From: Tom Whore (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Jan 11 2001 - 11:58:47 PST
On Thu, 11 Jan 2001, Justin Mason wrote:
--]At one stage, maintaining plp (UNIX printer software), I spent about 1/3
--]my week supporting it. (my then-employers didn't know that though ;) You
--]can always walk away and say "install it if you can, I don't care." But
--]that's no way to treat users ;)
Which is why the more popular No Cost software has a support base of
thousands, not one. If a app is good it will attract not just a user base
but a support base as well. Using this to the advantage of the creators
peace of mind is one of the nicer benifits of interconectedness.
for instance, while not an app , i had set up a community for trading old
time radio shows in mp3 on cd. Cool, i made a branch and leaf system . For
each cd i offered people signed up as either a branch or a leafe, brnaches
making copies for the leafes, spreading down a few levels we were able to
get 4 or 5 seed cds to about 50-60 people in a few hops.
Easy, sure unless your me doing all the list mangement (110 people) which
cds are being offered whos signed up as a brnach or leafe, who changes
thier minds getting the mailings to go via a good zip code route for
So i put out a call for helpers. I got 6 folks to break the main group
into several smaller groups. All I do now is make sure those 6 folks have
the seed cds and a few list adminy things.
The moral of the story is that had I treid to handel the whole support
issue myself I would have gone ape shit. Instead i let the worth of the
concept carry the users to want to support it with some help from me for a
I wasnt going to pay for the support, heck i was already pouring money
into this project via time, postage and cds. It was always suuposed to be
a philinthropic venture, but not one that would need to make money to
support it. Making money adds a hassle level I didint want to get into
The net of interconnectedness we have today is more than ready willing and
able to do this. Products like winamp, linux, divx, irc all have folks
helping those in need that are not officaly or reasurce tasked from the
creators of the app. Look at usenet, irc chans, the web , the places to
find help are amazing.
As an app or process creator the real trick is to Tom Sawyer the support.
--]Commercial companies are in even more trouble with support, because they
--]really *HAVE* to have a good support service, otherwise what did the users
--]pay the $$$ for in the first place?
Well thats the problem then. As the MIndvox (the bbs/isp, not the
mailinglist/irc/groupie effluvia) experiment proved one thing with great
clarity, once you start taking money for something your doomed to be a
slave to it and its support.
If you dont want that, you need to rethink your goals and methodologies.
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