New Features: Narrative Character Maps (Vol 2)

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Posts 1008
Sean | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 2 2015 7:46 AM

Bob Pritchett:

3) Your suggestion?

I am really asking for your input in earnest, and I don't intend any snarkiness in this. But I am being very open and asking you to see things from our perspective: we're not trying to move you to a subscription to take advantage of you, or milk more money out of you. Our long term goal is to cost you less by getting more people to take a low cost subscription so we can deliver more value to more people.

Some users have emailed me to say things like "I've spent $X,000 with you, and it's outrageous that you're making me subscribe in order to get this new content." I humbly suggest you think of it another way: you've spent $X,000 on our product, and probably purchased a significant upgrade every few years for hundreds, and now we're offering to deliver fresh code and content every six weeks for $9/month. It'll take more than nine years to spend the next $1,000 on Logos Now, and you'll get 54 (!) updates along the way.

Isn't that a fantastic deal? And wouldn't you rather take that deal than win a handful of Character Maps and Before/After photos today, and then never see another, having if not strangled the golden goose of fresh content, at least encouraged it to lay different eggs? :-)

I am not closed to the idea of Logos Now. I have not subscribed yet because it does not yet offer enough to be compelling. But I am looking to being sufficiently persuaded, eventually.

After reading this thread, I have a new doubt, which I hope you will quickly dismiss. Let's imagine it's sometime in 2017, and we've all been subscribed to Logos Now for some time and are enjoying a bunch of new tools and content. One day we all get a mail from FaithLife, "We hope you are enjoying all the rich features of Logos Now. At this point the development of this service is now closed; while you can (and should!) continue to enjoy all of Logos Now for $8.95 a month, we are finished adding new content to it. That's because the new thing is Logos Tomorrow! For just a further $12.99 a month, you'll (eventually) be able to enjoy all these great new features such as..."

Forgive me for having such a wicked imagination, but this tangent does not seem too terribly far off from the original subject of this thread.

 Logos Now Subscriber -- 22/2/2018

Posts 53
Tim Bahula | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 2 2015 7:51 AM

Bob Pritchett:

Isn't that a fantastic deal? And wouldn't you rather take that deal than win a handful of Character Maps and Before/After photos today, and then never see another, having if not strangled the golden goose of fresh content, at least encouraged it to lay different eggs? :-)

Is there really a golden goose?! Wink

Bob, thanks for taking the time to interact on this topic. Since I've already spilled enough pixels on this topic, my answer will be brief. While I expected many more Narrative Character Maps based on numerous factors (not least that 2 out of 3 [!] examples listed in the product description have yet to be released including "the missionary journey's [sic] of Paul" and "David’s life as it connects with the lives of Saul, Jonathan, Absalom, and other characters"), I will be satisfied with getting what was explicitly indicated in the product description. I don't think that you have an endless obligation; however, it would be helpful to clearly communicate what is included. (The new "Get the following maps" section is a significant improvement, with the following caveat, the list includes "1–2 Kings" when the included map is 1 Kings 1–2.) On the other hand, I don't think that you need to go as far as "always being clear that a purchase product includes what it includes right now and no more". Few customers will complain if a company under promises and over delivers. My real complaint is that it felt like some aspects of Logos 6, particularly Narrative Character Maps and Before and After, were over promised and under delivered. I can get over the fact that some of that was based on my faulty assumptions. My suggestion is that you deliver at least what was promised and rigorously edit product descriptions before releasing product to set reasonable expectations.

Ok... not so brief...

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Forum MVP
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 4 2015 1:38 AM

Tim Bahula:
My real complaint is that it felt like some aspects of Logos 6, particularly Narrative Character Maps and Before and After, were over promised and under delivered. I can get over the fact that some of that was based on my faulty assumptions. My suggestion is that you deliver at least what was promised and rigorously edit product descriptions before releasing product to set reasonable expectations.

Whilst I'm 90% happy with what Faithlife do, most of the 10% I'm not happy about fits into this category.

In other words, this isn't the first time that Faithlife has over promised and under delivered. (Although to be fair there are also plenty of examples of them over-delivering.) I always appreciate that Faithlife put things right after the fact, but I do wish things wouldn't blow up in the first place.

