Losing the amateur

John Tenny jtenny at willamette.edu
Mon Nov 3 09:09:46 EST 2003

Grandpa that I am, I was around when the first 'revolution' was taking 
place - Tandy computers, Apples, basic, hypercard, when even mid sized 
cities only had one or two 'computer' stores to hang around in. There 
was an atmosphere of belonging to a club of sorts, much like the early 
Volkswagon owners who all honked and waved at each other.

There are two sentiments bouncing around here - one of a personal 
ownership of the 'revolution', which includes a commitment to 
contributing to the group, to make the community better as a whole, to 
in a mini-way save the world. That comes with an expectation that  if 
I, the loyalist, am devoted to the movement, then my partner, the 
company, is also devoted to me, and has made a like commitment to me. 
It's a bit of a shock then to find that after being loyal, giving all 
your good ideas and solutions and bugreports freely to the company, and 
proudly watching the Revolution mature and grow as one would a child, 
that an idea turned into a product starts going off in ways  you didn't 
expect. The revolution becomes The Revolution, and those involved are 
abandoned and disappointed.

The other group, fondly referred to here as the profit motive group, 
sees this all as a software tool whose purpose is to enable one to 
generate income. Those folks, with a sense of fairness, don't have any 
problem with paying for the potential to make their own money by using 
this tool. They also are less forgiving, with the attitude that since I 
paid what you asked, the product damn will better work. They are less 
understanding of the loss of the sense of family, of community. While 
they also contribute to the improvement of the product, it's for a 
different purpose - to improve the money making tool - a perfectly 
worthwhile goal.

Some of those here have a foot in both camps, as does the company. On 
the good side, this is a natural stage of progression of any movement 
where it starts to become institutionalized and is not longer a grass 
roots, seat of the pants operation. On the bad side, this is where many 
movements and companies fail, either abandoning their support group too 
abruptly or not being ready to deliver a fully developed product to the 
new 'customer base'. The current pricing structure is a clear attempt 
to bridge this gap, and the only thing missing is an equally clear and 
consistent message to the core supports who have given their support 
for free that they are an appreciated and valued entity; that while the 
company wishes it could continue to give it away in appreciation of 
their efforts, the new level of complexity of everything makes that 
impossible; that because the company does recognize the critical role 
these supporters have played will meet them halfway with a substantial 
gift of half the price; that while no longer free  it's going to get 
way better really quickly for the benefit of everyone.



Flowing Thought Educational Solutions
On Nov 2, 2003, at 10:20 PM, SteelWeaver52 at aol.com wrote:

> A user said:
>> And, I believe, contrary to what most of us supporting and
>> promoting MC over the years thought we were supporting and promoting.
>> Like Ryno Swart, ``I am just a bit disappointed.''  Forget that: I am
>> totally disappointed.
> Frankly, I can't get into this sentiment.  I really can't.
> The only thing RunRev can do is make you an offer of a software
> product in exchange for pieces of paper with pictures of Presidents
> on them (or the Queen, or whatever).   This offer essentially increases
> the number of options currently available to you.

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