Rev_rant part 4
ambassador at fourthworld.com
Wed Nov 15 11:02:21 CST 2006
Bernard, I really admire your passion for Rev, but may I suggest that
you may be reading Dave stronger than he writes? I've been reading his
posts carefully, and I believe we may have another Bill Marriott in the
I used to misread Bill's posts as being more critical than they were,
and although he had indeed been a bit of a gadfly his tone was never
less than professional and his aim was focused squarely on improving the
quality of the customer experience. Now look where Bill's at. :)
With Dave I see something very similar, an equally passionate interest
in seeing Rev succeed. So while some of his posts may be firmly worded,
it seems his intentions are well demonstrated by his professional tone.
Perhaps his posts deserve a second read if they appear insulting; they
may be steadfast, but so far I've not seen anything beyond the sorts of
things Bill used to post, and all of it seems aimed at helpfulness.
With the hope that we can all recognize that we're moving in the same
productive direction here, let me please add to this:
Bernard Devlin wrote:
> If your development team really were convinced by you that Rev would
> solve lots of their interoperability issues, staffing issues, and
> save them money, then I don't see that they would have been put off
> by the cost of annual update packs.
In all fairness, I see a good many people here, in the forums, and
elsewhere who are put off to varying degrees by the current update
policy. This is somewhat unsurprising, given that it deviates from
long-established industry norms.
My own pursuit of success leaves the back-office decisions to the big
boys and keeps my focus on software design. For generic back-office
decisions like upgrade policies I just look at what wildly successful
companies do and do my best to do what they do.
One thing I see across the industry is that it's far more common than
not to distinguish between upgrades and updates. The former contain
significant feature enhancements, while the latter focus on merely
Traditionally, customers expect to pay for upgrades while most
successful companies deliver updates for free. The list of those who
adhere to this practice include not only the biggest names in the field
(Microsoft, Apple, Adobe), but even smaller vendors like Ambrosia (Snapz
Pro), Thorsten Lemke (GraphicConverter), Stairways Software
(Interarchy), Omni Group (OmniGraffle), and many others.
The only exception to this practice on my hard drive is Revolution.
Even RealBASIC offers free updates for the first 90 days, so as far as I
can tell this leaves Rev pretty much alone with this unique pricing
model. There may be other exceptions, but I don't know of them and I'm
pretty sure they are few in number.
While I don't believe this is necessarily a deal-breaker, it does
unnecessarily introduce questions into a sales decision-making process
that could have a shorter path to "Yes!"
I'm confident Rev has their own reasons for reinventing this
long-established update/upgrade distinction, but it's also worth noting
that to some degree Rev appears to agree with these customer
perceptions, having announced that at least v2.7.5 will be a free update.
With any luck we'll see more from time to time.
> Maybe they are used to using free scripting languages and compilers,
> so paying anything for Rev might be a hurdle for them.
That's a legitimate concern, even more so as time passes and things like
PythonCard continue to evolve.
It's another good argument for the type of comprehensive QA intitiaves
that Bill Marriott and Rev and working on with v2.7.5:
You can get anyone to pay you for anything as long as you can
demonstrate that they'll ultimately save more money than they spend.
With development tools the real cost isn't the purchase price but the
time it takes to reach productive deployment -- the developer's time is
worth far more than any development tool costs.
So competing against even free products isn't necessarily even difficult
as long as you can show a positive ROI for the customer. Solid quality
is one area where a product that's funded by sales can compete well
against volunteer open source efforts, provided of course that the
revenue is spent very, very carefully.
> Can you tell us which other tools they use that come with free
> support from the vendor? I don't know of any.
Everything I produce.
I've found no bigger driver for sales than being able to earn the trust
of our customers by demonstrating a willingness to stand behind what we
deliver. They know that while I charge for features, I address all
potential-data-loss bugs and most lesser issues in free updates in
between feature upgrades. One of the benefits of using a true RAD tool
like Rev is that on occasion I've even been able to deliver custom
builds in between updates when a customer has a critical need (that
would be prohibitively expensive with many other dev tools - ever have a
crash resolved with Photoshop by having Adobe send you a fresh build? <g>).
On paper support is free here for one year, but that's really just to
provide reasonable constraint on our obligations. In practice I've
never refused support to anyone no matter how long they've owned the
product, and customers understand and appreciate this.
This strategy of staying in touch with the customers and rolling out
free updates to address bugs has reduced my tech support costs to about
a third of industry averages, raising my profit margins considerably,
well above the small cost of deploying the update.
But more importantly, it's inspired my customers to become a sales staff
of thousands, singing the praises of our products far and wide and
Fourth World Media Corporation
Developer of WebMerge: Publish any database on any Web site
Ambassador at FourthWorld.com http://www.FourthWorld.com
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