My Big Concern about Logos future for ownership model

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Mark | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 7 2016 12:29 PM

PetahChristian:

There are customers living on a fixed income who can't afford to spend a lot on Logos books or Mobile Ed, but they're just as valuable as people who gave more out of their abundance.

I'm grateful that FL has been around all this time to develop the software and resources

This causes me to believe you have misunderstood this thread.  No one that I am aware on this thread has implied that customers on fixed income who cannot afford to spend a lot are not valuable.

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PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 7 2016 12:30 PM

Andrew116:

If this sort of package existed, I think Logos would see a lot more people invest. 

As long as the minimum spend to get something usable is $900, you will struggle to get new users. 

I do agree that when people do come on board, and do discover how valuable that the software is, that they'll spend more down the road, likely more than they envisioned.

You described my situation. I was using Olive Tree, and the $295 price to switch to L6 Starter was all I wanted to spend at the time. I didn't understand how much it was missing, or what I couldn't do with it.

FL threw in the Pulpit Commentary Set for free, as it happened to be the current offer for L6 buyers, at the time.

I then signed up for the free 30-day challenge, and discovered all the features that the course covered, which I had no access to. So I bought the L6 feature set, and a couple lexicons.

Is Logos expensive? More than people initially realize. Is it worth it? Yes, but people have to spend time discovering that, and it is necessary to have the resources and features that portray it in its best light.

Did I have to buy additional books? Yes. But I've spent far more since that point, and have gotten past the initial sticker shock.

From L6 to L7, I think L7 was a big step forward. You can buy Bronze instead of Gold to get the full feature set. FL already lowered the cost, in a sense, by providing the features in a less expensive package, and, as you pointed out, you can rent them instead of owning them.

If I knew then what I now now, I'd have made different L6 choices, but you learn from your mistakes Huh?

In general, I'd like to think that the church membership Mobile Ed videos will get more people interested in Logos, but getting people to spend enough to be really happy with the program might be challenging.

As for ownership, I'm very happy with what I've been able to buy and own (but I'm also a happy LN member). I can't imagine not being an LN member, since the benefits outweigh the cost.

Outside the lack of dynamic pricing for WBC, and some Mobile Ed "resource no longer available" issues, my experience has been fairly positive. Bob takes the time to enter into dialogs with us, and answers emails, which is more interaction than many CEOs would have.

Are there some things I wish FL would improve (with the web site and pricing)? Yes. But as far as ownership goes, I am thankful for my library and the software. Expecting additional Logos "ownership" benefits would be unreasonable and unrealistic, and hurt FL's profits.

Posts 1960
Mark | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 7 2016 12:42 PM

Wild Eagle:
If heavy investors are not buying anymore, than they are liabilities to Bob, thats a reality and Bob states that. 

This really is not reading into the reasons for why some heavy investors are not buying anymore, the purpose this thread seems to have.  I would happily invest more.  I really like the program and use it very often.  It has been a great blessing to me.  And for that reason, I have invested a lot over the years.  I, like others, want to see FL grow and succeed and have a long future.  I, like others, have seen the business model of the past as being a good model.  I, like others, realize that businesses make mistakes as the years go on as well as make good decisions.  And I, .like others apparently, are greatly concerned about decisions that have been made and are being made and are not sure whether the model is the right way to go for heavy investors.  It may be a really good model for light investors.  And I realize that a business may drop heavy investors, seeing them as a liability.  I get all that.  And that is why I and apparently others, have invested less than in the past.  It is quite possible that while we invest less than in the past, that we are still investing more than the average customer.  I am glad that FL has had a record of listening and responding to customer concerns.  I am encouraged by many decisions made, and very disappointed by other decisions made.  As FL is able to make their own business decisions, so customers are able to make their decisions to purchase, support or not.

As I see this thread, it was started with a real concern.  I hope Bob and others at FL are able to read past the posts that are only reactions to comments in order to see the real concern and know how to engage those that really care about the company and may perhaps see things from a fresh or different perspective.  I would not call such people liabilities, though I understand that others, including FL employees, may.

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PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 7 2016 12:45 PM

Mark:

PetahChristian:

There are customers living on a fixed income who can't afford to spend a lot on Logos books or Mobile Ed, but they're just as valuable as people who gave more out of their abundance.

I'm grateful that FL has been around all this time to develop the software and resources

This causes me to believe you have misunderstood this thread.  No one that I am aware on this thread has implied that customers on fixed income who cannot afford to spend a lot are not valuable.

