The (Software) Innovator’s Dilemma

This post by Dan Bricklin entitled “Thinking about how to make a living as an entrepreneur software developer” should be essential reading for anyone (like me) who helps entrepreneurs develop business and legal models to protect — and make money from — their software.

Bricklin discusses the several options that are available to him (none of which are perfect), including:

  1. traditional proprietary software model (sell the software directly or via distributors)
  2. shareware/trialware models (pay if you like it, distribute via the Internet)
  3. open source with paid service model (source code is free, support costs)
  4. “somewhat” open source model (free for non-commercial use, paid for commercial use; like Movalbe Type, where the source code is modifiable but not redistributable)

Bricklin notes that a new type of software model is needed. He notes:

“While I think I fully understand and appreciate the benefits to society of GPL-style licenses, I’m looking to get at least some of those benefits in a way that can support an entrepreneur developer. ‘Proprietary source’ does not bother me, I just know that it’s not the only way, either. I’d love to find a hybrid that works in certain cases to the benefit of all.”

I’m eagerly awaiting his follow-up post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *