Wil Shipley types extensively about Apple’s attitude trending towards greed. A great article without a great hook. Just force yourself to start reading, you’ll be glad you did.
Most of us independent developers spend a lot of time trying to be more Apple-like. The idea is pretty simple. There’s this company, and they produce almost all of the products that we love in this world. And if we want to produce products that people love even half as much, we should emulate them.
It’s a really good idea, because there is a lot of great stuff in Apple to emulate. But reading through Wil’s article reminds me to take a defensive stance while evaluating Apple’s strategies. It’s not a lock-in that every step they make should be followed by faith. Apple is an amazingly successful, customer-pleasing company because of its successes, but also in spite of its screw-ups.
Recently on a developer mailing list, the perennial question of software pricing came up. I wrote about this a relatively long time ago. At that point I was most interested in the sheer economic mechanics of picking a price that would sit well with customers and still bring in as much money as possible. Since then, I’ve become a little more tuned in to the organic relationship between customers and businesses, and have also grown to appreciate the value of “doing what you love” even more than I previously did.
I wrote on the list that although maximizing profit might be a good idea, it shouldn’t be the primary idea. There are other emotional considerations such as whether you’re having a great time, and whether your customers are having a great time. In many cases, these situations should probably be considered higher priorities than maximizing profit.
Wil excoriates Apple, raising good points about whether Apple’s policies are more and more of the maximizing profit variety than of the maximizing fun and innovation kind. I particularly love the last paragraph of his entry, which sums things up quite nicely:
But Apple has to always remember that simply making money CANNOT be its point of existence. The point of any company should be to make customers want to give it money, NOT to get money from customers. It’s a subtle distinction that is the difference between good and evil.
Filed under one-liner personal mental mantras: “accept the customer’s money, but don’t take it.”