I quit my job for BlackBerry and lived to tell the tale

By Shao128 on 1 Aug 2013 02:11 pm EDT
1
loading...
17
loading...
51
loading...

Well, its been just about 6 months since the Z10 was released so I figured it would be a perfect time for a follow up to my post from last year.

The reactions I got after my first post was mixed, but overall positive.  It was great to see so many people support my decision.  There were, of course, people who thought I was crazy.  So did I make the right choice?  This might get a little long as there's lots to talk about, so grab a drink and have a read on to find out!

So I'll start off right where I left off – I finished up at my job which took me to mid-December, I then took a vacation I already had planned for over the holidays to Mexico, and once I got back I got focused, put my head down and started pumping out the apps.  At first it was slow going. There was lot to learn with Cascades and the BlackBerry 10 OS in general.  BlackBerry started running “Port-A-Thons” which basically paid developers $100 for each app submitted.  This was a huge boon and motivated me even more to crank out apps as quickly as I could.  Having that little extra cash on hand helped me by not having to dip into savings. 

App development is a very tricky thing, an app you might think will sell very well and spend a lot of time developing may not sell more than a handful of copies every month and, by the same token, apps that you may not think will do well sky rocket to the top of the charts.  This makes it tough finding a balance of how much time or how many features to add into an app.  I had plenty of app ideas and get many ideas from users that send it requests, but the problem is trying to determine which ones will be commercially successful.  The approach I've always taken with development is to create what I think is a solid app, get it out to some beta testers add some features in that they suggest then release it.  I then, based on feedback (especially from the CrackBerry community) continue to update, fix bugs and add new features. 

Lets take my app Wallpaper Changer HD for example. It was an app I had ready for the BlackBerry 10 launch.  As the name implies it changes you wallpaper.  But then I added some wallpaper packs into the app after launch based on feedback that people were looking for good quality wallpapers.   Then quite often on the forums I would see people asking for a way to add battery percentage or weather on to their home screen, so I spent a month adding that in as well.  At the time Wallpaper Changer was performing very well for me in sales, the last couple months however it has struggled to do much. 

Which leads me into the next part, every month I'd try to release at least one or two apps.  An app could be selling great for weeks or months and then one day just drops off.  BlackBerry app development being my only source of income I can't take any chances.  When I noticed Wallpaper Changer starting to slip down the charts I locked myself at home and quite literally worked 16+ hour days, 7 days a week for a month and half of that straight working on new apps.  The result was 7 new apps including the likes Evolution Web Browser and My Homepage. Evolution browser has only been out a couple weeks now, but has quickly risen to being my best performing app, and as such I've been updating it as fast as I can with new features and bug fixes. 

One question I get all the time is “So was it worth quitting your job to do this full time?”  The answer without a doubt is yes.  It was the best decision I've made in my professional life.  I now have the luxury of working from home, making my own schedule and doing something I love to do.  Would I recommend others thinking about doing the same thing do it?  That's a tougher question to answer.  As I've eluded to earlier - apps sales can change one day to the next.  Having only a couple of apps that are doing well and expecting to make a living off of it is risky.  It's no secret that handset sales haven't been the greatest.  So as an app developer what I've quickly come to realize is the key to success on the BlackBerry 10 platform right now is volume.  I have to keep putting out new apps and even if they just sell 3 copies a day.  To me having a hundred apps that sell three copies a day is better than having an one app that sells 500 in a day.  If someone comes along and makes an app similar or better than the app you have  sales can easily stall at the drop of a dime.  As the app catalog in BlackBerry World grows app discovery also becomes a more critical issue, but I'll come back to that in a little bit. 

One question I get all the time is “So was it worth quitting your job to do this full time?” The answer without a doubt is yes

I'm actually proud to say (even if you exclude those flashlight apps every developer does and app generator apps) that I am one of the developers with the most apps and games in BlackBerry World.  But not just quantity, quality.   I don't have any special access like some BlackBerry partners, I don't get information before the public does, heck, I haven't even been invited to join the BlackBerry Elite program for developers.  I did it on my own, which is a huge sense of accomplishment.

In my article in December I spoke highly of BlackBerry, especially of developer relations.  Lets start with the positive.  BlackBerry has been great at informing developers of whats coming and improvements to the platform.  They have also met their deadlines and delivered updates to developers as promised.  This is something that was lacking just a couple years ago.  So this turn around and continued support post launch is a very encouraging.  I also want to say a special thank you to someone in developer relations, Suavek. He has been amazing, BlackBerry needs more people like him.

Built for BlackBerry

Now on to the not so good.  As I mentioned earlier one issue as the amount of apps increase is getting your app noticed in BlackBerry World.  Blackberry's solution to this was the Built for BlackBerry (BFB) program which recognizes apps that meet a certain standard that they have laid out.  They have said BFB apps will be apps eventually will be the ones that are exclusivity featured in BlackBerry World.  Currently BFB apps are easily identifiable and are rotated through featured areas of BlackBerry World.  However as nicely as I can put it the - program has been nothing short of horrendous. 

