RE: Stan - How companies decide which DAW features to improve

Quick rundown - the way software management works:

There are tons of teams, but there are almost always software developer teams, and ‘product’ teams. PM’s for short, ‘product management’. PM is responsible for gathering and assessing which features and changes would be most valuable to the customer. PM takes it’s orders from Engineering/R&D (whatever it happens to be called). Engineering takes its orders directly from the top, usually a CTO (chief technology officer), who will typically direct PM to focus on feature requests submitted from ‘x’ customer base. A company like Avid is constantly adding and debugging features. But the rate they’re shipped to market may be less noticeable to home studio users, as their subscription + integrated hardware sales income targets a different client echelon.

Testing (Quality assurance teams) - Regression testing and smoke testing is much more complicated when you have integrated hardware. The more lean and flexible a code base and ecosystem are, the faster QA/QE (quality analyists/quality engineers) can test and ‘ship’ changes.

Here the catch. NONE OF THIS APPLIES TO REAPER. The reason: Cockos only has a couple developers. Yes, like… between 2-5. Avid has hundreds of these guys on full time payroll. Knowing what I know now about software, i was thinking a group of 6-9 devs could be behind Reaper, but its even fewer than that. And that’s how they get away with only charging $60 per license, with 2 left of the decimal upgrades included. After they pay themselves, the company is probably barely profitable.

I would guess that decisions around ‘which feature to add next/which bug to fix next’ are likely made with a simple conference call (we call these ‘standup meetings’ in tech) and notifying the other developer what they’re going to be working on.

Imagine having that level of independence and freedom to collaborate!!


Yes, that’s my impression of how their team works, from what I know. It’s been said for years that while mega-corporations have massive power and resources, they get entrenched in their own infrastructure and are less flexible and adaptable. That’s where entrepreneurs were able to move in and fill in with more innovation, based on market needs and requests. The REAPER model seems to work quite well, as they have the flexibility and adaptability to turn on a dime and go in the direction they sense is best and on the feedback they receive from their community.

Speaking of independence and freedom, this is perhaps somewhat related. I read something yesterday where the author said that the capitalist economy of the U.S. (and perhaps other parts of the world) is giving way a “central planning” model. That made sense to me, as we have seen large corporations get into lock-step with government and media - especially in promoting “woke” causes and agendas (which are actually starting to backfire). There is even a name for this now - “ESG” (Environmental, social, and corporate governance). IMO, this goes hand-in-hand with what is frequently called New World Order and One World Government. This used to be the fodder for conspiracy theories, but is quickly becoming conspiracy fact. The WEF (World Economic Forum) openly discusses such things, even promoting them publicly. I guess the idea is to prepare you for the time when you will “own nothing and be happy” (literally their motto)!

The only free market capitalism that still exists is likely in the small business and entrepreneurial realm. Ironically, we have seen purposeful tactics and agendas to try to wipe out small businesses the last few years … gee, I wonder why. :wink:

What’s your source on this please @Stan_Halen ? And what does this have to do with DAW features?

I was responding to Jonathan’s opinions on business processes and “independence and freedom”. After responding about the REAPER model of doing business, I mused about how our economy and economic models seems to be shifting. While the changes may not affect software design and DAW companies that much, they will certainly affect the great majority of their customers.

I do try to restrain myself in discussing such topics on here, but I also don’t see the point in having conversations without saying what I think is important and what is weighing on my mind.

I think I said something on another thread like “Music is about life, and you have to actually live to make music.” To me that speaks about independence and freedom, and our quality of life. IMO, there is clearly something seriously wrong in the world, and really many things that are seriously wrong. And by wrong, I mean bad for people and bad for life. Since music is a way to express what we’re feeling and thinking, and what we have to say to the world, I consider speaking our mind to bear directly on the music making process. I understand that the etiquette here might prefer that I put my thoughts to music and post a song for review, which is something I’m trying to work on, though I don’t see expressing my thoughts as limited to that. I hope that gives you some insight on my process.