I love a lot of what the marketing team does, some of which is of incredibly high quality. But I do wish the team would be more careful when it comes to making promises that the rest of Faithlife hasn't intended to be made.

Posts 12813
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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 4 2015 1:46 AM

Sean:
After reading this thread, I have a new doubt, which I hope you will quickly dismiss. Let's imagine it's sometime in 2017, and we've all been subscribed to Logos Now for some time and are enjoying a bunch of new tools and content. One day we all get a mail from FaithLife, "We hope you are enjoying all the rich features of Logos Now. At this point the development of this service is now closed; while you can (and should!) continue to enjoy all of Logos Now for $8.95 a month, we are finished adding new content to it. That's because the new thing is Logos Tomorrow! For just a further $12.99 a month, you'll (eventually) be able to enjoy all these great new features such as..."

I personally don't have that fear.

What is offered by Logos Now will continue to grow, and our $8.95 will get us increasingly more, I believe Faithlife is intending to use that fact to draw more and more people into Now, which will increase revenue without increasing prices, and allow for more content creation which will encourage even more subscribers. That's the virtuous circle they're aiming for, and increasing the price would break that.

That said, I do wonder what will happen when Logos 7 comes out. If some features (like Concordance) are included in Logos 7, will that mean they'll eventually be dropped from Now (so you'll have to pay for an L7 crossgrade to keep them)? I don't think that will be the case, but if it's not then it mean that Logos Now customers who don't buy Logos 7 will be getting a better deal that those that do. That doesn't seem right.

One possible answer to that would be to release some future Logos Now features that depend on datasets only available in Logos 7. I wouldn't be surprised if that happens. In fact, as a Logos Now subscriber that hopes to purchase Logos 7 when it's released, I rather hope it does happen.

Posts 623
JAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 4 2015 8:25 AM

Mark Barnes:

Tim Bahula:
My real complaint is that it felt like some aspects of Logos 6, particularly Narrative Character Maps and Before and After, were over promised and under delivered. I can get over the fact that some of that was based on my faulty assumptions. My suggestion is that you deliver at least what was promised and rigorously edit product descriptions before releasing product to set reasonable expectations.

Whilst I'm 90% happy with what Faithlife do, most of the 10% I'm not happy about fits into this category.

In other words, this isn't the first time that Faithlife has over promised and under delivered. (Although to be fair there are also plenty of examples of them over-delivering.) I always appreciate that Faithlife put things right after the fact, but I do wish things wouldn't blow up in the first place.

I love a lot of what the marketing team does, some of which is of incredibly high quality. But I do wish the team would be more careful when it comes to making promises that the rest of Faithlife hasn't intended to be made.

Well said Mark.

"The Christian mind is the prerequisite of Christian thinking. And Christian thinking is the prerequisite of Christian action." - Harry Blamires, 1963

Posts 1751
Nathan Parker | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 7 2015 9:09 PM

Bob Pritchett:

Phil has answered this extensively, and I'm not sure what I could add that wouldn't be redundant. But I'll try. :-)

The publishing world is changing, and we're still adapting quickly (and sometimes without perfect vision of the future). To us, each Narrative Character Map is a separate editorial project -- like a tiny book, or a map. There's more work in the Acts narrative map ‚Äčalone than in some of the other Interactives.

In my mind, each of the Narrative Character Maps is a stand-alone project (with custom editorial and code), similar to how the Psalms and Proverbs explorers are separate Interactives. I don't think people are expecting 44 more free '<Book Name> Explorer' Interactives  to be delivered as free updates for Logos 6 -- the Psalms Explorer and Proverbs Explorers are what they are, specialized to each book.

I can see how the Narrative Character Maps seem different -- they're all grouped together in 'one Interactive'. We did this because they have such similar user interface, even though each is a unique (and time-consuming = expensive) creation. We included five, and we set the price of the product in to a value of $5.95. In the same way we put a low value on our Before/After images, since there were only a few.

(What if we had merged the similar Psalms/Proverbs explorers into one menu item? Maybe that would make people expect more of them... We didn't do that, though, because we expected there'd only be these two, where with Character Maps there could conceivably be hundreds.)

