Joseph Hudicka needs to make about $999,500 more before he can claim the title of young millionaire, but he's still light-years ahead of his peers in terms of entrepreneurial success.
At the age of 8, Joseph has already joined the ranks of the tech elite: He has developed two applications for the iPhone. Pretty good for a kid who doesn't even own a mobile phone.
Joseph's first app, Puckz, went on sale in Apple's App Store in March. The game, which combines elements of chess and ice hockey, evolved from a homemade board game Joseph created three years earlier.
"I was getting bored with my other games and wanted to make my own," he says.
The explosive growth of mobile gaming inspired Joseph and his parents, Joseph Sr. and Lora, who live in Flemington, N.J., to translate Puckz to the iPhone platform, tapping mobile solutions partner [x]cube Labs to oversee the software development. Joseph supervised the creative process, suggesting color schemes, layouts and sound effects. And like every creative genius, he laments the technical limitations of the iPhone gaming experience. "I imagined Puckz in 3-D," he says.
Puckz successfully avoided the pitfalls of the notoriously labyrinthine App Store submission process, earning Apple's approval in just one day. Joseph's soccer-themed follow-up app, Goalz, spent several weeks in administrative limbo when Apple objected to its use of licensed trademarks. Even after Joseph removed the offending content, Apple still took its sweet time before lending its official endorsement in June. (Joseph's theory: "Maybe they slept in late and forgot about my app.")
As of the end of June, downloads of Joseph's two apps numbered nearly 800. After giving Apple its cut, he has netted $489. Joseph's parents gave him permission to buy an iPhone when his app sales reach the 1,000-download milestone.
Despite his early success in the tech world, it may be premature to pin Joseph as a budding entrepreneur. Right now, he's planning to make his mark as a professional hockey player--or maybe a pro bowler. Either way, life as a software magnate may not be in the cards, because, Joseph says, "I've already done that."
Chicago-based writer Jason Ankeny is the executive editor of Fiercemobile content, a daily electronic newsletter dedicated to mobile media, applications and marketing.