Sorry for the repost… For some reason Community Server borked the original post for readers with IE.
Sometimes you are lucky enough to work for a company with a
good value system. Sometimes you are lucky enough to work for a company that
actually sticks to their value system.
My first real job was as a network administrator/database developer for Eagle
Crest resort in Redmond, OR. The CEO of the resort drove a car with a vanity
license plate consisting of the letters ADIAD. One morning I asked Jerry just
what that license plate meant. He said: “Rod, that stands for A Deal Is A
Deal”. During my time of employment at that company that value was
executed time after time. From that experience, that little acronym has stuck
with me for the last 20+ years. I have tried to run my life and business
according to those values.
Sometimes those values work in my favor. Sometimes they
don’t. Many years ago I worked on some courseware for a company. I offered up
my price for the courseware and the company accepted it. Later on I found out
how much another instructor was paid for equivalent courseware. I was a little
miffed, but I didn’t complain. I made a better deal the next time. You see I
got what I asked for. ADIAD.
A few years later fellow Los Techies blogger and my best friend John Petersen had
a similar situation. He took a small consulting job with another developer we
know. During the consulting gig he found out how much our developer friend was
paid for the job. It was significantly more than the compensation he asked for,
and received. John and I discussed the “fairness” of this situation. During
this discussion I asked him a question: “How much did you ask for? And
were you paid that amount?” The answer was yes. I responded ADIAD, next
time you will make a better deal. While the ethics or straighforwardness of the
other developer may be called into question, ADIAD.
I am telling you this story because over the last couple of weeks something
interesting has transpired. Two companies have made decisions to turn what were
once free products into paid products. The first company I will mention is Red
Gate Software. In 2008 Red Gate took over the maintenance of a product called
Reflector. Reflector is a tool that is used by .NET developers to decompile and
peer into the source code of .NET assemblies. Until 2008 Reflector was
maintained and provided to the .NET community for free. Until last week
Reflector remained a free product. Not anymore. In a few months Red Gate will
begin charging for the product. Now this would be no big deal if not for what
Red Gate said when they took over the product. Lutz Roeder and James
Moore (of Redgate) were interviewed by Bob Cramblitt of simple-talk.com (http://www.simple-talk.com/opinion/opinion-pieces/the-future-of-reflector-/).
In this interview James Moore of Red Gate said they would keep Reflector free
for the community. Mr. Moore said: “I
think we can provide a level of resources that will move the tool forward in a
big way. The first thing we are doing is continuing to offer the software
to the community for free downloading”.
This has proven to be a real issue for the community and Red
Gate. Red Gate is an active supporter of the .NET community (In the interest of
full disclosure as a Microsoft MVP, Red Gate provides us free licenses) and
this is not a good way of dealing with the community. It’s hard to put the
horse back in the barn but it could have definitely been handled better. Red
Gate should have subscribed to the ADAID principle. They might have bitten off
more than they could handle in supporting this as a free product. But they
should have stood by their word and kept the product free. If they didn’t want
to continue investing in the product they could have open sourced it. The PR
from that alone would have been very valuable to them. Now I have no idea how
much they paid for Reflector but sometimes you make a deal that you just have
to live with.
The second case of a free product going from free to paid is Pivotal Tracker.
pivotal tracker is an online project management system. A few weeks ago Pivotal
announced that they were moving to a paid pricing model. The reaction from that
community could have not been more different. The community responded
positively to the change. But there were also criticisms of the decision that
the company responded to. There were two interesting things. Pivotal gave the
community notice giving the community another 6 months of free usage. That is
enough time for companies to seek alternatives. The second item is that pivotal
would remain free for individuals. These two items were probably what helped
that community receive the change more favorably. I am not sure what deal, or
if there ever was one, that Pivotal made with its community. But the way they
handled this was much better IMO. To provide details regarding the history of
this announcement and subsequent changes, here are links to the original post and the
I am not sure how either of these cases will shake out but
each case can teach us all an important lesson. In life you are only as good as
your word. A Deal Is A Deal.