August 18, 2008
"Adam D. Ruppe" <> wrote in message
> On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 06:28:57PM +0100, Jb wrote:
>> I know people who have done things like this. They get 1000s of downloads and accaisionaly someone donates 5 bucks.
> That's not the same. What I'm proposing is that the software plain isn't written if you don't get enough money up front.

I know I was just emphasising how reluctant people are to part with their money when they dont have to. And likewise how reluctant they still are even when they see a developer whose products they apparently use & love shutting up shop.

>> The vast majority of people will not pay if they dont have to.
> Right, so the trick is to make it so they think they have to. Tax season
> is coming up, and you really wish you had a program up to date with
> this year's tax code to help you out. Uh oh, no program exists, but there
> is a development company saying they'll make one if they get a total
> of $100,000 in investments.

Im sorry that just wont work. If you cant get people to donate for somthing they can download and use today, you wont get them to donate for somthing that they might or might not get in 6 months time.

They will use the exact same rationale that they use already for pirating movies.

Whether they pay or not will be a drop in the ocean. It'll make little difference if they buy into the scheme or not. So they may as well let other people do it.

> Someone else might pay for it, but everyone would think that, so the rational person has to assume that no one is going to pay for it, thus, the software will never be written and he won't be able to use it.

No the rational person would think "Look it's gonna take 10,000 people to get this up and running, whether I invest or not doesnt matter, and the developers are probably raking it in anyway"

And on top of that I have no guarantee of what I will get. They could just code up some piece of crap and then I've wasted my money.

And no, some kind of "quality validation" mechanism wouldnt work, it'd add so much pointless overhead and chaff to an already cumbersome and inneficient business model.

> Since he wants to use it, he must buy into the company. Of course, he
> can't
> afford $100k up front, and even if he could, it isn't worth that much to
> him,
> so he puts in a fraction of the total and hopes other people think the
> same
> way.

Or he thinks "screw that" and looks elsewhere. <g>

>> It may work for massive projects, with tens or hundreds of thousands of
>> users, but for small to medium size enterprize it will never work. At
>> least
>> not for anything but a handful of developers.
> Valid: I could see it being very hard for someone with a poor reputation to get started, but that's again where the satisfaction guaranteed or your money back clause comes in. Potential investors have very little risk giving a new guy a chance, since they have little to lose if he fails.

What I'm saying is that your kind of scheme would require a very high number of investors. People will be far less willing to invest 100$ in somthing they might get 6 months from now than they will be to spend $100 on somthing they can download now, where they can try the demo and see if they like it.

So for smaller enterpises where the number of customers and margins are already small. Your scheme simply would not work.

I would be out of business in 6 months with you as my business adviser.


And yes it would make entry into the market much hard for new upstarts.

>> It's hard enough getting half a dozen people to decide on what features
>> to
>> include in a prjoect they are all working on without having a couple of
>> hundred "investors" arguing over it as well.
> Put a price on each feature.
> If you want feature A, you have to pay an additional $1000 total. Feature B is an additional $500.
> An investor says "well, feature A is worth $20 to me, so I'll buy it." If 50 other investors feel the same way, then feature A gets implemented - they paid for it, so they should get it.
> If not, then it doesn't happen.
> Adding a direct price up front for features is an easy way to keep them limited. You set the prices so features that you really don't think are a good idea cost more, to discourage people from buying them.
> Then if they do buy it, you still win, since you get more money.

Oh FFS.. why dont I just run a raffle or a tombola?

I'd spend more time auctioning features, talking customers, running voting systems, managing who'd paid what, and who wants how much back because this or that didnt apear.

I'd never have any time for programming.

>> If I dont own the product I am producing then no it's not a capatilist system. The fundamental mechanism in capatilism is private ownership, whether of physical or intellectual property.
> So construction contractors aren't capitalists? They don't own the
> building
> they were hired to build either. They do own their time and skill though,
> just like a software developer working as a contractor.

They *COULD* own it if they want. And a lot of small building contractors do do it this way.

What you are doing is removing that possibility from them.

You are forcing them to only do business as a service.

>> Another obvious downside is that people dont like having to wait. They
>> want
>> the product now.
> Good point, and businesses could specialize in this.
> Someone could put up an offer saying that the software is already written, and if we receive X dollars, we'll release it. If not, we'll delete the whole thing.

And the customer will think "Heck they've already written it, they are going to release sooner or later because otherwise they loose every pennty of their investment"

> It is like selling the software, but doing so in such a way that piracy
> is impossible. By the time the program is out in the open so it can be
> pirated,
> the company already has their money and doesn't care anymore.

