A few weeks ago, Fluxiom was to me a beautiful video on a definitely Web 2.0 site. Gray backdrop, light greens and gorgeous design were announcing an application I had absolutely no interest in but that, from the previews and the author’s previous portfolio, seemed like it could kick ass - provided you need it, of course.
It turns out Fluxiom launched a few days ago. I didn’t get an account but I still would like to make a case for it. Here’s why.
All over the web I am seeing comments on how expensive Fluxiom is, based on the fallacious argument that “storage is cheap”. I’m sorry to disappoint many people but storage isn’t cheap — at least good storage isn’t. Amazon indeed set a record a while ago by offering extremely cheap storage with little administrative overhead. With no interface and access through web calls exclusively, it is useless to most people. In that, Amazon’s storage price essentially fits in a business-to-business structure or, in more casual words, business-to-geek.
It is a sad fact of life that just about every thing we use in our life is cheap, even luxury goods. Let’s take an O’Reilly book, for example. It’s made of paper, glue and ink, three components that are neither new nor expensive. So why is O’Reilly charging the public $40 a pop? And more importantly, why is the public buying O’Reilly books?
The answer is pretty simple: we, the public, don’t pay for the raw material but rather for the invisible things that make the book useful to us. The authors, the editors, the delivery guy who ships the book from the warehouse to our local bookstore, the toaster the delivery guy uses to eat breakfast every morning. In other words, the gazillion little details that seem completely unrelated to the good we buy but that, in the end, are pre-requisite to its existence.
Now, as I said, I don’t know Fluxiom. But I know it enough to know it required development and design work, it required servers, it required running a business. Like any product, Fluxiom is not storage, even if it is a storage-centered application. 9 euros per month seems exceedingly cheap to me in itself when it comes to rewarding the work of a team of designers, developers, server administrators, network center maintenance staff, etc…
Prices do drop around us and economies of scale do exist. But we shall not be led to believe things should be cheap. Some things are cheap, some aren’t. Think of the jam producers.