Since you asked, I suggest you go directly to the WEF website and see for yourself. and The Great Reset | World Economic Forum

Also, some books by WEF CEO Klaus Schwab might give you further insight into his ‘plans’. Recent books are “The Great Reset” and “The Great Narrative”, as well as “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” I believe. Or, for a fairly quick review you might enjoy this article (see link below). I’m not familiar with this author, but he seems to analyze the ideas accurately and doesn’t seem to be expressly biased as far as I can tell.

Even so, I don’t really think the average person is biased for finding many those ideas repulsive and dystopian. Because, of course, all these plans are not for the average person or to benefit them, but to empower and enrich the elite class that wants to rule the whole world, not just parts of it.

“You will own nothing, and you will be happy.”
Give that some thought and try it on for size.
You likely won’t have to wait long to see what he’s talking about: hyper-inflation, broken supply chains, food and fuel shortages, social and economic collapse … these are already happening. And the cavalry is not on the way, so I’d suggest buckle your seat belt and have some extra food on hand … for a rainy day of course. :wink:

So to be clear then, “you will own nothing and you will be happy” is not the motto of the WEF.

Edit: Since this discussion is off topic I won’t comment any further unless @Jonathan wants to pursue these issues.

Well, I don’t know if they have an official motto. I might suggest that the phrase has become the perceived motto of the WEF (and sometimes I probably speak in metaphors too :slightly_smiling_face:). Clearly it wouldn’t be appealing or effective in getting the masses on board with the 2030 agenda if they were to say it publicly. Whether the phrase became known because a WEF intern tweeted it, or it got repeated by the WEF after the catchphrase was supposedly included in a 2016 essay by Danish MP Ida Auken, I don’t know. It’s how the average person can quickly understand the situation, perhaps. And a motto can sometimes be commonly adopted, rather than a verbatim quote.

Quotes aren’t always what we think they are, they sometimes get changed or simplified for elementary school history class, or the 5th grade level comprehension offered by mass media. I think it’s the idea that counts, but we can certainly research more deeply if we want to understand the technicalities.
For instance, Patrick Henry is credited with saying in 1775 "Give me liberty, or give me death!” And essentially that may be true, or close to the truth, but the situation is a bit more nuanced or complex when looking into the history. It’s still commonly accepted by many, and essentially communicates the idea. But I read in a book called History Myths (IIRC), where the author researched commonly believed historical events in American history, that it was more like a sound bite from a greater context of a speech he gave. More like a motto than a quote, as it were.

Understood. Just for context, I did find the image that is well known to many people, and at least gives the impression that it’s an official WEF tweet and meme with the slogan on it.

Yep. It’s just a few guys. The agility is powerful when you are small, but it has it’s own drawbacks. Support is just forum, which requires very little active upkeep. No need to advertise, set up massive booths at trade shows. You just make your stuff and enough people buy it that you can justify making more.

I’ve been running my plugins this way for years. Sometimes I want to rip my hair out, but most of the time I think of everything I’d lose if I went “bigger” and it doesn’t seem worth the cost. I’d rather make less and have the freedom than make more and babysit a team of people.


Very cool. I imagine it’s mostly about ‘what do I REALLY want to build?’…then assessing ‘what kind of resources will this take?’. I used to think ‘the bigger the better/the more the merrier.’ But over the last 10 years I’ve really developed a fondness and appreciation for companies that stay small by choice, especially when it’s in the best interest of the market for them to do so. A company has to have a clear focus to make the correct decision about how big to NOT grow, and it takes discipline to commit to only building software within your means. I really admire that. For guys who are genuinely good at coding, it’s SOOOOO easy to build stuff that gets out of control later.

1 Like

I think there’s definitely a need for both types. But once you get into the business world, it’s kind of crazy how much the messaging is “Grow! Grow! Grow!” and everybody treats lack of growth as impending doom.

There are lots of things that I would want to make that would be way easier and better with a team of people, but there are lots of things that I want to make that are easier without a team of people. I know myself well enough at this point to know that I do not want to spend the next 3 years working on the same project. Maybe I’ll change my mind at some point in the future, but for now I have enough projects that I can do on my own to last me a while.

1 Like

I like some boutique plugin companies like Nembrini and Black Rooster, among others. I like IK Multimedia, but they went so crazy on so many things I couldn’t keep up. Good stuff, but growth on steroids it seemed.

