After working at Microsoft for more than a decade, Mike Swanson left his job as an evangelist for the Redmond company in September to launch a startup … based on his successful iPhone and iPad apps.
This was not what originally set out to do.
For one thing, Swanson prefers Windows Phone’s development environment to the programming language for iPhone apps. But before Microsoft’s new mobile platform debuted, the iPhone was the logical path available to him in 2009 when he decided he wanted to get a taste of mobile software development.
“I created a ‘novelty’ app primarily because I didn’t have time to maintain servers or other back-end infrastructure, and I wanted a fun app that nobody would depend on,” Swanson writes. “I also needed an app that the press wouldn’t find very interesting. After all, my day job was still as a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft, and nobody needed that article.”
Swanson didn’t put much thought into the name he picked for his project — Juicy Bits — not thinking it would become a company.
His apps took off nonetheless. His latest, Halftone, gives photos the style of old newspapers and comics (at right). It has attracted about 1 million users who have used it to create more than 5.5 million photos on iPhone, iPad and iPad touch since its February release.
Swanson writes, “So, in the summer of 2011, it hit me: I’m having so much fun writing mobile software for Juicy Bits, why don’t I make it my full time job? After discussing the idea with some trusted friends, I decided that I would leave my job at Microsoft after we completed our BUILD event in September, 2011. After 11½ wonderful years, September 30th, 2011 was my last day at Microsoft.”
It’s a great story, and you can read the whole post here.
Considering his background, I asked Swanson, why not Windows Phone apps?
“While I’d love to write Windows Phone apps (IMO, Visual Studio and C# are still a lot friendlier than Xcode and Objective-C), my experiments led me to iOS, and that’s where I’ve found some degree of success,” he said via email. “I’ve had requests for both Android and Windows Phone versions of my apps, and it’s absolutely something that I think about. As you can imagine, the decision to support two different platforms—given that I’m a one-man operation—is a significant one.”