Can Lone Coders reverse outsourcing trend?


Ever since I wrote this essay, Cult of the Lone Coders, one thought which has constantly nagged me: can the lone coders reverse the outsourcing trend? Clearly, the availability of broadband in lower cost areas in rural America and rise of new devices/platforms has made the option more financially viable. Nevertheless, I posed this question to one of the leading “lone coders” Brent Simmons of Ranchero Software. Those who don’t know him, well he is the man behind the fabulous desktop client, Net News Wire which is a combo RSS Reader and Editor for the Apple OS-X platform.

bq. I haven’t really thought about outsourcing much — except to say that every developer without a job is someone who could, if they wanted, start creating something. There are so many good ideas for software, so many great opportunities, that I just about go nuts whenever I hear through the grapevine of Joe Unemployed Programmer not starting his own business. But for all the people who want to do it, I’m not sure how many actually can. Me, I was lucky, I had some savings to get me through, and I have the temperament for this. Both of these factors in combination may be sufficiently rare that this trend will never get that large. Perhaps there will always be many more people who want to do it than will do it. I don’t know. (And I suspect that the determining factor is more temperament than money.)

Brent pointed me to a news group he started for Mac Developers, and it has 300+plus members. To him, clearly it is a sign, that many are taking the plunge and developing software on their own.

bq. That sure looks like a trend to me. (Remember, this is just Mac developers.) Now, my guess is that many of these people are still working for a larger company — they’re either considering or are in the process of striking out on their own. They’re not all there yet. But it looks to me as if lots of programmers seriously want to do this.

I would love to get your thoughts on this. So post away.



Thanks for the link to the Macintosh Software Business groups site. Looks interesting.

I’m a Windows developer looking to get into Mac development. Just gotta come up with an idea….. always the hard part.

Tomas Sancio

It’s called Quick Pallet Maker and it’s a packaging design application. Since its start, it has been sold through the internet, which allows you to reach a broad audience inexpensively, independently of where you are sitting. Since it is a corporate software, most of the licenses that are sold are Windows licenses but the Mac version is the only one in its class, so it makes sense to be a monopoly, albeit a small one. You can find more info at

Tomas Sancio

Our story is quite the opposite. I’m the lone coder located in Venezuela (South America) and our software has gathered enough steam to actually incorporate a company in the US (where the largest market will be for years to come). Go figure.

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