Fulfilling the Dream

Exactly a week ago today Chris Gonzales of Unretrofied wrote an article called iOS 7 and the State of Podcast Apps, a rather presumptuous title given the article’s actual contents, that I initially did not plan on linking to or writing anything about. At the very bottom of his article though, Chris tacked on a bracket-thetical that gave me pause:

“[Writing Unretrofied full-time is a dream of mine. It would mean the world to me if you’d consider supporting this site by becoming a member, which only costs a cup of coffee per month. If you sign up before Sunday, October 20th 2013, then you’ll be entered into a drawing for some really cool prizes.]”

Even I, both a consumer of and contributor to a community where independent writing is not only unremarkable but common, sometimes forget that behind my favorite websites, working diligently on my favorite apps, sits a single writer or developer whose livelihood depends on my fickle whims. Who, in return for a negligible amount of money, creates content I enjoy each and every day or improves upon an app I rely on constantly. Occasionally even I forget this; and yet we expect the masses to come upon this realization themselves, and decry its absence with increasing vocality every day? This is absurd; asinine, one might go so far as to say. Yet it has become the rallying cry lately, the banner behind which all gather to ask for more money in exchange for their wares.

Now don’t get me wrong: I absolutely agree with the overarching sentiment that through various mechanisms the masses have grown accustomed to assigning inordinately and undeservedly-low monetary values to content and services; that much I would be foolish to argue against. The problem I have with the discussion surrounding this issue, however, instead lies in the mixture of bafflement, indignation, and confusion creators feel towards those who do not fully understand the value proposition laid out before them, for therein lies the problem: they don’t understand that writing Untretrofied is Chris Gonzales’s dream, or that Shawn Blanc quit his job and supports his growing family with his site alone. That connection has not been made clear to them, and until it is obviated we will continue down this path in a race to the bottom.

There is a larger, more salient point to be made here about App Store pricing and the like, but it’s late to make the connection and I’m tired, much as that topic is.