A few weeks ago, Dong Nguyen was just another unknown drop in the ocean of developers struggling to scrape by in the iTunes app store. This week he has emerged as the new found king of the app world, taking the tech world by storm and captivating the attention of legions of app developers.
You see, Dong isn’t your average indie app developer rubbing two sticks together trying to spark app store success, he is the mind behind of 3 of the top 10 apps in the iTunes marketplace. More surprising is that Dong isn’t just another product of the Silicon Valley hype machine, he is a part time app developer from Hanoi, Vietnam who over the past month has seen 3 of his apps become global chart toppers.
Most app developers would auction a gall bladder to have just one of their apps become a global hit, let alone 3! Naturally, Dong’s overnight success in the app store has caused many in the tech community to cry shenanigans at his overnight success. Could it be possible that in an app store overflowing with more than one million apps that a guy from Vietnam who builds apps in the evenings after work could release 3 chart topping apps? Surely he must be cheating.
Press people are overrating the success of my games. It is something I never want. Please give me peace.
— Dong Nguyen (@dongatory) February 4, 2014
Although Dong has decided to stay away from press coverage, we managed to get an exclusive interview to respond to the chorus of skepticism at his success. So how did a guy in Vietnam earning over $50,000 per day in app revenue celebrate his new found celebrity?
“I simply had a drink with my friends” Dong responded.
But how does he handle the negative attention and rumors of his success being the result of some sort of Milli Vanilli-esque fraud?
“I don’t answer spam comments because they are spams. But I love people’s funny comments, those are very nice to read.”
We might never know whether Dong’s success is a result of our never-ending fascination with flinging animals through the air, or rather the product of spam bots and online sleight of hand. Whatever the case, the Cinderella story of Dong Nguyen should give hope to the legions of indie app developers out there still clamoring for app store attention.
Even in an ecosystem where 50% of app revenues are earned by the top 25 app developers, there is still room for the unknown indie developer to come out of nowhere and strike it big in the app store.