While driving down to the Bay Area for the ENR Future Tech conference in San Francisco, Rob & I took the opportunity to discuss several aspects of our business, and the industry in general. One thing our Business Consutant had asked me about recently was our plan for selling some of the new estimating database tools that Rob has been developing. So I asked Rob about his vision for our target market and an approximate fair value sales price. I’ll have to admit I was surprised by his response:
“Let’s give it all away for nothing.”
Hmmm. Not exactly representative of fair value for all the time it would save users, not to mention his time in development. Following the funny look I gave him, he elaborated:
“It’s the Open Source model. We give away the software for free, and support it for hire. It’s why Google Maps and Chrome are the best products out there. It’s the extension of the Linux model. Instead of charging for our software, and bearing the full responsibility of upgrading, tweaking, and making it better, we go Open Source, and anybody in the world can improve its functionality and add new features. Our programming team can include the best minds anywhere in the world, and we don’t even have to pay them to work on our products.”
Once I got over my initial surprise, (and swallowed the Business Economics 101 lecture that I was mentally preparing), I had to admit it makes sense. We’re a Technology Services company not sellers of code. Our value is in our Industry expertise. Our new software pricing policy for the estimating database tools and programs we develop: $0.00. More to follow.