I know the blog is about mobile and open source, but I bumped into this story of an Italian developer (on the New York Times...) and I could not avoid to write about it ;-)
The story is about Giacomo 'Peldi' Guilizzoni, a former Senior Software Engineering Lead at Adobe in San Francisco, who moved back to Italy and started a company called Balsamiq.
His company is actually a "Micro-ISV" or a single-employee company. That is, a guy in a studio. A guy who wrote a product called "Balsamiq Mockups" which allows anyone to build a mockup of a GUI: the genius is that the mockup resembles one you would scribble on a piece of paper, rather than a computer one. It sells online for $79.
To make the story short, the product is fantastic and he grossed over $100k in five months. And the business is growing fast.
Why do I know? Because he made it all public in his blog. He promised he would do it. And you have all the measures of his business (and how much he is donating to non-profits).
The story is great because is the counter story of all Silicon Valley VC-backed startups. Get money from VC and you have a chance to be rich quick... Peldi is doing everything the opposite way, and he is becoming rich quick. A one-man shop. The anti-VC story, much appropriate for an economic downturn. With software built with creativity in Italy. By a guy who lived in Silicon Valley. I have to love this one!
I do not know Peldi, but I hope I will have the opportunity to meet him one day. I am sure he is having a great time (and food) in Bologna, but I feel the pain he will experience when the company grows. He has great advisers and he is going to do just fine.
An Italian software story. Just a reminder on how smart Italian engineers are (ok, I am biased - I know - but do not tell me you did not like it ;-)