You’ve worked hard. You’re ready. Your product is awesome. You’re geared up. It’s time. You launch.
You check your email. The first order comes in. Then the next. Pretty soon it’s a flood. You beat your single day goal. You beat your strech goal. This is awesome! You’re excited. You go out to dinner, order champagne. Sales roll in overnight.
By the time you wake up the next morning (probably with a hangover), your excitement has truly built to almost an unbearable level. But then the inevitable happens: your sales slow down to a small stream. Then a trickle. Then to almost nothing.
You’d like to start a business – a successful business. But you don’t know how. Replacing your salary and your boring job with a successful business seems impossible. But it’s not impossible. In fact, it’s easier than you think – if you do it right.
I used to think that starting a business was impossible until I did it. Even though my business is still young and growing, it’s on track to perform extremely well this year. Of course, I have the benefit of a monthly salary that keeps me from having to sell, but that’s a safety net, not an excuse.
To say that I love Github would be a bit of an understatement. I more than recommend it when describing code review processes. At Mozilla, the web development team uses Github for our code reviews, since line notes and pull requests work perfectly with our code review requirements. Github allows a large distributed team to work independently while still working together.
However, recently Github has experienced some issues with it’s performance. Thankfully, most of these issues have been minor. But the issues highlight a serious potential flaw in using Github for critical development processes:
For years, the conventional wisdom for software developers has been that they can do their normal jobs during the day, and then offer their services on the side as freelancers or consultants. I bought into this notion for a long time, slowly raising my rates and offering my services to a variety of clients.
Yet I found that this was unsatisfying, and I knew that I wanted to do more. Not because I dislike my job or because I hate solving problems, but because I wanted to stop trading time for money.
When you buy a book on Amazon, the transaction ends when the book gets packaged up and shipped (or delivered wirelessly over Whispernet). There are no updates (typos are corrected over Whispernet, but content is not updated), no connection to the author, no new versions when the material changes. For most books this is just fine: novels don’t have “updated content” and cookbooks rarely change either. But for technical books this sucks: technology changes quickly, and with the release of one minor version, your technical book (which you spent so much money on) is now totally worthless.
Paper books are notoriously hard to update, and you certainly don’t receive a new copy for free when a new edition comes out. Even the technical books that do get updated still require you to purchase a whole new copy! College students will tell you about “edition hell”, where professors (who receive a free version of the book) update the edition with minor changes, and ruin the used book process. Everybody has to buy a $90 textbook, because there are no used ones in the “required edition.”
Yesterday, an (understandably) frustrated gentlemen tweeted a link saying the fact that my book’s print and ebook editions were priced the same, was “greed.” While this was a bit hyperbolic to be sure (and the price being identical was in fact a mistake that has now been corrected), it sparked a discussion about book pricing and content value that gave me pause to reconsider all I had previously thought about buying a print versus an ebook.
It’s not uncommon to see ebooks priced lower, and in many cases significantly lower than their print counterparts. It makes logical sense on first pass: the cost of printing, storing and distributing physical media is higher than the cost to send an ebook to a purchaser via email. Marco Tabini points out that “when you buy a can of beans at the supermarket, it’s the beans you really want, not the can, which is simply a convenient medium for the manufacturer to sell you their goods.”