[Ardour-Users] Could this solve Ardour's financial headache?

Patrick Shirkey pshirkey at boosthardware.com
Wed Jan 7 21:22:38 PST 2009

John Emmas wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Patrick Shirkey"
> Subject: Re: [Ardour-Users] Could this solve Ardour's financial headache?
>> We have at least three solutions for ramping up funding for Ardour that
>> have been put on the table. Subscriptions are doing a good job, if we
>> add the ticker and the svn access ideas into the mix then we will force
>> people to make a choice. The choice is do they like what they get from
>> Ardour and are they willing to contribute or not?
> That's all true Patrick but it's not quite the full picture.  The
> fundamental problem is that most people will only pay for software if
> there's no other way to get it.  And (most importantly) if someone *has to*
> pay for software, a one-off fee is more attractive (to most people) than an
> ongoing subscription.  What Ardour needs is a more reliable way to encourage
> those one-off payments.
> My own view is that the best time to do this is early on in the user's
> experience.  In fact, most of the previous replies have only confirmed a
> point I made in an earlier post - namely that when people start off with the
> notion of NOT having to pay for something, they are rarely receptive to
> paying for it later.  The best time to ask for payment is usually after a
> successful trial period - and the best way is either to make the s/ware time
> out (which isn't practical in Ardour's case) OR to offer something that
> isn't strictly needed but is highly desirable (such as premium support) OR
> to have a set of "pro" features that only work in the paid-for version.  I'm
> sure there must be other options too - but the key is that they must offer
> something of value that you can't get if you don't contribute (either
> financially or technically).

I agree with you on these points and would like to add another item that 
can be considered "of value" is the ability to make a feature requests 
and not have it buried by the simple fact that not enough people are 
contributing to the development kitty. I feel it would be in the 
interests of Ardour Development to push this concept as hard as 
possible. Effectively if you use it and support it then you can expect 
to be heard when you have an idea for improvements. The more people who 
support/contribute = the more improvements = the better the app.

The idea that you can contribute simply by having a good idea that makes 
the app better is what drove the Ardour development process for the 
first 5 years at least. It also creates community and encourages people 
to get involved. If the Ardour lists/forums were a thriving community of 
200 posts a day where people could expect immediate feedback e3ven with 
that many discussions taking place, and people could see the progress 
that is being made while they were working with the app then I think we 
could expect more financial contributions to roll in as well. The main 
issue I see is that the masses who are using the app for free are not 
being forced to get involved in the dev process.

Picture a scenario where midi had been partially funded. The devs were 
not able to commit to finishing the code due to lack of financial 
incentive. The Community however sees that 10 people have just 
contributed $300 and the bounty is nearly halfway paid for. There could 
be a color coded message that flashes by in the corner of the screen 
saying the news and we see the color change from green to yellow, yellow 
to orange, orange to red then a quick message from Paul saying the 
development phase had started and 2 weeks later we have the new feature.

Now with 10-20000 active users this scenario would create a community 
vibe, spirit and results.

Just having people anonymously pay for unlocking features or turning off 
advertising, getting compile access is kind of boring and doesn't give 
much back to the dev process except money. Making sure that everyone 
knows what is going on turns it from being a solitary buzz to a group buzz.


Patrick Shirkey
Boost Hardware Ltd.

Patrick Shirkey
Boost Hardware Ltd.

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