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Paul Walsh (Cambridge, UK)

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Don't Just Roll the Dice - A Usefully Short Guide to Software Pricing
Don't Just Roll the Dice - A Usefully Short Guide to Software Pricing
by Neil Davidson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.63

5.0 out of 5 stars Snappily and elegantly written, 31 Oct 2009
"Don't Just Roll the Dice" delivers on its goals of being short and useful; it is snappily and elegantly written so anybody involved in the business of software can read it very quickly as a refresher.

For anyone new to the business, this is the best reference I've seen. It should be set reading for all in enterpreneur education, whether formal or informal, who have an interest in forming a software company. Previously, this sort of best practice advice was only found on blogs and websites such as This book will serve as a more permanent record, and its creative commons license will remove one barrier to readership.

There are differences in software business models - selling enterprise software B2B or desktop tools B2C (and many points in-between); offering on-premises or as-a-service; free, freemium or premium: all have to be considered. Inevitably, it is at this level of detail that DJRTD reaches the limits of it's scope. The sections on "Free" and "Free Trials" (pages 45 and 47 respectively) leave as much unsaid as said. There aren't really any conclusions - it's said that "free" needs to factor in cost of sales and that nothing needs to become a commodity, but then the conclusion is simply that free is powerful. There are a myriad issues around the topic of free trials, acceptance periods and open source support models, but these get overlooked in favour of the advice to ensure that the startup can afford it. Surely the need for adequate funding is just as real if you need a marketing budget to advertise the software tool in a magazine of trade show?

But this just illustrates that software product pricing needs an entry, intermediate and advanced text. This book does a superb job on the first of these at the very least.

Oh, and to prove I read it, the photograph credit for page 27 needs to be re-checked. I think it refers to the photograph on page 25.

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