Before the Internet, everything had a price. This price is based on the resources needed to come up with what is being sold. The price of a book is the price you pay for the resources in order to print the book and the wages you pay the people who are involved in it. You also pay for the the printer, the author who came up with the original idea, etc.
Invisible Production Costs
With the dawn of the Internet in the digital age, this concept has changed tremendously. That is because the production costs for some items are not visible; you receive these items in digital form. That pretty much doesn’t cost anything. For example, if you have a flat rate and you have big hard disk space, it doesn’t cost you anything to have an eBook.
Selling the Idea
Now, at the core of all these is the idea. The costs are much more related to ideas now than they were before. You pay money for the idea and the things that have been done around this idea. You don’t pay for the thing itself. This thing, which was based on an idea, doesn’t have a physical body. This is somewhat of a FREE mentality.
We have seen in the last several years that this FREE mentality can achieve great things. For example, Open Office has taken a big chunk from Microsoft Office. We have also seen things that come up in Ubuntu, which is widely used because it is very easy to use. Furthermore, it has great features, a great support program, and is mostly free.
Open Source Development
The open source development is very new, exciting, and has tremendously changed the way we make business for software. And now, this open source idea is spreading to various places. For example, I know a person in the Netherlands, specifically in Nejmegen, and they are specializing in doing projects without any money. That may sound strange, but they get it done, and it’s even more fun than doing it with money.
Thinking in Terms of Time Spent
On the other hand, sometimes you come to a point where you need to pay for something. For me, this is often the pro version of a program that I decided to buy. Still, buying in this case can be facilitated by thinking about what your time is worth. Right now, working as a freelance consultant, I make about 80 Euros per hour. If I buy a program for a hundred bucks, that saves me 10 minutes for every hour I work. As you can see, I’ve earned the money back for the program quite quickly.
I no longer think in terms of money anymore, but in terms of time spent. For example, let’s take my real average income which would be more like 40 euro per hour. If the program I bought costs a hundred bucks, it costs me two and a half hours. But if it saves me 10 minutes per hour that I’m using the program for a specific task, after 15 hours of using the program, I’m at zero, and after that, I’m gaining something from it.
I’ll strongly urge you to look at time when you buy software. Look at time and count in time. It makes much more sense than counting in money. Obviously, in the long run, it’s all the same. I think the time spent on something is more related to your daily routine or your daily work. Use it as reference, and it’s an easier concept to grasp.