On walkabout in life and technology

Don't Be a Free User

Maciej Ceglowski, writing on the Pinboard blog in Don’t Be A Free User calling it as it is.

Someone builds a cool, free product, it gets popular, and that popularity attracts a buyer. The new owner shuts the product down and the founders issue a glowing press release about how excited they are about synergies going forward. They are never heard from again.

His point is valid. All the businesses he refers to started as a free service, had no business model, got sold and died. And their user base, thats us folks, lost out on a great product or service and lost our data.

Money quote:

To avoid this problem, avoid mom-and-pop projects that don't take your money! You might call this the anti-free-software movement.

He’s right again, we all need tools and services we can trust to stick around and do what they do. Not services that are gone the next day or ‘pivot’ to the next stupid trend because they are bought or have no business model. Paid services, whether via license fees, subscription or advertising, is the only reliable software model.

Note: I am also a paid up Pinboard user and I love the product. I switched when del.icio.us got sold and died.