I've been swamped for the past month with side-effects from WinterFest. Some of it’s very gratifying: new users eagerly getting down to work with Tinderbox, new readers of The Tinderbox Way with lots of questions, and quite a lot of people returning to Tinderbox after a pause, eager to get up to speed with the new version. And of course Winterfest itself has been a terrific success.
But there’s also been a ton of really tedious support work, and lots of dull documentation. There’s been a lot of support work for people who need to use antique versions of Tinderbox because they have no money or must use antique computers; I can’t manage to say “no” though the business case for doing this is hard to imagine. There’s the usual trickle of academics who are upset that they are asked to pay despite their noble calling. And there’s the customary small quota of angry villagers who are upset because Tinderbox isn’t free, or because upgrades cost more than they like (they cost more than we’d like, too, as do our groceries), or because they’d have built Tinderbox differently. All of which can be fun to talk about in moderate quantities with liberal applications of malted barley, but which is less fun from the swamp.
Lots of interesting discussion this month about the business of software, led by last year’s revelation that hardly anyone is making even a living in the mobile space. Desktop is better – I’m especially impressed by the numbers for Dash, which in the natural scheme of things only sells to developers and which competes with a free tool everyone already owns.
But it’s important to keep perspective, too. Almost without exception, the happy stories are coming from people who are having a really good year – often their first year – and a worrying portion of their sales are opening-day transactions, which means the sale of a pig in a poke to people who habitually purchase pokes of pigs. This might not be a desirable way to cultivate artisanal software.