A Line in the Sand

Vesper, by Q Branch
Vesper. Collect your thoughts.

I’ve been a fan of John Gruber’s Daring Fireball since it launched, and if you were to rummage through my t-shirt collection, you’d find a rather odd stack of DF t-shirts that basically chronicle the life of the site. When he and the team at Q Branch decided to launch Vesper, a note taking app, it was a foregone conclusion that I would purchase it. It’s a great app, and I use it often, and love the care and detail that these fanatics have put into this simple, delightful tool.

I was disappointed that it was $2.99.

Why would a trio of fanatics make an awesome tool that works exactly as it says it does, looks beautiful, launches quickly and never crashes price their app as if it were a throw-away? What the actual fuck?

Thank the gods we’re moving past this madness. The pricing on the app store has devalued the work of engineers and programmers and designers and it’s about time that it  absolutely comes to a halt. Panic has been pricing their apps higher for a while, and needs to continue, but when I brought that up to people, they pointed out that the functionality of their apps makes it more likely that they would be bought by people who do programming or design, and they know the gig. While Vesper is for everyone, while Transmit is not.

The OmniGroup also prices their apps at a sustainable level, and seem to be doing ok, but again, their apps are a bit more focused, and while the argument that Omni apps are also for a niche-ish market can be made, I own several and have used them for years. OmniOutliner was my go-to for notes before Vesper, even tho it really wasn’t designed for that.

The latest update of Vesper includes a line in the sand against the desperation pricing that is destroying great app development on mobile devices. Vesper will now cost a very reasonable $9.99, and I’m hoping there’s a way I can re-buy the app.

I spend $5 on a coffee, and $12 on a martini, which are even more ephemeral than the 1s and 0s of an app, and last quite a bit less. I spend at least $10 on a meal, and sometimes a shameful amount above that, and it’s not like I’m starving myself to redirect some of that money towards paying for good things. I am not alone in this, and if you don’t think the stuff that you shove into your $800 hand-held computer should work well and afford a life for those who make them, you are an asshole.

It’s 2015, people. Pay for the art you like. Pay for the work put in to make the great tools that improve your life. Pay for music. Pay for entertainment. And pay well, because your life is short, money isn’t the goal, and if you continue to focus on keeping it, you’ll find that old Montanan saying is true; Money is just like manure. If you don’t spread it around it’s just a pile of shit.