Most of us are untroubled by our participation in the market economy.
Kent Beck is unusual in this regard (as in so many others) … another reason to treasure his existence in our corner of the world.
Kent is genuinely conflicted about when he should and should not get paid for his work. He poured his angst out in this post … which is well worth reading if you’ve ever wondered seriously about your worth in … and your responsibility to … the so-called developer community.
He’s not saying that he thinks his work should be free or that he should rely on the kindness of all of us to pay for his unquestionably great service. His question is more subtle than that, as we see in this excerpt from his comment to his own post:
One thing I’d like to clarify is that I don’t have trouble saying “no, [you can’t have that for free]” in general. What was different in this case is that I said “no” when there was absolutely no additional cost to me. I was prepared to give the talk for the value of the feedback (although I think the talk would be worth more than that to the client). That seemed like a fair exchange, at least in today’s weird market. However when they asked for more value [, permission to distribute a recording of the talk throughout the company,] that wasn’t going to cost me anything extra, that’s when I crossed my own line. I’ve hitherto always delighted in creating more value at no additional cost to me
For a contrasting perspective from an unperturbed conscience, check out Harlan Ellison fulminating against free in this startlingly blunt … and funny … interview.
They want everything for nothing. They wouldn’t go for five seconds without being paid and they’ll bitch about how much they’re paid and want more. I should do a freebie for Warner Brothers ?!?!? What is Warner Brothers? … with an eye-patch and a tin cup out on the street ?!?! Fuck no!!!
They always want the writer to work for nothing.
And the problem is there are so many goddamn writers who have no idea that they’re supposed to be paid. Every time they do something they do it for nothing. “Look at me, I’m going to be noticed … ”. You tell me, are they any less the media whore than I? I think not. Nobody’s offered to buy their soul. I sell my soul … but at the highest rates.
No ambiguity for this fellow!
Amusing Coda: (1) it was Kent Beck himself (via Twitter ) who pointed (approvingly) to the Harlan Ellison video … and (2) Harlan doesn’t get a nickel for his tirade because someone ripped it off and stuck it on YouTube. LOL
Finally, if you have something to say on the matter, consider posting it to Kent’s blog rather than mine. This is really his thread and you’ll be responding to him and his audience. My notice here is merely a sign post directing you toward a point of great human interest.