You Don’t Need Everyone to be a Customer, You Just Need the RIGHT Ones!

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Free There’s a great article in Inc. about 37Signals recent decision to charge customers for a new product release, the outcry that followed and Jason Fried’s response to that outcry.

It’s about time someone with a loud voice said, “it’s really okay to charge folks.” The “let’s perform magic for nothing” makes me a little stir crazy at times in Silicon Valley, where a lot of social media start-ups and purists somehow think everything should be free.

The details? 37Signals put a $9.99 price tag on a piece of software. Make no mistake, there are plenty of iPhone apps in the App store that don’t charge a thing, and others that cost $9.99 on the high end.

The article talks about a product they released called Draft, which cuts out a bunch of steps people would have to do, saving them a pile of time. The concept? Sketch out an idea, tap a button, and automatically upload it directly to a Campfire chat room — no Sharpie, no paper, no scanner, no waste, no extra steps. Just draw, tap, done.

Draft is apparently the only drawing app for the iPad that works this way. In other words, the app can have a significant positive impact on your productivity. I guess his point is – isn’t that worth something?

Says Jason, “we think free is a business cancer. Offering some stuff for free is fine as long as you have something else to sell. But “we’ll give it all away for free and figure out how to make money later” isn’t much of a business model in our minds.”  He adds, “we have no interest in participating in a race to the bottom.” Instead of going for the land grab, they created a small island.

Hear hear Jason and team and hats off to ya! What companies need to remember is that you don’t need EVERYONE to be a customer, you just need the RIGHT ones.

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