Many developers I've spoken to expressed much of the same frustrations I have when dealing with BFB.  A couple months ago I wrote a whole blog post about it, but have held back publishing it hoping that there would be a happy ending, thus far there has not been.  But to summarize since February (the last time I tried to contact them was 2 weeks ago so it has been ongoing for months) I have been trying to get answers about why a specific app has not be allowed into the BFB program.  I have been met with ignored emails and half answers when I did get a reply.  Here's the kicker: even after I asked them to take a look at this one particular app again they said they did, but didn't.  I got an email from them telling me “To qualify as a Built for BlackBerry application, your app must seamlessly integrate at least one BlackBerry service”.  Guess what, my app uses 4 (yes 4!) BlackBerry services.  They didn't even test my app because of the name.   It was rejected purely based on the type of app it was which came from the name.  Even though I sent them a point by point break down of all the features and used examples of other even simpler apps (there's even a flashlight app in BFB believe it or not) they ignored me. 

Once BlackBerry starts to focus on promoting BFB apps more and more that means less exposure for other apps of mine

Then just last month I submitted what I thought was another great app for BFB, it was denied with no reason included.  I asked them why and their response was to tell me to check out Nobex Radio as it was an example of of a good BFB app.  My app isn't a radio app nor relates to it in any way.  In my own opinion the functionality of my app far surpasses that of many apps in the BFB program.  To be fair, I have had one app approved for BFB – Ultimate ScreenSaver.   However having 1 out of all my apps in BFB isn't enough exposure for me.  Once BlackBerry starts to focus on promoting BFB apps more and more that means less expose for other apps of mine.  BFB is problematic for me as it makes it difficult for me to want to invest large amounts of my time to create quality apps just to have them fall to the bottom of the charts due to lack of visibility on BlackBerry World and I know many developers struggle with this as well.  Without the fantastic support of blog posts on CrackBerry I'm not sure where I'd be right now.

So have I been successful in my pursuit to do this full time, yes, I have.  I am not going to get into specifics with dollar amounts, but I am doing well.  I'm not driving a Ferrari or living in a mansion, I live comfortably now. But as with anything it hasn't come without a lot of hard work and sacrifice.  If I could go back 8 months would I have made the same decision knowing what I know now?  Absolutely.  For those that called me crazy back then, we all come to a point in our lives where we have to take a chance.  I made the leap and it was worth it, I have no regrets.

If you want to check out my apps in BlackBerry World you can see them all here.

Topics: Editorial

172 comments

sparkaction

BlackBerry's Super Hero... let us not forget developer of "Given me that app!"

JBML007

And soon to be the maker of the third party Vine app!!!!!....am i right Shao!!...wink wink nudge nudge :)

Z10in' since the Beginnin'

zander2652

Nice article, dude. It definitely sounds like an interesting journey. It sounds like you're a top notch developer and it makes me wonder what's wrong with blackberry...is there a major flaw in their evaluation method? Are they not paying attention to apps as much as they should be? It makes me question what kind of apps are getting approved for BFB when they're barely paying attention to someone who obviously has great ideas, great skills, very strong work-ethic, commitment and loyalty to the blackberry brand? I hope everything works out and I look forward to hearing about your journey more in the future.

GoJaysGo

The biggest problem for BlackBerry right now is this sentence:
"This was a huge boon and motivated me even more to crank out apps as quickly as I could. "
Cranking out as many apps as one can, is not providing quality over quantity. I'm not saying this guys apps are good or bad, but coming up with a quality idea and design, doesn't fit in the "crank out apps as quickly as I could" model. If you want to make money, then you should be writing for iOS, Android and BlackBerry...

br14

You're not being fair to the author.

He's clearly focussed on both quantity and quality. No reason you can't do both. His approach is essential if you want stable revenues. Too easy for someone to copy your app and give it away for free.

GoJaysGo

So you're telling me that "Give Me That App!" or "HDTV Calibrator HD" is a quality app? If these weren't free would you actually pay money for them? I'm all for Shao128 and doing what he is doing, but quality is always better than quantity. I don't see a lot of quality here.

r0v3rT3N

You don't seem to understand app development, before every project I begin, I choose whether application I am about to build is going to be free or paid. I bet Shao knew both of those apps were going to be free before he made them. Therefore, they are of great quality for free applications...

pick1eberry

Instead of your logic being 'is my new app going to be free or paid ' it should be 'is my new app going to solve a problem that isn't being solved now.

Charging or not charging for it to me is very arbitrary. The better your app solves a problem the more money you can charge for it. Or not!.

Posted via CB10

r0v3rT3N

He was talking about prices, so I talked about prices..
Obviously that is also something thought of before creating an app, as why would I create an app that is already available?
Both apps he mentioned do solve a problem, one helps with future app development, the other with TV calibration...

br14

Whether you think the apps are useful is entirely up to you. If they do the job they were designed for with minimal fuss and no system crashes, that makes them a quality app - in the sense they're fit for purpose.

I'm talking about quality in an objective sense, not subjective.

An app can be very basic and yet fulfill a need perfectly.

Mister Sir

0.99 cents for a countdown to Halloween app. Really? That's quality? That app should be free.

Posted via CB10 on my Black Z10.

omgplaybook

He has **16** flashlight applications with the only difference being the background, rather than a single flashlight application with a dropdown list of backgrounds. You could argue that the application itself is a quality design (I didn't check), but "quality over quantity" usually implies not having so many useless duplicates polluting BlackBerry World.

