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Thar's Gold in Them Thar iPhone Apps

'The world's toughest programmer' is now charging $1,000 an hour to work on your iPhone app. Is he worth it?

You may not know Mike Lee, but you may know his Apps: the original Tap Tap Revenge game, which was the second-most-downloaded iPhone app of 2008, and the Apple Store App that let users pre-order iPhone 4s and other Apple products.

Based on those successes and a healthy-sized ego - Lee's blog, entitled 'motherf**ker', describes himself as "The world's toughest programmer" - Lee recently decided to raise his consulting rate from $150 per hour to $1,000 an hour.

" I can charge what I do because in a world of ripples, I make hits," writes Lee. Well. Reminds me of that old Texan expression: "It ain't bragging if it's true."

To compound raising his rate nearly 7x, Lee plans to go globetrotting for the next year, crashing on programming pals' pads, while writing two books, one on programming, another fiction one.

Lee says he's neither "joking or insane." Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt get paid tens of millions of dollars while 'Brad Pitman', who'd be willing to work for a fraction of that amount, goes unhired. Translation: the marketplace for app programmers is, like Hollywood, a winner-takes-all realm (or if it isn't yet, I'm going to try my hardest to Jedi-Mind-Trick you into thinking it is).

The other advantages of charging $1,000 an hour, says Lee, are not having to deal with "hare-brained, half-assed" employers who are "too lazy or stupid to take my advice." Also, clients get to enjoy being Lee's top priority as well as his guaranteed confidentiality.

"I’m not going to pretend $1000 an hour is not a lot of money, nor that most problems can’t be solved by someone else for a lot less—but if you have a million-dollar app, there are some problems that are so important, only the best will do," writes Lee, who ends his post with a reference from Pulp Fiction.

Would you hire Lee or any App developer for $1,000 an hour? Or if you're a freelance iPhone developer, how much do you charge?