Subject: Re: Lehman Report, Software patents, and more
From: adam@adam.yggdrasil.com (Adam J. Richter)
Date: Mon, 29 Aug 94 07:37 EDT

L. Peter Deutsch writes:

>on-demand support is at exorbitant
>rates -- Yggdrasil charges $2.95 per minute.  (On the other hand,
>that's what Borland charges these days too.)

	You have told me that you value your time at "approximately
$200 per hour", which is more than $2.95/minute.  It is odd that you
now see such valuations as "exorbitant", especially when you consider
that you're paying not just for someone's time, but for infrastructure
like racks of PC hardware, other programmers in the office who can be
consulted, and a business that keeps programmers available for on-demand
consulting at a moment's notice.

	As you point out, $2.95/minute is the typical for software tech
support 900 numbers.  It is exactly what you pay on the 900 numbers for
Lotus or Software Support, Inc. (the folks that the CorelDraw manual
directs everyone to).

	Also, with free software you are not trapped when it comes to
getting technical support.  In addition to the fact that you have
complete source, the Plug-and-Play Linux manual lists
sixteen third party service vendors and also explains that we offer
a number of other ways to buy tech support, including:

		o $100 for 1 calendar year or 1 engineering hour,
		  whatever comes first.

		o $25 per call, capped at 15 minutes or 1 answer/solution,
		  whichever comes _last_.

	Originally, the personal tech support services helped pay for
an extra programmer, or, more theoretically, allowed us to provide
staff to match any level of demand for tech support.  Now, however,
we're taking a hard look at getting into personal tech support for
all Linux distributions.  With 160,000 Linux users, if the average
Linux user would call us once a year (or, more like 10% would call
us ten times a year, since most of our personal tech support business
is repeat business), that would be $4M/year of revenue.  The problem
is that if the average tech support person processed two calls per
hour, the business would have an annual revenue per employee of
only $100k.  So, it's something that we have to plan very
carefully.

Adam J. Richter
Yggdrasil Computing, Inc.