Jtaylor1986

Exactly. Do you know how much time the dev teams must waste going through useless me too apps. They should just stop approving flashlight apps and the like after they already have 10 in bbworld.

mjdimer

+1 I now know why this happens. Ridiculous. Instead of paying incentives per app, perhaps they should pay more for high quality apps.

Posted via CB10

KermEd

Mmm my issue with the statement "Flashlight apps every developer has".

I have one, free. Called night ports. With a dozen other free features including strobe + CPU indicator via active frame.

Again I decided that an app at that level should be free. Point is no, not all developers make flashlight apps.

With that said there are 3-4 ones with some value to them.

Posted via CB from my LE

dono007

Night Ports is my favorite free app on the z10 !

dono007

im not a dev, but to be fair maybe he cranked out the many flashlight apps to get the $100/app bonus. as he said in the article, he could use the cash to start out.

LeroyP09

GoJaysGo wow can we say rude. This guy has made a lot of great apps and quickly.

Posted via CB10

Jtaylor1986

Maybe he will make a period countdown timer for you next that turns into a red flashlight when the clock hits 0.

KermEd

You meant a lot if apps quickly.

Posted via CB from my LE

BerryWizard

Overall his apps have a very high rating. He does have some low rated apps but for the large library he owns, it's pretty impressive.

Posted via CB10

Steppschuh

I'm not hating or anything, I love developing for my BB10 devices. Just want to state that for every 100€ I get from BlackBerry, I get 3.000€ from Google. Same app, same features and both with a native UI.
The app was featured in the BlackBerry World for 3 days and never in the Google Play Store.

DisturbedRocks31

Is that 3 THOUSAND you said? What is your app!! :O

WWBlondieDo

I love that app! Have it on both my Android and my BB10! Well done, sir! :-)

Posted via CB10

mjdimer

Market share.

Posted via CB10

BerryWizard

Well...you do know that there's about 3 million bb10 users for like a billion of Android users right?

Posted via CB10

KermEd

I also have apps that do about 10x better on bbry than android.

Depends on the platform. But yes, higher potential on Android but better averages on bbry for me.

Posted via CB from my LE

MasterOfBinary

BB10 or BBOS or together?

SDTRMG

If you gonna do numbers tell why you made that much. Android 5+ years old over 900 activations
Bb10 5+ months old and sold around 5 million.

Which if I do alittle math.
900,000,000/5/12/3q = 5,000,000 devices.

Steppschuh

You can't directly compare these numbers / market share and pull back connections on revenue. I was just stating my earnings ratio, not evaluating it in any way.

BruvvaPete

We need more devs to voice their views. It would help us all to get a better overall picture of what's going on. After all, since you want us to support your talents, why not help us help you?

Greatly appreciated. :)

Steppschuh

I will write a detailed report about my experience with developing for Android, BlackBerry and Windows with some insights that BB's marketing team usually forgets to mention.

I really enjoy BB10, but there are (like on any other platform) things that alleviate the fun.

Peter Lee4

Great post, I will be releasing my first app soon called GameShare, which is kind of like Twitter for Blackberry games. I hope Blackberry is listening to this, because the bad experience with BFB is a bit of a turnoff.

BruvvaPete

I hope you are successful. BlackBerry needs your support. Good luck my friend.

Peter Lee4

Thanks man. I strongly believe that BB10 can be the best mobile gaming platform out there. Trying to help by building an app that gets the community together to get ideas going!

MaxxJag

I agree it's possible to make a living off making apps for one or more ecosystem. But my main problem is that you have to do quantity over quality. Not saying he's skimping on quality, since his apps seem to be doing well. But it basically means that if anyone else does this (and I'm sure quite a few people do) the possibility of anyone trying to get in would also need to make a ton of apps to get any visibility.

AgentScribe

Ideally, a developer might be able to work on a cycling, devoting one or two weeks at a time to a specific OS, then move on to the next OS. Built into this cycle would be time for addressing Beta issues and general user feedback before moving on to the next round of new app development. Perfect it on one platform,then re-do it for another platform. I know that I'm simplifying the process ... that's because I wonder if it could work or is it to many sticks in too many different fires?

Steppschuh

I tried to do exactly what you've said, but it turns out to be impossible. You can't set up a fixed time frame for a platform and simply skip to the next one.

I tend to finish whatever project I have for one platform, then proceed with the most urgent one for an other platform. Minor bug fixes, marketing and support for any platform have priority over that.

I can life pretty well with that rhythm.

AgentScribe

That makes sense. Thanks for the feedback.

davidmcromano

Glad to hear about your success. Your hard work is much appreciated.

DOCTOREVIL8

Right on!!!! Maybe you should get CRACKBERRY APPROVED stamp of approval on your apps.

Posted via CB10

KarlosSpicyWienr

Now that's a neat idea. Let the crackberry nation take a poll on an app then BAM! Approved by Crackberry nation. If it's approved by us then it's gonna be good.

posted via CB10

Ebscer

That would probably be much better than the Built for BlackBerry program. (and probably even be more beneficial to sales...)

BerryWizard

I'm with you.

