Very Good Argument for Forming Good Habits
- May 2, 2011
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As a business, it is important to establish good habits. And of course habit #1 is making enough money to keep the business alive. An article titled “The Audacity of Getting Paid” really hits the mark. The author uses Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr as cautionary tales:
I’ve been a member of the above three services for a combined total of 13.5 years, and have watched all three grow from small services in a corner of the internet to the front-page, well-known brands that they are today. All three have made the same tragic mistake: at no point did they say, “hey, we’ll give you (more features, fewer ads, faster service) if you give us some cash.” I would have (and still would) willingly paid a substantial sum to each.
And although the author uses those three companies, and others are likely to point mainly to Web 2.0 or Web 1.0 style companies, this logic applies equally well to companies in services businesses. The main difference is that the services businesses aren’t likely to have a trove of VC cash – so they’re likely to close shop quickly if they aren’t priced right, unless the service business is a secondary source of family income.
First, making money is easy: you must have the sheer audacity to charge for a product. Pinboard.in turned profitable in week one. Minecraft’s early sales helped bootstrap its development, and the developer has staffed up and found office space in the past six months to work on new features and new games.
The third lesson is for you, the user: if you use a product and don’t pay for it, you’re living on borrowed time.
I think this falls under the general heading: if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. If you’re getting something for nothing, you’re not the customer, you’re the product being sold. If you’re getting a price that is too good to believe (especially for allegedly experienced or specialty-skilled resources) – then it probably is too good to be true. But collectively we suspend our disbelief all the time (and then act shocked when we get a surprise down the road).