Subject: Re: My customers
From: nelson@crynwr.com (Russell Nelson)
Date: Mon, 29 Aug 94 09:33 EDT

   X-Btw: vix.com is also gw.home.vix.com and vixie.sf.ca.us
   Date: Mon, 29 Aug 94 00:03:57 PDT
   From: ghost@aladdin.com (L. Peter Deutsch)
   Cc: fsb@asylum.sf.ca.us

   > People being people, they try to get someone else to pay for its
   > development.  The best leverage point is the Ethernet board
   > manufacturer.  When an end user goes out to purchase such a board, he
   > can choose from a very large number of manufacturers.  And some of
   > these end users require a packet driver of the manufacturer
   > (e.g. Rutgers University).
   > 
   > A single large order of adapters can pay for development of a packet
   > driver.  And from the manufacturer's point of view, they might not
   > make any money on that deal, but they've got the repeat business from
   > that customer, and they're all set for the next packet driver
   > customer.

   I.e., a manufacturer will pay you a one-time fee to develop a packet
   driver for each architecturally new board?

Yes.

   If your software is portable, well structured, and well documented,
   why is it to their advantage to do that rather than do it
   themselves starting from your existing free code?

Some *do* do it themselves, some contract with me.  I think it's
partly the reputation I've earned by supporting packet drivers for so
long on the net, and by presenting myself as a stable business that's
here for the long term (as opposed to a contract programmer).

   How can you price your services so that this type of business
   (which I would think would be very intermittent and low-volume)
   would both bring in enough revenue to support you, and be more
   economical than the board manufacturer doing the development
   themselves, or contracting it out to some third party who will work
   for less than you (in India, say, where salaries are something like
   1/5 what they are here)?

I dunno!  Somehow I've managed to do it, raising my prices, increasing
my business, and paying off all our debt (including house mortgage) in
the process.  Now, for the sake of truth, I sell two whole days to
someone who pays me to work on proprietary software, BUT I also
subcontract all new driver work to a friend.  On average, I have more
work that I can do.  Right now, I'm not even *looking* for new work.
I have contacts from the spring Interop that I haven't spoken to,
because I don't want their business!  And I'm not going to fall
Interop because I'm so busy.

-russ <nelson@crynwr.com>    http://www.crynwr.com/crynwr/nelson.html
Crynwr Software   | Crynwr Software sells packet driver support | ask4 PGP key
11 Grant St.      | +1 315 268 1925 (9201 FAX)  | What is thee doing about it?
Potsdam, NY 13676 | LPF member - ask me about the harm software patents do.