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Lollipop Sticks


This is how I know I’ve been in the software business for far too long.

A box of lollipop sticks arrived this morning. 100 count. We bought them for my son’s birthday. They cost $3.06.

I’ve been thinking about these lollipop sticks the whole day. Actually, I’ve been thinking about the business of lollipop sticks, the company that makes them, and the people who own the company that makes them.

There’s no point to it, really. It’s just that after running a software company for almost a decade, the daily mechanics of other types of businesses fascinate me. The more unlike a software company a business is, the more it intrigues me.

What goes on through the mind of a lollipop stick maker?

How many lollipop sticks does she have to sell to stop worrying for the month?

Is she concerned with innovation? How do you make a better lollipop stick? Would making them better affect their price?

Why $3.06? How much does it cost her to make 100 lollipop sticks? What if the answer is $3.00, and her entire profit margin is comprised of the remaining 6 pennies?

It’s intriguing. But it wouldn’t be funny. Not for a person who spends the better part of a year making a piece of software before offering it for sale at under a dollar, taking home $0.70 cents per sale after costs. I would imagine it doesn’t take the lollipop stick maker the better part of the year to make 100 lollipop sticks.

Would she laugh at me and the way I run my business?

Does she put any thought into marketing? What kind of ideas are tossed around to get more people to buy more lollipop sticks?

Is she from a long line of lollipop stick makers, or did she just stumble into the business?

Is she passionate about making lollipop sticks? Does she need to be? Is this kind of sentiment about products an absurd notion in her business?

… and when she pulls out her mobile phone, and uses my software, does she wonder about who is behind those bits?