Why I paid $150 for a $2 part

I wrote this blog post today and thought that I would share it here… https://joeworkman.net/blog/post-146566081892


This is a great post.

There are some great insights that apply to both users and anyone developing a product.

Cheers @joeworkman.

Thank you for sharing!

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Great post, I have to agree with this. I am not a cams user, but I understand quality and your products are always quality from my experience.


There’s another aspect to this that is important too. Some products are easily substitutable. If I don’t like my brand of milk, or if the dairy goes out of business, I can easily switch. If I invest in, say, a CMS solution for my website, switching down the road is going to be a nightmare. It’s a choice for a long time.

So I am worried when I see people undercharging for their software. When it’s software I’m going to be investing in and depending on, I want to know that the developer is going to be there for the long haul. Which means that they are earning enough from it to make it worth their while to keep going.


Yes, but.

It is certainly true, Joe, that your recent offerings are pretty sophisticated, and potentially very powerful. And generally, with only the mildest gnashing of teeth, I have taken the leap and purchased them at not inconsiderable expense.

In fact, with very few exceptions, my entire website is based on your software. Two of my recent favorites have been Screens and Impact for a total of $65…more than the entire Rapidweaver software itself. I have been refining and redesigning my website, a Herculean task given the amount of pages, some of the stacks I originally used that are completely broken, and a totally injudicious use (or initial lack thereof) of Partials.

It is taking me literally forever. And so, imagine my disappointment and chagrin, when my Home page, on which I spent vast amounts of time, using my brand new Screens and Impact toys, exhibited not one but two significantly dysfunctional behaviors.

I reported the initial bugs in early June, both to your Zendesk help page, as well as on Weavers.Space. Although not part of the vaunted power users that haunt these sites, I nevertheless found it incredible that I had discovered two big bugs in your very expensive software.

The Zendesk case numbers are #25511, which deals with the Impact problem that in mobile mode, the header initially positions itself correctly, and then a second later, move itself to the right. That issue has not been resolved.

I also reported, case #25575, that the Screens page animation only works in Safari. Both you and Zeebe acknowledged this as a bug, and Zeebe communicated the following:

I have submitted a bug report to Joe. I can not give you an ETA on when it might be released.

I reported these issues as well to Andrew Tavernor, who has been extraordinarily generous with his time and expertise. Unfortunately, no fix was forthcoming. Ultimately of course, it is not Andrew’s responsibility to address these bugs. It is your product, and it is your responsibility.

There have been some issues that I have reported that were solved successfully. And for that, I thank you. But the aforementioned bugs are so big, and for me, so critical, that when I read the following in your blog, I had to conclude that it did not apply to me.

When charging more money for software, its not about putting money into our own pockets. Its about providing stellar software and mind blowing customer service to your community. When you invest back into your customer, they will notice. You will develop raving fans that are more than happy to pay for continued support.

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@Butternut Software development is a moving target. There will always be bugs, especially when you start combing products together. Then combine that with browser vendors changing things from under me. For the most part, things work amazing well. It takes a lot of effort. I work my best to fix bugs as quickly as I can. However, with over 120 products, I do have to prioritize my work. This means that some bug fixes cannot be addressed immediately. I am trying to work on a cloning machine in my spare time. The world will be a better place when that is done. :slight_smile:


A lot of sense @joeworkman. Business is always about balancing price against the quantity of sales you expect to make and the time you have to invest. I haven’t managed to get that balance right at all and I’m thinking of throwing in the towel. I work very hard and make no money.

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I have a book publishing business. It used to do rather better but I can’t really compete against the big publishers. It’s all print-on-demand and ebooks. Print-on demand is good for specialist, fairly high-priced books but it doesn’t work for mass-market stuff because the unit costs are too high. The advantage of it is that one doesn’t need warehousing and one hasn’t a lot of capital tied up in inventory one will probably never sell. Also, my printer Lightning Source gets better terms out of Amazon than I could get and delivers free into Amazon.

I used to concentrate on academic and semi-academic stuff and I should have stuck to it. I might go back to just doing that. The trouble is that it’s a lot of work. I have a new edition of a Latin grammar planned and I’m halfway through a new edition of Thomas Frognall Dibdin’s Bibliophobia.

I can’t understand how anyone could be ignorant that their business was running at a loss. Everyone has to have some sort of accounts and put in tax returns at the very least.

Ha! Well, thinking about it, I have a very simple business because I only have one supplier for printed books, Lightning Source and I do all the ebook conversion myself. I have a fixed wholesale discount structure, virtually no returns, no other discounts and only one major customer, Amazon. Of course, if I paid myself the minimum wage I’d be in real trouble.

Well done Joe…thanks for the warning!

I wholeheartedly agree with your comments, I have seen some good RW products come and go as developers presumably find the cost of support a step too far in the long term.

The fact that you launch products with both written and visual support shows your underlying professionalism apart from your obvious skill.

I used to buy every RW product that came out because they were / are cheap, however I have a bucket load of stacks that do virtually the same thing from a multitude of different developers.
I now prefer to buy my new products from a smaller number of developers who provides support and I for one am happy to pay a proper price.

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Very true
I once met a mechanical engineer at a convention and he told the story of one Sunday he was called to resolve a serious problem at a cement plant. He got there determined the equipment alignment problem, got out his equipment and aligned everything in a few hours. He presented his bill for $1000.
The manager got upset at that much for one afternoon, so he offered an alternative: 3% of the first year energy savings from his work. The manager agreed. He had the Amp draw before, and the amp draw after. Multiplying by the electrical rate, the found that the savings represented $2 million dollars a year, so he calculated 3% and started to change the bill to $60,000. The manager quickly wrote the check for $1000.


In the case of CMSs for RW, it also comes down partly to whether the user thinks that the ease of set-up and depth of integration are worth paying on a per-site basis for @joeworkman’s Total CMS. I’m very impressed with Total CMS but I’m also very impressed with Armadillo, which I already had when Total CMS came out. However, Nimblehost were talking about moving to a per site charge some time ago. I can’t say that I blame them or Joe – they both provide excellent support and have to pay for the cost of it somehow. On the other hand, I’m very broke and need to save every penny I can.


Dude, call me next time, I would do it for $139 … and I would use a $4 part