Bob: From King To Customer - The end of Faithlife as we knew it?

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This post has 87 Replies | 15 Followers

Posts 196
Stephen Terlizzi | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2016 5:38 PM

Paul Strickert:

The one thing that hasn't changed, IMO, is the quickness with which (some) users jump on Faithlife when a problem occurs.  Based on their hyperbole, you'd think the world was coming to an end.  ;)

I agree that the execution of  Logos 7 announcement could have been done better. The company was slow in delivering the detailed information to make informed purchasing decisions (particularly around the website problems and the details of each individual packages). I was caught expecting stuff in my Verbum Platinum that eventually was not included. However, such is life.

I actually am surprised at the patience that the Logos user community has for the company. I point to the Encyclopedia Britannica problems in 2015 and the subsequent missed commitments for delivery of the revised product. I think the users on the forum have been incredibly patient on this matter...of course, that may change if Faithlife doesn't make the August delivery commitment. IMHO.

Agape,

Steve

Posts 1012
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2016 5:52 PM

It's probably inevitable that as a company grows dramatically in size, it will become somewhat clumsier and less flexible. That doesn't reflect a deliberate slight of long-term customers or an erosion of business ethics.  It's just harder to change the course of a big ship than a small one.  On the other hand, large companies have the resources to do things that small ones can't.

It's a problem I can sympathize with personally. I've grown significantly over the last few years, and become somewhat clumsier and less flexible myself.

Stick out tongue

Posts 64
Eric Ross | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2016 7:38 PM

As a long time employee in the software business, I have observed this common occurance where a small company such as Faithlife suddenly does a major push into new business models and markets.  At some point, there are so many products and so many types of customers that focus begins to become a bit frayed.  At this point successful execution of product releases and support becomes difficult.  This was very apparent with the release of Logos 7 and the web site not being fully ready with the comparator.  Also key communications that are mentioned above are another symptom.  As a result, rather than an obvious point of decisions for customers, it becomes a confusing and frustrating environment.  On the other hand, I can also see that despite these "process" issues, there are many people pulling all-nighters and other heroic acts to keep the customer happy.   Bottom line, the recent year has been stressful for the customer and has all the appearance of being stressful to the rank and file in the company.  

This is a good time to focus on simplifying the offerings which will make them easier to deliver and easier for the customer to understand.  For example, do you need a Logos, Verbum, Vyrso AND a Noet app?  Why not have a single app with a switch or a "layout".

The customer now has to look at a matrix of product, base package, feature set, subscription levels.  Unfortunately, these are not independent of each other and the interaction between them becomes extremely complicated both for FL to present and for the customer to understand.   

The company I work for had a similar problem where we were confusing the customer and we did a rapid cut back on "flavors" and collapsed things down into easier to understand options aligned by customer type rather than feature sets..  This greatly improved sales and increased customer satisfaction scores.

Posts 1825
mike | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2016 7:51 PM

The problem with Logos lately is that Logos trying to act like the big fish companies but failed to execute plan and deliver the full promise. Everything they said often times are the future tense.. "oh its coming"...

Sorry if too harsh, but this is what I feel ever since they announced LN, though I still like Logos a lot........ Complicated relationship indeed.

And oh, I still feel that L7 is just like another day of LN cycle-release.

Posts 7983
LogosEmployee

Stephen Terlizzi:
I point to the Encyclopedia Britannica problems ... if Faithlife doesn't make the August delivery commitment.

There was never a commitment to August; this was always clearly communicated as a tentative projection: https://community.logos.com/forums/p/117689/822993.aspx#822993 

Posts 10126
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2016 9:01 PM

Now Bradley. Us Logosians are smarter than your average bear.  But not by much.

Ben promised a reverse promise ... he promised to notify if the not-promise date was not met.

Now, I fully expect Ben to meet his promise ... and miss the August target.  Just guessing, given the L7 pressure.


