In 2013 a man named Dong Nguyen probably leaned back in his chair and sighed with happiness.
During his free time, Dong and his team had been using a character from a cancelled video game to make his own project – a simple mobile adventure in which you’d use one button to navigate the character between pipes. You miss the pipe, you get to keep going. You hit the pipe, you die and start over.
It was, on the day he released it to the mobile store, probably his greatest creative output.
Flash forward a year to early 2014, and Flappy Bird is tearing down the internet. People can’t stop playing it. Memes are born. The app continues to grow in popularity due to it’s replayability and social media cult following. Much of the app’s $50,000 in ad revenue was likely made in one month – January 2014.
His success was everything most Creatives hope for when we start discovering our talent. The home run hit; the huge success; the viral avalanche.
So what comes next, you ask? An update to the game? An expansion pack? A kid’s TV show? A merchandising agreement which would land Nguyen angry-birds level riches and recognition?
None of the above.
Instead, Nguyen pulled the app from all stores, claiming “I have made an addictive product.”
He shared his work, and instead of the fame and financial windfall most developers hoped for, Nguyen wound up with a stomach full of guilt.
So is it worth it to share your work?
I guess it depends on what you’re looking for.