This is a followup to the post I wrote late last night regarding my feelings on the Readability and Evernote announcements to directly compete with Instapaper.
First off, let me present a fundamental principle that I hold to. I think that software is best made by small, independent companies. A couple of people, self-funded, working towards the goal of great software. Over the last year or so I’ve observed what may be the beginnings of a Walmart-ification of the App Store. Fewer and fewer, hand crafted apps are being successful - pushed out by titles made by larger companies. There are, thankfully, exceptions to this trend but overall it seems to be the way things are moving. I am clearly biased in this regard since that is how I make my living, but either way that is how I feel.
The Clarification: I was not at all implying that I thought it was surprising that other people are moving into a profitable space. That this came out of no where. Indeed, that was what I meant by my opening statement “Getting punched in the gut hurts, even if you know it’s coming.” The point I’m trying to make has nothing to do with whether these product announcements were predictable or forewarned.
The Correction: In my post I included Read It Later in the list of companies that have recently gone after Instapaper. The way I wrote it implies that they were copycats. Which at the time of writing I thought they were. I have since been corrected to know that their product has been around for some time. The main reason that I mentioned them was not actually not related to a question of origin, but a question of funding. They did take funding over the summer which is what I had in mind when I was writing. I’ve removed them from the initial post to remove that distraction.
No Apology: I hold quite firmly to the belief that software is best made, when handcrafted. When I see forces that threaten that truth, I’m upset by them. I’m also a realist and know that if there is a buck to be made people are going to find a way to get it. But that doesn’t change my desire for things to be another way. Ultimately, I think there will always be a market for indie software. In the same way that there is still a market for fine watches and specialty coffee, some people will always value things that are exquisitely made. And I, for one, will continue to support those developers in whatever way I can.