The blog of Rahoul Baruah from 3hv Ltd

What's going on?

My name is Rahoul Baruah (aka Baz) and I'm a software developer in Leeds (England).

This is a log of things I've discovered while writing software in Ruby on Rails. In other words, geek stuff.

However, I've decided to put this blog on ice - I would ask you to check out my business blog here (or subscribe here).

15 November, 2006

Why the time is right for web-based products and services

Joel Spolsky wrote ages ago about commoditising your complements. The basic idea is that for every product there are complements - things that are necessary, or useful, additions.

For example, no matter how good your shop is, if you have no parking and no bus routes nearby, you will struggle. The transport is a complement of retail. Cars are useless without petrol. I have even read about a cinema chain that offers creche facilities - babysitting is the complement of a night out.

Our existing product has the following complements: Microsoft Sql Server, Microsoft Windows 2003, a network administrator, reasonably specced client machines. What do all of these have in common? Cost. None of them are cheap.

Compare that to a web-based product or service, like Basecamp. What are its complements? A decent internet connection and a web browser. What do they have in common? They are extremely cheap, or free.

Of course, your product has to be good, and not every piece of software lends itself to a browser interface (even one as amazing as the Joyent UI) but if ever the wind was blowing towards web-based products it is now.

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