Two artificial intelligence researchers at the University College in London wanted to find out how Apple’s App Store really works, so they created a simulation of the App Store as an ecosystem and put five different types of developers into the store to see who did best.
Defining their characters as “the innovator,” “the milker,” “the optimizer,” “the copycat,” and “the flexible developer,” the researchers set out to figure out who is the most successful in the store.
When posing the question, “Should you be an innovator or a copier?,” the results were not as you might imagine. i.Programmer.info has the story: “The answer is depressing in that the CopyCat developer was most successful. The Milker also did quite well, but only by producing a lot of apps none of which sold particularly well. The Innovator did the worst on average but did provide high rewards but only very occasionally.” Still the experiment showed that the copycat approach is only successful when only a few people do it.