Whiners, Cost and Value

Uncle Bob in his “Whiners that Fail” post made the following statement, regarding Michael Feathers list of 10 Papers every Programmer should read at least twice:

A wise man would pay thousands of dollars for this information. But some people prefer to whine.

Of course he’s right (the example of comments Michael got were amazing to read), and I want to look at the whining issue from another angle.

The expectation for free articles Uncle Bob mentions, reminds me the way some people perceive software. I’m talking about the price issue that sometimes come up with Isolator as it is the only commercial product in its niche. People question whether they should pay, or go with the other free products.

The “free” products are not called free, they are open-source projects. They are built in most cases by a single person, and maintained by the community if they are successful. There’s a lot of effort and love put into that. What’s the return? There’s the great satisfaction someone finds your software useful (Hey, that also goes for commercial products). And when the community picks it up, and talks about it, and blogs and recommends it, there’s a great happiness abound.

Of course you get what you pay for. Other mocking framework creators put a lot of hours into feature requests and support, but there’s a limit to what they can do. Take a look at Ayende’s slogan on his blog: “Send me a patch for this”, coming from the many times he wrote that in the mailing list.

As a commercial company, we charge money for our products. We feel that the value you get from Isolator outways the cost of the product. The money we get goes into development of new features and a support team we’re very proud of, which people like very much. We get happy customers, by putting their money to work.

It’s like I always say: With every tool, there are advantages and disadvantages, and depending on the work you need to do, go with the best tool for the job. The best tool does what you need and turns your work into valuable work. You need to consider the value as well as the cost. Especially in the current economy situation.

Don’t be a whiner. Take responsibility. Compare the good, bad and ugly. And pick what is right for you, not because it’s what you can afford, but for what it will save you, give you back or help you outperform your competitors.