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Running a business in today's environment is hard. This doesn't preclude me from having some opinions on some of the dumber things that happen.
20040821(Business):Pricing Software
Here is something interesting: a primer describing how much you should charge for your new software. (Also, here's Joel Spolsky's take on the same topic.)

Interestingly enough, the author understands that price should be related to value (ie, the alleged value that the product has to the end-user), and not related to the cost of production at all.

To simplify: business make money by exploiting the gap between cost and value by having a price close to value. The only relationship that price has to cost is that as long as

cost < price
...then the business makes money. How much money is determined on the size of that gap, and how it relates to the supply/demand curve.

Interestingly, although supply is effectively infinite (it costs practically nothing to produce another unit), this doesn't drive the price down to zero like you might expect because the supplier has a monopoly -- ie, the only (legal) supplier of Microsoft Money is Microsoft, and they set a price which controls demand, limiting the supply requirements.

20031005(Business):An Automobile Accident
Drivers Deserting Detroit screams this Globe and Mail headline. Of course, this article contains all the requisite hand-waving necessary for such an article:
  • we don't get to see whether the total market is growing or shrinking, either in terms of total units or total sale revenues;
  • the article has lots of stats about how domestic automobiles have fewer initial defects per 100 vehicles than they used to, and fewer than the 'average'

Market share is not something which should be terribly important to businesses. What should be more important is what your individual business is doing in terms of units and revenues. Question: would you rather have 70% of a $200 million industry, or 10% of a $10 billion industry?

All that said, in many places the domestic manufacturers have a bad reputation for both initial and long-term quality problems. The article notes that if you alienate someone for two product cycles, that could be 25 years before he is in a position to even consider your product again. Many people still have not forgiven Detroit for the "cars" they purchased in the '80s... I know that it is extremely unlikely I will ever end up with something from the Big Three automakers.

20020109(Business):Bizarre Financial Dealings
Would you go for a financial deal like this?

Read More:Make Money Fast!

20010723(Business):Office Space
I've been thinking about my office at the office (as opposed to the office at my home... if you follow me). Specifically, what makes a good office and what makes a bad office. There are different types of layouts, and there are different reasons to use them.

This is completely unscientific -- this is just what I've thought after working in these situations, and watching others work in these situations.

Read More:have you seen my stapler?

20010426(Business):Time Off Or Else
So I see that both Sun and HP are forcing employees to take vacation time as a cost-cutting measure. In Sun's case, they are shutting down all but essential services (customer support and revenue collection) around the July 4 holiday, while HP has vaguely asked employees to take six days off between May 1 and October 31.

Naturally, I have an opinion.

Originally published to NerdPerfect.

Read More:Naturally. An opinion.

20010104(Business):Dot Apocalypse
My always reliable sources at NetSlaves have produced another lengthy screed about the dot-apocalypse that we are now living through. This particular article attempts to shift some of the blame for the deflation of this sector onto the media. Go read it, then come back here for my take on the article.

Originally published to NerdPerfect.

Read More:I love blaming the media.

20001210(Business):Why Management Sucks
While cruising NetSlaves, I hit upon an article which discusses why middle management is such a hell that seems to attract the wrong types. (Kindly excuse the gross-oversimplification -- that's where the article heads.) The premise of the article is that the jobs in new media, be they content generators (writers, editors, and whatever an image-producer is called these days) or IT types (webmasters, programmers, even internal help-desk staff), these jobs all defy typical middle management because the middle management does not understand these jobs. In the ideal world, a project manager is a job which would be promoted from within from the User Interface/Interface Architect ranks. Instead, you hire people who can handle Visio.

There's just one teensy problem with this idea. Some of your staff, your best and brightest every-day hands on people, really really really don't want to be managers.

Originally published to NerdPerfect.

Read More:Your reports may be late.


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