2008, the Year of Independence

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 • Chris Liscio

In past years, I made a point of declaring an area of focus (similar to a New Year’s resolution). 2006 marked a year of making more mistakes, and in 2007 I focused on refinement. All my declarations hold for the future, so I still plan on making plenty of mistakes, and I will continue to refine the products that I release.

This year I held off on my public declaration due to the sensitivity of what I was proposing — in 2008, I declared independence. I resigned from my full-time job to pursue a career in independent Mac software development. My first day as a full-time employee of SuperMegaUltraGroovy is February 8th, which also happens to be my birthday.

This is huge. I am turning my life upside-down to pursue a dream I’ve had since I was in grade school. When I first started to program, I was interested in designing my own software, and making music with my computer. From that point forward, writing audio-related software on my own would turn out to be the ultimate career goal.

I’ve written a handful of applications to work with sound over the years (ranging from software synthesis to MIDI control applications), but the experience required to ship a complex application just wasn’t there. FuzzMeasure gave me an excuse to carry an idea to completion, though over the past year I’ve grown frustrated with my inability to devote more time to the software I love.

In June 2006, at WWDC, I started to wonder how long it’d be until I could live out this fantasy. I was a long way from making my salary with FuzzMeasure, and 3.0 had a few months left to go. During this time, Andrew grew older, and even more fun to spend time with — I very much prefer playing with my son to writing more code outside of my day job.

When FuzzMeasure 3.0 finally launched, the response was great. A healthy fraction of existing customers upgraded, and plenty of new customers came knocking at my door. I was still short of making my salary, but the upward trajectory of sales and interest was hard to ignore. I knew I had to start considering a move to full-time development of FuzzMeasure and future products, and quickly.

The final decision was made over the holidays. My wife and I deliberated over the sacrifices we will have to make, but we both agree that I have the passion and skill to pull this off. Given the current sales growth, and a possibility for increased revenue with new applications, it seems like the right thing to do.

We have enough savings to sustain us for about 2 years in addition to the current (relatively stable) revenue stream. Of course, I’m planning to revisit the whole strategy much sooner than that in case things start to go badly — I can’t afford to bankrupt my family.

So with some big sacrifices, a proven track record of skill, and a burning desire to create outstanding products, I’m confident that I can make this work. I look forward to bringing the world more SuperMegaUltraGroovy applications, and continuing to make FuzzMeasure the world’s best audio measurement tool.