If you have been peripherally following the iPhone app development scene, you undoubtedly have heard of Mike Lee, the self described "world's toughest programmer", lead developer of "Tap Tap Revenge" and now the founder of "UnitedLemur.org" an unlikely project that involves iPhone gaming, a new model for angel capitalism and saving the Madagascar Lemur.
We haven't yet reached out to Mr Lee, but we can report a chronology of "the facts" as they have gelled into a new form of internet "meme".
Mike was one of the founders of Tapulous, one of the first companies to focus entirely on the iPhone as a development plaform. News about the company's plans were leaked to the world in June 2008; the company promised to bring a new "ecosystem" to the iPhone, and raised $1.8 million from leading angel investors such as Andy Bechtolsheim and Jeff Clavier. One month later, the company followed through with their Twitter Client and Twinkle and a "Guitar Hero" type game called Tap Tap Revenge, the later reaching over one million downloads in an astonishing three weeks.
The launch of Tapulous coincided with the wall of hype that surrounded the launch of the iPhone. Hundreds (if not more) blogs followed the "Tap Tap Revenge" story intensely, as if history was being made. Mike Lee, in his blog, refers to it with terms that might make you think he had created the next Photoshop "congratulations kid, you are the king of graphics". Then, one month later, it all blew apart, and Mike was forced out of the company, an event that was as well covered in the blogosphere as if Steve Jobs had left Apple.
Now, quoting Che Guevara, and pontificating on his blog about a new model for angel capital, Mike is launching "something" that is hard for us to get our arms around. It involves somehow saving the Madagascar Lemur, raising money from "the community" for iPhone games, and a Myst like game called PuzzleLotto, which is in the pre-release stage.
We want to be believers, but honestly, it appears that the success of Tap Tap Revenge has gotten to Mike's head, and that statements like "This is my masterpiece, my game-changer, my coup d’état. This is my theory of relativity, my 747, my Macintosh" can make you look pretty ridiculous in a place like Silicon Valley if they are not backed up by real creativity.