It's not that others are less valuable than the heavy, long-term investors. It's that the big investors apparently are less valued now compared to the amount they invested.

When people mention that they are big spenders, but feel they are losing out ("liability," "drained") or aren't being treated as well (as they deserve) than someone who spent/owns less, it seems that big spenders feel like others are getting better benefits than them.

My point was that it shouldn't matter how much someone spends. I'd like to think that FL values everyone equally, as we all should.

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 7 2016 1:06 PM

Andrew116:
If Logos did that, I would without hesitation recommend every single youth group leader buy it if they can. The sweet spot for pricing seems to be under $250. The sort of thing that can be saved up for in a few weeks, or asked for as a birthday present. 

You can get close to this price with what is currently available.

From an earlier thread - https://community.logos.com/forums/p/133568/867900.aspx#867900 - you can get the following for free

The links below are to free products:

Adding in a couple of Bibles (as per your suggestion) for $20 and the Tyndale commentary set for $225 gives you a reasonable starting place for under $250.

Posts 1960
Mark | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 7 2016 1:36 PM

PetahChristian:
When people mention that they are big spenders

Well, I am probably wrong, but I really think you have misunderstood.

Posts 461
Robert Harner | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 7 2016 5:29 PM

Mark Barnes:

If you're going to compare with Amazon, the closer comparison is Kindle Unlimited. For that you get access to 1 million titles for $9.99/month (more expensive than Logos Now).

However:

  • Although you can choose from a million titles, you can only borrow 10 at a time.
  • The vast majority of the books are bad books that won't sell. They're less valuable even that Faithlife's public domain 'fillers'. I'm currently in the middle of a trial of KU. I had 408 books on my 'to read' list that I don't currently own. Only five of them are available with Kindle Unlimited.

Frankly, if Amazon can't offer a decent ebook rental package, no-one can (for all the reasons Bob gave). The book market is not like the movie market. Perhaps that day will one day come, but it's not here yet.

I think it depends on what kind of books you are looking for. A while back I opened a new list for KU books and on Black Friday bought KU for $7 a month. I'm finding a large number of books to read and not one is public domain. But, I'm not looking for theology books. That may be the difference.

Posts 52
Ezra Miller | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 7 2016 9:14 PM

Faithlife is in a unique position, because FL can't afford to go subscription-only...yet.  So they are going both non-sub and sub.  So this helps feed two markets--the ones that want cutting edge features and other cool stuff, and those of us who are fine with paying $300+ every couple of years and not paying anything again until we deem it necessary.

I have a blog that I've kind of put off to the side as I'm not proficient in HTML.  So I wanted to get Dreamweaver.  I thought that Adobe had an option to buy Dreamweaver, not rent.  But Adobe doesn't offer that option.  So, they lost my business.  FL is avoiding that mistake by offering Logos Now as an option.

Posts 72
Andrew116 | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 7 2016 10:04 PM

Graham Criddle:
You can get close to this price with what is currently available.

Thanks Graham, and thanks to FL for this. 

The dictionary seems great, and the Greek text is wonderful. But there are a number of drawbacks to this:

  • no datasets so the guides don't work. This isn't a great way to show someone the power of Logos
  • no systematic theology (the Sproul books, while great, don't substitute)
  • no Gk Lexicon (which will help the lay person with word studies etc)
  • few commentaries (Tyndales on its own isn't great. Add Calvin and Matthew Henry, and you have a much better looking set)

I'm suggesting putting together a starter package that has really good utility and value to the entry-level lay person. This would mean giving them the starter data sets to show the power of the engine. 

So I'm suggesting loss-leading to get people in the door with something of really good value and utility. More than is available in that free set, good though it is. Basically the core of this proposal is: make the starter package actually a good starting place. 

This thread (on spending habits) shows that the first year's spend was a fraction of what they would later spend down the track. Get people to spend a relatively small amount this year on something they find useful, and they will come back. 

