Ayende @ Rahien

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I ain’t going against my professional judgment pro bono

I had an interesting conversation with a guy about some problem he was having. This was just one of those “out of the blues” contacts that happen, when someone contact me to ask a question. He presented a problem that I see all too often, trying to create a system in which the entities are doing everything, and he run into problems with that (to be fair, he run into a unique set of problems with that). I gave him a list of blog posts are articles to read, suggesting the right path to go. After a few days, he replied with:

I went over your advised reading in depth, but let me describe in short the properties and functions of our system, which I think causes the system to be an exception to those methods.

He then proceed to outlay his problem, a proposed solution and then asked a very specific NHibernate question that was a blocking stumbling block to get ahead with the solution he wanted. My reply was that he took the wrong approach, a suggestion how to resolve it in a different manner and a link to our NHibernate Commercial Support option.

Comments

Rafael Belliard
08/29/2010 01:30 PM by
Rafael Belliard

Well done. Often friends will try to ask for a little too much help on a particular subject we dominate, ignoring the fact that the time spent on support is actually a) time that could have been spent producing more $goods or in your case, writing posts for the community.

Anyone who follows this blog should know that due to the 254 things at a time he usually does (in what seems to be 36 hours days), trying to make Ayende work for free is border-line lunacy.

scooletz
08/30/2010 08:15 AM by
scooletz

'We're so unique!' The most common disease in IT world. I'm glad you can charge the guy for his uniqueness ;-)

Rafal
08/30/2010 09:04 AM by
Rafal

This 'Commercial NHibernate Support' is pricey as hell. 500 Eur for a support call ... ahem, you're right, they have chosen a wrong tool. They should buy a commercial ORM at the beginning, for 500 eur they would get a license and a year of tech support.

Steve Py
08/30/2010 10:01 AM by
Steve Py

@Rafal: It has to be. If you haven't done a stint in the MSDN forums I'd recommend it to see why support needs to be expensive.

As a business you can give people a discussion forum, provide documentation, FAQs, and host discussions and demonstrations around your product... But if you give them a telephone number or e-mail address you are going to get hammered with lots of people asking the same trivial or misdirected questions, and they don't go away when you tell them (politely) to "RTFM". Forums like MSDN are where many of the trivial and misdirected questions end up, I don't think anyone would enjoy being expected to answer all of them again and again.

An expensive support option is needed because people aren't inclined to pay for an answer until they've exhausted the available information and opinions out there. (And Oren is more than approachable to point people in the right direction, pro-bono.) But if researching & figuring it out is going to take 3 days, and hold up other developers a day or so and you're still not sure it can work, 500 Euros is worth it.

Rafal
08/30/2010 10:52 AM by
Rafal

Ok, I understand. The price is a barrier to let in only the most desperate ones. So it has nothing to do with actual value you get for the money?

Set
08/30/2010 02:30 PM by
Set

Nhibernate is a free open source project. If you think you can provide a better support for much less, go ahead.

This commercial support is more or less a real expert on nhibernate who provides his time for support. If you can find a real expert at less than 500€ a day, please, let me know, we will give them happily a few years contract.

Chris
08/30/2010 04:13 PM by
Chris

Oren, Would you mind posting the blog posts and articles you pointed him to?

Steve Py
08/30/2010 10:56 PM by
Steve Py

@Rafal

No, not the desperate, but people that actually need first-level support.

It's free to ask Oren or pretty much anyone to point you at information or make suggestions. But if you truly think you've got unique requirements or factors that deviate from all of the information available and it will cost you several days of trial & error; 500E is a bargain to get a professional's opinion on whether or not it will work, and how to go about doing it right.

Rafal
08/31/2010 11:56 AM by
Rafal

@Steve, yes, you're right, it's not too expensive, especially when you understand what a 'support call' means in this case. I didn't notice the support call includes consulting & development - quite a good option in fact. Sorry for stirring the pot too much.

Stuart Jones
08/31/2010 07:54 PM by
Stuart Jones

We've used Ayende's service to implement a missing feature which subsequently got added to the main code. It was definitely worth the money and he was incredibly responsive.

Jason Short
09/07/2010 05:21 AM by
Jason Short

I would highly salute your choice of price and the fact you charge. The pain has to be high enough to avoid people whipping out their company card to call and ask "why do I get this compiler error"... Otherwise you are asking for death by a thousand cuts of simple already answered questions.

Comments have been closed on this topic.