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Joel on Software

2002/09/03

by Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Ray Ozzie replies.

Another nail in the frequently-nailed coffin of Napster.  Here's something I don't understand. Ignore the Napster legal history for a moment. Let's talk about software development. About two years ago, Napster and Bertlesmann announced that they would deliver a version of Napster that would charge money and only provide music legally. Now, it seems like they ran out of money before they could even deliver that. What I don't understand, exactly, is why they couldn't build this thing that sells Bertlesmann music with two whole years of work and a whole team of developers? When Fanning had built the original thing in three months? (Then again, the story here sounds incredibly familiar. One guy builds version 1 in a few months and then a team of 15 can't build version 2 for years and years. Tell me you haven't seen that movie before.)


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About the author.

I’m Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Fog Creek Software, a New York company that proves that you can treat programmers well and still be highly profitable. Programmers get private offices, free lunch, and work 40 hours a week. Customers only pay for software if they’re delighted. We make Trello, insanely simple project management, FogBugz, an enlightened bug tracker designed to help great teams develop brilliant software, and Kiln, which simplifies source control. I’m also the co-founder and CEO of Stack Exchange. More about me.

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