Posted via CB10

KermEd

He's got a lot of bad apps I would cringe to see CB approved

Posted via CB from my LE

Omnitech

Given that you're one of the most prolific commenters on this post and virtually every single one of those comments has been a snarky sideswipe at Shao, I'd love to know what the history of this apparent feud between the two of you is all about.

I don't have a lot of experience with Shao's apps but I did buy his Evolution browser and as far as I'm concerned it's a landmark BB10 app. I've also heard lots of good things about his Wallpaper Changer app.

So you may be right that he produces a lot of nearly-identical fluff, but as long as the apps are properly described and do what he claims they do, if people are buying them then it's hard for me to fault someone making them, whether or not *I* like them or want to buy them.

KermEd

Actually nothing - I do commend Evolution browser to an extent. :)

I have an issue with any post bashing app world quality and selling 5 or more flashlight apps. And you have a right to stand by him if you want.

Posted via CB from my LE

BGK

Great idea! Hey Kevin are you reading this?

aloomis76

Great read and a great and inspiring story Shao128!! I feel for your struggles with BFB and I can only hope that they get resolved as BB moves forward...Keep up the good work and as someone who has and does use your apps I say THANK YOU for doing the exceptional work that you are doing Whether you get lost in the shuffle of thousands of other developers or not, I know how to find your apps and where to look for your page of them so I know I will always be on the lookout for new and exciting ones in the future!

Great job CrackBerry for highlighting an exceptional developer and getting the story of the (maybe) struggling app developer out there so others know what they go through and maybe find it a bit easier to make a purchase of an app from a small indie developer and know it is actually putting food on his plate and not just stuffing his back account.

DisturbedRocks31

As a student who attended BlackBerry Jam Camp, I REALLY hope that the BFB isn't as bad as you say it is.. :|

KermEd

I've skipped it. Coat analysis shows me the effort is not worth it for BFB.

It's the same program Panasonic and LG try to use for their smart tvs. Nice idea. But...

Posted via CB from my LE

Flip4Bytes

If you honestly put a lot of time and care into your app and make it native, it's really not difficult at all to get it BFB Certified.. I can't say that there are many benefits at the moment to being BFB Certified (hopefully it improves), but I see more of a problem of cr@p apps getting BFB Certified that "good ones" not getting it.

I've always been a Quality over Quantity kind of person though, in my line of work (Website Design) I totally run my business that way, and that mentality transferred over when I started BB10 development. I'd rather make a bit less money, but have a very refined, amazing app, than have 10 crappy ones that allow me to make more overall.

Keep your head up man, trust me, if you take the quality over quantity approach, BFB isn't as bad as it sounds (at least in getting your app BFB approved.)

Rub3n5

Flip4Bytes, I have your Web Design Cheat Sheet app installed. I am not a coder, I work in IT as a DBA so this stuff just interests me by default. Although I have minimal use for your app for what I do for a living, I keep the it installed on my Z10 to show people just how cool BB10 Apps can be. In fact, your app alone has me occasionally combing over the code to learn it on the side.

I firmly believe in your quality over quantity approach and I would think this will pay off better in the long run. Attention to detail wins IMHO. Great job!

Flip4Bytes

That honestly just made my day.. Thank you so much for that.. I honestly never planned on getting into the app development market (I am a website designer), but BlackBerry gave a few opportunities to start, and comments like these are what make me want to continue. So really, thank you so much for this, really means a lot to me :)

br14

I was approved for BFBB with minimal fuss in a couple of weeks.

It does help if you read the guidance. They're not going to give BFBB to every app that comes along. Especially if there are already good examples of the app in BlackBerry World. That's also in the guidance.

If you come up with something original and/or useful and follow guidelines it's not an issue.

scalemaster34

IF the number of BB10 users increases, so will the number of developers - good thing for BBRY and BB customers. Not so good for developers. But I think being to the game early should really help the author.

kimoi

I'm definitely going to check out your apps. What a dedication! I'm confident of the quality of your app collection and already have Wallpaper Changer HD. (my favourite) Well done man, please keep it up!

Posted via CB10 on my Z10

Rub3n5

I have to admit, I had downloaded some of Shaosoft's apps a while ago and I never was really impressed with the quality. It's probably for this reason that many of them are not BFB certified.

Now that said, and to Shao128's point... if he was getting feedback from BlackBerry on how his apps can be approved to get that designation, he wins and we ultimately win with better quality apps.

Reading an article like this 6 months after the BB10 launch is very discouraging. How far is BlackBerry going to sink before they realize this is not acceptable? I see the BFB program as the most important Developer program they are running. Developer's are their most critical asset.

I, as a consumer, will often only consider an app only if it's BFB certified - they just run, look and feel so much nicer.

Jtaylor1986

Exactly. Just searched his apps and they are mostly just novelty me too apps other than evolution browser which is why they drop off the map fast. BFB doesn't need 100 timer/clock apps with a different skin they need apps that are filing a niche no one else had tapped yet. That's what will get you a ferrari and a mansion.

Flip4Bytes

I absolutely agree with the niche app comment. Those are the apps that also improve the platform the most as well. +1

maddie1128

You clearly haven't used any of Shoa's apps. He makes some of the very best BlackBerry apps and most importantly......follows up with quick updates if there is ever a problem. Why do people here complain all the time that we don't have enough apps and then dog on every developer who puts their time and energy into creating apps for us??? I don't get it.

