The personal website of Chris Coyier

Reading Outside the Sphere

Sometimes the most pleasurable articles to read are the ones that are shared with you by someone else. That “you should read this” moment is kind of special. One reason I appreciate having co-workers is this. They share great stuff that I probably wouldn’t have come across otherwise. Two just last week.

One was about selling your software to enterprise companies, even if you really aren’t set up for that.

Enterprise pricing is discontinuous with normal pricing. If the $250 a month plan entitles you to 500 foozles and an Enterprise needs 5,000 foozles, that costs thousands or tens thousands of dollars per month. If an Enterprise only needs 500 foozles, that costs thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per month. If an Enterprise only needs 50 foozles, that costs thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per month. This is partially justified by the amount of pain you’re signing up for by doing an Enterprise sales process, but is mostly just pure, naked price discrimination. Enterprises are not price conscious. Don’t attempt to sell them based on your price.

Sounds right to me. Dealing with enterprise can be such a pain in the ass, that charging $5,000/month for a $50/month plan is actually fair. All the process and hoop jumping isn’t just annoying, it’s taking away from the other work you should be doing. So if this is the work you are doing now, the numbers need to work out right.

The other was Stevey’s Google Platforms Rant. 8+ years old. The whole point is that Google does everything right, and Amazon does everything wrong, except for one thing, and that one thing is so important that it puts them far ahead. That one thing is dogfooding all their own services.

The Golden Rule of Platforms, “Eat Your Own Dogfood”, can be rephrased as “Start with a Platform, and Then Use it for Everything.” You can’t just bolt it on later. Certainly not easily at any rate — ask anyone who worked on platformizing MS Office. Or anyone who worked on platformizing Amazon. If you delay it, it’ll be ten times as much work as just doing it correctly up front. You can’t cheat. You can’t have secret back doors for internal apps to get special priority access, not for ANY reason. You need to solve the hard problems up front.