Are Pro RB Users Worth the Effort?

When one looks at the cost of RB to first time purchasers it takes 5 personal licenses to match 1 pro license.  I suspect that most RB users come in via this route so the ratio is heavily weighted on the personal license side.  (The argument of whether $100 is too little or too much is for another time.)  Is the ratio 10 personal licenses for every pro license?  Or is it even higher?  If so, the revenues from pro licenses is much less than the personal licenses.

The yearly fee to stay up-to-date for personal licenses is $50 and for pro’s it’s $250.  So the ratio is still 5 personal users to 1 pro user.  It has been my experience that pro users will stay up to date on a regular basis than personal users.  Pro licenses probably generate more consistent revenue.  So probably once you have an RB user the revenues are about the same.  Somewhere in there is the mix of people that will upgrade from personal to professional but I have no idea on how to guestimate that number.

I like REALbasic.  I really do.  It has simplicity and power rolled up into one neat little integrated package.  In all of my years I’ve not found a product quite like it.  Heck, I like it so much I persuaded others to join me in the quest to build a professional developers association which has sucked a fair amount of time and money (aren’t they the same?) for all us since this time last year.

I hear from a lot of developers that use RB just like me.  They make their living using REALbasic.  Generally the pros can put up with a bug here and there as long as things improve.  But we’re also very demanding.  We complain a lot.  We want things to make our lives easier.  We ask for new features that hobbyists won’t need and don’t want.  We ask for support when things don’t work right and complain when we don’t like the answer (see previous blog entries).  We whine loudly and often publicly in blog posts and forums.

So the question I asked myself is this:  Should RS even bother with pro developers like myself?  Sure, we pay more money, but does RS really make the money off us we think they are?  It would be my guess (I have no facts to prove this one way or the other) that RS finds the hobbyist and pro market to be about as profitable.  So does it make sense to court the pro developers if they’re a PITA and in the long run don’t make you as much money?

Is RS’ time better spent going after hobbyists or professionals?  Where do you think they get the best return on their money?  Is there a cost for NOT courting the professionals?

What say you?