Writing

Software, technology, sysadmin war stories, and more. Feed
Wednesday, July 3, 2013

It's gone gone gone and it's not coming back

That service was so useful.

It was free.

Nobody ever thought it could ever disappear.

Unfortunately, the people running it didn't see it that way.

They probably could have kept it running for a long time. It's just a bunch of bits and bytes. But they didn't.

They decided to shut it down. The users were told.

Users set out in search of alternatives. Some found them. Others built them. More than a few just abandoned the space entirely.

Some of those users might have been done with that kind of service. Others just didn't want to start all over again and decided they were better off not getting stuck in that kind of relationship for a second time.

A few genuinely wanted to keep using this sort of thing but were unable to find a replacement. Perhaps someone else had set them up in the first place, and they were just happy users. Heavy technical lifting was not their thing.

The rationalization and pleading started.

Why can't they keep it up? It can't use that many resources.

Why now?

Why is there no replacement?

The questions went on like this.

But there's one question which kept coming up.

Why didn't they just start charging for it?

That one's easy. They'd have to support it. You can't just charge for something and expect to ignore paying customers. They get certain amounts of leverage once that starts happening, and the provider can't have that.

They'd have to start supporting it. It might not be good support, but it would have to be something. Otherwise the paying customers might start grabbing their pitchforks and torches.

More than anything else, it might just come down to one thing: charging money means supporting it, and supporting it means dealing with people.

They hate that.

Humans are so squishy and nondeterministic while computers are so wonderfully cold and calculating.

Anything which would involve squishiness is to be shunned. Only the heartless pursuit of technology is worthy of their efforts.

...

How do you tell an introvert programmer from an extrovert programmer? The extroverted one is looking at your shoes.