Posts 7983
LogosEmployee

Whoa... it’s like you can see the future! https://community.logos.com/forums/p/117689/842276.aspx#842276 Smile

Posts 196
Stephen Terlizzi | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2016 9:37 PM

Bradley Grainger (Faithlife):

Whoa... it’s like you can see the future! https://community.logos.com/forums/p/117689/842276.aspx#842276 Smile

We'll see, if with the Logos 7 announcement, Faithlife has thrown us enough red meat to satiate the masses!  :)

Agape,

Steve

Posts 503
Sarel Slabbert | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2016 10:56 PM

I started with Logos in 1996 when it still came on 3.5" stiffies. I think it was Logos version 1.6. I have been one of the most loyal customers Logos could ask for. I still think it offers the best ratio between ease of use and scholarly possibilities.

But, and this is not an attack on FL, the last two years or so I have become more and more aware that the explosive growth of Logos is making it more difficult for me to stay current. I am not a supporter of the "subscription based" option. I prefer to buy. Once you subscribe to Logos for more than 2 years you will never be able to stop your subscription without losing access to all those tools you learned to use. Also, you will be so far "behind" with the Feature Sets that it would be extremely expensive to get these tools without a subscription. I think some Logos Now subscribers would be shocked to realize just how many tools and functionality is dependent on their monthly subscription. Especially those who did not buy the Datasets of Logos 6.

If FL would change their model and allow us to "keep" the "old" features after each 2 or 3 year subscription cycle, and then introduce the "new" features for subscription I would jump on the subscription bandwagon immediately. Then, if I end my subscription for whatever reason, I still keep the functionality of Logos and only lose access to the newest features. At this moment you lose everything since you started your subscription. Ironically, it would cost Logos nothing to offer this for subscribers since, after two years, they actually paid for these features and they received the money. So allowing customers to keep the "old features" will not cost FL a great deal.

At this stage I am still a firm supporter of Logos and still believe it is the best Bible Software; offering the best possible possibilities for both lay and professional Bible readers. But I am becoming apprehensive about my ability to keep up with Logos in the future. For me this is very sad since I have invested thousands of Dollars in Logos since 1996.

Posts 503
Sarel Slabbert | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2016 11:06 PM

Faithlife is a company that is creating a wonderful resource that makes our jobs so much easier and yet every time they make any move at all this board and twitter light up with people acting as if they have been stabbed in the back.

I agree completely. Logos is by far the best Bible Software out there.

Nobody is forcing us to upgrade to 7. Nobody is forcing us to subscribe to Now.

Again true, but we want to support FL by buying their wonderful product and keep them producing better tools. Changes made to how FL operate do make it a bit more difficult to keep up with Logos.

Logos 6 will work the same when you open it today as it did last week.

Unless you are a subscriber to Logos Now. Then if you stop, Logos will not work the same.

Just like the company that made the car you drive. They are going to come out with a newer better model. They are going to charge more for the new model. You get to decide if you want the new model.

or they will go out of business and then the warranty on your car will be void.

Not the best analogy. You do not add to your old car. You completely replace the old car by selling it and buying a new car. You get something back for your old car. FL do offer Dynamic Pricing, but is just subtracting what you already paid. With Logos you add to it, you grow it and you mature with it. You become dependent on its abilities and resources. You do not sell your previous library to get the newest library.

I still would like it if FLallowed us to keep the functionality of features after a certain period of subscription. i.e 2 years. Would FL consider this?

Posts 102
Andrew Malone | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2016 11:18 PM

One more suggestion for refining the various metaphors at play:

Sarel Slabbert:

Nobody is forcing us to upgrade to 7. Nobody is forcing us to subscribe to Now.

Again true, but we want to support FL by buying their wonderful product and keep them producing better tools. Changes made to how FL operate do make it a bit more difficult to keep up with Logos.

Logos 6 will work the same when you open it today as it did last week.

