Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

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Oooooh, lots of stuff about social networks and apps.

OK, first, these little services have a tendency to add up.  So, it’s always a question of convenience (i.e., how much time do you have to make up the gap between what the free stuff gives you vs. what the paid stuff gives you), versus cost (i.e. how much money do you have to pay for the deluxe package that does everything vs using the free technology and wondering if you could be making more an hour doing anything else).

I mean, the companies that develop this stuff, they know they are leaving the barn door partially open to people who will exploit their free versions as far as they can.  They’re betting that the more successful you get with the free stuff, the less time you’ll have to do the increasing amount of work you need to do to stay successful, and instead pay for their algorithms to do the rest. Or they’re betting that you’re holding onto whatever your  dream is with both hands and all ten toes and you won’t let it go until you’re broke.  Either way, it’s good bet, if you’re at a point where your time is worth more paid than free.

But if you’re not there yet, a person with lots of ideas and lots of time is a dangerous thing to those startups, because they’re trying to make money too, and other enterprising startups might figure out how to operate on their free code w/o spending a dime, and that can make the latter a boat anchor around the neck of the investors of the former.  But what are they gonna do?  They’ve got to show their hand a little bit, and that means, according to the Bazaar and the Cathedral model, they have to have free stuff, and they have to figure out how to offer their free stuff without being punked.  Daunting.

But the free stuff can have bugs.  You might end up entering your data or your lists or whatever a couple times, which ends up being a huge waste of time.  Not that the paid versions are that much better.  Honestly, everybody is whistling in the dark here.  Have you see all of the companies with all of the 22nd Century names and logos trying to do something different with php or whatever the hottest new programming language is?  It’s really getting ridiculous considering how often it jams up, or what they outrageously charge every month or year to use this pixie dust, which BTW, is the 21st Century term for snake oil.

So you come up with shortcuts that help lessen the blow when you realize you have to input the same Follow Friday Twitter handles, or Soundcloud followers or Facebook friends for the third frickin’ time.  You figure out work arounds to try to save you from the madness of blowing hours on software that’s supposed to animate everything down to seconds.  I swear … those Progresso Soup commercials where the people are talking through tin cans and string; I’ll bet THEY never had a dropped call.  Seriously, you’ve heard how some CEO’s are looking for the brick phones of the late 90s because they have none of the capability to be tracked or monitored, so conversations can be secure in a weirdly, Back to the Future kind of way.

Pitiful.  Foward to the Past.  Just pitiful.


Written by Interviewer

March 15, 2013 at 13:50

Posted in Scratchpad

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