Subject: Re: street performer protocol
From: Brian Bartholomew <>
Date: Sat, 13 May 2000 09:56:53 -0400 writes:

> You point out that it would take them X dollars to write the
> software themselves, that this would take Y developers who are hard
> to hire in the current market, that it would take Z months (where Z
> is always longer than you will take because of hiring and startup
> and familiarization delays) to build, and that during those Z months
> all of the things that depend on the software are delayed.

And then they say, 'and after I've funded your development for you,
you're going to sell *how* many copies at *what* "value to the
customer" price??'  (The counterargument is, 'if you're that convinced
of my market opportunity, then you'd be happy to act as an investor,
rather than a customer'.  But then they say, 'we're not *that*
convinced, obviously you have data that we don't; either we're going
to get screwed by nondelivery, or screwed by a bad deal.  We'll opt
out.'  And then no deal happens.)

What I'm looking for is the sales argument that *you* would accept,
for a piece of work that you have complete information about.  How
does the plumber hire a plumber?  Or the developer a developer?

> The real price is the *higher* of (a) the value of the software to
> the customer, and (b) the cost to the customer of not having it.
> Sometimes (b) is much higher, mostly because the customer doesn't
> tend to consider slippage of other efforts when deciding the value a
> piece of software has to them. I.e. their economic model is flawed.

I have problems discriminating between an undervalue of (b) as a
flawed model, and as a negotiation strategy.  I still haven't paid
$11K for a Linux accounting package with source, and I'm not entirely
sure if that's a rational decision.

If you do manage to extract a ridiculous price, and they figure it
out, you're not going to have a happy customer.