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Comment on "Paying for Beta Software"
by Ryan Perry — Jan 02
Hi Scott,

As a newer, indie developer of Mac software, and as a developer with a few years of experience working for software companies in the bootstrapping process, I want to voice my agreement with you.

It's very difficult to predict exactly what the needs of your users will be without feedback from your actual user base. And if you haven't released something, then you have no user base to speak of. Thus it's important to get the software into their hands as soon as possible.

As for asking users to pay for pre-1.0 software, the fact is that if a user doesn't feel comfortable doing that, they won't do it. Only users who are ok with potentially buggy or incomplete software are going to give you money for it. The choice is entirely theirs. As long as you're making sure that the software isn't going to damage their environment, and that the user is well-aware of the incompleteness of the software, then everybody involved in the transaction is getting what they expect.

Finally, as others have noted above, the relationship between the user base and the software company is a symbiotic one: they must take care of each other, or else they both lose. Offering a discount on pre-1.0 software is a good way for both parties to help each other out during the infancy of a company or project. The early user feedback helps the company make sure they're creating the software that the users need, and the early income helps the company defray the cost of bootstrapping.

P.S. - Thanks for the great sites you've put together for the Cocoa community.
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