Subject: Re: Order entry application user group
From: "Tim O'Reilly" <>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 07:45:52 -0800

Brian Bartholomew wrote:
> Bernie Thompson <> writes:
> > How do I participate in and get a project to do what I need if I
> > don't have time or expertise to contribute?  What's the market
> > mechanism (dollars <--> product) for getting what I want cost
> > effectively?
> The piece I don't think you've addressed is when the software is
> boring enough or time-consuming enough or both that you can't find
> volunteers to work on it.  And $1K is certainly a volunteer price.
> Let's imagine Tim's project will cost $100K for the highest value
> programmers he can find to work on it.  Will your incentive and
> contractual system work when the payments are $10K, made by the most
> profit-maximizing, free-rider-dumping payers out there?

I think it can--that's what we're doing with SourceXchange--but I do
believe that there's a lot more behind the scenes work with the numbers
at this scale.  It isn't just a low-friction net thing, but requires
some f2f time or other deep contacts.  It's not just a matter of "boring
enough or time-consuming enough", it's also "specialized enough."  There
aren't enough people for a pure low-friction internet volunteer
marketplace to emerge.  There is a potential universe of a few hundred
customers (although there could be more if the software were modified to
handle other kinds of products...but there are other systems that do
that better.  What makes this system unique is all the specialized bells
and whistles it has for the book business, and for publishers of a
certain size.)
> A member of the League for Programming Freedom (LPF)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Brian Bartholomew - - - Working Version, Cambridge, MA

Tim O'Reilly @ O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
101 Morris Street, Sebastopol, CA 95472
+1 707-829-0515, FAX +1 707-829-0104,