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Old 20th May 2009
Lives for gear
Who Are Your Customers Supposed to Be?

Think of this as a 'tough-love' posting.

If somebody pays several hundred dollars for a piece of music-related software, that must mean you think they are running a traditional business. A 9 to 5 operation. Just like any other business, except that it makes music instead of widgets.

How do I know this? Because your help-desk hours are set-up based on widget-time. Some poor shlub that doesn't make music in a cubicle between the hours of 9 to 5 is out of luck if they run into a problem with your software at 2 AM. Oh they'll get an answer eventually, but it is likely to be so long in coming that the inspiration for the music is long gone. And of course chances are as good as not that there will be multiple dependencies that have to be fixed before your product will actually work. (Not blaming you at all for that - most of you do a great job dealing with cruft. It's not your fault the OS people keep breaking things.)

In the meantime, your industry - I mean the software industry as a whole - has spawned an aggressive breed of pirates led by the philosophy of Lawrence Lessig et al that conflates songwriters with the likes of frakking Bill Gates, and abuses such as patenting obvious things like double-clicking. The whole piracy thing is threatening the chances of people like me, (I co-write some pretty decent songs, but I don't perform) while the business-oriented software industry actually gains some benefits from piracy - the prime example being the teenage programmer that steals AutoCAD but specifies it later on for the company that hires him or her for their IT department.

I know a lot of you do what you do as a labor of love, but I wish you'd realize who most of your customers are. Think about it: How many songs get written or performed at 9:30 AM? So who do you think are your customers?