People: “We want platforms and tools created by independent developers and small teams!”
The same people: “We want platforms and tools that work perfectly and meet all of our needs!”
Also the same people: “$3.99 is the most we want to pay for any of this stuff and monthly/annual subscriptions are the devil’s work!”
Like, I don’t know, folks. Pick any two, but maybe you can’t have all three?
I get that you pay for something and you want it to work; beyond that, when we build these tech tools into our personal and professional lives, it really sucks when they stop working or don’t work in the ways we expect them to. I mean—goddamnit, I just want the stupid thermostat to stay connected to the wifi so that I can turn up the heat in the basement before I go down there later to watch a movie.
I feel like we have all internalized this idea that everything will always work and it will be all cheap or free.
And in large part, we have internalized that idea through no fault of our own. After all, a multi-billion/trillion dollar industry had spent the better part of the last three decades trying to convince us that the tech products they sell are groundbreaking, indispensable, and reliable. And a sizeable chunk of that same industry has spend the last twenty(ish) years telling us that there is no real cost to any of it.
So yeah—no big surprise that these expectations are now built into our assessments of the software and systems that we use, but I think they need to change. No one should be expecting tools to be perfect or to do everything they want. Beyond that, though, these expectations need to change if we really are looking for a smaller, more sustainable, more humane internet.
I think I also feel differently about software subscriptions when they are for stuff that is built by small shops. As a customer, sure—I want to be able to pay for something once had then have it be something I own. But I also think that software is rarely a finished product and developers should be able to have an ongoing income from the stuff they are building, maintaining, and improving.