This is an honest and personal description of my current situation and how it affects the future of MailMate. In short, it is very likely that I’ll soon have to change my priorities. MailMate is not abandoned, but development is very likely to slow down.
When someone asks me what I do for a living then I usually tell the truth. It goes something like this: “I’m a software developer working on an email client for advanced users on Mac OS X, but I’m not really making enough money to say that I do it for a living.” If people are willing to listen then I try to explain why I do it despite the fact that it makes absolutely no financial sense. It boils down to this: It’s my dream job.
I love working on MailMate. I love the technical challenges involved. I love helping the users of MailMate to solve their problems. I love the freedom of being an independent software developer. I even love studying the latest RFCs published about the handling of emails. And of course, I love it when someone pays for a license key essentially telling me that he/she likes what I’ve done.
Unfortunately, that last part does not happen often enough. Current sales are about 1/4 of what I would need to say that I’m really doing this for a living — and then I would still earn less than I would with a regular job. The only reason I have been able to work on MailMate for so long is because I’ve had a very generous sponsor: My wife.
The time has come to pay back on that generosity. Starting February, 2014, my wife is going back to school (well, University) to get a masters degree in Health Science. For the following two and a half years I hope to be the sponsor of her dream.
The future of MailMate
How does this affect the future of MailMate? First of all, I’ll continue to work on MailMate and provide support for existing and future customers. Development will slow down depending on the kind of job I’ll hopefully find before February, 2014.
Now, I know that for many of my users, MailMate is worth much more than its price tag. Some users spend hours in their email client every day and being able to do that efficiently is extremely important. Therefore I’m taking this opportunity to do a bit of an experiment. I’m going to try to crowd fund development of MailMate in 2014. This is a bit of a long shot since it corresponds to the regular users of MailMate contributing an average of more than $100 (based on update check statistics). Nevertheless, it’s an interesting experiment and I’ll share the results. You can help by spreading the word. Just link to this page or the crowd funding page.
Starting Monday, the price of a MailMate license key is going to be $50. This change is independent of the success of the crowd funding experiment. This may seem counter-intuitive, but this was the original price of MailMate. With regards to competition it makes little difference whether the price is $30 or $50 since the general app price “race to the bottom” has now reached $2 for an email client (if ignoring the free alternatives). I consider MailMate a niche product and the future price is going to reflect that, but I’ll make sure I provide a substantial academic discount. Also, starting today, any license key sold is also valid for any future version 2.0 of MailMate.
The future for me
Since it’s very likely I’ll be looking for a new primary job soon I’ll take this opportunity to note that I am welcoming any links/suggestions/contacts you might have. As described on the About page I live in Copenhagen, Denmark, and unfortunately I cannot relocate. My one line CV: I have a PhD in computer science and I know a lot about algorithms, optimization, and emails.