The Shape of Everything
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May 24, 2017

Dan Marshall: How to Survive as a Solo Dev for Like a Decade or So

"I read a thing recently. Quite an interesting article about ‘how to survive as a solo dev’, but it was written by someone who was releasing their first game (presumably as ‘marketing’) and “haaaaaaang on”, I thought. Yes that’s impressive well done but it’s not exactly advice from someone who has been doing it for a decade and WAIT WAIT WAIT I’ve been doing it for a decade! I wonder what MY advice is to survive as a Solo Dev beyond one or two games."

I think Dan's advice transfers very well to app development in general.

You may notice that #1 on his list is "Work from home", and I've been working out of an office for a number of years (6-7 at this point?). As of yesterday, that's no longer the case.

Last December we got an 8 month old puppy, and he wasn't quite ready to stay at home alone so I ended up not driving in to work a couple of a days a week. Turns out, I like working from home. No traffic to deal with, I can just pop upstairs for lunch, etc. So I decided that at the end of my lease, I just wouldn't renew. As the date got closer, I found that going into the office was really getting on my nerves and even though I still have a little over a month left on the rental, I'm going to start working at home full time anyway.

Why did I get an office in the first place? There were two main reasons. The first was that I was hiring employees and I didn't want folks coming to my home. The second reason was that I need to get out of the house. There were stretches of time where I didn't leave a three mile radius of my home for weeks and my wife said I was getting socially awkward. I wasn't getting out enough.

I eventually decided that I'm happier working alone and kept the office out of momentum. And I get out a lot more these days, so hopefully the social problem won't be one anymore. I hope.