FWIW Accordance nailed this in June this year, with a $100 set that included:

  • Commentaries:
    • 49 vol Tyndale Commentary set, 
    • Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary,
    • Calvin's Commentaries on the Whole Bible, 
  • Bibles: ESV, NIV, HCSB, NKJV, KJV, NASB, The Message, NET with notes
  • Dictionaries: some basic ones (weakness)
  • Systematic Theologies: Berhkoff, Hodge (slight weakness)
  • History: Sketches of Church History, Foxe's Martyrs
  • Basic Gk and Hb lexicons

The deal was so good and the usefulness so obvious that 2 of the people I told about it bought it. At least 1 of them has gone on to purchase a further commentary set in that ecosystem. The price was right and the value was there. Both of them are uni students and lay leaders (youth group leaders) who are fairly likely to go on to vocational ministry in the future. Though on limited budgets, they are now predisposed to future investment in Accordance rather than Logos. All of this is to say - the importance of having an attractive starter package! (Which Logos does not have at the moment)

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 7 2016 11:46 PM

Andrew116:

The dictionary seems great, and the Greek text is wonderful. But there are a number of drawbacks to this:

  • no datasets so the guides don't work. This isn't a great way to show someone the power of Logos
  • no systematic theology (the Sproul books, while great, don't substitute)
  • no Gk Lexicon (which will help the lay person with word studies etc)
  • few commentaries (Tyndales on its own isn't great. Add Calvin and Matthew Henry, and you have a much better looking set)

What you are saying here is that you want a basic package that meets your understanding of Bible study. I, in contrast, would not be expecting a basic package to have any Greek language capabilities and would consider a solid one volume commentary satisfactory with some series a nice addition. On the other hand, for a small group study I can equip participants with Logos/Verbum for $75-100. I suspect that there are 3 or 4 basic understandings of lay Bible study that would require separate base packages. Why? in simple diagrams

Anglican's basic image is Scripture-Tradition-Reason for reading scripture

Methodist add experience

Catholics use the same 4 with a image indicating a difference in the modeling of the relationship between the 4.

Orthodox have a less intellectual take on the same elements

This model - unidentified denomination(s) adds emotion

Lutherans take a more confessional approach for which I have yet to find a model.


Then there is is bible only model.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 72
Andrew116 | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 8 2016 1:04 AM

Thats helpful! 

So I guess you could build this into the existing denominational streams. 

And what I've been saying is effectively, the entry level stream is not hitting my tribe (reformed evangelical)

Posts 1838
mike | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 8 2016 2:03 AM
  1. Most people here have spent more than what they need and what they can read.
  2. And everyone here are suckers for sales.

These two I know.

So, stop buying books and get off your chair, go out and exercise!

Posts 1960
Mark | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 8 2016 7:02 AM

Ezra Miller:
I have a blog that I've kind of put off to the side as I'm not proficient in HTML.  So I wanted to get Dreamweaver.  I thought that Adobe had an option to buy Dreamweaver, not rent.  But Adobe doesn't offer that option.  So, they lost my business.  FL is avoiding that mistake by offering Logos Now as an option.

Adobe lost my business for the exact same reason.  And yes, at the moment, FL is avoiding that mistake.

Posts 2825
Michael Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 8 2016 7:57 AM

MJ. Smith:

Andrew116:

The dictionary seems great, and the Greek text is wonderful. But there are a number of drawbacks to this:

  • no datasets so the guides don't work. This isn't a great way to show someone the power of Logos
  • no systematic theology (the Sproul books, while great, don't substitute)
  • no Gk Lexicon (which will help the lay person with word studies etc)
  • few commentaries (Tyndales on its own isn't great. Add Calvin and Matthew Henry, and you have a much better looking set)

What you are saying here is that you want a basic package that meets your understanding of Bible study. I, in contrast, would not be expecting a basic package to have any Greek language capabilities and would consider a solid one volume commentary satisfactory with some series a nice addition. On the other hand, for a small group study I can equip participants with Logos/Verbum for $75-100. I suspect that there are 3 or 4 basic understandings of lay Bible study that would require separate base packages. Why? in simple diagrams

Anglican's basic image is Scripture-Tradition-Reason for reading scripture

Methodist add experience

Catholics use the same 4 with a image indicating a difference in the modeling of the relationship between the 4.

Orthodox have a less intellectual take on the same elements

This model - unidentified denomination(s) adds emotion

Lutherans take a more confessional approach for which I have yet to find a model.


Then there is is bible only model.

  As usual, MJ is spot on!

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

Posts 10218
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 8 2016 8:47 AM

I've never seen the 'Bible only model'. I have met many who propose that (me). But inevitably Bible-only people start late 2nd century. Maybe the 'late 2nd century model'.  Plus they need the Nicene too or they're heretics (by definition). I certainly avoid being a heretic.  I thought MJ's diagrams were really good.

