MacHeist: even more stuff

MacHeist has caught some flak in the past for selling indie Mac developer wares at a price that’s too low (by some reckonings, see below). On the other hand, those developers are choosing to become part of the promotion and MacHeist raises money for charity. This go around, they’ve raised more than $320,000.

I bought the heist primarily for PixelMator and 1password, though I’ve also found that I enjoy CoverSutra. There are a lot of other apps in the $49 bundle that make it a good deal for many (Snapz Pro X!)

Update: I can’t believe I missed noticing this. The bundle now includes Vector Designer as well. That means that you get a vector drawing program (imagine Adobe Illustrator Lite) and a bitmap editor (Adobe Photoshop Lite). Plus everything else in the bundle. It really is a great deal for the buyer.

I’m mentioning the heist again here on my blog because they’ve opened up more apps and they’ve added a referral program that delivers even more cool software. So, if you’re thinking of buying the heist, time is running out… and please use my link.

Update (1/23/08): Thanks to everyone who bought the Heist through my link. I did indeed get a copy of NoteBook. I hope you enjoy the software bundle! It’s working out nicely for me so far.

Would I be a part of the Heist?

With all of that said, I think it is an interesting question: would I want software I create to be a part of something like MacHeist?

During the first Heist, Gus Mueller broke down the numbers and decided it wasn’t a good deal. I don’t think it’s so clear cut.

First of all, I think it’s better to focus business decisions on absolute measures rather than relative measures. Consider stock market investing. Many mutual funds will compare themselves to the S&P 500 (if they’re lucky enough to be beating it). Let’s say that they beat the S&P 500 by 1% over the past 3 months. That’s pretty darn good performance. Except for the fact that you just lost 10% (for the past 3 months, the S&P 500 is down 11.69%).

Yes, I know that you can’t time the market and all of that. My point is that by relative measures that mutual fund was a winner. Absolutely, though, it was a dog. You could’ve just left your money in a mattress.

So, for a second let’s remove the relative earnings of the MacHeist guys from the equation.

Users cost money in terms of support, but have the potential to bring in word-of-mouth (or word-of-blog) advertising. A micro ISV could get absolutely swamped by a sudden influx of thousands of new users, unless their product was absolutely rock solid, super easy to use and/or had a good, active set of forums to which people could turn for support.

The reason to go for a MacHeist would be the advertising you get from the heist itself, word-of-mouth from people who buy the heist, and upgrade revenue later on. All of that comes at a cost of lower (tiny, even) initial sale revenue and a likely deluge of support work.

If I was just getting a cool, but little known product off the ground (PixelMator?), it may very well be worthwhile. If I had a major upgrade coming in a few months (Notebook?), then I might be a participant. Acquiring users for the sake of having users is a bad goal. But, getting a product off the ground or building up a reasonable expectation of upgrade revenue is a good goal.

As for the MacHeist share of the pie: I’d focus first on whether my needs in the deal are getting met. Once that’s true, then I’d try to push for what I think is a fair balance between my share and that of MacHeist. But, that is definitely a secondary concern. If MacHeist is providing the best avenue for meeting my business needs, it’s worth the cost. Companies pay $1 million+ for a 30 second spot during the Super Bowl, because they feel that it fits their business needs. The same goes for a marketing opportunity like MacHeist.

That was the long answer. The short answer to whether I would participate in such a promotion is likely “no”, because the cost is too great. Only under the fairly limited set of circumstances above (new unknown product or coming upgrades) would I consider it.