Wednesday, November 6, 2013 16:24:00

Interviewing a Developer: Pimm Hogeling

Who are you, and what do you do?

Known for my straw hat, but you may call me Pimm "de Chinchilla" Hogeling.

I designed a few apps; worked on a lot of websites; developed some games; mixed some chopped and screwed tapes. To stay sane, I spend a lot of time in a dōjō practising martial arts.

My bucket list is longer than the credits at the end of a feature film.


Karim Sempel (left) and Pimm "de Chinchilla" Hogeling (right) working

How do you think Android apps (and developers) should be making money? Is there a viable way to do this, or is it just a matter of luck?

Some guys I know figuratively flip burgers by day and create art by night. I respect that. But if your creations are good, your time is worth money. Your art can pay you. Being hired as a developer or designer for an indefinite period of time is the most secure way to go. Being hired per project is a close second.

Don’t measure your success by how much you earn.

But I can tell from experience that having a near-perfect app on Google Play is not worth nothing, either, even if you are not making cheese off it directly. Just be prepared to hustle, and don’t measure your success by how much you earn.

If not sitting on stacks hurts your ego, the arts are not for you.

Ovo is an incredibly simple and minimal app - a timer that can't even count down more than one hour. Do you get a lot of flak for that? How do you decide what user feedback to listen to, and what to ignore?

We use ovo for relative times. Take that out of the oven in 30 minutes. Hold this yoga position for 20 seconds. If ovo would go up to ten hours, which is something a lot of users ask for, we would also want to use her for absolute times. Wake me up at 9:30. Remind me to leave home at 20:15. Ovo is not designed for that, and not good at it.

Users have wishes. Some of them, if granted, would actually kill the thing they love.

It is the “genie effect”. Users have wishes. Some of them, if granted, would actually kill the thing they love and long to see improved.

Still, user feedback is always good. I go as far as considering it revenue. Your decisions are questioned. That is crucial if you want to get your work right.


What do you think about app piracy in Android?

Android users can get content from places other than Play. A typical Apple-style "anti piracy" tactic would be taking away this freedom, thus taking control of what people get to have on their devices. I don't feel that. It would hurt great initiatives such as the Humble Bundle. Besides, this is the path the music industry chose when they sold "uncopyable" CDs a little over a decade ago. (Remember the CDs that would not play in computers at all?) Look at how that turned out for them.

Regular users don't "pirate".

Force-feeding is stupid. These users own hundred euro phones, some attached to hundred euro headphones. They do spend money. If they suddenly turn into "pirates" en masse, you must self-reflect.

It is not that bad in the world of Android: regular users don't "pirate". But monetization is not in the best shape it could be in, either. Paying for content should be easier. Direct operator billing would be great. The gift cards Google is currently introducing will increase sales.

Thank you for sharing your insights, Pimm! And remember, you can check out Pimm's excellent timer, Ovo, as well as the new game prototype he just made public Spur.