Customers: Your Software Sucks. So Why Don't You Care?
It's curious how most markets stratify.
Everything from jewellery to cars to haircuts to bank accounts has a low end for the great unwashed masses and a high end for the most discerning clients.
I can buy a stereo with hundreds of high-tech whiz-bang features for under $100, but I know that if I want excellent sound reproducton and a stereo that will give me years of distortion-free listening pleasure, I will need to dig a little deeper into my pockets for something that may have fewer features, but is engineered and constructed to a far higher quality - usually by people who really care.
Interestingly, software products do have their budget versions and their "enterprise editions", but they are not necessarily distinguished by quality. Usually, it's features that win out. Which does rather suggest that our particular market works upside-down, because statistically, more features means more complexity, and more complexity means more bugs. So we pay extra for the whiz-bang model that is more likely to let us down, rather than the elegant simplicity and higher quality of a better-engineered product.
And the consequence of this is that people who care about the software they help to create find themselves remarkably nearer the bottom end of the market, where there's less money and less recognition to be had.
Where are the discerning clients who are prepared to pay more for simple, elegant software that won't let them down?
I can't help wondering that if such informed buyers existed and there was a healthy market for well-crafted systems, more of us would get the oportunity to do the kind of work we can be proud of.
Perhaps it's because they've not been exposed to this class of software. Perhaps they just don't know any different. In which case, what can we do to help educate their palettes?