A Year Later…

So, it’s already been a year since I quit my job and dedicated myself to web projects, and it’s gone really quickly. I’ve kept myself very busy during that time, probably a bit too busy. I have absolutely no regrets with my career switch and have been incredibly happy with the decision.

One good thing to note is that the economic conditions seems to have had no major effect on online ad revenues. It’s always hard to tell on a month to month basis due to seasonal variation, but our year-to-year numbers have been up. IAB claims across the board numbers are down 5% in Q1 2009, but that seems a marginal decline when there were predictions of 50% drops by some. In fact, one of the biggest doom-sayers, Nick Denton of Gawker Media, reports that their revenues were up 35% year over year. Anecdotal reports I’ve heard from other publishers have reflected the same experiences. While there may be more declines to come… so far, so good.

The growth of TouchArcade.com has been remarkable, and is the primary reason my time has been so occupied this past year. Keeping track of App Store releases really is a more than full time job. The time I’ve had to put into it has reduced the time I have had for MacRumors improvements and AppShopper feature progression. It also put on hold any other grand projects I might have had. That said, its success is not something I can complain about. I suppose I’m not entirely surprised that it was able to gain traction, as I feel iPhone gaming is an incredibly addictive topic… but the rapidity of the growth is surprising. In just a year, in both traffic and respect, the site has done more than could have been expected. (I even interviewed Carmack the other week — how crazy is that?)

The major goal of mine over the past year was the outsourcing of more of my work. It’s been a hard transition for me, as I have a lot of personal ownership in my projects — so it’s hard to hand over the “keys” to someone else. Obviously, no one else will do things exactly the way I would, and it’s just a matter of getting used to that. As a result, it’s taken me this long to finally hire the right people. Fortunately, over the past 6-7 months, I’ve managed to hire two people to handle the editorial responsibilities that can be so time consuming, and one person to handle programming. The transition is still ongoing, but I’m really happy with the extra time it should afford me. I may actually be able to keep up with my email now.

Looking forward, I still have progress to make on freeing up more of my time, so I can focus on larger scale issues as well as new projects. I think my difficulity in transitioning editorial responsibilities smoothly has taught me to get others involved at a much earlier stage. So, I’m not planning on ever starting another content site where I would be the primary writer again. And that’s no big loss for me. As a computer science major, it still amazes me that any sort of writing has become a major aspect of my occupation.

We’ll see what the next year holds. I think it will likely include some new hires, some major feature improvements to the sites I already have, and possibly the launch of one or two major new sites. There are a few sites that have been on my todo list for years now, so I’m anxious to get serious work done on them. Unfortunately, it will probably be a number of months before I can get caught up enough to seriously start on them. Next year’s update will be interesting.

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18 Responses to A Year Later…

  1. Josh Rosen says:

    Two posts in one day, what universe am I in??

    On a more serious note, best of luck on your future endeavors. You’re already responsible for 2 of my favorite tech news sites, can’t wait to see what else you have up your sleeve!

  2. Shan says:

    You’ve done an awesome job with TouchArcade, good job Arnold! Looking forward to seeing your future sites. Good luck! :)

  3. Kris Jones says:

    You have created one of the best iPhone review sites and forums I have yet to see and your staff is doing a great job.

    I wish you the best of luck on the new sites. You don’t plan on removing yourself from an editorial position any time soon, do you?

  4. planetMitch says:

    I read your post a year ago and was amazed… and it has inspired me immensely. I haven’t quite gotten to the point of being able to quit my day job, but I have been able to ride the wave of excitement over the Canon EOS 5D Mark II to create the most popular blog on that subject in the world and my site is actually earning me a little money. I’ve had trouble getting advertisers, but recently, I’ve been attracting a lot of attention which I hope leads to goodness.

    Anyway, didn’t want this to be about me, but to be a note to let you know you’ve inspired a few of us to expand into the web to find things we love to do as well. Thanks!

  5. Brad Carr says:

    Arn, you’re friggin’ amazing. Don’t worry about what the administrative details are–they are a small price to pay for having a well-oiled machine. These well oiled machines you can be proud of!

  6. Matt Killmon says:

    You think it’s crazy to interview Carmack? Now I’m technically CO-WORKERS with the guy! THAT’S crazy!

  7. Tosui says:

    Happy Anniversary, Arn!

    You’ve done a remarkable job with TouchArcade and App Shopper. And, somehow, you’ve managed to keep Mac Rumors as great as ever. You know the joke “If they took down all the porn on the Internet, there would only be one site: Bringbacktheporn.com”. Sometimes I think the same about TouchArcade and Mac Rumors – what would the Internet be without them?!

    Keep up the good work, and good luck with any new endeavors. I look forward to seeing more of you on the web!

  8. Kshep says:

    Congrats Arnold, you’ve done a great job with TouchArcade and your other ventures. Glad that self-employment is treating you well!

  9. foresmac says:

    I know what you mean about writing. I was a visual art major, then a computer engineering major, and I always hated classes that required a lot of writing. Now I pretty much write for a living. Funny how life works that way.

  10. Matt says:

    Congratulations on a successful year, Arn! I wish you the best in year number two, and beyond.

  11. EdK says:

    Congratulations on your success! You’ve certainly earned it, there’s no doubt about that. I could see TouchArcade’s massive potential from the day I saw it. I would be happy to have accomplished 1/100 of what you have with MR and TA.

  12. Pingback: Medical Fusion Blog » Update on Dr. Arnold Kim

  13. http://MedFusionBlog.org says:

    Arn-

    Congrats. You are an inspiration to many.

    greg

  14. Pingback: Latest » WTF – Handerpants: Support Where You Never Knew You Needed It

  15. I have a website too, but I don’t think I’ll be leaving medicine any time soon. It sounds like you made a good decision for yourself, and part of me is amazed at the risk you took. Best wishes for a great year two, and if you get a spare minute, check out the newly redesigned interactmd.com !

  16. Clifton says:

    Congratulation Dr Kim, I am the Ophthalmologist across the hall from your old office. I am appreciative of your website I am a apple addict excellent info for me and my technician.

  17. Emma Marshall says:

    Congratulations on your interesting Web Blog, Touch Arcade, App shopper and Mac Rumors! Owned an ipod since 2006, and I enjoy using the itunes store; amazing how many iphone apps you can find on there, and games as well.

    All the best for your future projects.

  18. internetjobs says:

    This is really something I can understand. Thanks for the article I have subscribed to your rss.

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