We didn't then know exactly how we would handle updates, though we had an inkling subscriptions would be part of it. (We've been thinking about that for years, precisely to address this problem, and others -- it's one things to sell access to 14,000 photos; how do you charge for the next 100? And the three you get after that?)

We have toyed with the idea of explicitly labeling everything "Vol. 1" "Vol. 2", etc. But soon the Library browser and/or user interface will be incredibly cluttered with useless licensing distinctions that get in the way of working.

I wish we had been clearer back in October when we designed these pages, but I believe, as Phil points out, that we were clear about what was included, and clear about what things were considered incomplete and would get free updates. (The Atlas, for example, which is continually having additional maps added at no additional cost.)

Tell me what you'd like us to do.

To keep creating new content, we need ongoing revenue. Many of our databases don't perfectly map to the world of paper publishing, and fixed volumes with distinct 'new editions'. For years now we have been doing an increasingly large amount of maintenance and improvement and new data creation for things we can't get compensated for. We simply can't continue to treat every database as an eternal obligation to update, and keep charging 'the price of a book.' When a paper book is sold, it's done and incurs no more production costs. When we sell the Cultural Concepts Tagging, or the Lexham Bible Dictionary, or even the Faithlife Study Bible, (the last two have actually been free!) we keep putting editorial work into them for years.

To me, the Narrative Character Maps aren't pages in an incomplete book, they are laminated posters you hang on a wall. You didn't buy a book missing a bunch of pages, you bought five posters. We've since made more, but each is a new product.

We can:

1) Give in to your argument and give away these new Narrative Character Maps and Before/After pairs. But I imagine we'll never do any more, because every day when we get to the office we'll have to decide to A) create a new Narrative Character Map which can't generate any more revenue, or B) work on creating a completely new thing that we can sell, because it isn't already part of a perceived promise. Option B will win most days. (Some of these are easy, but some are very hard and expensive -- take another look at Acts!)

(If you choose #1, but feel we are obligated to keep making them, how far does the obligation go? Do we have to make 10? 20? One for every person in the Bible? What does the initial $5.95 package entail in open-ended obligation?)

2) Give a free copy of the recent updates to users who feel cheated or misled, and fix our descriptions to be much more specific moving ahead. Possibly even change our policy to never promise any future deliverable (to avoid future misunderstandings and bad feelings), always being clear that a purchased product includes what it includes right now and no more.

(I do feel that this would be a net loss for users, though -- we've often delivered a lot of nice content down the road at no cost -- but apparently at the price of escalating expectations.)

3) Your suggestion?

I am really asking for your input in earnest, and I don't intend any snarkiness in this. But I am being very open and asking you to see things from our perspective: we're not trying to move you to a subscription to take advantage of you, or milk more money out of you. Our long term goal is to cost you less by getting more people to take a low cost subscription so we can deliver more value to more people.

Some users have emailed me to say things like "I've spent $X,000 with you, and it's outrageous that you're making me subscribe in order to get this new content." I humbly suggest you think of it another way: you've spent $X,000 on our product, and probably purchased a significant upgrade every few years for hundreds, and now we're offering to deliver fresh code and content every six weeks for $9/month. It'll take more than nine years to spend the next $1,000 on Logos Now, and you'll get 54 (!) updates along the way.

Isn't that a fantastic deal? And wouldn't you rather take that deal than win a handful of Character Maps and Before/After photos today, and then never see another, having if not strangled the golden goose of fresh content, at least encouraged it to lay different eggs? :-)

Here's the best thing Faithlife/Logos can do...

In terms of the current situation on this, I would just leave it as is. Logos 6 customers are locked into the content they received, and if they want the additions, they can go ahead and subscribe to Logos Now.

