Why technical people pay to self-host, but not for your app
Build/host it yourself has essentially become a meme in tech circles. From the infamous Dropbox comment about self-hosting to nearly every programmer building some kind of todo or note taking solution, building an app yourself, or self-hosting an open source project is very common.
However, this is only true for techies who are more aware of the implications of paying for a service that you don’t have control over.
Here are my reasons why I have built, or am hosting things, myself.
I really own my data
I really control it down to the format.
For instance, if I’m no longer satisfied with my markdown notes, I can write a script that will push them all into a database.
I also have access to it whenever I like. All I need to do is log in to the server. I never have to wait in a queue for export.
I also own all the meta-data around it and not just things that are technically mine.
It really is private
Obviously, I wouldn’t sell or otherwise exploit my own data.
But my data also wont be used in any sort of aggregate for changes to the product.
It also wont ever be accessed by a stranger for debugging.
My feedback is the only one that matters
If something isn’t to my liking I can just change it. And since I’m the only user only how important something is to me, counts.
I also never have to go through a feature being changed because majority of the other users didn’t like it.
Pricing is custom-tailored to me
I have very little over-provisioning. I don’t have to subscribe to the enterprise plan just because I use 102% of the startup plan.
Similarly, if the cost is starting to increase I can make changes to reduce it. For instance, I didn’t want to roll an additional Redis server, so I implemented an alternative approach.
I also never have to worry that a provider might move features I find useful to a higher tier.
I also don’t have to commit to any billing period in advance, even if it’s just a month.
I can instantly unsubscribe
I just destroy the server and I’m no longer paying for it. I don’t have to end the current billing period. I don’t have to request to cancel. I don’t have to call anyone.
I also wont ever be billed till the “end of billing period”.
I always have priority support
Since I’m my only customer, and therefore the most important, I can perfectly gauge how important an issue is and when it should be fixed.
Get closer to this and you’ll get more technical people willing to pay you
I’d guess, some, if not all, of these factors are often taken into account by other technical people who decide to roll their own solutions. If you’re building a tool for that audience, you should get as close as possible to this to get more people to pay you.
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