PowerPoint Presentations for Doc/writer Impact? (Take II)

Subject: PowerPoint Presentations for Doc/writer Impact? (Take II)
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 15:08:12 -0500

Allow me to present a highly simplified and thus inaccurate example about calculating our value:

Apple shipped a paltry and wholly inadequate manual for its OS-X operating systems (up through Panther), relying instead on online help--which is good, but not great. Sensing an opportunity in the gradual elimination of printed manuals, David Pogue has produced a series of "missing manuals" (Pogue Press/O'Reilly) for various programs and operating systems, including Panther. The Panther guide I recently purchased (roughly Can.$45) is claimed to have sold 300 000 copies. I can see why; the book paid for itself within the first week of reading it by eliminating countless frustrating parts of my learning curve. Wish all user manuals could be that helpful!

For the sake of argument, let's say that Pogue earned US$1 of profit per book after covering all production, marketing, and other expenses. (This amounts to roughly a 3% royalty, so it's probably low for such an acclaimed, well-established writer.) This amounts to a profit of around US$200K for the production of his "missing manual" for Panther. Not exactly chump change.

Given that Apple has a claimed market share of less than 5%, let's multiply that profit by ca. 20 (to make the math easy) for an equally popular book in the Windows market. (Pogue has in fact written two such books, for Windows XP Home and Pro editions. Haven't seen them, but I'll bet that they rock.) That profit suddenly becomes US$4 million. If I were Microsoft, the lesson would be quite clear to me: Hire Pogue for $1 million per manual, and pocket $3 million in profit.

Anyone else produce a product for which some enterprising young techwhirler has written a "For Dummies" or "For Idiots" manual? If you can get the sales figures, you can estimate how much money your company is losing to that author by not producing a printed manual.

--Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)


Re: PowerPoint Presentations for Doc/writer Impact?: From: k k

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