Marco Arment opened his books to the Internet yesterday, displaying the money his podcast app Overcast made in 2014.
For me, the big takeaway is that Overcast appears to have reached a sustainable level. I always worry that app releases will have a big spike of initial interest, and then tail off to nothing. Overcast appears to have had the big spike, yes, but whatever momentum and visibility it gained during that period appears to have paid off with ongoing visibility. (My guess is that the app’s been so well received that its word-of-mouth promotion and appearance on numerous best-app lists have helped it maintain a decent level of revenue.)
I do still wonder about the app’s viability over time. Because Marco has phrased the app’s purchase option as “unlock everything,” I worry that he’s preventing himself from coming back to his current customers down the road to ask for more money for big new features. But there are other ways Overcast could fund itself, including cloud services. (I’d pay something for the ability to add URLs and arbitrary audio files directly to my Overcast playlists, for example.)
Still, as someone who recently left his job and now works at home all day, I can relate to Marco’s take on creating a sustainable business:
After the self-employment penalties in taxes and benefits, I’m probably coming in under what I could get at a good full-time job in the city, but I don’t have to actually work for someone else on something I don’t care about. I can work in my nice home office, drink my fussy coffee, take a nap after lunch if I want to, and be present for my family as my kid grows up. That’s my definition of success.
My son just walked out the front door to go to school, and I gave him a hug before he went. And so I raise my cup of fussy tea to Marco and Overcast.