In the future though, here's what needs to be done:

1. When shipping base collections with direct purchase datasets/interactive resources, specify the resource as "Dataset or Interactive resource vX" with "X" being the Logos Bible Software version number. For the example of the Narrative Character Maps, label it as "Narrative Character Maps, v6". List exactly what is included in that dataset (if there are only 5 or 6 character maps, clearly list them). If you do not have certain portions of the dataset completed but plan to offer them available for free to customers later on, include them listed in the dataset description with the words ("available in a future free update"). Don't promise anything else inside that dataset or interactive resource but exactly what the customer is going to get through the direct purchase. That cements in the customer's mind: "I am paying x amount of dollars for vX of this dataset/interactive resource, and this is exactly what I'm getting for my purchase and nothing else". It ensures the customer knows that any future "versions" of the dataset/interactive resource will not be given to them in a free update, and they will need to either direct upgrade to a future dataset/interactive resource or subscribe to Logos Now to get the updates.

2. Do not word any future datasets/interactive resources with "ambiguous" terminology. For example, on the "Biblical Propositional Outlines", it should have been named "New Testament Propositional Outlines" from the start. Back during Logos 5 with the Bible Sense Lexicon, it should have been named "Bible Sense Lexicon: Nouns". Faithlife/Logos had to go back and offer the rest of the BSL tags for free to customers due to the fact that customers thought their BSL purchase included the entire Bible out of the gate, which it didn't. Clearly label exactly what customers are getting with each dataset/interactive resource. We don't care about the "marketing hype". We don't care about the "flashy wow". We care about "what exactly are we getting with our purchases".

The reason some complain about spending thousands of dollars in upgrades and later learning the true cost of the datasets is some customers don't spend enough time scrutinizing the "details" of what datasets are included in their upgrade and truly examine the individual costs. They don't look at the fact that they only spent $5 for a set of 5-6 interactive images (which sounds reasonable). They're only looking at the over $500-1,000 "total" cost of the base package and not examining the individual components. How that can be better handled, I'm not sure (with the exception of the two points above).

And please note I am only giving this feedback because Bob is asking that he wants our feedback. I'm happy with my purchase of Logos 6, I'm happy with Logos Now, and I'm even happy with Logos Cloud. My purchasing habits with Faithlife/Logos are sure not diminishing because of any of this. However, I do see a couple areas where Faithlife/Logos could add a few tweaks to ensure transparency and clarity in the marketing of future products, and it would be small steps that could go a big way to ensure customers do not continue to feel "sour" toward Faithlife/Logos in terms of how products are marketed.

Nathan Parker

Visit my blog at http://focusingonthemarkministries.com

Posts 53
Tim Bahula | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 8 2015 6:24 AM

Nathan Parker:

In terms of the current situation on this, I would just leave it as is. Logos 6 customers are locked into the content they received, and if they want the additions, they can go ahead and subscribe to Logos Now.

As previously indicated, my complaint is that the marketing of Narrative Character Maps for Logos 6 specifically mentioned maps that were not received. While I would like additions that weren't mentioned, I am only asking for the content included in the original product description. I shouldn't have to subscribe to Logos Now to get that. You'll notice that the product description for Narrative Character Maps is much different now than it was before!

Posts 1751
Nathan Parker | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 8 2015 12:16 PM

Correct, and I did mention that a little later in my post. I mentioned that any Character Maps (or any datasets for that matter) that were supposed to be included in the dataset but not ready by the shipping date, should still be provided to customers free of charge, and what Faithlife/Logos should do with these is if mentioning them in promotional material, mention that those "specific" datasets "only" will be included in a future free update to customers. 

Kind of like they did with resources we "pre-purchased" with our base collection. UBS5 wasn't ready on ship date, but I got it as a download when it was ready since in"pre-purchased" it with my base collection. In essence, you "pre-purchased" the one dataset that wasn't ready by shipping date, so that one should be provided to customers in a free update. 

Nathan Parker

Visit my blog at http://focusingonthemarkministries.com

Posts 753
JRS | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 8 2015 4:10 PM

Mark Barnes:

I love a lot of what the marketing team does, some of which is of incredibly high quality. But I do wish the team would be more careful when it comes to making promises that the rest of Faithlife hasn't intended to be made.

Big Smile  Mark, you made me chuckle.  Nothing like Dilbert for some over-the-top lampooning of the universal disconnect between Engineering and Marketing. 

How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near to Thee(Psa 65:4a)

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