We’ve been talking about the basic wonder of putting a price on your product for such a long time that it almost seems trite at this point. I certainly thought that point would have lost propulsion long ago, but I keep being surprised by the contrary.
It seems that the web has been so thoroughly infected by the memes of “the future is free”, “we’ll all live from ads”, “VC money will get us there”, and “acquisition is nirvana” that it has almost lost its faith in the simpler ways.
I’ve been approached by a great many entrepreneurs since the Startup School talk who all tell a similar story. They found a niche, made a product for it, and then thought “what the hell, let’s do something crazy!” and decided to charge money for it. To their surprise, it worked and they’re paying the bills and growing.
While that’s fantastic, it’s also perverse. There shouldn’t be any element of surprise unveiled from that order of actions. It should come as a natural conclusion, but it doesn’t. Because the startup culture has caught this disease that there’s something unnatural in being profitable from the get-go. That making money early means you won’t make it big later.
It’s depressing and it’s wrong, but I also think it’s going to change. I think the days of the traditional San Francisco startup approach are numbered. It’ll be flushed down the drain along with CDO’s and zero-down mortgages.
On the other side we’ll have a world where having a price will be the expected. A world where Jason can’t make headlines saying “free is not the future”. A simpler world where most people, even on the web, will live from direct customers.
I look forward to that day.