inessential by Brent Simmons

Why I develop for Mac OS X

The other day, Joel Spolsky wrote about the economics of developing for Macintosh.

I don’t think Joel is wrong about anything he says. It’s true, for instance, that “if your Windows product appeals to 1 in 100 Windows users, you have to appeal to 25 in 100 Mac users to make the same amount of money.”

On the other hand, it’s still true that if Joel sells 10,000 copies to Windows users of a $100 app, he makes the same amount of money as I do if I sell 10,000 copies to Mac users of a $100 app.

But whatever.

One of the reasons I develop for OS X is that, when it comes to user interface, this is the big leagues, this is the show. That’s probably what Joel would call an “emotional appeal”—and to call it that, that’s fine by me.

To switch metaphors: imagine you think you’re a good writer. You think you have the talent to write excellent novels. You also have the talent to be a really great sports journalist—you could probably get a column in some newspaper somewhere and be very comfortable, maybe even win a Pulitzer or two.

Which do you choose?

Writing novels is the bigger risk and the bigger reward, by far. I choose that (metaphorical) path. How could I not?

The other path is honorable and sensible and has its rewards too.

But to me it’s the difference between an empty night sky and a night sky with all the stars shining and a big, bright bella luna. “Emotional appeal?” Oh yes indeed. And I don’t apologize for that for one second.