Do any of these analogies break down when we consider the fact that support ceases for older versions of Logos? My car is 20–21 years old — exactly the same as my 3.5" diskette version of Logos 1.6. But I can take my car to most mechanics for basic support (which, indeed, is often easier and cheaper to service than complicated newer models). But when I've been running Logos 4 on Windows XP, I can not get formal support for an older product.

Likewise, my older iPad runs best on iOS7. I won't be upgrading to later versions of iOS. So, while it still works very nicely, it's just been announced that the iOS app won't be acquiring any further updates. I wonder if support will also eventually cease there?

In short, even if there's no explicit shelf life on Logos products, is there an implicit one?

Posts 503
Sarel Slabbert | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2016 11:28 PM

Andrew Malone:

Do any of these analogies break down when we consider the fact that support ceases for older versions of Logos? My car is 20–21 years old — exactly the same as my 3.5" diskette version of Logos 1.6. But I can take my car to most mechanics for basic support (which, indeed, is often easier and cheaper to service than complicated newer models). But when I've been running Logos 4 on Windows XP, I can not get formal support for an older product.

Likewise, my older iPad runs best on iOS7. I won't be upgrading to later versions of iOS. So, while it still works very nicely, it's just been announced that the iOS app won't be acquiring any further updates. I wonder if support will also eventually cease there?

In short, even if there's no explicit shelf life on Logos products, is there an implicit one?

I may sound like a broken record, but FL could easily negate this problem by offering their subscription service, with continued "ownership" of older features after a certain period of subscription. I hope someone from FL would reply. I believe that someone would have already mentioned this in the past, but my time was limited so I could not find such a discussion quickly.

Posts 321
Rene Atchley | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 24 2016 11:51 PM

I don't know if FL is run by Christians or not.  I don't know if FL is dedicated to their customers or not.  I don't know if FL is about helping me grow as a person of faith with their software.  What I do know is that every other piece of Bible software that I have bought over the years have gone out of business or their software doesn't function as well as Logos.  This is a business which is geared to make an every growing profit off as many people as it can for as long as it can.  If there is ever a doubt about their business orientation it was cleared up as the sales rep. tried to hurry me off the phone after purchasing Logos 7 Starter..you know I hit my time limit that I was given for the level of purchase I made.  Logos 7 is just another piece of software sucking money from my pocket for a product just as I am yet another customer who has a little bit of money...imo.  

Posts 1825
mike | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 25 2016 12:51 AM

My expression is the same as your profile picture... whooaaa...

Hang on there..  I'm sure the CS was like that because they were busy on L7 first day. But on normal days I'm sure they're super patient with customers.

Posts 927
Bill Moore | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 25 2016 4:42 AM

Sarel Slabbert:

I may sound like a broken record, but FL could easily negate this problem by offering their subscription service, with continued "ownership" of older features after a certain period of subscription. I hope someone from FL would reply. I believe that someone would have already mentioned this in the past, but my time was limited so I could not find such a discussion quickly.

If your suggestion were incorporated into Logos Now, I expect that many of us on the fence about subscribing would jump in. It would solve my concern about having to drop down the road because of budget constraints when I'm no longer able to do vocational ministry.

Pastor, Cornerstone Baptist Church, Clinton, SC

Posts 149
David A. Peterson | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 25 2016 5:52 AM

I have a suggestion in regards to:

Peter Lever:

Look at the forums now. Lot of customers including myself were not clear from the product pages that told that a purchase included the feature set, when actually it did not, and purchased the wrong/incomplete product.

Instead of making it explicit and clear in the product pages what customers will get/own, Faithlife resorts to giving explanations of how a 'Package' is defined etc from "THEIR" perspective without as much acknowledging the customer's perspective or difficulties.

In addition to the MVP's (indicated by the stars), FL could use a few LCD's (which would be indicated by squares under their profile pic).  These Lowest Common Denominators would be made up of average Logos users that have a basic understanding of the software and minimal computer skills.  People like me.  We could be brought to test out new features, not to see if they work, but just if we can figure them out.  If I can figure it out, most people can.  Additionally, we would be provided the opportunity to view the new pages before release, and see if we, as average users can figure them out.  We would earn our squares by the number of questions we asked, not the number of answers we provide.  I am willing to volunteer, as I am sure many others would as well.  

