Support small businesses (internet ones too)

Small businesses are awesome — the owners are local, the service is better, the products are often unique, and they don’t usually look to scale until their employees are peeing in bottles. Go out of your way to keep them around.

We should look to support small businesses on the internet in much the same way. Some of the best (weirdest and most creative too) products and services we have access to are developed by one or a handful of folks[1] and provide far better service and optionality than services that are scaling to meet a mass market or take advantage of economies of scale.

They’re crafting small businesses, applications and services at a reasonable scale that affords them, I hope, reasonable financial means[2].

You can get customer service. You can request features. You can contact them if there’s an outage.

You probably don’t need to worry about them rolling up the drawbridge and charging $20 million a year for API access or shuttering a product or selling it to a competitor (announced on a Friday via a blog post — naturally!). They might advertise, but it won’t be every 3 posts until you’re scrolling through SkyMall and you probably won’t need to worry about them monetizing the contact data they lift from your phone after you breeze through the permission prompt.

Not all big businesses are bad (absolutes often can be) — but the drive to scale forever, put off developing a business model until later (hey — look at all that user data!) and never stop growing profits has proven to have some pretty terrible outcomes for everyone involved short of owners and investors. So go buy a weird domain (not from a registrar that’s getting sold because someone got bored), connect it to a small email service and buy some apps or something. Keep the internet weird and a little more sustainable.

  1., Drafts, Overcast, Readkit, Feedbin, Things, anything made by Sindre Sorhus or Simon Støvring — I could go on and on here. ↩︎

  2. I’m going to be wrong here — yay generalizations! ↩︎

Cory Dransfeldt
Cory Dransfeldt

I'm a software developer in Camarillo, California. I enjoy hanging out with my beautiful family and 4 rescue dogs, technology, automation, music, writing, reading and tv and movies.