Followup on Another Quitting Story

A couple of months ago I mentioned a husband and wife team that made up Imangi Studios who I met at GDC. Keith had quit his full time job a year prior while his wife Natalia had just given notice in April to go full time on their small but growing iPhone app business. In my post I mentioned that I thought it was great they were going into it full time and that the potential benefits outweighed the risks.

Well, it’s only 3 months later, and they have a top 10 iPhone app (and climbing) with Harbor Master [$0.99]. The game is currently sitting in the #6 spot of all paid iPhone apps. Now, I haven’t seen top 10 sales numbers lately, but I’ve heard the numbers have been increasing, so I’d guess they may be up to 10,000 (~$7000) downloads a day. The game seems to have sold well from the start, but Apple’s also currently featuring Harbor Master in their “What’s Hot” listing. Of course, those listings tend to only last a week or so, but from what I’ve seen games that really take off with the exposure don’t tend to drop off sharply when the listing goes away.

Hopefully, their success will sustain, but even if only for a short time, they’ve certainly proven that they have made the right decision. I don’t know the details of their development cycle and marketing, but would Harbor Master‘s success have happened the same way if Natalia hadn’t quit her day job to devote her time to Imangi? I’d wager not.

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6 Responses to Followup on Another Quitting Story

  1. Mike Chi says:

    It’s been 4 and a half years since I quit my job and started my own gaming company. I also thought the potential benefits outweighed the risks and I have proven that I was right. Thanks always for your great and encouraging posts all the time!

  2. Josh Rosen says:

    Thank you for the encouraging post as well.

  3. Khang Toh says:


    Great story but just wanted to point out to anyone thinking that their success was accomplished over a span of three months, really it’s not. Keith was laying the groundwork a year into it before they had Harbour Master.

  4. As a fellow iPhone game developer (TowerMadness), I want to echo Khang’s remark with a knowing appreciation for what Imangi has done… While Harbor Master is itself a runaway success, it is built upon the release of several fantastic games and many months of market positioning, grassroots relationships, and community building. I’m really looking forward to seeing where Imangi is going to take their brand, now that they are standing on a mountain of visibility. I won’t deny that there’s a lot of luck involved, but it’s clear that this team is no slouch in clearing the way for success to happen. I haven’t met the lucky couple yet, but it’s not hard to see that they are active and positive contributors to our developer community.

    Good show indeed. Cheers.

  5. Natalia says:

    Thanks so much for writing about us, Arn!

    Khang and Arash – I definitely agree with you. I think Harbor Master’s current success is the result of a year’s worth of lessons learned, a lot of community building, and a tremendous amount of luck. We feel incredibly fortunate to have made it this far. Although there’s definitely no sure-fire recipe for success on the App Store, some things definitely work better than others, and it took us a long time to figure those out.

    After I joined Keith full time, our main goal for the year was to expand our catalog – make more small, polished, addictive games, and aim to make each one a hit. I also needed to get up to speed on Objective C so that I can contribute to all parts of the process. So while Keith was developing Harbor Master, I was actually making Photomarkr, a watermarking app that was a great way to ramp up my Objective C. I also really stepped up the marketing efforts on Harbor Master, engaging the community at least a month before Harbor Master’s release. And I did all of Harbor Master’s music and sound effects.

    In the end, it’s really hard to contribute Harbor Master’s current success to any one thing either one of us did in particular, but being able to focus without the distraction of a day job and give it 100% of our time and effort definitely helped. And, like I said, a whole ton of luck. The App Store works in mysterious ways šŸ™‚

  6. anton says:

    I was fired from my job a year ago. Two months later I released a game which was #1 game on AppStore for a couple of days šŸ™‚

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