With the stated premise of keeping the app ‘simple’ and NOT subject to bloat, how does this subscription model differ from the subscription model, over time. GRANTED the app is beautiful, in many ways. But user input has suggested some ‘must have’ features, I.e., attachments, changeable fonts, sub-projects, variable color schemes, additional list options, etc., etc. etc. If not simply a function of how difficult a feature is to implement as opposed to how popular a feature request is, how and when in this subscription model cycle does a developer decide what and when to make a feature available. Maybe I’m missing the point, but if I’m satisfied with the app after Attachnents (or whatever) is released next month () and I find no need to ‘subscribe’ after my initial 12 month period are you (developers) going to maintain usability for every future Apple iOS update, iOS12, iOS 13, iOS 14, without requiring me to pay anything additional?
This is exactly where we disagree, this is exactly what we try to achieve. That you, as the user, are always in the position that a) you can continue to use the product in the exact state it is right now (without being forced to pay in order not to not loose any features) and b) you can freely decide whether you want to buy the new premium features you don’t yet have.
In the end of the day it’s not about what somebody else gets for whatever the number of euros is that we are asking, it’s about whether you think that whatever features you don’t yet have are worth the price we are asking. If not you simply stay with what you have, or perhaps you want to wait an extra few months so you get 8 instead of 6 features for your money. This will differ for everybody and that’s the beauty. It’s purely how much you value what we do, and clearly the ball is in our court to convince you we make something you find useful.
As to whether this will prove a successful model and will allow us to sustain Agenda only time will tell. So far we have seen an overwhelmingly positive reaction and it looks very promising. But this in part is the risk of using indie-software from small shops. Though I’m not sure history has shown free software from big names to be any less likely to disappear.
A fair point to make, again, the ball is clearly in our court. But just as we made an app that you seem to like, I’m very confident that we will add some features that you will want to have. We have just started, have lots of ideas and you haven’t seen anything yet
So when will be a next release or beta release with new features?!
After the summer break…
Again, you reiterate your ethos behind the model without answering any fundemental questions.
I apprecaite the model based on how much the user ‘values’ the application, my criticism is that that value has to be proportional to what has already been invested by a user.
You will reach a point where you will only add a few features in a 12 month period, do you believe existing users will be prepared to pay full price, again, for those features even if they do want them?
At the end of the day it is very much what somebody gets for how many euros. Existing users will catch on to that very quickly. I bring this up as someone very much aware of pricing models, and I understand how easy it is to blind ourselves to a pricing structure without considering all the future implications.
It is worth considering, and knowing, as Agenda becomes more feature rich will you put up the price? If so will existing customers have to pay that increased price on the next cycle?
If the price stays the same, will you be able to guarantee existng users will be prepared to invest in the product again and again? If they do not, are you capable to survive on new sales without old sales reinvesting?
I wish you the best of luck, tempered with the experience that we can often get caught out by our own cleverness.
The answer is simple: I don’t know, time will tell. It’s all a hypothetical discussion but as said, so far we’re very happy with the start. We won’t need all users to renew, which this model also allows for and is why we like it so much. We ultimately have to rely on getting new users as well as a subsection renewing, it will be a mixed bag. Some might do a few cycles, others none, but the nice thing is that if somebody is a happy user not wanting the new premium features, he could still help spread the word and bring a new user on board who does.
And in answer to the question of if the price will increase as new features are added?
Well, I’ve bought my 2018 Ford Shelby GT350 wow car. I may not buy another Mustang until 2023, but I sure will enjoy my new car until then. I’m sure the designers will be adding a lot more high tech performance features each year between now and then, some I will crave in 2023 and others I will just say “Meh”. But when I grab my new wow car in 2023, it’ll be worth it. I chose to buy, not lease. Big difference. I own the car. I’m not just renting.
Before all these silly, greedy “subscription models” (Adobe Design Studio is a prime example), you used to buy software and pull it out of the box and own it. Periodically, you would download bug fixes, and sometimes feature adds, but really, you just kept the product and used it.
Eventually there would be a major upgrade from the developers, usually a name tweak so you knew it really was different in major ways, and your files from your current version would need to be converted to the new format if you decided to buy it. If you buy the new version, you would receive regular bug fixes and minor feature adds until the cycle repeats.
I just lost the use of 25 years of my InDesign files which had been converted to the new format because I just got tired of paying $600 every year for the “privilege” of using their software… not owning it, just borrowing it. $2400 over the last 4 years was too steep a price and still I don’t own the old version, nor use the files. It’s a rip off! I’ll never do it again.
Agenda has a great model. We’ll see how it pans out. But to judge the model before the app gets to collect any dust isn’t wise either.
Plenty of subscription models allow you to keep the software if you stop paying the subscription. I agree, avoid any that only allow use of it if you keep paying. That is why a purchase price (to keep your shiny new software) and then a lower subscriptions to help development is best. You stop paying the subscription you get the product to the point you want.
I am less judging the model, more so exploring it for potential problems. And in my eyes there are some. But, if everyone is happy to ignore those potential problems because you know, the product is so great, then so be it. When you have payed this cycle for 6 features, then maybe again as another six are added, lets see if you will be willing to pay again when only two are added.
I know, I know. You can decide not to have those two features.
I mean who would pay £24 for, say, 6 new features every year but then would not be prepared to pay £24 when only two are added?
