Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Privately developed public airports and library databases

Long time since my last post (sounds like an entry that should begin with "Dear Diary") ... in the gap, I've taken a new job (awesome!) ... bought a new house (tons of work!) ... and stopped working out (bad idea!) ... maybe this post will help me turn around the last one ...

So I was listening to NPR on my way into work this morning and there was a story about how a private company is building a public airport in Branson, MO ... not too interesting? -- I beg to differ ...

Apparently, the development company is going to charge the town $8 per person they bring to town ... the town's good with it because they don't have to lay out any upfront cash to build the place, it's a simple pay-as-you-go model ... and if no one comes, they still don't pay.

This got me thinking (again) about out database payment models ... we always lay out our bucks right up front ... then we hope people come to use it ... we do a lousy job of partnering with (or better yet requiring) our vendors to help us promote and market the products ... and then we pay the annual increase despite the fact that usage (using whatever measure you want) barely goes up even proportional to population increases ...

I think the Branson Airport model isn't a bad one ... in fact, I think it's a great one! And I think we should be asking our vendors to "bring people to us" (or at least help) and paying them based on success (i.e., usage) ... that's is capitalism, and since folks are always asking government to be more like business, this approach would seem to move us in that direction.

There are holes in this approach, (like if usage does spike up, we might not be able to pay!), but we're smart ... we can figure out how to handle these issues, right?! I'd like to think that we'd be better off spending our time trying to resolve problems about over utilization rather than underutilization.

Enough for now ... I'll be keeping my eye on Branson ... as inspiration.


Blogger Chris said...

I read about this but cannot find it and only vaguely recall the details. I don't see why a multi-tiered pricing structure should be that hard to figure out. You could cap it at a maximum and then have tiers below that based upon usage thus protecting the library from any runaway budgets. My guess is that it was an article by McKie at UM - he writes tons of stuff on the economics of electronic goods - he did a series of papers on pricing structures called PEAK.

11:31 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

This might also interest you - sorta along these same lines and from your neck of the woods - http://librarystories.blogspot.com/2007/09/librarians-and-publishers-try-out-plan.html

10:10 PM  

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