Developers are the new musicians… and Google is the ‘Record Company’.

Am I the only one who is seeing this?

OK, so the new Internet economy an exciting free for all… where kids can turn a few insightful hours in front of a computer into a billion dollars almost overnight. Its exciting, its fast paced, and everyone (at least in the tech industry) has an idea…

And Google has now delivered a product, alongside Amazon’s offerings, called Google App Engine. Its tightly embedded into the Google product empire and aimed directly at making it easier to implement the next big thing.

‘Hoorah’ scream the hordes of developers and would-be entrepreneurs… at this insightful ’empowering’ of the masses.

Its bull-shit I tell you. Its utter bull-shit … can everyone not see where we are headed?

Google doesn’t need to develop products anymore. They dont need to take any gambles or risks. All they need to do is sit back, let 100,000 developers write applications on their own free time, and when one of those apps starts to take-up … BANG, Google just needs to flick a switch, throw a bit of cash at the developers … and ‘sign them up’ into the Google stable. “I got signed” will say the star developers.

But this is great I hear you say?

Think about it. How are you going to compete with 10,000 developers all working on their own free time? You have no chance. Its like a lottery (a bit like a musician trying to get signed).

How many hours of work will you and 9,999 developers put in, just for that one developer who happens to be in the ‘sweet spot’ to get lucky? It will be gazillions of hours. Google will then step in, offer the ‘successful’ venture a deal they cant refuse … pump extra money and resources into them … and kill off any hint of competition they might have had.

Its smart on Google’s part. They get big wins, for very little risk (cost of infrastructure). Its us would-be entrepreneurs who wear the risk, the 99.99% of us wearing our hearts on our sleeves, writing songs that will never be played on the radio… writing code that will never sing for large audiences.

Its wrong. Its wrong in exactly the same way the recording industry is wrong. Its the big companies putting their money and effort into a select few who are then elevated so high that the rest cant be seen.

And is the peddler or dreams. Do you realise that, developers? is like a music mag, hyping up all the new big names, talking about who’s hot and who’s not…. infusing desire into the would-be’s. Everyone thinks they might one day be one of these successful ventures, but do you realise how many fail? Does anyone know how many new sites/services get built and fail compare to how many succeed? I bet its something like 10,000 to 1.

Its the Google’s of the tech world that mean that none of us small ventures can make money. Because Google (and others) set the expectation that everything on the internet has to be free. So how do we make money? Advertising says Google, or acquisition say the VCs. But I dont want to be acquired! … and I need rediculous amounts of page views to make any money from advertising (and besides, Google has suspended my adsense account, and wont tell me why (why should they waste their time on one tiny site)).

Surprise surprise … the Internet is starting to mirror the recording industry. Hmmm…

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One Response to Developers are the new musicians… and Google is the ‘Record Company’.

  1. Alex says:

    Nice article/rant/insight. I very much agree. As one of perhaps not too many developers who went to business school, albeit before becoming a code monkey, I’ve always been struck by the weirdness of the “get Google to buy me” business model. Whatever happened to making a product and charging for it. You really don’t need to sell that many copies to become profitable and there are a lot of niches out there.

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