Why the Flappy Bird developer is taking the game down tomorrow.


Today, Dong Nguyen, the developer of the game Flappy Bird announced he is taking down the app. (Thanks for the heads up Casey Lewis!)

This is a surprising move given that it’s the number one free app in both the iTunes and the Google Play store.

Why is he doing it? He didn’t give much info, but he did say that he’s not selling it and that as far as the success is concerned, “It is something I never want. Please give me peace.” (Read TechCrunch for more details.)

While it’s hard to know exactly what the issue is, there’s no denying the weight of success. I’ve written a hundred times that I’ve seen leaders get wrecked more by success than by failure. According to multiple reports, Nguyen has said that the sudden fame and attention is something he doesn’t want, which makes sense. If you’re a young developer living in Vietnam and suddenly find yourself on top of the app world, that can be overwhelming.

As you chase your dream, promise me you’ll do 2 things:

1. Have a plan for if you succeed, not just for if you fail. Most people don’t have a “survive success plan.”

2. Keep people you trust close to you and people who love fame far away from you.

I hope Nguyen keeps developing apps and doing what he loves. Success can be a great thing too and I hope that’s the kind he and you both find.

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Jon Acuff
Jon Acuff


  1. I know that the app was addicting to every high school student I knew played it. All they wanted to do was play and said it was a conspiracy to make Americans dumber. But guess what? They continued to play it!!!!

  2. Colby

    Why i mean like everyone at my school plays it realy not joking

  3. Something to think about… he’s still going to make $50,000 a day in ad revenue as he has for the past week or so.

    In the next 24 hours, people are going to rush to download the game before it gets taken off the market. The ads though? They’ll keep being served on the game.

    For the next couple months or however long it takes for the game to go out of style, he will be raking in the dough.

    He might want to live a simple life, but he’s just going to have to do with bringing in boatloads of money.

  4. Really well put, Jon!

  5. I love the idea of having a ‘success plan’! Has anyone created one? What would it consist of?

  6. These are two great points Jon, since becoming supported by my dream, I think I’ve been operating in survival mode! I wouldn’t recommend it.

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  8. Matt

    When you said, make a success plan, I thought, “How in the world do I do that?” How do you anticipate the issues involved with success? I would love some insight on this.

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  11. The Flappy Bird phenomenon was pretty much a total mistake. Nguyen was probably shocked by the overnight success of the thing because it’s a really dumb game, and he knows it. He can’t deal with the success because for someone who knows games (which I presume he does), there’s no way this game SHOULD have become popular. There is one interaction you have with your environment (making the bird go up and down), there is one level that lasts forever, and there are only like, three pieces of art, and they’re from Super Mario Brothers. The green pipes are from SMB, the font is SMB… only the Flappy Bird itself is new.
    See? –> http://memoriesoftommy.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/super_mario_brothers.jpg

    Honestly, Nguyen is probably embarrassed about Flappy Bird’s popularity. It would be like if you, Jon, wrote a Twilight spin-off fanfiction as a total joke to play with some new ways of handling certain writing techniques, and somehow 50,000 people in one night made that go viral and ignored all your bestsellers (i.e. they didn’t become best-sellers, and your fanfic did, and then got a movie deal).

    All opinions expressed are a result of me being married to someone who works in the games industry in production and development and who has a masters in Entertainment Technology (who knew that existed, right?).

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