Work Once And Earn Forever

A friend asked me if software was a good profession to work once and earn forever. He said people like Bill Gates inspired him to build such a model. I thought it was an unique aspect to consider to decide whether he wanted to get into the software domain or not.

I am not sure of whether software is suitable for this model or not. Maybe it is quite possible. But one thing I know for sure that in software, or for that matter in any technology, changes are the norm. Not because technologies are evolving, but because our needs are changing quite rapidly. We end up using so much technology nowadays, that change in one can prompt change in another. It is pretty difficult to stay away from changes.

Going by that, I think it will also be pretty difficult to build something that can serve all the changes. You can build something as generic as possible, but you will have to keep coming up with newer solutions as problems change and new problems arise. So, work once and earn forever scenario in software might not be suitable. Though I see that it happens, and it usually ends up in wrong or inefficient solutions. I am tempted to say that companies and individuals that do not keep building new tools and solutions will soon become irrelevant in the software industry.

Discussion [Participate or Link]

  1. Rohit Arondekar said:

    Actually the thought that Bill Gates is a one hit wonder is wrong. He has spent most of his time improving and reinventing I suppose. (Although certain M$ products still don’t meet the mark 😛 )

  2. Binny V A said:

    In software that is difficult – you have to build up a product/company and sell it. If you manage it yourself, its still work.

    Other options –
    Create a site, get ad revenue without much updating.
    Write a book/make photos/get a patent – live off the royalties

    Don’t get the idea that these are easy – they are very hard.

  3. Abhijit Nadgouda said:

    I agree with you Rohit that Bill Gates is no one hit wonder. Neither is it that he has worked just once and earned forever. He is a brilliant businessman, and unfortunately, that aspect is what my friend has completely missed.

    Binny, well said, these things are difficult. Though they seem easy from outside, they are actually a lot tougher than writing software.

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Abhijit Nadgouda
iface Consulting
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