"Stay hungry. Stay foolish." - Steve Jobs
It’s amazing how much of a stir this relatively minuscule amount of money (technically $19.99, but you get it) caused yesterday. I understand that to some people, $20 purchases are things that need to be considered. But for many in our culture and society, it’s absolutely nothing.
Let me back up and explain real quick…
For those that don’t know, Twitter is turning their back on the 3rd party apps that made their service great to begin with. Instead of embracing the developer community, they’re looking to monetize their service by forcing as many people as possible to view content on their site. Money conquers all, I guess. Anyway, each application developer is given a certain number of “tokens” to give out to their users. When X number of accounts have been linked to that particular app, no additional new users will be allowed to use it.
There are many people in the world making a living by developing applications and selling them through (for example) the Apple App Store, including Twitter apps. Developing apps takes time and effort; developing great applications takes a greater amount of said time and effort. Like musicians, a lot of what they do is thankless (“Man, this band changed their sound up from their last album… they suck!” “This developer didn’t put in every single feature I personally demanded… they suck!”).
Enter Tweetbot. Developed by the gentlemen over at Tapbots, Tweetbot started as an application for iPhones and iPads and, due to popular demand, has finally been released on OS X. I, along with many others, have been alpha and beta testing it for a few weeks now, and absolutely love it. It is, hands down, the best Twitter experience I’ve ever had. Are there a few things I don’t like? Sure, you’ll have that anywhere. But by and large, I love it. Other users love it.
Because of the aforementioned Twitter shenanigans1, the Tapbots team knows they have a finite window in order to make money off of selling their application. They don’t get paid up front; every cent they earn is through sales. So they had to set a price; one that accurately reflected value and earned them money, while still making people interested in purchasing it.
They chose $20.
The outrage, sense of entitlement, and indignation from nerds worldwide was comical, saddening, and very telling about how we as a society view value. There were plenty of “I can’t afford that” or “I don’t use Twitter enough to justify that” comments thrown around, and I more than understand that. But the comment I heard/read by and large went something like… “Tweetbot is the best Twitter app out there, but I think it’s stupid that they charge so much. I’ll go use a shittier app that costs less/is free instead.”
Again, I understand people placing perceived value on goods and services. For some, $20 for a social media application is perfectly reasonable.2 Others may only think it’s worth $10, or $5, or $0. Fine, whatever. But all those posts I read just really made me scratch my head.3
Here’s what I got for $20:
Here are just a smattering of examples of things I could give up in order to pay for said application:
Every single one of those, to me, is worth it. I value great design. I value functionality. I’d rather have something that lasts instead of something that will just be forgotten about within minutes.
Here’s another argument… I own a $2,000 desktop and a $1,300 laptop, purchased because again, I value design and functionality. All of these people that are complaining own similar machines, as this is an Apple-only product. Yet they balk at a $20 purchase? Insane.
This entirely-too-long blog post is my way of stating that I feel we as a society have lost our grasp on value. We have become so entitled to just getting what we want, from our first car from Mommy & Daddy, to that promotion, to good grades, to free applications on our phones and computers. Sometimes we have to pay for what we get, be it through hard work or monetary means. Find what you value, what means a lot to you, and support it however you can.
Me? I’ll be making mac and cheese from a box a couple more times than I might truly desire. But hey… it’s still mac and cheese, right?
Posted: Friday, Oct 19, 2012