What We Like: Editor’s Picks

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The iPhone: Making Developers of Us All

It’s as ubiquitous these days as any cell phone, MP3 player or PDA. Perhaps that’s because the Apple iPhone is all three in one. But that’s not the only reason the popular gadget caught on like wildfire. Its sleek, black touch-screen has made it a convenient little video-game device, and you’d have a hard time finding someone who doesn’t have at least one gaming application on his or her iPhone.

But perhaps the most interesting part of the iPhone game frenzy is that it has provided an unprecedented opportunity for talented, entrepreneurial developers to share their creativity with the world. Take Steve Demeter, for instance. According to a CNN.com article, Demeter is a former ATM software designer who, in his spare time, created Trism, a colorful digital puzzle game specifically designed for the iPhone. Demeter pitched Trism to Apple in spring 2008, and it was made available for download in the App Store just a few months later.

In the first two months of availability, Trism brought in $250,000 in profits, according to the article. Anybody with an iPod or iPhone can get the game.

Demeter told CNN: “Apple has made it so easy to put [game publishing] in the palms of developers. If you have a relevant, fun game or application, I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be approved.”

Apple seems to have taken that to heart — there are currently more than 1,500 iPhone games available. But although the App Store is getting increasingly crowded, it nonetheless represents a new forum for would-be developers to get their start. Game on!

The Appeal of a Distinct Online Presence

Right now, everyone seems to have a blog or a Web site or both. People are relating financial advice, talking smack about politics or sharing health tips. And some of these people are even making a living on it.

Enter TheSuperficial.com, a celebrity gossip blog that launched in May 2004. A self-described “brutally honest look at society and its obsession with the superficial,” the blogger explains that his efforts are “not satire. It is not social commentary. It is the voice of our society at its worst… Just kidding. Our goal is to make fun of as many people as possible.”

In addition to poking risqué fun at all manner of celebrities at their best and worst moments, the site advertises products, movies and TV shows. The Superficial blogger only writes a few sentences or paragraphs per entry, accompanied by photos — sometimes submitted from readers — but he has attracted a significant fan base.

The bottom line is that TheSuperficial.com has shown us that you can start your own site or blog without spending a lot of money — as evidenced by its bare-bones format — and can make a career out of it, as long as the content speaks for itself.

Instant Career?

It’s not uncommon for an aspiring actor or singer’s career to take off in a matter of days. After all, it’s what makes reality TV possible (or what reality TV makes possible). But what about a legitimate company — in the information technology industry, no less — launching in the mere span of a weekend?

Enter Startup Weekend. The international competition is intended to spur innovation, launch careers and materialize dreams in the technology realm, according to a CNN.com article.

The regular event — held in cities across North America and Europe — has resulted in the creation of companies such as Skribit, a site that connects bloggers with readers who suggest topics to write about; Market Monitor, a search engine optimization tool; and more recently, Twitpay, a method through which users can settle minor debts on Twitter, thereby eliminating the awkward task of splitting a lunch tab on the spot.

Two thumbs up for this springboard of ingenuity! 

–    editor (at) certmag (dot) com

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