Schmurf

While I haven't downloaded any of his programs (until now - I just downloaded the browser), I have to commend his persistence and even-handed commentary. I think we need to support devs like Shao who are trying to make a difference.

Posted via CB10

Rub3n5

maddie1128, you clearly don't know what you are talking about because I clearly have used the following apps:

Give Me That App! (useful and still installed)
Quick for Wikipedia (deleted)
Sleep Sounds Free (I prefer one on my iPad version because the quality isn't there in his)

I am not knocking his work. To Shao's own admission, from a monetary perspective he's noticed the volume isn't there for building a quality BlackBerry app - and that's why he's chosen quantity of apps to maintain his business.

I am blaming BlackBerry in this case for this because:

1. BlackBerry should be treating developers trying to build apps with BFB certified status like gold - they clearly aren't. They are just trying to fill BlackBerry World with volume right now but quality over quantity is best IMHO.
2. BlackBerry hasn't sold enough handsets for some developers (like Shao) to have the incentive to build great quality apps. 1 or 2 high quality apps could make him A LOT of money IF BlackBerry had the subscriber base. Given that they don't, he's taking the app volume approach - which makes sense from his side.

Flip4Bytes

Hearing this makes me feel much better about working hard to get the BFB designation. Many times I feel like getting BFB Certified has not helped me much at all, especially as my app is so niche. But to hear that some people (like you) only consider an app if it's BFB Certified makes me feel much more comfortable and happy that I pushed hard to achieve the designation.

Thanks for your support (:

br14

Have to say my experience of BFBB was exactly the opposite. The responses to my app were relatively quick (within a couple of weeks) and once in the program my app was approved with one minor change.

The program definition is pretty clear. But I can imagine that an app that for design reasons doesn't follow the UI guidelines might be tricky to get approved.

gyubok

Do you work for BlackBerry.

Corky Notes and Lazy Lists for BlackBerry 10 developer

Flip4Bytes

Hey man, just downloaded Lazy Lists by the way - Really like it. It's like that app "Clear" for iPhone that got really big a while ago.. Was always very jealous that I couldn't have it, so thanks for filling up that app gap. Really hope you continue to add more great features - Keep it up! (:

- Developer of 'Web Design Cheat Sheet' for BB10 (Posted via CB10)

Lumberman

This thread has actually been a good source for me to find a few new apps. I have 2 of Shao's apps already and I just downloaded corky notes and bought the upgrade. I'm really happy with them all. Keep up the good work guys.

Posted via CB10

Flip4Bytes

I have to agree with you. As long as you make a native app and actually put some time into the quality, it's really not difficult at all to achieve BFB certification.. Both of the apps that I developed received BFB certification with very little problem. It actually made me feel like they were giving away the BFB certification too easily..

Oh well, different strokes for different folks.

FMB8900

You're apps are awesome Shao, keep up the good work!

mathking606

Nice to hear that you are doing well and BFB really needs to be sorted out now!! Show developers that you care BB!!!!

imcurved

Thanks for cranking out as many quality apps as you can. I hope someone at BlackBerry reads your post and reviews your apps for BFB status. We need more developers like you.

Daveensannie

Wow great story! Respect

Posted via CB10

hf199

Nice job

Posted via CB10

robin11

Perhaps Crackberry needs to build a BFB section for developers to list their apps? This might even shame BB into action;-)

dannyd86

Good job man.

We need an app like blackberry protect but with better options. I'm shur you remember where's my phone on BB07. That app was way more useful then protect.

Not shur if you have the tools available for bb10 to make such an app but we have no selection for that right now. Would be an instant top seller

ibpluto

I've picked up a couple of his apps. Top quality IMO.

Wallpaper changer will be one of my favourite once apps go headless. I could see that one specifically exploding.

Gram007

Good read. We need more app developers like yourself.

You sir, are the Man!
Keep Movin.

20degrees

Nice read.

Now: why not answer the question I asked in your wallpaper hd thread? I bought the app, yet you never even responded to my question.....

Q10

ddlax22

Yeah. I've bought his apps. And they're great. And I see him active in the forums. But for the emails I've sent I never got a reply. It was a while ago and I'm over it but still haha.

Posted via CB10

pittster

BBRY please give Shao a call back and reason for denial. He is here rallying behind and you can't respond. Isn't that the type of action that has lead BBRY to this point... Good work Shao! Please keep us informed on the biz side of things.

Posted via CB10

raino

Someone please tweet this article to Alec Saunders. He needs to read (at least) the part about BFB.

KermEd

I suspect there is a good reason it's denied.

Posted via CB from my LE

raino

Maybe. I wasn't talking about his specific case necessarily, but the part about "even after I asked them to take a look at this one particular app again they said they did, but didn't. I got an email from them telling me 'To qualify as a Built for BlackBerry application, your app must seamlessly integrate at least one BlackBerry service'" is a bit unsavory. If that's the only reason for denial, and he says he uses four services, is he (and other devs?) receiving blanket emails? What other issues does this happen for? Why is he being told his app was looked at, while he's under the impression that it wasn't? Certainly worth a look by the guy in-charge of developer relations.

