Angry Bird’s “overnight success” only took 8 years.

On March 10 the creators of Angry Birds (Rovio studios) announced that they had taken $42 Million in funding. They currently hold the record for the best selling iOS game ever. There is talks of a movie being produced featuring Angry Birds. You can already buy stuffed animal versions of the birds.

As Wired Magazine eloquently put it: “Every day, users spend 200 million minutes — 16 years every hour — playing the mobile game. Three trillion pigs have been popped. It has filled billions of those interstitial moments spent riding the bus, on a plane or in important work meetings, and it is or has been the number-one paid app on iTunes in 68 countries, as well as the best-selling paid app of all time.”

I overheard someone dismissively talk about how Rovio had everything handed to them and that’s why they had “overnight success”. I almost went medieval on them.

There is no denying that Angry Birds is a culture phenomenon, but one thing it’s not is an “overnight success”.

Did you know that the guys at Rovio spent 8 YEARS working on other games before they finally caught a huge break? That takes dedication. For almost a decade they didn’t have any big wins. Sure they had some small to moderate success early on, but nothing massive. Heck when Angry Birds came out on the iOS app store sales were pretty slow for the first 3 months. The Rovio guys believed in their product and kept their nose to the grindstone. Through an iterative process they were able to grow Angry Birds into the massive success that it is today.

“Over night success” is often idolized in the startup world, but sometimes the glamor is based in myth rather than reality. Show up and work hard each and every day and remember that you’re getting closer. You can’t have a breakout hit if you never show up.

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  • there’s a saying: “Overnight success usualy takes 15 years” (in Rovio’s case 8 years).
    There are a lot of other examples (Groupon’s story is also a good example) which can show us that there is no such thing like “overnight success”. There is only hard work, dedication and maybe a bit of luck.

    • Anonymous

      I’m not familiar with Groupon’s story, I’ll have to check that out. Thanks mixRead!

      • I was reffering to the fact that even if Groupon is the “fastest growing company” in the world – the founder of the company has had a lot of other failures.
        I think that we must fail first (very important! – we must learn from our mistakes) to be successful in the end!

        • SeniorBagOfCrap

          agreed. and this is why it takes a special type of person to go out on their own…you have to go out knowing it’s going to be a long road.

  • Very nice! The world is fair. Everyone should pay their dues before they get the so-called “overnight success”. In the case of Rovio, 8 years of work and everything else in between before the infamous Angry Bird.

  • I launched my startup yesterday ( and was despondent after checking Google analytics every 15 minutes and not really seeing much response.

    I feel much better after reading this – thanks from all us startup freshmen.

  • 8 years of a speed bump, now look where they are.

  • How big were the small successes along the way?

  • It’s breathtaking. I’d say this is the most important article for guys starting to build their own projects.

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  • Anonymous

    Yep, success is not accepting failure and just keeping on trying. I blogged about this today actually 😀

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  • Yes, the same for , it’ hard to have like this

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  • No

    Yet another example of getting rich by stealing a pre-existing idea. Whatever happened to being original and solving a problem? All these idiots did was take the same “artillery” style game play that has been around since around 1981 (graphically) and the late 1970s as a text version of the same concept) and stick it in front of your mom. Oooh. Amazing. So inspiring and original. As every other post in this site illustrates, the important thing is not to be original, but to be trendy. Get all of your tech blog industry friends to pimp your product (because it’s an incestuous navel-gazing field, anyway) and you’ll be a success.

  •  nice!

  • Great feature, as an app developer it was motivational to hear the truth!

  • Andrea Reindl

    Oh so true. Ivan Misner of BNI always says he’s the overnight 20 year success! I love that perspective, that we need to keep with it

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  • I never believed in “overnight success” and I know for sure that success takes effort to achieve and even more effort to save. Here is a “smaller-scale” example of an overnight success that took months to achieve :

  • Cool. 0;

  • Great article. What about the guys at OMGPOP, who were about to go bankrupt before Draw Something became the 1st app to replace Angry Birds?  If only they knew the sweat and dedication that went into creating that venture…

    I had the honor of meeting the corporate entrepreneur at Intel who battled budgets and managers to create the first BlackBerry. I wrote about it on my blog:

  • miguel

    quiero jugar