Retina Studio

Uncategorized Dec 01, 2021

Here’s the thing.

When I tell people, “I started my app business in 2007”, that’s not true. I never meant to start a business – it just happened. Because if I had sat down one afternoon and thought, “I’m going to begin selling software online today,” I sure as hell wouldn’t have intentionally named my company Click On Tyler.

For fourteen years, I’ve hated that name.

I began learning Objective-C and Cocoa in 2003. I tinkered around with tiny little projects for a few years. And then, in early 2007, I had the idea for VirtualHostX because I needed it for my day job as a web developer. When I finished the app in August, I had to put it up for sale somewhere.

Back up.

Two years before that, I was on my lunch break browsing recently expired domain names (I’m a nerd) and saw was available. There weren’t touch screens back then – everything you did with a computer involved clicking. (That’s not true, but you know what I mean.) The domain name sounded fun, so I bought it. Nothing ever came of the website other than an awful About Me-style page.

So when I needed a place to sell VirtualHostX, was the only website I had up and running. I put the app on the front page next to a PayPal button.

That was it. The name stuck. 50,000 customers. For a few years, my full-time job. And I’ve secretly despised it every day.

In fourteen years, I never even decided if the “On” in Click On Tyler should use capital or lowercase oh. And putting my first name into a company name (unintentionally or not) has always made me feel like my branding is one-step-removed from a solo divorce attorney calling themselves the First Name Group, PLLC. Every time I spoke “click on tyler” out loud to someone, I’d cringe a little bit.

Honestly, Apple ditching Intel CPUs and transitioning to their own chips is the best thing that could have happened to me.

What I mean is, the migration to Apple Silicon killed off VirtualHostX because of its dependency on VirtualBox (made by Oracle). I looked into every technical avenue I could think of to keep the app alive, but there’s no path forward that makes business sense for me.

I spent much of 2021 thinking about what I do now that VirtualHostX has reached its end of life. And I realized, holy crap, despite VHX being what I thought of as my flagship product, I have six other Mac apps that fall outside my original niche of web developer-focused software.

It was my wife who finally said, “Sunset VHX and focus on the rest. Start over.”

As usual, she was right.

And that’s what I did this Summer. I paused and took time to start over with a company name I actually like and that I hope carries me forward another fourteen years or longer.

Retina Studio


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