Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

so what is Joel trying to commoditize

By having people translate stuff for free?

Pat Rock
Monday, June 17, 2002

Fact is, I don’t see you sending money to Joel simply because there are a great number of quality articles and discussions going on here. All of the content on this site is free, and the community that comes here does get a lot a benefit for no cost at all. Those people who want to translate this info and share it with people of their own native language are also very much of this kind of community sprit of wanting to express, and share great ideas.

It is too bad that you don’t seem understand how newsgroups, and user communities on the web work. They are something that benefit all participants. The more the participants put in, the more people that can benefit from the material, and articles here. Thus, these volunteers want to be part of this process, and contribute. There is also some prestige here, as now once can actually be part of the content creation process here.

If this web site was full of banner adds, or was some type of pay-per user web site, then any question of commodities, or other question about “Joel taking Advantage” of people would be legitimate. (by the way, you have not made any statement concurring the fact that this is being done for free. However, there was quite a few posts here on that theme, and the impression that some how this was wrong).

And, to answer your question:

More Viewers = Larger community.

So, yes Joel is trying to commoditize access to this web site. Having it in multiple languages means that that the cost , and ease at which people can read this great free material will also now be reduced. You will not have to hire a translator to read all the free material in you native language now. If Joel had to pay for translation of articles here, then either less languages would be available, or some type of cost would have to be attached to the web site. Thus, Joel is try to commoditize access to his site. All the those people in different languages will now be able to read this content with a reduce effort/cost.

Remember, that web space is a real cheap commodity these days.

However, creation of a web site, and maintaining content is still a large cost . Why do you think Joels CityDesk product is so cool? It lets a average person manage, and create web content. The web space is a commodity. City Desk in fact lowers the COST of *creating* a web site by a large amount. So, in effect CityDesk seeks to commoditize  the cost of creating of a web site. It is also a commentary product for the cheap/free web space that virtually every ISP gives for each email account. Heck, I’ll bet that Joel don’t even realize the above!

This commoditizing of web creating content is also why a web developer can NOT find a job today. It is not worth money much any more since web creating has become very affordable indeed. This is thanks in part of products like CityDesk. Heck, ms-word can now save in HTML format.

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada

Albert D. Kallal
Monday, June 17, 2002

Actually, web developers can find work these days, post-9/11 economic woes notwithstanding, if my employed web developer friends are any indication.  Tools are making it easier to develop a website, but that doesn't mean that the resulting website will look professional.  Also, a tool like CityDesk won't let you create something technically complex and integrated like Slashdot or Tucows.

There's lots of software out there that generates custom blueprints for residential houses, but professional architects aren't all going out of business.

Brent P. Newhall
Monday, June 17, 2002


Lighten up I was just joking.


Pat Rock
Monday, June 17, 2002

Joel's high-quality, free articles bring a lot of traffic to this site. They give people confidence that he knows what he's doing, and isn't just some script kiddie trying to look like a large development house (and there are plenty of them out there).

CityDesk commoditises basic web site construction. This brings more companies onto the net. As they get used to having a web site, they'll start to think about what else they can do on the net. They'll want to enhance their site, offer products for sale, build forums, etc.  They outgrow CityDesk. Then they remember all those articles by that Fog Creek guy, so they come back and find this page:

It just sounds like good business to me.

Darren Collins
Monday, June 17, 2002

Oh Darren, you are so right.  Joel is the the product that won't be commoditized and will become less substitutable over time.  As the demand increases for Joel's low cost articles and low cost software,  the demand for Joel will increase as well.

Monday, June 17, 2002

My only grouse is that Joel's high quality articles are very rare these days. He writes one about once every two months. What's happening Joel? You'll lose readers if you don't keep them satiated. Get off your ass and write more, Joel. :P

Lee Beng Hua
Tuesday, June 18, 2002

To Pat

In reading my response, it does look a bit like I was *un-happy* with *your* lack of respect and understanding of newsgroups. I apologize for this, and I did not want to give the impression that *YOU* don’t have respect for newsgroups and uses comminutes.

You made no claims towards usergroups whatsoever. I apologize for putting these words into your mouth.

Plain and simple, I am sorry for this.

My comments were meant to be of a general nature, and not some how to evaluate *you* on this subject. I really meant to say that a good many people don’t understand how newsgroups work (not YOU, or Pat does not).

Your response was good (for me to lighten up). In fact, I will probably not lighten up, but I do not like the they way I came across and characterized you.

By the way, the resulting discussion, and comments that resulted from your post are excellent. Hence, your tongue in cheek question was actually a very good question!

Albert D. Kallal

Albert D. Kallal
Tuesday, June 18, 2002

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home