Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Problem with stealth transactions

Years ago I found myself contemplating an open source application I had been using. Had thought it was ok, not great, but ok, and now it was telling me that I should donate to the developers. I contemplated that for a bit, and then deleted it off my system.

Business is about transactions. I state that without worrying about justifying it and in an earlier post where I talk about what other people want I said:

Businesses try to find out what people want, and they don't just give it to you. They try to get transactions, where there is a buying decision made. Where it's agreed to ahead of time that you will get something, and then give some amount of money in return.
To me if you want money from me, let me know upfront. Don't wait until later and surprise me. I call leaning on people to make a buying decision later than normal an attempt at a stealth transaction.

I think it's sneaky.

One of the ideas I've considered as I continue my contemplation about money, is a stated social contract for users of my work or ideas. But essentially it'd say things like free is free. If I give an idea away, it's given. Don't worry about me coming back later to squeeze you for something.

Not that I haven't considered it at times. But it gives me a queasy feeling. Just doesn't feel right.

My own view with stealth transactions should be clear from my example above: is a great way for me to not do business with you.

Business should be upfront. If you want someone to buy something from you, let them know upfront. Don't try to obligate them and then squeeze them into some kind of contract after the fact.

Thinking out loud a bit. Wondering if I should talk more about a social contract, but then again, I don't think there is really one if people are just sharing things. It's like, here you go! Take it or leave it. I don't care.

And don't worry, not going to bug you about it later. Ah, such a relief. No social contract necessary.

James Harris
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