Warmest Regards,

DP

Posts 503
Sarel Slabbert | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 25 2016 6:29 AM

Bill Moore:

If your suggestion were incorporated into Logos Now, I expect that many of us on the fence about subscribing would jump in. It would solve my concern about having to drop down the road because of budget constraints when I'm no longer able to do vocational ministry.

I would, without doubt make me take the plunge. This is my only concern regarding the subscription option. I really think it is feasible. I hope someone from FL responds.

Posts 3024
SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 25 2016 7:08 AM

Andrew Malone:

Do any of these analogies break down when we consider the fact that support ceases for older versions of Logos? ... In short, even if there's no explicit shelf life on Logos products, is there an implicit one?

Not quite.

Let's suppose John Smith bought a 3.5" diskette version of Logos 1.6, and never bought another product from Faithlife ever again, although he used and appreciated the contents of that diskette, making sure that he had Logos on each of the succession of computers that he's owned in the last twenty years. At this point, on his latest machine (assuming he stays remotely current with those), he would be running Logos 6.14, and the actual resources on that diskette have probably also all received one or more meaningful upgrades, too. Furthermore, his installation of Logos 6 will remain fully supported more than long enough for him to pick up the free Logos 7 in February (or so), without paying a dime. Finally, over that entire twenty year period, if John has ever had a problem related to Logos, he could have--and quite possibly has--phoned or emailed Faithlife, checked the forums, looked on the blog, used Wiki and/or other help documentation, etc. All of that support has been completely free to him (in terms of money), other than any incidental phone or Internet usage charges.

People don't upgrade their cars or their iPads principally because it costs them money to do so. It doesn't cost money to upgrade from Logos X.x to Logos 6.14, and in a little while, Logos 7.x will be free too. If anything, this where the analogy breaks down. The software upgrades for an iPad made be free, but the next generation iPad--the hardware--is not. Faithlife doesn't sell the hardware that their software runs on.

Posts 1690
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 25 2016 8:48 AM

Peter Lever:
I am customer of ten years. I remember the old days when i was treated like a King.

I'm sorry to hear that you don't feel as well taken care of. I hope that you'll reach out to me directly at bob@faithlife.com anytime you aren't getting the help you need.

Peter Lever:
Look at the forums now. Lot of customers including myself were not clear from the product pages that told that a purchase included the feature set, when actually it did not, and purchased the wrong/incomplete product.

I'm sorry that you found the product descriptions confusing. I'm not sure if this relates to the pages that were down on Monday and Tuesday, or to mistakes on those pages. I do know that we made a specific effort this time to bring the whole feature set down to a lower base package level, which should have made getting all the new Logos 7 data sets and tools even more accessible.

Peter Lever:
Instead of making it explicit and clear in the product pages what customers will get/own, Faithlife resorts to giving explainations of how a 'Package' is defined etc from "THEIR" perspective without as much acknowledging the customer's persepctive or difficulties.

The 'fine print' is actually an attempt to be clear. (And isn't really fine print... it's just explanatory text.) But I confess, it's getting very complicated to track all the details -- for us too!

I love to press the reset button: I love to set up a fresh computer without bringing over any files or apps, and just installing what it turns out I really still need. I moved houses once and didn't bring the dishes or silverware (and lots of other stuff), forcing us to purchase what we really wanted and not to drag along old things we didn't use. It was great!

We've even pressed the reset button on the Logos Bible Software technology: After our 1991 release we shipped a 100% (or 97%!) platform reset in 1995, 2001, and 2009.

I fantasize about pressing the reset button on everything in Logos Bible Software: the chance to deliver the product we'd design in 2016, offered with 2016's business model, priced at 2016's price points, and sold for a single clear price in a single clear configuration.

