Is the price right? Answering YES is yet another reason to know your users

Yesterday, I decided to spend $20/month on Typeshare.

Typeshare is the “Social blogging” platform I started using as part of Ship 30 for 30. I don’t need most of it. I have an active blog already; it has more than 2,000 subscribers, I am not replacing it. I started using Typeshare to follow the course, but I post each essay on my blog. As the trial offer ended, I thought I didn’t need to upgrade.

Then I realized it has one single feature I can’t miss anymore.

The cost and value of software are uncorrelated.

I have been building software for 25 years.

The investment required to build an app or a site varies wildly, but that’s the cost of the first client. Beyond that first one, the equation changes, and as the user base grows, the price per customer drops rather quickly. In the case at hand, it’s probably hard to even put a number on the cost of generating an image from an essay to share it on Twitter.

But I publish one every day.

What is the value of solving the problem for your user?

30 essays each month.

I spent an hour trying solutions, but in the end, I couldn’t get to anything that would take me less than 10 minutes to generate an image of my essay that was elegant and readable. That’s 300 minutes, or 5 hours, per month. So without considering the hassle, by saving those 20 bucks, I’d be paying myself $4/hour.

That’s very low by all definitions, especially considering my essays don’t tip.

Start with the user

Anyone looking at Typeshare would most likely consider asking $20/month crazy from a cost perspective.

Yet as a user, I feel it’s a bargain.

Building products focused on people’s needs isn’t just how you build the right thing; it’s also how you can extract the correct value.

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