Anyway, I agree with Andrew and his many suggestors preceding him. Bob weeps at the customers who won't BUY. But he charges a high entry, both price-wise and complexity-wise (even the web site .... Logos loves to confuse).  I know this sounds nutty, but I've always felt he wanted to keep Accordance and even WordSearch in business, while keeping his own business just a hair away from collapse ( or Christmas as a great time to clean up the payroll).

Anyway, his business. 


Posts 196
Stephen Terlizzi | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 8 2016 9:13 AM

I always thought the Verbum Starter package (https://verbum.com/starter) at $145 provides everything that one needs to initially learn about the Catholic faith. It includes various Bibles, commentaries, dictionaries, the Summa, the Catechism, devotionals, Early Fathers, St. JPII papal documents, etc.

Agape,

Steve

Posts 887
Brother Mark | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 8 2016 9:39 AM

MJ. Smith:

This model - unidentified denomination(s) adds emotion

Love this slant to the classic Inductive Bible Study method of :What does it say?  What does it mean? What does it mean to me (the big "so what")? But, more on target with the topic:  I'd have gladly invested in a subscription based Logos if it had been offered in 2004 when I bought-in.  However, my $5k investment in owned resources means that I see literally no value in jumping ship to a subscription based model at this point.  And, at the same time, reluctant to invest more on owned resources regardless of assurances that my current investment will be protected, etc.  I think that MANY long-time investors/owners/participants feel pretty much the same way.  Solution? For me?  Hold what I've got and wait to see how it all pans out.

"I read dead people..."

Posts 516
Bobby Terhune | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 8 2016 12:42 PM

Wild Eagle,

IMHO I think your missing Bob's intentions about offering a subscription model.

1. It's not reasonable to assume Bob will offer Logos Lite for the ownership model. If the non LN version can't read the new tagging on newer books, people would soon not be buying new books. I can't see that happening.

2. Bob's business model since the beginning was the ownership model, and he has promised that he has no plans to make that go away. I trust Bob's word on this.

3. Heavy buyers of product are not a liability, only Bob has to find a way to generate revenue that allows him to keep serving those customers as he has all these years so far, and still continue to say cutting edge with the program. I have a very large library and I am very confident in the trust I've place in Faithlife, that they will always do the right thing by their customers.

4. Logos Now is not the enemy of those of us who are purchase to own customers. Instead it allows Logos to thrive and keep taking care of us for the future. Bob has taken steps that I'm sure has been painful for him. But I'm glad he has come up with a plan that protects the ownership model and gives users a choice about the purchase path that works for them.

5. The Prepub price protection. I recall many times over the years folks who missed the Prepub, or years later needed to buy something that was on Prepub 5 years ago wanting Logos to do something that would help them get a break on the price. I think the 6 month or 12 month time limit is mostly a moot point. After all it really benefits us more than Faithlife.

 Best,

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Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 8 2016 2:57 PM

Mark:
Apparently I am in the small group that over the years invested heavily into FL.  I am not investing heavily anymore, but not because I am content with my library.  Rather, because I see what is going on.

You're breaking my heart! :-/

Somehow, when people draw implications from our business models, they draw the exact opposite conclusions. 

Yes, I know this is our fault... that's why I'm in this conversation -- I need to fix it!

Heavy investors are our favorite customers! You're the easiest to support, you generate the revenue, and you keep us employed! We love you!

For you to 'back off your investment' because of worries over our move to subscription is unbelievable to me... you're the customers who we're most incentivized to take care of, and you're the ones for whom Logos Now is actually the best deal.

I clearly have made some mistakes.

Logos Now is < $100 / year. Our best customers spend far more than this on content / upgrades every year. For these customers, Logos Now is the best value, and probably costs us the most in lost revenue.

And yet, to my utter amazement, the 'best customers' are often the ones most freaked out by Logos Now. Even though they normally spend for more than $100 / year, and this $100 / year delivers enormous benefit, it seems to have 'spooked' some of you.

Logos Now is NOT a significant revenue source for us. It borders on insignificant. It was an attempt to provide a hybrid between an ALTERNATE pure subscription product (Logos Cloud) designed for NEW CUSTOMERS WHO PREFER IT and the OWNERSHIP model existing customers love (and, by definition, have already chosen).

We thought it would make sense, too, tying ongoing expense (servers, ever-expanding web-hosted databases, expanded content tagging, etc.) to ongoing revenue, which seemed fair. I never imagined it would cause people to stop buying books, which we didn't stop offering. And we designed it to be an awesome deal, in many ways, 

Please, please respect the risk I'm taking in openly discussing this. We can't afford to freak anyone else out! :-) Please understand that we are continuing the ownership model, and will always strive to do the right thing for our customers. Please don't try to read into the future, or guess that I have a secret plan 'between the lines' that means you should stop investing in your library. Doing that just punishes us both! The future isn't set, because it hasn't happened yet(!), and because no plan we have is more important than doing the right thing for you!

We don't win if you don't win.

Again, our 'biggest investors' in libraries are our best customers. We're not trying to chase you off with a subscription product, and I'd rather kill the subscription add-on than have you worried because of it.

The only 'liability' we accrue from old customers is when people stop spending buy don't stop incurring expense. Our competition sells a product that runs offline and doesn't need anything online. They can sell it to you, take the money, and you can use it forever without spending anymore, and you're both fine -- you don't incur future expense. 

When our users buy, many (not all) do incur future expense: engine upgrades, mobile apps, server syncing, re-tagging old books with new data types, and ongoing data creation. (We keeps expanding the tagging, growing our unique data sets, etc. You get much of this new data / updates automagically.)

Sure, you can say, as one user posts here, that we chose those ongoing obligations. ("Put the holes in the leaky boat ourselves.") But I believe that's part of what people love about Logos -- it keeps getting better.

So yes, there's a liability if the number of people who buy, never spend again, but keep asking for support / OS updates / revised books / expanded data sets, etc., keeps increasing. We could try to price that in up front, but as the timeframe stretches to decades (we have 25 year customers!) that gets hard to price in up front.

So we thought Logos Now would let us work out a more fair model, and that it would be an easy sell... not such a disruptive idea. (To be fair, there was disagreement internally. Maybe I was wronger. :-) )

We can simplify if we need to. We could completely separate ownership and rental models. If you own we deliver what we promise, and give only minimal updates. We could hold database updates for the next upgrade (which you'd have to buy to own), and we could 'do less' ongoing work. We'd ship you a boat with no holes, but also one that stayed exactly what you purchased until you purchased an upgrade.

Then we could have a completely alternate subscription product; we could sell it only to new customers and keep it up-to-date (and improving) on a frequent basis. And you could buy, subscribe, or do both.

So 'Logos Bible Software - For Sale' and 'Logos Cloud - For Subscription.' And no hybrid 'Logos Now' bridge.

What's weird is, if you just ignore Logos Now, we have those two options already... but it seems Logos Now causes confusion / tension.

I had a car with a navigation system on CD-ROM. It was up to date when I got the car, but over time got out of date. Restaurants would open and close, but not be reflected in the database. More annoyingly, a new road opened near a frequent destination, but it wasn't in the database, causing it to always suggest a too-long route.

I could upgrade that CD-ROM for $159.95 each year. I never did. Eventually I stopped using the nav, and started using my phone, which was more awkward but more current. (And which I pay a subscription free for.)

I got another car with a ton of online services, including Google Maps, constant traffic and database updates, and more. It had a monthly subscription fee which I was happy to pay. Yes, I didn't own the database, and I'd lose functionality if I stopped subscribing, but the cost was reasonable, the value was higher than just database updates (wifi for the whole car, as a roving hotspot!), and I never had to pay $159.95 at once.

I thought that was a great deal... but not everyone agrees. And I can see how some would rather just suffer a slightly out-of-date nav system, with no further cost. But, like the nav system vendor, to go back to that model we'd probably have to agree NOT to deliver those frequent updates and online services to make that pencil out for the people who just want to 'buy and never have to spend again.'

I really appreciate hearing your thoughts. I just hope you'll feel safe continuing to invest in your library as we work our way through these options together!

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Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 8 2016 3:11 PM

Dan Francis:
I am concerned over the direction of FL and it's claim that an ownership model is not sustainable.

The ownership model IS sustainable. We sell you the product, you give us the money, we part ways.

What is harder to sustain is: We sell you the product, you give us the money, and we have to keep supporting / updating / improving the product forever. (Sure, my car manufacturer may 'fix a bug / repair the recalled feature' at no cost, but when the tires wear out, I have to pay to replace them. But in software now, most people expect the vendor to deliver 'works on Windows 10...11..12..14...15.. and the new Google device...' to be added later for free.)

Which is why many software vendors are moving towards subscription.

NO, we don't have to do what everyone does, but it's an interesting thought experiment.... can you even name a new (invented in last three years?) software product * that is delivered as a one-time purchase download? Isn't almost ALL new 'software' delivered as a web-based subscription?

* Except games, which are really more media content (like a film) than 'software tools.'

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