It wont work... i think the donationware / honesty box model would probably work better than that would.

>> So you expect customers are going to wander around the interent,
>> investing
>> money in lots of different projects that might or might not give them
>> what
>> they want in 6 months time?
> So you expect customers are going to wander around the Internet, investing money in lots of different projects that might nor might not give them what they want when the download is complete?

They can download a demo and try it first.

Or they have 14 day money back guarentee.

Of they can sell the product to someone else.

> That's what copyrighted software as the product does and people are
> willing
> to do it.

Except they can usualy try a demo. And they dont have to wait for months to get it. And once purchased the product still has intrinsic value. They can sell it on to someone else.

Whereas with your model the software is worthless to the customer, it has no resale value because now anyone can download and use it for free.

>> And then when half these schemes fail they are going to go chasing the developers up to get their money back?
> It's their money, if they want to throw it away, fine. But if you invested
> money in something and you didn't get that something, you'd probably want
> your money back too, and since you have a contract (again, this
> isn't just a donation button I'm talking about), you can prove that you
> deserve it back to a court of law.

Yes and how often do consumers take companies to court over a 50$ payment?

And say I'm a budding record producer, and I've bought into 15 of these schemes in the last year. 7 still havnt turned up the goods.

Am i going to go round chassing up all these microdonations?

Dont we have enough shit to do in our lifes with out complicating the purchase of software to such an extent that I have to keep track of all my investments, and the promises and requestes I made for each one?

>> Look there's been nothing stopping businesses operating like that for decades, maybe even centuaries.
> Yes, and things have been done that way for centuries. This isn't an
> original
> idea.

Lots of them? Are there lots of businesses working this way?


> How are buildings designed, constructed and maintained? One option there is a building as a product - you build it and wait for someone to come and buy it. I think that is how Donald Trump made his money.

Yes and this is still how it's done in the vast majority of cases.

> The other option is you wait for someone to hire you to build it to their specifications. This is how most construction companies and architecture firms make their money.

A bad analogy. Do we see hundreds of people clubbing togther in order to finance the building of residential tower blocks, or residential estates?

No we dont.

We do see big companies comissioning buildings, or developments. But that is actualy little different from big companies commisioning custom made software.

Sure it happens, but in the vast majoirty of cases people / businesses dont need custom made software. So that model doesnt work because it's many orders of magnitude cheaper for it to be produced via the generic product based model.

August 18, 2008
On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 03:41:14PM -0400, Benji Smith wrote:
> Last year, I downloaded TurboTax on April 14th. For about $25.

Which means you gave them $25 in a vote saying you want them to make a product with similar features for next year.

My scheme really isn't that different.

Adam D. Ruppe
August 18, 2008
This is taking way more time than I bargained for, so this will probably be my last word on the subject. I have real work I need to be doing.

My plan isn't at all as radical as it might look. In practice, I would expect something like this:

  Liked 1.0? Pre-order 2.0 now, and remember, if we don't get enough
  pre-orders, 2.0 will never be released, and this is no bluff.

I say we come back to this debate in ten years and see what has happened. I'm willing to guess that regardless of our personal opinions on copyright in principle, the fact is that it will lose its effectiveness as piracy continues to grow and it doesn't look like piracy will stop growing.

My plan might be a way around this, and it might not be. Heck, most businesses fail even in the best of times, and this would likely be no exception. Either way, software as a product like we see now is something I expect to be dead or mostly dead by 2020 and something will take its place.

The reality is it looks like piracy is here to stay. We need to make the best of that fact if we want to survive in the business of programming.

If I'm wrong, you'll have my full concession in the next decade  :)

Adam D. Ruppe
August 19, 2008
On Fri, 15 Aug 2008 21:10:21 +0100, Julio César Carrascal Urquijo <> wrote:

> Hello downs,
>> Software is purely information. "Software is a product" is a
>> relatively novel idea that, I believe, was invented by our friends at
>> MS (though I cannot point at a source for that claim).
> Maybe this one:
Whatever happened to that hard-working underpaid idealist? :p
Was that the trigger that turned him into Monty Burns?
August 19, 2008
Adam D. Ruppe Wrote:

> but there is a development company saying they'll make one if they get a total of $100,000 in investments.

The $100,000 is the about enough to pay the wage of one developer for about one year.

Once you add in a few Tax specialist to do the design, a few more developers, some QA people and someone to write the documentation, the wages bill would be much closer to the $1,000,000 mark.

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