The Perception of Value

I've been thinking a lot lately about the value of things. Just how is it that each of us determines the value of a particular product or experience? Why does one individual's value of an item differ so greatly from that of another's? In most product marketplaces these are the types of questions that factor into how a business decides to price and market their product. However, with the rise of the iOS and Mac App Stores the process of pricing an application has been boiled down to:

  1. Free (with monitization through ads or in-app purchases) 
  2. Actually charging something for your application and figuring out how to justify that cost to your potential customers

Apple is now able to provide something very few marketplaces in the past have been able to provide vendors...low barrier access to hundreds of millions of customers from all over the world all in one place. The potential number of customers has allowed successful app developers to substantially lower the price they ask for their apps (or make them free) because of the large earning potential they have with the enormous Apple customer base. But what of the app developers that are targeting a much smaller group of customers? What if you are developing an application that has tremendous value for your customers, but the number of potential customers for your product is rather small? I can tell you that I've bought several of these high cost apps (relatively speaking) and been very happy that I made the purchase. But I have to wonder, did the developer charge enough for that application? Are developers able to change enough in the App Stores to continue making high quality niche products or has the race to the bottom made these types of apps an endangered species?

Here is an interesting exercise to consider. Keep track of all the different products, devices and services you use throughout the week and then rank them by:

  1. Order of importance to you
  2. How much time you spend with that product in a given week
  3. The cost of that product or service

How many of your most heavily used or highly ranked products or services are free? How many of them did you have to pay for and would have gladly paid even more for if you had to purchase them again?

I don't have any answers on this particular topic, just thoughts and second thoughts. As I plan out my home budget for 2013 and think about all the ideas I have for iOS apps I want to develop and sell I find myself thinking about the concept of value and how in today's society value seems to change more rapidly than ever. Is it changing for the better and are the quality of products going up or is it just the number of products rather than the quality that is on the rise? If you find yourself using a product or service on a constant basis take a few minutes to provide the maker of that product some feedback. Let's all hope that as it becomes easier and easier to bring a product to market that the quality of the products rises proportionally with the number of products.

I guess the take-away from these thoughts I have just written down is this...don’t hesitate to pay for quality otherwise quality may not be an option for purchase in the future.

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