A good friend has a startup for a great network enforcement engine. It is a great product, almost completely unique in its market, with great potential, and incredible engineers behind it. Engineers who have worked really hard with next to no pay, because they believed in it and it tickled their imagination.
As the time comes the device is steadily moving from beta to full production. My friend is now embarrassed to ask for the money he well deserves from his beta testers as they are ordering the devices. So I talked him into offering certain discounts and amenities to the betas but not too much for a number of reasons.
- It diminishes the value of the final product
- The beta testers will want you to be solvent and keep providing the service they required and expected by allowing your product through the door.
- And finally my spin doctor diatribe:
Great tech takes great people to do. They are willing to work gratis for a period of time but not forever. They have to get the dividends of their labor so that they can keep doing what they do best, i.e. create great tech.