Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Taking Care of the 90 Percent

I guess MoneyWell has hit the big time: it was [k'ed]. That means that some sad individual spent his or her time breaking the copy protection and posting it for the 10 percent to use without paying. I won't bother giving the thief or the download sites any publicity, but someone else was kind enough to point out that this had happened and I do appreciate that very much.

I've written before about my opinions on software copy protection. Yes, it is a necessary evil (just like the ancient adage: Trust in God, but tie up your camel), but copy protection shouldn't hamper honest users from enjoying a software product.

Because I believe that 90 percent of my customers and prospects are honest individuals and will happily pay the small amount I charge for MoneyWell and Debt Quencher, I'm not going to spend time trying to defeat the efforts of the 10 percent that are living a life of scarcity and choose to steal. The 90 percent deserve new features and software refinements and I won't deprive them of those by working on layers of protection that will be cracked by those that are determined to do so.

But this morning, I couldn't stop thinking about who these people are that steal software. They obviously think that just because software costs little or nothing to distribute, there's no physical theft. Excellent software takes months of effort to code, years of experience to design, and dedication to polish and perfect. What do the 10 percent do for a living? Would it be okay if someone where to take forty bucks out of their pocket every few hours? Does that sound fair? I can't help thinking that these people have been really hurt in their lives and they feel that everyone around them should be in pain as well. Or maybe, they are romanticizing this theft by envisioning themselves as a modern day Robin Hood. Let me tell you Bucko, the tights don't look good on you and the microISVs you're robbing from are not "the rich."

Does that mean that big iron companies like Microsoft and Adobe deserve it because they are rich? No. Absolutely not. There is no justification for software theft—it's wrong no matter how you hold your bow.

So to end this on a positive note, there are rewards to living a life of abundance—a life where there is always enough to go around and someone else doesn't have to lose for you to win. If you believe that by giving you will be rewarded tenfold, then it is true. We do more with our attitudes and actions to shape our own futures than the cynics of the world would like us to believe.

I've seen the proof of this in my own life, over and over again. When I live in fear of losing my money, time, or love, that which I most covet always slips through my fingers. When I love without requiring love, tithe without fear of want, or volunteer without expecting a reward, I am blessed with more love, money, and productivity than I expect or can explain. The math doesn't make sense (x - 10% = 10x), but somehow the test is easy to pass.

Live in the 90 percent and enjoy all of life's blessings.