Software must be one of the few (or the only) industry that gives out its products for free. People have gotten used to free software. They will pay $3 a day for their cappuccinos every month, but will think hard to subscribe to a $30 app which can greatly improve the way they work. But hey, if you are selling software then it must be free. That is the trend these days.
The other day, I was having a casual chat with my developer. He had mentioned to his friends that his company pays for a tool to help them with their customer engagement and analytics. Immediately, they laughed at him and asked him why he couldn’t just find a free alternative. Is he crazy paying for software? I am assuming these were the young, 20-something guys who are just so used to free consumer apps that the thought of paying for software is catastrophic.
I love paying for the apps I use for business. Honestly, I don’t care much about free consumer apps that rely on eyeballs, ads or the thinking that the consumer is “paying” via their attention. etc. In my opinion, it is better to build something fantastic, charge for it, become profitable and grow. As a software guy, I know what it takes to build something. Developers have bills to pay. Some common expenses are rent, salaries, utility bills etc. If they are a small company then they have salaries and other office expenses. Building and selling software is their bread and butter. Free is good when it is in “Free”mium. You let your consumers try it before you buy it. But to expect or not pay for the software you love it plain wrong.
Tell me, which products are free in this world?
Do artists or photographers give out their work for free?
When you goto a restaurant, do you get a free meal?
You do pay for your cable television.
When you goto a shop, do you get a free shirt?
Bottom line, is there anything that is free in this world that doesn’t come at a price - the most important being quality.
So, why software? Why does software have to be free? In my opinion, every piece of software (even consumer) should be paid - even if it means $1.
Buy software. Support the teams behind so that they can build more of the good stuff. Using better software sometimes means living a better life.