What happened with Heroku
Sat, May 9, 2015 at 4:28 PM by Dave Winer ☮.
  • Here are a couple of analogies, one from computers, the other from real life that are analogous to the pricing change Heroku announced on Friday.
  • We architect our applications according to these economics, and a major change in pricing is something not to take very lightly. If a vendor does this, you have to figure it's not being run by engineers, because they would understand how this would shake your confidence in the vendor.
  • Amazon has been very consistently lowering their prices since the inception of AWS. If there ever was a pricing change like this at Amazon, it would cause a lot of angst. Not to say Amazon hasn't done things to shake our confidence. When they shut off Wikileaks that was noted by this developer, and others. There are unspecified lines that if you cross them, Amazon will shut you down. That means they are not totally neutral, and can only be trusted so far.
  • Heroku lost me with this change. I had architected around their pricing. Even with the systems I had deployed to date, the price would have been ridiculous, totally not competitive. I guess they figured my business wasn't worth anything. So I can't consider their product worth anything either.
  • As I understood the deal with Heroku, you got your hosting for free while you were developing. When you hit gold, when your service goes viral, they expect you'll continue to host with them (it's the easiest thing to do, after all), and because they've earned your loyalty. I very much looked forward to the day when I would pay them for service. I thought I understood what they were doing. Clearly they were thinking something else.
  • The big lesson here is that movement should be easy. If it were then these changes would be worth a shoulder-shrug. It was not as easy as it should be. In part that's because Heroku's product is still unique (in a good way). If they were to get competition, and I hope they do, I hope the competition is: Easier, has more features, performs better, and is priced competitively. Lock-in should not be a reason to stay with a vendor.
  • Luckily (actually by design) I'm developing on a platform, Node.js, that's available everywhere. The way I'm deploying it now, it would be easy to move to another service if I ever need to. I hope I've learned this lesson! :-)