Tuesday, July 08, 2003

After posting last night I got to thinking about exactly what I thought was cheap or expensive for a utility like Dated. And I realized I was thinking as if there was a crrect answer to this question.

There is an old joke which says that an economist is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. (I think this originated in the 1920s - if anyone has an early source I would be really interested.) Now economists assume that the only value some tradable item has is its value to an individual and varies from person to person, so the �correct� price of anything is at least as much as the value the seller sets on it and not more than the value the buyer sets on it. What they forget is that it may be irrational to place too high or too low a value on some item. There is such a thing as a reasonable price for something, where that is the price that a reasonable person would give for it. (Aside for philosophers: economics assumes that there is only subjective value, but that relative value can be converted into price, but price is objective. How do they avoid contradiction?)

Okay, enough of that digression. What would a reasonable person pay for a utility like Dated? I reckon $5. Any less and we are in the realm of micro-payment systems. Perhaps a single function utility is only worth 99c like a song downloaded from the Apple Music Store, but there are quite reasonable volume and distribution issues here which make me think a higher price can be reasonable. But go over $5 and you begin to talk a some of money one would be upset about dropping down a drain. I other words, >$5 and we are talking about comparing the purchase to others and entering it in a budget. While it is true that Dated will allow me to do a job in a minute or two which might take half an hour without it, the job is one I only need to do once or at most twice a year. I may have less time to waste than I would like, but I can still manage half an hour every six months.

I used to think BT Toggle was a little over-priced at $10, but though its functions are very specific, they are things which benefit one every day.

And here is the punchline: Dated full version has been released today at $8. What do I think? A high enough price to make me pause, but a low enough price to keep me interested. I would be interested in your comments.