KermEd

Oh don't get me wrong. I think BFB is a joke and I have no interest of sending any of my apps through that mess.

With that said, after the last round of changes, they let almost anything into BFB. Now BFB actually meaning the app is worth anything or not is a different subject altogether!

Posted via CB from my LE

bluetroll

Good for you. Thanks for supporting BlackBerry 10. We need more devs like yourself.

Posted via CB10

Duffman19

His screen saver app is built for BlackBerry

As far as others. Most are just copy and paste with different wallpapers

Posted via CB10

fearmantis

Man keep up the excellent work!

BB Z10 rocks.

marvini

Keep up the good work man. I just purchased an additional 3 apps that you developed.

Posted via CB10

Joel Christopher

Keep building for BB10!!

Posted via CB10

gatorboi352

Props to this guy, but I'd like to see another check in with him in another 6-8 months.

hazarder

Wow that is inspiring, amazing post!
That goes to show, hard work and dedication pays off indeed. Good stuff

Posted via that z10!

G-bone

Thanks, Shao!
When I see a Shao-soft app, I know it's going to be good. I always check for your stuff in BlackBerry World.
Thanks for clearing up that business about Built For BlackBerry. I have often wondered why many of your apps don't have BFB certification. (Alec? Thor? Are you listening?)
Keep up the good work. I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.
Live Long and Prosper.

#BB10Believe

Brian Scheirer

Great post Daraius.

For better or for worse... I definitely agree about the quantity approach. It just seems to be the nature of the beast right now. I had one app (Visual Connection) that was selling in the hundreds per day for 2 months then one day, BAM to bottom... So I couldn't agree more with the statement of I'd rather have 100 apps selling $3/day vs 1 app selling $500/day.

I still believe BFB is a work in progress and BlackBerry is going to work out all the kinks. I have 2 apps approved and 1 denied. Ironically the day Visual Connection became BFB was the day it dropped from high sales to lows sales (I assume coincidence... lol).

Either way good to hear it is possible to survive as a BB app developer. Wish you continued success.

mobilesync

BlackBerry released BBM betan today ...

BlackBerry missed the schedule and a golden launch windows (back to school).

Now I can only hope BB doesn't miss the quality.

"Half baked and Buggy" has gradually become the icon of BlackBerry since 2007, partly as a result of the big and unfair anti-BlackBerry movement that culminated in 2006 in U.S.

I hope the cross platform BBM has high quality and is fully baked. By "fully baked" I don't mean it has all the features. It is perfectly OK not to have voice and video for now. But for what it does provide it must provide them in complete. This is an opportunity for BlackBerry to get rid of the "Half baked and Buggy" badge; This is an opportunity for RIM to fairly fight back against the anti-BB movement. Yet, it could be a big flaw that permanently sink BB.

One month for Beta (usually means Alpha quality in today's BB vocabulary) is definitely NOT enough for a reliable real-time messaging system. So, to this point, BB lovers need to have patience to allow BB to take extra 2 to 3 months to fully bake it and achieve the highest quality of all - even higher than the original BBM despite the difficulties.

Let's make a loud and clear voice here:

BlackBerry can afford no mistake on cross platform BBM!!!

ciscobear

How come one guy can crank this stuff out and not bbry?

KermEd

Because there is little benefit to them creating wall paper changers and flashlights.

Posted via CB from my LE

ciscobear

Don't be an idiot. I'm speaking about quality quality apps. The Bbry native apps leave alot to be desired.

Flip4Bytes

You're comparing his apps to the Native Apps built by BlackBerry.. And saying that they are better..? Have you even looked at apps like the "Remember" App, "File Manager", "Calandar", "Browser", etc. etc. etc. BlackBerry's devs did a PHENOMINAL job - Maybe I should just keep my mouth shut though :x

KermEd

I have great respect for the work blackberry devs did for both PB and BB10. It so simple feat, especially when you look at it on a component basis.

Posted via CB from my LE

Pete The Penguin

Have to admit, the criteria and selection process for "Built For BlackBerry" apps is horrible at best at disgusting at worse.
And people wonder why big name developers refuse to bring their apps to BlackBerry?

I know of several Devs whose apps all exceed the BFB requirements - by a long way...

dale-c

If you want to make a successful app, try making a really useful bible app. There are a few bible apps in the BlackBerry World now buy all are lacking. YouVersion, the most popular mobile Bible app is an andriod port. Bible plus is very limited.

There is another that is slow.

I would easily pay $4.99 for an app of good quality.

Posted via CB10

Ebscer

The main problem with Bible apps is that most popular translations such as NIV are covered by copyright, and therefore can't be offered for a reasonable dollar amount. So instead many have to resort to things like ASV and KJV

SCPanther13

I have heard from YouVersion that they are working on a native BB10 app. As far as what's out there, e-Mmanuel has a lot of nice features. Yes, the text is a little hesitant on scrolling, but the ability to have multiple tabs open makes it very useful for keeping a virtual finger on one passage while looking up a related reference. Also, the secondary window can be handy.