Simplicity! Big Smile

There's been some comparison of buying a new version of Logos to buying a new car. I wish that comparison held true, because it's really simple: You want the new car? You buy the new car for its price (or a tiny negotiated discount, which most people hate negotiating).

Every year they make a new car model and they put whatever they want into it. Sometimes they invent new features. Sometimes they improve old features. Sometimes they take last year's optional expensive add-on and make it standard equipment. But every year they sell every customer a full-price new product with no consideration for what the customer bought last year.

Trading in a car isn't really like dynamic pricing at all. A trade in is just re-selling your old purchase to the same person you're buying the new car from. You have to severely discount your old car from the price you paid in order to sell it. The asset doesn't just feel old and go out of style, it literally wears out, gets banged up, breaks down, etc. The old car isn't valued based on its features, it is valued as what people will pay for it. (A feature might make its resale higher, but some features mean nothing in resale no matter how much you spent to add them on.)

Car manufacturers get to add, say, adaptive cruise control to their car this year without worrying that everyone who ever bought cruise control in the past will want a proportionate credit for their earlier purchase of that specific feature. :-)

And, while car manufacturers do provide maintenance for a long time, in almost every case you have to pay for that. (Either in a priced-in warranty purchase, or in actual out of pocket repairs costs.) They do not garage your car at no cost, and they do not provide ongoing service that costs them a monthly fee without passing that cost on to you. (Buy a new car with Internet access, or satellite radio, built-in, and you'll be 'subscribing' to your car.)

Don't worry, we aren't going to press the reset button on your Logos Bible Software investment.

But that's why it's complicated: our users (sensibly, for good reason) want to make sure that they get the most from their investment. Their books don't wear out digitally, and they don't want to pay for them twice. They do want to buy bundles and get discounts and not have to buy every title separately at list price. (And we have to use bundles to offer those discounts -- the quantities bundles generate justify the discounts publishers allow us to offer.) But then they want their unique library -- unique combinations of more than 100,000 different SKUs! -- to be reflected in the pricing and configuration of every future purchase.

I get it. I care too.

(Though sometimes I still press the reset button... at some point I stopped caring, for example, which music albums I'd bought years ago, and stopped transferring them around to new music platforms. I just subscribe to 'lots of streaming music' and it's enough. I no longer care if that one song isn't in that particular streaming service. But I know everyone doesn't want to do that, and I probably don't care about music as much as some other people do...)

I don't see how we can offer 100,000 titles (licensed from more than 500 different publishers over 25 years, with dozens of different contracts) to millions of users, whose purchase history can be as old as 25 years or as short as 'yesterday', on technology platforms that have changed from 5.25" floppy disks to unlimited streaming data on the phone in my pocket, and not have some complexity. Or a lot of it. Sad

The best I can promise is that we'll still be hear, and still listen to your concerns, and still try to make things right.

I am sure we'll probably confuse a bunch of people again next year with something else. I know we're going to try to offer some 'completely reset concept' products for new users (like Logos Cloud), and I'm guessing some existing users will buy those things just because they like those offerings, and some won't because those new offerings won't have a way to take into account every previous purchase. 

And we'll continue to upgrade and improve and support the existing model and platform, and some potential new users will find that inaccessible and hopelessly confusing, and will think that the long-time forum users must have Ph.D.'s in "Logos Package Vocabulary", Smile, and will choose not to buy that old fashioned downloadable, installable software.

Please keep sending feedback, please keep forgiving us when we make a mistake, and please don't be shy about reaching out directly if there's something I can fix for you.

P.S. The MVPs are awesome, and we appreciate them so much. Thank you!

Posts 22
Shannon Martin | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 25 2016 9:08 AM

Thanks so much. Very well explained.

As a bivocational pastor with a business background I can certainly appreciate the complexity of the business you are running.

Candidly when I compare Logos7 price points to software in other sectors it seems like a excellent value. I have certainly paid more for less.

God bless your company. I am grateful that you are using your talents in a field that adds value to so many.

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