My opinion is opposite to previous replays.
I don’t believe you need special contacts to succeed in desktop world.
I don’t think it’s harder to make good solo-developer money with desktop software than with web-based software. Some things are easier and some things are harder.
For the record, I made more $150k total from my open-source SumatraPDF. Not even by selling it but by merely putting ads on the website.
So one path to success is: make an app that has very wide appeal and charge a little bit for it. It can be a shallow app (i.e. little functionality, done well) but it must have wide appeal. Preferably do a couple of those until you hit the really profitable one.
Another option is to make a somewhat-deep app for which you can charge $30+. Not Excel-deep, but file manager-deep. Something that you can work on for a long time and has enough functionality to justify a bigger price tag.
Aforementioned https://panic.com has 10+ employees supported largely with 2 apps (transmit (a file manager with cloud support) and coda (a text editor optimized for web dev)).
There are handful of apps on both mac and windows like transmit and I believe there is market for a couple of more. The problem is deep enough to enable meaningful differentiation.
The bad thing about desktop software vs web software is that it takes longer to write an app, the distribution is worse.
On the other hand devs migrated to doing web apps or mobile apps so while there are as many Windows and Mac users today as there were yesterday, the competition pretty much vanished. Very few keep writing desktop apps so there’s a vacuum.
Furthermore, the category leading apps were written many years ago. That’s an advantage (because of recognition and seo juice) but also a weakness, because you can merely redo an old app with a fresher paint and that’s enough for initial marketing push.
In my list https://blog.kowalczyk.info/article/wjRD/solo-founders-with-profitable-businesses-collected-stories.html there are few examples of desktop apps.