Interestingly, related to the OP's point, eMmanuel's developer has said that his app was rejected by the BFB program specifically for being "religious," which seems exceedingly stupid to me.

southlander

Nice write up. Good luck in your endeavors.

mikebanjany

I respect you for what you've done and have been contemplating doing the same with my career.. I'm about to give up the financial world and truly do something I love just like you. If possible/ if you have the time, can you send me a private message.. I have a few start up questions if your willing to help

Posted via CB10

Gnomesane

Thanks for sharing, and please keep developing, your work is great. Love Evolution Web Browser, for example!

Posted via CB10

JoBudden

Honestly Shao, I believe you're under pricing your apps ;) with that being said. I love the fact that you are committed to what you're doing. And not bouncing from platform to platform. Being that right now blackberry needs more app developers like yourself committed to putting apps in their store. I'm sorry that they're not giving you the apprecition you deserve. But, one thing I've noticed is that, any apo mentioned on this site, imidiatly jumps to the top of the trending apps chart. Which is a great thing. So I am at least grateful for the fact that you have the support of the Crackberry team. And this user for sure supports your efforts. Thanks for the great apps. I hope to see a lot more from you in the future. :)

Posted via CB10

MultiPlatt

Very cool to hear things worked out for you. You are right though sometimes you have to take that chance if you can and go for it. I will have to check out your apps.

galleon

Hey I am right glad to hear of your success. I was cheering for you when I read that post back then.

VR6

Keep pushing the envelope Shao! I own some of your apps and will purchase more. Hopefully you'll be able to sort out your issues with BlackBerry soon.

Fired from my Z10

masterful

Love it

Posted via CB10 from my BlackBerry Z10

blueyestm

For me it doesn't matter if an app is hilighted in that rotation. I look for the developers that I know can put out apps I want and need and are good. Once I find what I'm looking for I then look at what else that dev has made and end up buying a few more. I have a few from you for the BBOS and as soon as I can afford a BB10 I plan to go through what apps you have again to see if I can get something comparable to the ones I have for you now. That's how I base my app buying skills.

SkaterGuy2k

Awesome read and thanks for developing for BlackBerry :)

Posted from My Z10 via CB10

7pri7

From a blackberry support standpoint I found this article to be very informative. Thanks, and also thanks for creating fantastic apps!!!!

Posted via CB10

NaijaBerry

How d'ya like and thank and thumbs up on the blogs?? Congratulations!!

andrew2362

Great to hear you are doing well! I also got a BFB rejection. However I think my app just lacked a proper number of features.

PhillipFrank

Evolution browser should be a BFB app it's faster then the stock browser

Posted via CB10 on my Z10

jfunds

Well done fella keep going you dedication will be rewarded!

Posted via CB10

bigais121

Good Luck OP!!! BlackBerry's future depends on the success of devs like you.

Posted via CB10

ablefunzo

I declare open door on your business. Because you took a step of faith, God will give you total release and complete turnaround for your good. This is an inspirational prayer and I pray you will claim it with you heart soul and spirit.

Posted via CB10

KermEd

Yes I'm sure money and BlackBerry apps are on the top of the list of things to worry about.

Posted via CB from my LE

Schoshaii

Props to you Shao to your commitment to the platform and efforts to develop better apps...for that I grant you a sale.

Posted via CB10

hf199

Yo BlackBerry give the man some respect!

Posted via CB10

Pdoody

I am happy to say I have a few of your apps. Thank you.

But in respect to the quality vs quantity, I would rather see quality. I could care less of the difference from $.99 to $1.99 if it is an awesome app!

Anyhow, keep up the good work.

Posted via CB10

bungaboy

Good for you. Glad hear you are doing what you love and making a living at it.

Thanks for the great article.

pididipop

I would think it would be most advantageous to develop for all platforms to maximize profits. This may require much expertise, but worth it in the long run, especially if you have quality apps appealing to many.

Posted via CB10

BryantCarpio

I wish you continued success and thank you for supporting the BlackBerry addicts! The CrackBerry community!

Otech#CB

Hope they fix this because I was planning on studying and getting my developers certificate. But I'm not being motivated by Blackberry enough.

StoicEngineer

Shao, thanks and continued success. I think you nailed the problem for getting a large selling app. You just can't foresee people's tastes and interests.

Posted via CB10

herculesinwyoming

have any playbook apps? i will support if i can

christianZed

Rushing don't seem to give out a good result. And more rushing means more not-so-good-apps. And that means more sorting to be done for the side of BlackBerry. And more searching for users for a better app... i think

Posted via CB10

BGK

Love your apps Shao, no complaints please keep them coming.

mobilesync

App users judge the best. Any thing in between can only hurt, pollute, and corrupt the ecosystem.

Let BlackBerry users keep the system healthy. I mean real end users. No intermediary, not even CB.

Freedom, democracy, and equal opportunity are the key ingredients of a healthy mobile app ecosystem.

Wish the author a great success.

MS

doggy10

Love your story shao. The decision you made to quit your job to build BB10 apps full time as your only source of income is inspiring. I have purchased some of your apps and will continue to do so. I hope many others hear will do the same. It's devs like you I like to buy my apps from. For me it's a big deal that the dev is access able to talk about any issues with the apps. A dev that listens and takes the time to answers customers questions is more likely to be supported then someone we have no clue who they are. I wish you continued success!

