Contrasting UberProf & RavenDB from business perspective

time to read 3 min | 563 words

I was recently asked to contrast the business decisions related to the profiler and RavenDB. I thought that it would make an excellent post.

There are a lot of aspects to thing about here, actually. The profiler is an add on tool, it is only useful if you are using one of the supported OR/Ms, but if you do… it:

  • has very low barrier to entry, you need to reference the dll and add a single line of code.
  • provides immediate value, you can see the benefits that it gives you.
  • have very few moving parts that users can break.

NH Prof was released on Jan 1st, 2009. The first sale happened on Jan 2nd, 2009 (thanks Yann!).

The lead time for the profiler tends to be very short. Because there is very little that you need to invest and there is a lot that you gain. Yesterday I introduced a guy to the profiler as a way to help him see what his app is doing, he made a purchase about an hour later.

That is excellent news from my point of view. :-)

RavenDB, on the other hand:

  • has a very high barrier to entry, not so much from technical perspective, but from adoption one.
  • requires you to make significant changes to the way you work.
  • takes time to show why it is beneficial.
  • requires payment only when you actually goes live.
  • requires much higher degree of support for users.

That means that while it takes a few minutes to decide if you want the profiler (and the rest of the 30 days trial is spent getting corporate approving it :-) ), for RavenDB the lead time until you pull out your credit card is much longer.

That has some interesting implications. I actually spent a lot more (time & money) in the profiler than I spent (outright) on RavenDB. But the major difference is what type of investment that would be.

There is a term in economics called sunk cost, that is all the costs associated with building a product up to the point you released it. That is money already spent. But what usually matter a lot more is that once you reached the release point, can the cash flow from a product justify the continued work on the product ( and maybe, at some point, pay for the product development) ?

NH Prof was a big investment for me, but money started coming in shortly afterward, and it became apparent that it was sustainable product. For RavenDB, the costs have actually been a lot lower (since the majority of them represented my own time), but the expectation is that it would take about a year or two before it would be be possible to say if RavenDB is a sustainable product.

In that sense, RavenDB represent a lot riskier investment. If RavenDB wasn’t rattling in my head for so long, I would have probably would have gone to something with much shorter lead time.

It is interesting to me to see how many factors there are in those sort of decisions.  So many things to balance.