Paying for Software
Dave expands upon his rationale for paying for software: "If you pay nothing for software, you probably won't die from it, but you may lose data, you're virtually certain to waste time, and at some point, money."
I had to learn to pay for software. Not the hard way, mind you. Growing up in Palo Alto distorted my propensity to pay. My first exposure to software was when user groups were rampant. 3 1/2 floppies were circulated as the norm at user group meetings. Social networks were the source of service. The hardware was damn expensive and it seemed natural that software sharing was the exercise.
Some of my elementary school friends had parents who were Apple developers. They had the best stuff. We hacked together games in BASIC on Apple IIs, traded in the computer lab at middle school and the worst punishment concievable was a flying eraser from the teacher (Mr. Spinoli's favorite pastime was flinging blackboard erasers at students in good fun and occasional accident).
I still hesitate to purchase packaged software and instead often simply go without. Maybe its all the times I purchased software only to become rapidly obsolete by new generations of hardware that purposely obfuscated backward compatibility. Or when I bought tools that ended up not being suitable for the job. Where I really hesitate is upgrading my operating system; feels like donating bottles of Thunderbird to a wino instead of buying them a happy meal.
But all that changed when I could buy software online. Not because it plays into impulse purchase proclivity. The ability to trial software or have a lite version with an easy upgrade path reduced my risk and led me to greater purchases.
Now I have turned on the spigot. Not because I work in the software industry, like paying for the right for customer support or have some enlightened consumer guilt. Because I can buy software as service. There is a confidence instilled from software that changes over time. Bugs get addressed, demands are met and risk is reduced. I don't care where my data lives, so long as it works for me. Better yet, when the software comes with information services it becomes alive.
I buy software when I know it will get better, rather than worse, over time. Appreciate appreciation. But that's just one consumer's take.
8:00:54 AM -- Others on this topic: Dave Winer | Palo Alto | Pay for usage | Software pricing