popular privacy apps for the iPhone, Picture Safe, Collect3 has garnered recognition both locally and abroad. GoodGearGuide.com.au had a chat with Wayne Whatford and Dave Fumberger about Collect3, Revolutionary Concepts, and the state of the Australian iPhone developer community.

We'll start with Collect3 first. How did the company come about and how does it interact with Revolutionary Concepts? How does your small employee base have an impact on the frequency and quality of your iPhone apps and subsequent support?

Wayne: Collect3 is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, and was founded nine months ago after becoming really excited by the potential of the iPhone / iPod Touch platform.

Like many people, we realised early on that more than just a fantastic phone, the iPhone was a next-generation computing platform. Our simple goal was just to make useful software that people would enjoy.

We have been fortunate to have experienced more than our expected share of critical acclaim and commercial success in a very short space of time, and this has enabled us to increase the number and diversity of our apps, while gradually adding to our team. Current team members include myself, the founder of Revolutionary Concepts; Dave Fumberger, the founder of Collect3 (both based in Melbourne); Matt Grimes, who works across the pond in Portland, Oregon; as well as a forever changing number of independent programmers, developers, project managers, designers and testers, working in the four corners of the world.

We have come into contact with a lot of developers who despite obvious talent struggle to make a go of things in the App Store

At the same time as we have grown we have come into contact with a lot of developers who despite obvious talent struggle to make a go of things in the App Store. As we started out as just two guys (now eight) the challenges they and many others face really resonated and so we felt there ought to be a way to empower others while in some way putting something back into the community, and from there Revolutionary Concepts was formed.

Essentially it is an iPhone-specific studio and publishing house, formed specifically as a vehicle for talented designers, coders, artists and musicians to leverage each others skills and benefit from the marketing muscle and financial support of a highly visible brand that screams quality.

We know first-hand that while there's great freedom in going it alone, one person can’t do everything well end to end. The increasingly competitive nature of the App Store means that to really make a go of developing as a means to real, sustainable commercial success and to compete with the EAs, the Gamelofts, Freeverses and NGMocos of the world there is a need for a co-operative of talented independent developers from around the world. They can work together, sharing ideas and resources and in that way dramatically improve their chances for not just one-off hits but long term success, and the lifestyle we all deserve.

The focus is on the provision of resources to get our partners' ideas built, supplemented by a steady stream of paid commercial work for those who want to go that route.

So if Collect3 is our in-house development arm, then Revolutionary Concepts could best be described as the public-face of our commercial business. A 'house of brands' whose purpose in life is to assist independent developers achieve their goals. We take good ideas — wherever they come from — and manage all aspects of the tasks that make for a successful launch and ensure each app achieves its potential over its lifetime:

1) Through a network of associates worldwide ensure that the idea is sound and add ideas that build value.

2) Collaborate to provide strong execution across all disciplines — UI, art direction, music and sound, as well copywriting and promotion.

3) Ensure a successful launch and more importantly that the app is managed over time! Carefully scrutinise performance and intervene with marketing campaigns and upgrades as needed.

The name 'Revolutionary Concepts' is meant to imply three things, which, if we were being all corporate-like, are kind of like the mission statement or reason for being:

1) We are all about creating revolutionary products.

2) Being a revolutionary (recognising that there's an opportunity for people to cast off the shackles of 9 to 5 and reinvent themselves).

3) Joining the revolution (benefit from a relationship with a publisher that is about shaking up the status quo. Creating an environment where individuals' talent is recognised, they are not part of a faceless company and can get the lion's share.)

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