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Gift idea: a software license

Posted by daniel on March 29, 2004 at 6:36 AM PST

There's a piece of software you really like, why not buy licenses for a friend or two?

Sure, there are lots of things wrong with that idea, but before you dismiss it, take a look at Daniel Brookshier's Peer-to-Peer, JXTA, and Making a Lot of Money with Viral Marketing in's
Also in Java Today
. You may think "what a waste of money, what if they don't like and don't use the software". But think about the times that you've bought someone a CD or some item for their house and apartment - doesn't the same reasoning apply?"

Brookshier makes a distinction that is important. "You are more likely to install a piece of software if a friend bought you a license. It is a gift. People accept gifts. Compare this to a single license. If your friend buys a chat program, you must also buy a copy to chat with them. That’s not a gift, that’s a burden that your friend is imposing on you. You will resist purchasing a copy because it is not your idea and the chat application may not interest you too much. As a gift however, you will willingly install it and try it out. If it does turn out to be useful, you may buy a copy for your other friends."

He asks and answers the question "How do you get people to buy enough copies so that there is a large group of interconnected users? An alternative to selling a user a single license, is to sell several that they have the right to distribute to acquaintances, family, and coworkers. For example, have 3 to 5 licenses as your standard package rather than just one, In fact, never let a customer buy just one copy."

Social networks such as Orkut are like this without the cost. You can only join if you are invited by an existing member. This is smart because there is no way I would have joined unless a friend had invited me. When a friend makes a suggestion of software I should look at or a movie, book, or article that might interest me, I tend to follow through. Maybe the same works for shareware. See Felipe Leme's blog on LinkedIn below.

One thing we've been planning here since our launch is a bookclub. Each month we'll pick a book and host a discussion forum for it. I don't know if it's exactly like getting a recommendation from a friend, but we're hoping that there will be sufficiently many people interested in discussing different books each month. Some months the books will be technical and some they will be more general. We're starting soon with Fred Brooks' classic "The Mythical Man Month". If you'd like to pick up a copy or dust off the one on your bookshelf, we'll let you know when things get started.

Often learning a new language can strengthen your existing programming skills. Sometimes you better understand how a construct works and other times you are introduced to unfamiliar techniques. In Lisp and Java , Dan Milstein steals "an idea from one of the most theft-worthy languages out there: Lisp. We're going to pick out one of its most useful features -- the ability to treat functions as data -- and talk about how to apply this feature, in a slightly different form, in Java. In the course of doing so, we'll give a very (very) brief introduction on how to read Lisp code. We'll also develop a small but useful library for JDBC and collections programming that you are welcome to use, abuse, and extend as you see fit. "

In today's Weblogs , Mike Loukides clears off his desk in Omnibus:BlogzOnBlogz. His blog covers the angry entry by John Munsch on his news reader, my commentary on Jini enabling Java applications (I need to write my own open letter), and on open-source Java.

Bill Day passes on a report "that now that PalmOne and PalmSource are both shipping an integrated J2ME implementation, things are a lot simpler for J2ME app deployment to PalmOS devices" in OTA MIDlet Installation on PalmOS Devices.

Felipe Leme has a nice hack for LinkedIn that allows you to click on an email address and be redirected to a LinkedIn invitation page with all fields filled in. In When LinkedIn met JSTL he shows you how he coded this up and invites you to try it out.

In today's Projects and Communities , the key to Killer Applications and JXTA is that every server can be a client. This means "The information, storage, processing, and communications can start at either end. In the world of applications this also means that I don't have to work in a world of centralized resources where there are multiple issues."

The Java Web Services and XML
community is providing weekly drops of JAXB. Click through the license and download the latest binaries.

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