It’s not like loyalty and commitment to a start-up should be reciprocated.
I think it’s worth remembering that with most free-to-try apps if you stop paying the subscription you go back to a very limited service indeed, eg you can only use it with 5 notes within one project. Agenda’s business model is unfamiliar and may or may not work well in the longer term, but at the moment it seems to me to offer better value than many other subscription-based apps
I agree. I will be buying Agenda for the reason that its functionality is improved by buying the full version. It IS a good application and looks likely to improve further. The long term needs to be considered more however.
Consider these questions? Is premium Agenda worth, say, £24 at the moment? (I would answer yes).
As further development continues will it be worth £48 - the price payed in total by you in two years? (Arguably yes, but it might not be).
In three years when feature saturation closes in will it be worth the £72 you have had to pay to get the new features? (We’re getting onto dubious ground now)
Now, assuming the developers do not change the price, a later adopter will be getting an enhanced application for £24 that early adopters have had to pay £72 for.
If they do increase the price as it becomes more feature rich, what will original users have to pay? Paying more every year to get a few more features? Not a good business model!
(The argument that if we dont want the features we dont have to pay is flawed. Users suffer from a diminishing return to their investment, while the developers potentialy limit continued investment and rely soley on new adopters).
However, as an example, if the cost of the product at any one time is bought for X and then all future access to new features is based on a subsrciption at ½X, then an early adopter, on the original example, will have payed £48 over three years. And a new adopter could be charged, say, £36 pounds for an enhanced appliction. At any time you stop paying the subscription you still get the product at the last stage of its development, but have not had to pay for diminishing returns.
We can’t answer that, we might lower the price or up the price, we’ll see over time. What we are not planning at the moment is to differentiate between existing users and current users. Ultimately what the price will be when your time to renew comes doesn’t matter, all that matters is that you feel that what we ask you to pay is a fair price for what we offer in terms of features. Some will without a doubt find it too high even if you get 20 features, for others it will be a few features and still a no brainer.
Unfortunately an upfront price in an app-store world is a very hard sell I’m afraid.
Enjoying this discussion. Plenty of good opinions here, and it should be obvious this is a somewhat experimental sales model, so we don’t have all the answers.
I am not really worried about it not working out. Every sales model has weaknesses. We think this one nicely balances the motivations of the customer with those of the developer. The customer pays for concrete features, and ‘owns’ them permanently when they purchase. The developer is motivated to keep the product moving to keep the customer purchasing.
I’m not worried that we will run out of things to improve and features to add. We’ve been in this business for probably 15 years, and I’ve never really seen a piece of software run up against that. I’ve never seen a developer say “we’re done!”
And I’m also not really concerned about the argument that new users get too much. Consider the existing sales models: If I purchase version 1.0 of an app, and then pay an upgrade to version 2.0, I have paid more than my friend who just purchases version 2.0 later. And yet my friend has exactly the same app I have. Is that fair?
And if I subscribe to an app for 5 years, and then my friend joins too, he/she gets the same app for a fifth the price I have paid. Is that fair?
In other words, you can’t really value an app like you value a piece of cake. If I buy a piece of cake, I can only eat it once. The moment that I eat it plays no role. In the app store terminology, cake is a “consumable”.
Software is not a consumable. You can use it as much as you like. I could buy an app once, and use it for 20 years. So the argument that the new customer gets the same app, even though over time they have paid less, doesn’t really fly. They may get the same app, but they don’t have the years of usage you have. That is what you are really paying for — the app itself is not very useful; the usage of the app is what is useful.
Anyway, it’s all largely theoretical at this point, and time will tell. The first hurdle is crossed, namely that it seems people are willing to pay for the premium features even when that is not a requirement to use the app. The other hurdles, eg, keeping them paying, are yet to be encountered.
It is the last point which is most interesting. The app in its current, and promised format, will obviously sell itself. The fact that people keep the features whatever stage they invest to is, again, obviously a strong selling point that should shape other pricing models.
Personally, I see a shift in consumer expectations. To date consumers have purchased all the features created by developers - and therfore getting features superfluous to their needs. I think a future models accross the board will focus more on the bespoke option. Buying only the features the consumer needs. A few exist but non, on my radar, that really inspire.
Your product has achieved the hardest hurdel. It found a much neglacted niche. Most other new creations do what every other creation does, just in a different way.
I sincerely wish you the best, but hard conversations, and challenging ones, must be made to ensure all angles are considered.
I appreciate this approach. I am investing in Premium because I believe you will continue to deliver things I will want, or which provided added value.
I do NOT appreciate a subscription model which mostly serves to provide a cosnsistent revenue stream more than it supports the same value-added approach (hear me Adobe?).
I buy software that I expect to last me 3-5 years or more. If I wanted to lease software, then that means it has to be a must-have with a cost too high to pay for, other than “over time”.
Subscription makes the bean-counters and folks who follow stock prices happy. Outright purchase makes those of us that don’t have a lot to spend think more about what we need and what we get — and for us (me at least) the immediate value is more important than some feature I may never see or even think is needed for years.
Kudos for this model, and I hope it catches on. However, as long as people believe in leasing their cars and software, there will be people out there making sure that’s possible. At some point however, people will say enough is enough.
Tell you what, I’ll go premium if you tell me what happened to Tom in the next release.
This could be the most entertaining USP ever