BlackBerry for life. Kick'n it with my Z10.

doggy10

Just bought the surprise app. Pretty cool.

BlackBerry for life. Kick'n it with my Z10.

unbreakablej

Cool story! Were you a developer beforehand or did you literally jump into this?

Posted via CB10

jayemmbee

What app was the one they rejected just based kn the name and type of app?

Posted via CB10

domex

Thank you shao and keep up the good work.

Posted via CB10

ptpete

Shao, just bought your Wallpaper Changer HD and love it. Giving choice of use of the active frames is brilliant! Keep them coming! Hope you make some coin.

ptpete

Ok, bought Evolution Browser as well. Damn that is slick!! I love the BB10 browser but yours kicks its a**. Well thought out. I love the gestures, volume scroll and disappearing URL bar.

fermanagh

Hey man, I just bought your evolution web browser and it rules, far superior to the stock browser in every way! BlackBerry developers need to learn a thing or two from you ;)

Posted via CB10

dracolnyte

My contract is almost up but blackberry rejected me for two jobs already!

Posted via CB10

amazinglygraceless

Fantastic article. Hope you have much continued success.

segonku

I would love to see a baseball scorekeeper app. A good one. There's 2 or 3 garbage ones on BlackBerry World but nothing in depth. For a really good one I'd be willing to pay up to $9.99. Especially if it kept perpetual stats over multiple years and had reports in excel. I know its not the app for the masses but I believe there's a thirsty market for a good one.

Posted via CB10

Christopher Melendez

Cheers! I will look for your apps and download to support..

martinjdub

Cool cool cool

Posted via CB on a Q10

heri16

Yes, the guys manning the Built-for-Blackberry are goons... almost to the point of IT-illiterate. Seems to be outsourced to a low-quality company in India.

pablomdelgado

Man I am very happy for you and keep those great apps coming.

Posted via my sexy Black Z10

rstevenw

I always look forward to new app from ShaoSoft

Swiping my Z10 like a Genie will pop out.

Cylon69

Dev like you make the z10 a better phone to own and because you are providing 100's of apps there is a better/ larger BlackBerry App library which makes it a more attractive phone to buy

People that ain't brain washed own BlackBerry's

Cylon69

And evolution Browser is awesome!!!!

People that ain't brain washed own BlackBerry's

BionicKris

I just downloaded Wallpaper Changer today and it seems like a great app. The weather bar on the home screen is a nice options. Nice job Shao!

Posted via CB10

Cylon69

"Surprise app" is cool

People that ain't brain washed own BlackBerry's

Winston Loh

Brave man for taking the step to do what you love. Great story and great inspiration.
Go brother, go !

d.roc

Glad to hear this story. Great job. And for what it's worth I'm not sure I even own a BFB app/game and I have bought quite a few paid apps/games.

Posted via CB10

mauric3

Shao.. How about a Speed Test app? I hope you would be able to make one :)

dmlis

"... it was denied with no reason included. I asked them why and their response was to tell me to check out Nobex Radio as it was an example of of a good BFB app. My app isn't a radio app nor relates to it in any way..."

Ah, BB-RIM at its best. Perfect communication skills - a kind of which we saw during Playbook saga.

jamesharmeling

I appreciate this article very much because it helps me to appreciate the hard work that goes into creating and updating apps. I think too often we don't realize that "It ain't that easy!" and get out of whack when apps don't behave the way we want them to. :)

Posted via Zeppelin or Quincy!

shibby080

Wow, great journey! Makes an interesting read! I'll be downloading a few of them apps for sure mate!

Posted via CB10

KPR1976#CB

Got Evolution Web Browser, Amazing. I support you man. Keep it up. Never give up

Posted via CB10

joelajean

Nice article dude... I have to agree with Shia, the BB

Posted via CB10

joelajean

Sorry for the dual post... My figure touched the post button trying to correct the author's name... :) and no way to delete or edit post from the CB 10 app...

Anyhow... my point was I've recently tried the BFB program for one of my apps and it failed. Initially I knew I had a few things to correct in order to qualify but I was more curious to test out the communication and the evaluation mechanism. To my surprise it was very minimal... In the BFB program, it states the following...

Rejected: If your App is not approved through the Program, a summary of the Evaluation will be provided to you.

So I was hoping to get some sort of evaluation for which I could work with... but I got a very brief statement. I replied to the BFB team in order to get more details on the failure point and they answered, please review the user guidelines... So I did not even bother pursuing this @ the time because I felt that the program wasn't what BB was promoting !!!

So I guess I'm not the only one feeling this way about the BFB program...

Posted via CB10

Ronstermadness

Hey i love you work. So happy it's working out for you. Best of luck to you. I have an idea for a app for you. I'm trying to get my gf to switch from ios to the z10. She travels a lot taking pictures all over the world. One of the things she loves about ios is a options in the pictures where she can open a pitcher and it well show her on the map were the pitcher was taking. Or open the map and it well show her with little pins or flags of all the places around the world where she took the pic. When see zooms in on the map the more pins or flags appear to show exactly where pics where taken. My long winded question is can this be done for bb10?

Posted via CB10

Hans Wang

Honestly, I am really enjoy reading your post.

Posted via CB10