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Flappy Bird is Dead (Not Really)

February 11, 2014

Flappy birdFlappy Bird, the top game in Apple’s App Store and Google Play is gone.

The developer, 29-year-old Dong Nguyen, was estimated to be making $50,000 per day from advertising within the app. Not bad for the two or three days of work it took to create it.

Why walk away from what is essentially passive income?

Because there is more to success than making money and there is more to Dong Nguyen than Flappy Bird.

In an interview with Forbes, Nguyen said, “Flappy Bird was designed to play in a few minutes when you are relaxed, but it happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it’s best to take down Flappy Bird. It’s gone forever.”

A few lessons here…

1. People are going to judge your actions regardless of what you do.

Before he took Flappy Bird down, Nguyen was being criticized for “stealing” graphics from Nintendo. Today, he’s being criticized for walking away.

You will never please everybody.

2. There is always more to the story. 

Nobody really knows why others do anything. What we see happening on the outside can give clues, but it’s never the full story of what’s actually happening on the inside.


3. Life goes on.

Nguyen sees a big picture that most people don’t. He’s going to continue to develop games as well as make money from existing copies of Flappy Bird. Beyond that, there is more interest in his other games than ever and it’s likely his next release will get far more media attention than it would have otherwise.

And how long would Flappy Bird have stayed on top of app download charts anyway? Maybe a week or maybe a few months even, but certainly not forever.

Dong Nguyen is running a marathon.

It’s always nice to look back on somebody who had made a good decision in the past and think, “That guy knew exactly what he was doing. He’s brilliant.”  When you’re in the middle of something though, you can only do the best you can with what you’ve got.

The Big Lesson

Whether Dong Nguyen’s decision to stop selling Flappy Bird will be great financially has yet to be determined. He made a decision he seems happy with though and one which is allowing him a sense of inner peace. How much is that worth?

A lot.

That’s what this blog is about and why I’m writing about Flappy Bird here. Money can be great, but if you don’t have a solid foundation on which to enjoy it, it’s not worth the paper it’s made of.

Is there a project, either business or personal, you should drop from your life?

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