My post about Stonewall Kitchens jam, the price of software, and the juvenile attitudes you see so often in comment boards, struck a nerve -- and got a lot of traffic.
Personal software is radically underpriced.
- People get a LOT more value from the software than they pay for it. You can start a graphic design studio without taking a university design degree; you probably can't without Photoshop. One university course, or one tech conference, costs a lot more than Photoshop.
- Tools like Tinderbox that help you hold on to your ideas cost a few hundred dollars, the ideas you don't lose should be worth thousands.
- If you're in control and making decisions that matter, the value of saving a few hours here and there is huge. Writing a blog costs thousands of dollars a year, and is wildly profitable at that price; software that lets you write twice as many posts -- or makes those posts a little bit better -- is worth thousands.
- Support costs for tire-kickers and kids are important. Low price points encourage impulse buyers, yes. They also encourage buyers who will turn around and deluge you with phone calls and email looking for help getting their circa-1997 Web browser configured.
For years, we all knew that people should have better monitors, but that people wouldn't pay for better displays. That log jam broke, suddenly, when Apple shipped the original $3000 cinema display and made it an Object Of Lust. I think we're about to see the same thing in productivity software -- a real range of capabilities and services, offered at diverse prices.