Cretan born and bred programmer Fanis Kourtikakis is proof ambition can bring great rewards. After initially abandoning his efforts in developing apps and websites to work in his father’s garage, and then making the move to Australia in search of work, he found success developing word games. His game ‘7 Λέξεις’ reached a milestone of over 600,000 users last year and has become the number one word game in Greece.
“Although I took a long break working 10 years in my father’s garage, the comeback wasn’t difficult,” says Kourtikakis. “I chose the right tools and quickly started with an ambitious plan, developing projects with a lot of graphics. In 2013 I already had 3 games available. Relatively soon, I understood that making these kind of games wasn’t the best move for a single person. I had to change my direction and make something fun and simple. So I decided to create word games.”
Not even Kourtikakis himself expected such success so soon, “To be honest, I didn’t expect anything. I will never forget that morning last year, when my wife woke me up, telling me that my new game was in the first place in the Greek charts. Having over 600.000 users in just one year makes me really happy and proud. Many of the users are Greeks living abroad! One of my main goals is to keep the users happy with hard work and many updates.”
Following this success, Kourtikakis recently released WordBits Special, the English version of 7 Λέξεις. “It is a simple and unique word game with seven clues and seven mystery words,’ says Kourtikakis. “The goal is to combine all the letters, in order to create those words. It’s completely free, with many levels, weekly updates and 6 extra categories for every taste: Cinema, Video games, Hard, Sports, Anime, For kids.”
Like so many Greeks in the past few years, Kourtikakis had made the difficult decision to leave Greece because of the economic crisis and migrate to Australia in search of work, arriving in Perth three years ago. He wasn’t to stay in Ausatralia for long “I stayed in Perth just for a few months!” says Kourtikakis. “Quite unexpectedly, the moderate success of my early apps forced me to return to Greece. It looks like there is still for hope people living in Greece and working hard!”
He found Perth to be an amazing city, ‘It’s beautiful, modern, clean and full of life,’ says Kourtikakis. “I will never forget the people there, always smiling, with a positive attitude and ready to help. The support I had was huge. Also I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude for the amazing, wonderful Greek family I was hosted by. No matter where a Greek is born and raised we are good people. That’s why we have the word “filotimo (φιλότιμο)”.
Kourtikakis has learned in his journey to success, “The most important lesson is that hard work always pays off. Maybe you have to try a second time, a third, a fourth time, but there is always gold at the end of the rainbow.”
For any budding app creators out there, Kourtikakis has some sound advice, “A slogan comes to my mind. Just do it! If you have a good idea, don’t wait! There are many tools nowadays, even for non-programmers. People who haven’t used code before can make their own applications. Of course it’s not simple, but it’s not impossible either.”
WordBits Special →