When the App Store launched in 2008 with 552 apps and games, for me it was a new beginning. A chance to transition into a field I had always been interested in: mobile apps. So, in July 10th, 2008, I launched 148Apps right along with the App Store.
It all started with a little pink slip from Yahoo!. My division was just a blip in a large company lay off in early 2008. Pretty devastating at the time, pouring your heart into a project and having it cancelled and your job ended. But it turns out it was the best thing to ever happen to me, at least professionally.
I had always been interested in mobile applications ever since my first "smartphone," the Treo 300. What a great phone that was! And while mobile applications were nothing new, the way the App Store presented them--within a single store, on the device, with an easy payment and download system--was really very Apple-like. So 148Apps started out as a side project, a little something to do while searching for what I wanted to do long term. But as the App Store was coming into view, it seemed like something I wanted to be involved in.
Initially I tried creating apps but never finished any of the 30 I started, all the while keeping 148Apps going, and tracking what was going on in the App Store. I started getting more and more emails from developers looking to get the word out about their apps. This, in turn, started taking more and more of my time. By late fall 2008, it was taking up all of my time. I decided to shelve the app creation goal and go at 148Apps full time.
Then in late November, 2008, as the App Store approached 10,000 apps, I wanted to do something special. Much like this week is a look at the past five years, the 10,000 app special was to be a little snapshot of what the App Store was like when it hit 10,000 apps. I created a little page with a special graphic and some metrics from the data I had been gathering and sent it off to Tech Crunch to see if they were interested. They were all over it. They loved the page and we got a huge boost in traffic. I think the site was down more than it was up that weekend. But the result was that the site took off.
I started looking around for writers, or they started looking for places to write, anyway. Early on I couldn't pay them; most were fine with that and happy to get the exposure. But as the site grew, and the readership grew, we started getting advertising money coming in. With that I was finally able to start paying writers. From there we have grown a fully developed, professional, ethical, editorial site that I am very proud of.
It's hard to really wrap your head around what a marvel the App Store is in the mobile world. Never before had a company been able to wrestle the control of application sales from the slow, greedy hands of the networks. To me, creating the entire ecosystem of the App Store, with everything from the developer program, the SDK, the single store for all carriers and devices, and simple app purchases might end up being Steve Jobs' biggest achievement. And that achievement certainly made a huge impact in my life.
This week marks not only the 5th anniversary of the App Store, but the 5th anniversary of this group of pixels called 148Apps. Thanks to everyone on the 148Apps staff, past and present, for helping make it what it is today.