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Holger started Online Solitaire in 2018. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Online Solitaire?
I’m a designer-turned-developer and I’d like to say that means I can assume either role as competently as any designer or developer out there, but realistically it means that I’m not brilliant at either. Where I do shine is in the cross-section of those two disciplines.
With most solitaire websites you’ll find out there, you get the sense that they’ve been made by a programmer who hasn’t put much energy into the design. So having that design background gives you an edge on these small scale projects, that are too small to get a team to do it.
But let’s talk about why I chose to do a solitaire app. I’d be lying if I claimed it was because of a burning passion for playing solitaire (though I don’t judge if you have one - many people do). The truth is that I had an aching to try my hands on a new programming language and to see if I could create some passive income.
I had ready Robert McKenzies’ yearly reports for some years by then and I was quite fascinated by how he managed to earn a (relatively) passive income on his website Bingo Card Creator. The site itself didn’t seem like the most difficult thing to create or the most interesting for that matter. So it seemed to me that it was all about choosing the right product.
I ended up doing something similar. Similar in the sense that I didn’t want to “invent” something new, I simply wanted to find an app people were already using and create a better version. I ended up having the following criteria for the app I was going to work on:
The main source of new users had to come from search since I hated doing marketing.
I wanted the app to already exist, so I knew that people wanted it and I wanted the app to be of such quality that I knew I could make something better.
I wanted the improvement of the app to be partially about the design since I saw that as one of my strengths.
I wanted to be able to create the initial version of the app within a few weeks, so it wasn’t too much of a catastrophe if people didn’t use it.
I already had some experience with the Mac App Store (MAS), having built a topbar calculator a few years prior and I knew that many of the apps in the MAS were of questionable quality, so I thought that looking into the MAS would be a good start.
If I were to start over, I'd focus a lot more on the things I really don’t like doing.
I ended up writing a script that scraped App Annie, which lists all apps in the MAS, for games, and ended up with a list of games that I ranked based on estimated revenue, average rating, whether the app was actively updated and so forth.
On the basis of that, I ended up going with solitaire, since there were multiple solitaire versions, like Spider and Freecell, on the list and I thought I could do a better version.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater