If I had a million dollars (to grow Logos Bible Software)...

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Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Jan 17 2010 1:43 PM

I'm working on strategic planning for Logos. With Logos 4 shipped it's time (for me) to start thinking about what's next.

(Yes, our team is diligently working on the improvements we all want for Logos 4: parity on the Mac, printing, missing add-ins, etc. My planning isn't slowing that down -- it's figuring out what we'll be working on once those things are done.)

I've love to have your input on the process.

One of the exercises I've used at planning retreats in the past is to have everyone make a plan for investing  $1 million: what would be the best use of a $1 million investment at Logos, and have the greatest return?

For example (and for cost reference)... this might enable:

  • Keyboarding the entire Patrologia Graeca
  • Hiring 10 more software developers for one year
  • Hiring 15 new sales representatives for one year
  • Mailing $50 to every seminary student in north america (20,000) to entice them to watch our introductory video
  • Building Logos compatible editions of 300 public domain books and giving them away to get people on our platform
  • Mailing $2 to every pastor in north america (500,000) to entice them to watch our introductory video

What's your idea?

And what if was $10 million?

Posts 376
Dan Sheppard | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 1:57 PM

Bob Pritchett:

What's your idea?

And what if was $10 million?

 

Bob-

 

Do I get to KEEP any of it?  I had to ask.

The reason I originally purchased Logos Software, was that the company I was previously with, had insufficient resources available to me.

From many posts I have read, I see that there are tons of Arminians and Calvinists, who purchase your software.  But being Missouri Synod Lutheran, I was happy to find so many things available to me, which came from Concordia Publishing.

To keep this brief, I would like to see the access to more LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) resources.  There are a lot of scholars and seminarians,who have written lots of material.  I see a few selections here and there, but by no means, at the level that I see of say, Calvin.

Of your suggestions above, the only one that appeals to me, is hiring SOME LEVEL of software developers, since that seems to be where your bread and butter lies.  I would think that your Customer Service dept is always a good place for reinforcement.

Since you have ventured into iPhone, I suggest some more support in getting the apps working and fully functional.

I would also like to see more selection of artwork we could use in Bible study handouts, etc.  I am doing one on the Book of Daniel and find the artwork a bit skimpy, even on the Internet.

 

Thanks for a fine product.  I am impressed with the "Word Puzzle" feature.  If nothing else, it is great fun to watch the letters buzzing around.  Perhaps when I retire.....

 

Dan Sheppard

 

 

 

 

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John Fidel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 2:08 PM

Hi Bob,

I guess the term grow Logos Bible Software means different things to different people. Looking at your list my comments are as follows:

1. Interesting, but with a limited market would not grow Logos.

2. This would provide a faster path to 5.0, but is the vision for 5.0 already firm so the new developers would provide a product that could be sold in the year they were employed?

3. Sales reps would grow Logos market if they were productive and efficient in their marketing.

4. Giving 50 to every seminary student would be a really bad idea, just to watch an introductory video. Spend the money on 3 above and provide aggressive academic discounts with the diference.

5. Public domain books are available for free already and is probably not Logos market, although a few free books would be cool for your existing customers.

6. Same as 4 above.

My ideas will have to come later, my wife is calling me....

 

Posts 3163
Dominick Sela | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 2:41 PM

Good question and thanks for asking us Bob!

I will keep reading and maybe post another thought and/or maybe someone else's ideas will spur another idea of my own, but here's what I think about now for longer term:

I am not sure how much you have invested in this, but to me what really makes Logos the product go is resources.  They drive the revenue, the upgrades, and fund the advances in the engine I suspect.  Yet it seems to be the most labor intensive part of the whole business.  There are resources that are "under contract" that have been 3 years or more and are still not out.  That's a large backlog of revenue! 

I suspect this is a very time consuming labor-intensive effort to take a resource and make an eResource out of it, and technology has a difficult time scanning/recognizing some texts.  What if, just like there was a major "next generation" of Logos that will last it the next 5-10 years in fundamental architecture, there was a comparable "next gen" upgrade to how you prepare resources to reduce the labor, hence reducing errors, hence reducing cost?  This would be a multi-year effort - advanced AI for recognizing text, new tagging that is much more comprehensive, maybe spending money with someone like Google to get into truly advanced search engine advancements (maybe paying them for some of their code if you haven't already) to aid in the research process for the best ways to "tag everything" for the future? It would also have next-gen tagging (see below for more on that), better technologies to do less indexing and generate less data on the user computer.

This next gen vision would also include next generation tagging of text - because future features will need to be able to answer questions and relate resources in new ways, especially if you want to bring new markets of users to the product. For example, one day, with WPF as the base so you could design very sophisticated graphical software, could a casual user ("my grandmom") who has bibles and tons of devotionals in their system because its cheaper to do, just paint graphically a query to classify statement in my devotional library about a given Bible story where the system tells me stuff like a quick summary of the theology of the article based on words and word phrases that the system set up? 

All the existing resources would need to be redone in the new technology as well.

While I think this is well beyond the $1 million and is surely a multi-year vision, think of this - what if everything under contract in prepub right now could be published within 3 months of today, with minimal labor cost thanks to some new software? How much acceleration of revenue does that bring into this year?

 

Posts 2774
J.R. Miller | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 2:44 PM

Not knowing all the market data and technical issues in play, I would prioritize the following.

1. Mac developers to get L4mac up to complete parity ASAP.

2. Marketing  with direct representatives to Mac community.

3. Creating marketing opportunities in Christian high schools (users of the future), colleges, and Bible Schools).  Based on my learning style, asking folks to watch a video about Logos 4 is less effective (I think) than sending reps to do a direct demo, but I have no stats to back up my perception.

4. Website improvements to ensure pre-pubs and all orders can be downloaded with L4 and no more requirements to ship. Also integrating POS options for locked books into the L4 UI.

5. Hire part time web developer/moderator just for the Forum ( and wiki) which is a large part of the Logos support strategy and needs some attention.

Blessings

My Books in Logos & FREE Training

Posts 8
Dave Cotner | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 3:02 PM

I would reinvest it in my current employees. Training, retreats, seminars, upgraded heath benefits, retirement plans, or anything to movitate and encourage them. You will never maintain a great product without great, trained, and content employees (and their families). Their investment back into the company will not be able to be measured in dollars and cents.

Blessings,

Dave

Posts 1646
SteveF | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 3:07 PM

Bob Pritchett:
What's your idea?

Although no one "paid" me to watch a video, a Christian Book Store owner did give me a "free" sampler. (He paid for it). Back then (15 years ago?) Logos 1?, 2? was not too much more than a concordance program. In addition a fellow seminary student recommended it in a very winsome NON pressurized way.

To keep any recent momentum gained from Logos 4 perhaps it would be good to:

A. expand customer service (to deal with 'shell-shocked' former L3'ers) &

B. add extra programmers (to get the " former" features implemented ASAP.)

OR Use the $1 , 10 or ? millions to answer the 2 main responses I meet in trying to attract folks to Logos:

1. It is too confusing (I realize Logos 4 was an attempt to deal with this)

2. It is too expensive. ( I finally settled on Logos in spite of that - after checking out most of the competition - because of its HUGH library of search-able resources).

Thanks for asking.

Steve

ps. And yes, I realize that NONE of this is "cutting edge."

Regards, SteveF

Posts 579
Jim VanSchoonhoven | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 3:28 PM

Well, I believe once you have Logos 4 complete, you will have the best educational program ever built to  study the scriptures, but people do not see the need for it, or they do not  know the product  is out there and what is possible.

I believe your efforts need to be on going out to the body of Christ and teaching them how they can study the scripture on a level they had never even dreamed was possible.  Offer to send out well trained part time or full time trainers, to come to their fellowships and introduce them to electronic bible study.  Show them a whole new level of training can be done in the local fellowships, if pastors, elders and others can be shown how they can go deeper into God's word than ever before, and that everyone can do it. 

Part of the draw back for most folks is they have no idea how Logos can help them to study the bible and number two they have no idea why programs cost so much.  You can over come these things by helping them to see the value of Logos 4 and also by taking steps that would allow some one a cheap way to build their library even while they have a very limited cash flow, or while they are learning the value of Logos 4. 

You could do this by providing easy to use PBB programs  on low end products which will allow anyone that want to, to start building their own public domain books for their program. 

I am willing to spend 1000's of dollars on Logos because I have learned to see the value of the program.  I have seen this value by using it!!!  I have a very good free program called the Word, with nearly 1000 resources in it, but I am willing to pay your company 1000's of dollars on top of that because I have learned how much more your program can provide to me in my studies. 

This came about because I have seen how much more your  program can do, but also because of the value of your many copyrighted resources that I can not use in my free program.

Allowing people to start out building their own public domain books will encourage them to use your system and once that gets going, a person becomes willing to pay the price for bigger and bigger packages of copyrighted books.

Call it what ever you want but you need to go out and reach people and show them a need for your product and how to use it, from then on they will see the need for more and more resources.

In Christ,

Jim

Posts 1539
Terry Poperszky | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 3:50 PM

JimVanSchoonhoven:

but people do not see the need for it, or they do not  know the product  is out there and what is possible.

I believe your efforts need to be on going out to the body of Christ and teaching them how they can study the scripture on a level they had never even dreamed was possible.  Offer to send out well trained part time or full time trainers, to come to their fellowships and introduce them to electronic bible study.  Show them a whole new level of training can be done in the local fellowships, if pastors, elders and others can be shown how they can go deeper into God's word than ever before, and that everyone can do it. 

AMEN! Preach it Brother!

Sorry, got carried away, but this is exactly where my heart is. The way to grow Logos Software is to grow the market. People need to have a hunger for God's Word before Logos is anything more than another gadget sitting on the shelf. How many Bibles are sold, how many are actually read. I have upgraded my package twice in the last two months, yet my Logos sat untouched on my computer for the previous year. Why did I upgrade now? I have rediscovered my love affair with God's Word. 

 

 

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 4:08 PM

Bob Pritchett:
what would be the best use of a $1 million investment at Logos, and have the greatest return?

Bob,

What is Logos in business for? (What's your business?)

What is your vision for the impact Logos as a company and a product will have, given the resources to accomplish the vision? Who is it having that impact on? How is that being accomplished?

What is the return on investment that you'd most like to see? That you think the Lord would most like to see?

What is the single most important thing you would like to accomplish in this business?

Can't tell you how to spend money wisely (even a dollar) unless I know what you are trying to do.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

Posts 646
Jeremy | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 4:09 PM

Bob Pritchett:

  • Keyboarding the entire Patrologia Graeca

This and the entire Loeb classical library.

 

Posts 2691
DominicM | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 5:27 PM

First: fill the holes in your package base:

You need a introductory level product like the old $9.99 one nelson used to do, with say ASV,KJV, a couple of comentaries, strongs and a bible dictionary, which we can give away ad-nausium, and from tiny acorn mighty oaks grow..

and a second product somewhere around the $100 mark, I have people that want to use Logos 4 but the current base packages at $200 are too expensive for them.

secondly, dont waste your money producing a myriad of PD stuff, give us enhanced PBB tools to do it ourselves, you'll get a much broader depth/range of literature

thirdly, your money has to go into honoring God, being the best you can be (striving for excellence) which includes becoming/securing your position as market leader in both PC/Mac environment,  and also leading the way for everyone else to follow.

fourthly, maybe put 5-7% of your book budget aside to develop those titles which should be in electronic form, but arent financially viable under normal circumstances.

 

Never Deprive Anyone of Hope.. It Might Be ALL They Have

Posts 1202
Ward Walker | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 5:31 PM

Bob Pritchett:

Hiring 15 new sales representatives for one year

Building Logos compatible editions of 300 public domain books and giving them away to get people on our platform

  If you can't cut the base collections' current prices, then significantly expanding the bundled-in books would be very nice.  I realize that when PBB's come to v4 we'll already have many of these--but perhaps not to the degree of sophistication a "logos" resource would bring.

  Last year, I lobbied a Lifeway editor to publish his portfolio via Logos, but was unsuccessful.  Adding company reps to woo major publishers who aren't fully on board yet would be nice/explain community pricing/pre-pub development financial models. 

  AudioVisual media is a mostly untapped area for v4, yet it is increasing in leaps/bounds elsewhere--I'm especially impressed with some search engine's ability to search video clips for words.  I have some T-N logos 3 resources that came with videos and audio files, but they've not integrated into v4 (at least yet).  It would be very nice to be able to purchase (for example) Adrian Rogers' mp3 sermons via Logos and be able to include their contents in searches.

  Finally, your retrospective elsewhere on electronic publishing was very interesting...but I'd still like to see a future where I could add my wife as a logos-differentiated co-user (without a full re-purchase of all resources).  Similarly, it would be nice to have a financial model for installing v4 (or later) in a church library for multi-user use.

Posts 979
Tom Reynolds | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 5:35 PM

Other than buying kraft dinner Smile I would suggest that...

In terms of reaping big immediate rewards from your current market area I would suggest producing 300 public domain resources and then selling those resources to existing users for say $200. You’re going to sell say 4000 copies at that price = $800,000. Your cost so far is $200,000 plus operating expenses. You create a lot of excitement and then you take that money and send copies of L4 to every pastor and seminary student in the country, including say 100 selected resources plus LEB and maybe something else so they can really see how the program works (interlinear, etc.). You include information about obtaining another 200 resources for $200 (the same price as current users paid for the whole lot) and of course you encourage them to buy an L4 package. Assuming that you could hit all 520,000 people you would spend $1.53 each on DVD and postage costs and have spent your 1 million. If even only 1/10 of one percent upgraded only to the additional 200 resources you would recoup your 1 million and you would have 5000 new customers.

If it was 10 million I would suggest that you licence/develop more foreign language Bibles and other resources. You have room to grow in the western world but long-term growth will come through overseas sales. MS/SAP/IBM are making a bundle selling software to Indians, Chinese, Europeans, etc (even taking piracy into account). I think you should look at providing access to every language over x-amount of world population. You can see a list by popularity on Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_number_of_native_speakers. It would make it better for missionaries and also people of those backgrounds who have moved to North America. I know you have made inroads with Spanish and I can only assume that hasn’t been very profitable by the lack of resources appearing. Consider another language (that has no competitors) and seek to become the go-to software for scholars and pastors in that language.

Posts 269
Stein Dahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 6:09 PM

Hello Bob,

I like some of the ideas and suggestions others have made.  Here are the ones that stand out to me:

  • Add software developers & code writers for development (on both the Windows & Mac sides)

                 This will help in getting the Logos product fully ready & stable & "out there" - available for purchase.

  • The idea of giving away a "free" sampler (a very basic Logos 4 with just a few resources) - a platform from which people can either build a resource library (one piece at a time) or an upgrade path to one of the main base packages.  Make it available in the Christian bookstores, for example & on the Logos website.

                 This would go a long way in developing a very good "word of mouth" reputation for Logos.

  • Use the $1 - or - 10 million to answer some of the main concerns my friends at church always bring up when I try to tell them about Logos:
    • 1. It is too confusing / complicated
    • 2. It is too expensive
    • 3. People do not see the need for it, or they don't understand what the software is fully capable of.

These are major hurdles for Logos, it seems to me - and hence my suggestions below:

  • Direct these newly hired software developers to make Logos 4 easier to use for new users:

In order to make Logos 4 less confusing for the new user, without dumbing down the product, just create a few default (& un-deleteable) layouts that - by default - come up when you run some of the major features; like the Passage Guide, Exegetical Guide, Bible Word Study, etc., so that any new user can easily use the major features of Logos 4 without a bunch of major configuring.

You know, like the default layout that automatically comes up when you type in a passage or topic on the home page. There could even be a few default (but very basic) "collections" that are preset in the base packages. 

Or maybe the whole program could have some preset settings for different types of users.  For instance, there could be a mode for new users with default layouts and settings just for new users.  There could be a mode for intermediate users and one for advanced users, each with its own default layouts & settings for the major features. One check box for each in the program settings to turn on or off these settings.

Of course there would have to be the option to turn off all of these default layouts and settings - so that more/most advanced users (i.e.; Power Users) can still customize to their hearts desire.

Let's face it, Logos 3 and 4 are complicated to use.  But that's actually a very good thing After all, the more things you want a software to be able to do, the more complicated it becomes to use it, and this baby can do a lot! 

But this - "it's too complicated" - issue could easily be "side stepped" (again, without dumbing down the product) by creating these default settings for new, intermediate, and more advanced users.

And making Logos 4 easier to "get into" (using these settings) would boost your bottom line because more people would buy and use it - which in turn would lead to sales of individual resources, also boosting the bottom line.


  • Try (either through sales and/or specials etc.) to see what the effect for Logos would be if you charged less for individual resources and base packages. 

I bet you might be surprised to find out that many more people would be interested in purchasing your product and you might just make more money because your target demographic has changed from a relatively small one (basically Seminary students and pastors, etc) to a huge one (anyone in the Church with a serious desire to study).

Just my thoughts on the issue.

sdahlinghwa

PS: I also think that TomReynolds (above) has some excellent and serious ideas.

Posts 228
Stephen | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 6:19 PM

I think there are several areas that would help Logos as a company and program. I work with one of the command and control systems DOD uses. One of the biggest ways we see our user base increase is when we do training and people understand the capabilities of our software. One way that might help is have regional training teams that conduct 1 day seminars on Saturdays. i know Morris Proctor does seminars for Logos, but the are usually 2 days during the week and the cost is also a factor. Something like 1 day introductory seminars at a very low cost (to offset venue fees) would help. You could also produce a free version since your not really charging for it but the resources.

You could include some basic resources like the ones with the iPhone app. This would contribute to a wider user base. they may not all purchase the packages but iy you has 1,000 people buy 3 smaller commentaries and 2 bibles that would be more sales, they would be small but you would be looking at larger numbers.

I would also like to see the PBB for Mac and also the ability to PDF files to my Logos library and an eBook reader. I prefer to have one place to go for all my resources. The same way i use iTunes for all my media.

An area you could expand to outside of Biblical works would be education. I haven't heard of any eResource programs for education. if you created something similar to Logos for education with all the digital resources and the ability to search those resources. imagine the students all having the entire schools library on there computers and being able to search it.

 

I would also like to see more Charismatic/Pentecostal/Spirit Filled Resources.

 

Posts 390
Alain Maashe | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 6:24 PM

 

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE I would like to see Logos improve its search engine (i.e. use a customizable version of the Wolfram Alpha engine) where one could ask full sentence questions in plain English (i.e. who is Jesus?) and get an answer that is not just a collection of link with Jesus as the main topic. If the question is poorly phrased or ambiguous for the program, a list of options could be given to clarify the query. The answer to the query will also give the sources and related topic and info

This should be in a way easier to implement than for what a general search engine has to do since it is limited to the field of religious studies and more importantly to the resources Logos possesses that could be tagged accordingly.

 

It would be helpful to a lot of new users that are intimidated by the current setup and could improve the usefulness of resources that currently lack a good index (i.e. the Theological Journal Library). One should also be able to customize these searches by collection and so on

 

I would also like to see the ability for Logos to completely replace my print books, especially when it comes to reading a book cover to cover. This might include the need to make it compatible with popular e-reader or next-gen tablet/slate PCs. But I would like to see an e- reader that is multi-platform (i.e. could also run on Android or Linux) and rivals the experience that one has with reading a print book for an extended period of time (or at least with reading from an e-reader like the Kindle).

 

This might need more than money, but I would like to get electronic books as the same time the print version is published and see Logos expands its offerings when it comes to books that are not part of a series (less profitable I know, but needed if Logos really intends to replace print libraries). I would like to be able to go entirely digital.   

 

Alain

 

Posts 569
J. Morris | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 6:27 PM

--Resource Acquisition

--Program Optimization

--Missionary Supplemental Software Program (making it easier and more cost effective for Logos to be used in overseas mission endeavors)

 

Posts 1355
Edwin Bowden | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 7:05 PM

DominicM:

First: fill the holes in your package base:

You need a introductory level product like the old $9.99 one nelson used to do, with say ASV,KJV, a couple of comentaries, strongs and a bible dictionary, which we can give away ad-nausium, and from tiny acorn mighty oaks grow..

and a second product somewhere around the $100 mark, I have people that want to use Logos 4 but the current base packages at $200 are too expensive for them.

secondly, dont waste your money producing a myriad of PD stuff, give us enhanced PBB tools to do it ourselves, you'll get a much broader depth/range of literature

thirdly, your money has to go into honoring God, being the best you can be (striving for excellence) which includes becoming/securing your position as market leader in both PC/Mac environment,  and also leading the way for everyone else to follow.

fourthly, maybe put 5-7% of your book budget aside to develop those titles which should be in electronic form, but arent financially viable under normal circumstances.

 

I agree with these concepts.

But, I would also suggest that Logos will probably always be primarily a tool for power users. They have the needs that Logos is able to supply and are willing to budget their resources to purchase them.

Although cheap starter packages will be one way of getting new customers started, I am not sure how many people will really invest the time to learn and use the power Logos provides. I think $100 probably represents a real commitment level to learn to use Bible study software.

Keep the quality of product uppermost.

The launch of L4 had too many hiccups.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 17 2010 7:30 PM

I would concentrate on expanding your base:

  1. More of the early works of the church of interest to scholars across all denominations - Patrologia Graeca would be one example but Syriac, Amharic, pseudopigraphic works also count. The more professors who use Logos, the more students will use Logos.
  2. I would balance that thrust out with public domain books at low cost that appeal to your core users - evangelicals
  3. I would add solid support for lectionary-based study especially for sermon development to keep students who were introduced to Logos for languages using Logos when they go out as pastors. I would not, however, go into competition with denominational websites or software. I would link to "The Text This Week"
  4. I would develop an array of Bible study template guides usable by "Mr. Joe Blow" and develop a very minimal package - Bibles, bible dictionary, maps - to introduce the serious home Bible study person to Logos ... and hope to get them hooked on adding resources.
  5. I would explore the possibility of Logos purchasing "library access" to subscription journal sites and selling licenses to Logos' users at a reduced cost.

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

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