I’d guess it’s the capitalist mentality, or something like that. I like capitalism, at least free market capitalism on the small business level. Once you get large or mega-corporation level, it seems like “absolute power corrupts absolutely” and monopolies take over. Or at least the organization loses track of its purported mission statement and goals. I have always thought that integrity and adherence to mission is much more important than rapid growth and quarterly statement boasting. The public company aspect of the stock market ushers in institutional investors mainly looking for profit and dividends. I don’t know if the private investment route is any better, but having people believe in what you’re doing seems like a much better bet long term.

Even though most projects, I end up building by myself, I rely pretty heavily on the teams to for feedback and input. At the end of the day, the teams to me are about me making sure I shipping something I’m sure they can and want to use. I think this is a little more intuitive and obvious when you’re building music tools vs building number crunching systems and data analytics AI. There have been a lot of ideas I came up with that I thought were brilliant (haha) but they were like… ‘dude…there’s zero value in that!’

@bozmillar - I was trying to imagine making software plugins. I imagine the ‘upcoming releases’ or ‘feature improvements’ would be driven by a balance between you’re own creative ideas and an ear to the consumer market?

I’m probably more of a general schmo on this topic than most, if not all of you, since I really don’t care about what’s going on behind the curtain in a DAW (I’ll leave the NWO discussion out of this for now, Stan).
I started with Cubase LE, and as I learned a bit, upgraded two or three times before switching to Reaper. Cubase gave me the “language” I needed to realize that most DAWs are very much the same other than extras each one throws in to steer you in their direction.
With Reaper you basically set up your own eye candy and go, which at that point thanks to Cubase I was capable of doing.
As to updates; for me there really is no purpose, since I’m barely scratching the surface of what Reaper is apparently capable of. For Avid to spend money, they know they have a captive audience, so every tweak must pay for itself. Reaper doesn’t have that anchor tied as tightly to their ankle, since their audience is looking for functionality over flash. It has to be a tough business to fight over.


Boz, your stuff is amazing, and I appreciate your insight into the business side of this.
Your assessment of where you should be competing in the marketplace is spot on, and your products are all very functional and valuable.
When your product requires multiple developers and coders to make it work, you’re looking at a bigger, but still limited market to cover your costs. At that point, eye candy and name recognition become a necessity, which adds nothing but cost. Your products IMO are right where they should be: very functional and valuable.


Same here. It piques my interest though. On the 6.58 update I saw this and didn’t completely understand it. Not that I would even need to use it or be aware of it, but this is one of the tweaks:


  • decode mono audio to stereo when using WMF

  • fix various video decoding issues when using WMF

  • fix rendering embedded AAC 4-channel audio when using WMF

I assume WMF stands for Windows Metafile File, but I don’t know if that makes sense in the context. Maybe one of the coding experts on this thread can decode this for us. :slightly_smiling_face: I have been wanting to work with the Video features of REAPER more.

That’s one of the things I do like about Reaper is the functionality. While I do prefer a bit more pizazz in the GUI, I found it’s not absolutely necessary. And you can customize that if you want. There’s a great upside to functionality and customization, and perhaps also a downside when you feel like you should take advantage of these things and you’re not. I found it overwhelming when switching from Pro Tools to Reaper. Some things in Pro Tools might not have been ideal, but you were limited to that and able to learn it and move forward without other options. Too many options can sometimes cloud our decision-making process and focus.

I started with Deluxe Music on the Amiga 1000, then Cubasis, then Cubase 2, then Reaper. I’ve had it for two $60 version licenses, and I am quite happy with how compensating it seems to behave with my low level inputs and skills. It would have cost a fortune to keep up with Cubase, and one cannot stick with an old unsupported version as hardware changes. I was using soundfonts in Cubase until I went to Reaper and VSTs. The difference is night and day, although I still miss a few old soundfonts. Thankfully everything now is far better.

Reaper plays well with Boz’s effects and everyone’s instruments. I’ve had to upgrade my system to take advantage of all these things, but that turned out to be the most essential thing. There are now so many usable combinations of sounds and effects I will never discover them all, many free or affordable. I still haven’t figured out how/when to use Big Beautiful Door.