This post was started in 2018 and has been brewing ever since.
I saw this in a Facebook group I’m a part of. It’s a group of “Power Users”. I see posts like this in this group, and just about every writers/readers group daily if not more frequently.
I highly doubt the person who posted this would be happy to be paid for their labor every 6 years. I know I wouldn’t.
According to the post, this person is willing to pay one whole measly dollar a month. So $12 for software. This post is about 1Password, which I love and happily pay for and encourage everyone to use and pay for. So $12 for software that keeps your passwords, credit card numbers, and anything else you put into it, safe. Safe and synced across your laptop, iPad, and iPhone. Safe in an encrypted volume, the company takes seriously and makes clear they have no access to. Twelve bucks?
Let’s say Mr. One dollar a month grudgingly pays and uses 1Password for ten more years. Does he think $120 is enough? Could he live on what he makes in a month for ten years? I couldn’t.
Consumers are so disconnected from what they consume now. We happily, joyfully pay for a new iPhone every year, but an app better be free or maybe $1, total, lest we complain. Much of this is laid at the feet of Apple, Amazon, Wal-Mart, etc. Companies with platforms, that push the creators to the bottom to grow their platforms. They’ve trained consumers to not think twice about a new Mac, or latest Pixel phone, or a $400 kindle. But do nothing to educate consumers that the app they love was made by someone that plans to pay their mortgage, and it is worth more than a dollar. Or when a book that takes months to write, hundreds if not a thousand dollars to produce, is more than $2. “I won’t pay more than $2 to read a book on my two hundred dollar Kindle.”
And it’s everywhere. People bitch at me that a conference that’s 2 days, 2 tracks, with international speakers, lunch included, is $399. “That’s like twice what I’m willing to pay.” Yet these people make software and expect a high hourly rate or high annual salary.
The other day there was a post on the Denver Post’s Facebook page. One person commented that they’d apparently used up their free viewings online, so couldn’t read the article. Most of the comments were either “Here’s how I don’t pay the post for their work” or defending the idea of not paying by pointing out how ‘easy’ it is to not pay them. It was disheartening. These folks want the news, but not to support those that create it.
The common comparison is a cup of coffee, which is fine, it’s a legitimate comparison. For me though, it’s “How do you expect your fellow human to survive? Would you rather have nothing than pay for things? Would you prefer something free where you’re the customer and your data is in the hands of a Venture Capitalist?”
We want an amazing and bug-free app, a great well-edited book with a professional cover, a game that’s on par with the AAA studios, but you don’t want to spend more than one or two bucks for it? As someone who created things; conferences, and now books, it’s frustrating. I sympathize with my friends who make apps and games, or write or make clothes, or anything.
If this still isn’t resonating with you, look at it this way,
You go to work every day but surely would stop if your boss said, “We’ll pay you this week, but you’ll be expected to work the next six for free. Maybe on the seventh week, we’ll pay you again, but only if you show that you’ve spent that time doing twice your normal work.”
This is basically what we’re telling every single person who’s trying to make a living making things. We value their efforts so little we don’t want to pay for them, and if we do, we want to then own their creative efforts indefinitely. But hey it’s new iPhone time, gotta stay up late to place my order…
I’d love to see us move to a place where we’re happy to buy something knowing that we’re helping someone make a living. If you can’t afford it, that’s fine, save up, or don’t get it, etc. But don’t tell someone their creative efforts aren’t worth anything.