Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 15th Oct 2015 22:32 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

In the past few weeks, Marco Arment, co-founder of Tumblr and creator of Instapaper, released version 2 of his podcast application for iOS, Overcast, for free. There's only one in-app purchase, which doesn't unlock any additional functionality, but just sends some money Arment's way. Call it patronage, if you will. Coinciding with the release, he published a blog post in which he states that any indie developer can just give away their full work for free, so his 'new' model should work for everyone.

Obviously, this caused a bit of a ruckus, since it's easy for a multimillionaire like Arment to give away his work for free. His situation is clearly unique, and most independent application developers barely get by as it is. Or, as Samantha Bielefeld puts it:

The issue isn't that Marco is successful, there are many app developers who would love to be in the same position. He has earned his time in the spotlight, and it's only natural for him to take advantage of it. Though to state that anyone can simply do the same thing and be successful, is just plain wrong. He has accelerated the race to the bottom for the podcast app category, and he comes bearing a huge following of people who will give him money for nothing in return except for the possibility of further development of Overcast. The average developer isn't being called out by name by Phil Schiller for something negative they have written about Apple. The only thing "indie" about Marco is that he works by himself. He is far removed from the typical experience of app creators, and even if it's deserved, it wouldn't hurt for him to be a little more humble, and realistic.

And she's completely and utterly right, of course.

This doesn't surprise me, though. Over three years ago, when the first Retina MacBook Pro came out, Arment and I had a Twitter exchange about something he said: he said that any web developer should immediately run out and buy this €2300 laptop because retina would be the future, and if they didn't, they weren't taking their work seriously.

I pointed out to him that for the majority of people working on the web, €2300 is a lot of money, and most of us don't have that kind of money just lying around. It might be pocket change to a millionaire, but it's almost a full month's salary for me (now - not so much in 2012, when I earned much less than I do now), and in many places in the world with active web developers, it's probably several months' worth of salary.

This exchange with Arment has always stuck with me, because I wanted to make sure that I would never turn out this way. I'm not rich by any stretch of the imagination (i.e., Dutch standards!), but despite my income being decidedly middle-class, I still belong in the, uh, I don't know, top 5% or so of the world - just by virtue of being Dutch. I'm 'rich' enough to buy several new phones, tablets, and computers a year to make sure I remain familiar with as many platforms as possible for OSNews, but I realise damn well that I'm incredibly lucky I can do so, and would never just assume that everyone else can as well.

So no, this kind of attitude doesn't surprise me at all. I call this the Donald Trump reasoning: everybody can be rich, if only they were Donald Trump.

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Some Data
by Tony Swash on Fri 16th Oct 2015 07:18 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:

This site will show how your income compares to the rest of the world

But although it will show you that (assuming you live in a developed country) you are pretty high up the global income scale don't let that fool you into thinking that things are really bad in the world - they are not. Check out the work of the wonderful Hans Rosling (and his Gapminder website) to get some perspective on just how much better the world has become in our lifetimes. Here are a few link for staters:

Reply Score: 5

RE: Some Data
by REM2000 on Fri 16th Oct 2015 07:29 in reply to "Some Data"
REM2000 Member since:

i can't mod you up as it states ive already +1 you recently, but thanks for the links they were really interesting.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Some Data
by henderson101 on Fri 16th Oct 2015 07:52 in reply to "RE: Some Data"
henderson101 Member since:

Same, and I don't even remember the last time I did. But +1 Tony.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Some Data
by Tony Swash on Fri 16th Oct 2015 15:14 in reply to "RE: Some Data"
Tony Swash Member since:

BTW - I have a website where I write about politics, economics, and especially the crisis of the eurozone.

A lot of what I write is about things that have gone wrong but I didn't want that to encourage what I see as the 'culture of pessimism;, the idea that everything is getting worse or is really bad, so I wrote a piece called 'Reasons to be cheerful'.

If you liked the Hans Rosling stuff you may find my piece interesting, its here:

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Some Data
by avgalen on Fri 16th Oct 2015 08:23 in reply to "Some Data"
avgalen Member since:

Hans Rosling was one of the reasons I started watching TED-talks. You have to love the way I understands the world and makes his points clear and backed up by facts.
From the third link his point about "To solve the worlds energy problems the rich should look at themselves" is incredibly well presented. (12 could become 22 but here is how to drop it to 9 while moving the entire world forwards)

Now more related to the actual original topic:

Edited 2015-10-16 08:39 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Some Data
by unclefester on Fri 16th Oct 2015 08:51 in reply to "Some Data"
unclefester Member since:

It is meaningless because it doesn't account for parity pricing. The cost of living in Australia is roughly 2x as much as the USA, 3-4x as high as Latin America and 10x as high as India.

An Australian earning USD15,000/year would be too poor to afford food and rent. The same income in in India would belong to a highly paid professional.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Some Data
by avgalen on Fri 16th Oct 2015 12:43 in reply to "RE: Some Data"
avgalen Member since:

Parity pricing is really hard, but by converting everything to dollars there should be some effect of parity pricing already included (exchange rates go quite a long way towards parity pricing although not all the way there of course)

But we digress from the topic andd it only strengthens the absurdity of the "if you take your job as a developer serious you should buy this Retina MacBook". MacBooks cost basically the same in every country around the world, no matter what the average income is simply because there would be massive parallel import otherwise

Reply Parent Score: 2