Dear Faithlife, I am not stupid

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 25 2016 12:18 PM

Interesting what is going on, I  have no idea why, the https://www.logos.com/product/47649/answering-jewish-objections-to-jesus-vol-5 was orange, almost there and now it is back to red, maybe 2/3.

Gold package, and original language material and ancient text material, SIL and UBS books, discourse Hebrew OT and Greek NT. PC with Windows 8.1

Posts 3937
abondservant | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 25 2016 12:57 PM

Perhaps Faithlife's change in modus opperendi may be at fault here.

Maybe they raised the price by 2/3s or maybe they had a flood of cancellations due to some of the instability and "things" that have gone on lately.

I suspect if you make a new thread, you'll see a FL employee say they are using a new model, or had otherwise underestimated the costs of producing the resource and they just "corrected" it.


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Everett Headley | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 25 2016 1:43 PM

abondservant:

Sean:

Bob, you need to take a serious look at the confidence-shaking signals you have sent out recently as a business as a whole (and not just marketing's misguided missives).

A large layoff, the hatchetting of the pre-pub program, ("Gee, should we use kickstarter instead?" [answer: NO!]), the Encyclopedia Britannica fiasco (entirely foreseeable & preventable)--the list could go on. None of these measures help to build customer confidence and do a considerable amount to undermine it.

I recently purged my pre-pub listed because of other problems with the program. I've been ignoring the pre-pub emails for a while & need to simply unsubscribe from them. The reasons for investing in more Logos books has been decreasing of late, not increasing. You need to do something about that--and not just have marketing send out more mails.

Did something similar. I still see value, but hesitate to invest any more with as many changes as are being made. Things that worked one way, now work differently. Things that were a good deal now cause hesitation.

I'm going to take a year or two off from buying things From Logos. IF in a year or two things look better and have become stable again then I'll re-evaluate things then. If how things work (eg payment plans, pp, cp, etc) still are basically the same... well only the Lord knows.

I'm even considering not renewing my academic status to help keep me from making purchases for the next few months.

Ditto to Sean and abondservant.

Posts 589
Ted Weis | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 25 2016 6:08 PM

Veli Voipio:

Interesting what is going on, I  have no idea why, the https://www.logos.com/product/47649/answering-jewish-objections-to-jesus-vol-5 was orange, almost there and now it is back to red, maybe 2/3.

Really commend this series. it is scholarly, accessible, and deals with questions you don't easily find in other resources.

Posts 608
Dave Thawley | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 6:30 AM

Bob Pritchett:
Again, we didn't mean any offense... but simply sent the same email to everyone affected. For you it was clearly the wrong message, but for some it probably made a bit more sense.
is

Hi Bob, 

For me no offence was taken... But please please please take on board the comments from this thread. It is important for all of us that Logos is best in the world, at a price that is competitive and in a form that the customers/users want.  I'm sure it could be argued that only those upset have commented, but I think this thread shows what is important to us and what your customer base is experiencing right now. I know  FL has difficulties but please place yourself in our shoes for a minute. IF you do you will be able to provide products people will want to buy from a company they want to support. 

All the best

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LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 12:06 PM

Sean:
Bob, you need to take a serious look...

I'm sorry for sending the wrong signals.

Faithlife is healthy. We're also approaching 25 years old. The world keeps changing, and we need to keep changing. We make mistakes, we correct them. People join the team, people leave the team. We try to accomplish difficult things. We succeed at some. We fail at others. Some users want us to do different things. Some users want us to do the same thing forever.

"Sunrise, sunset... Sunrise, sunset..." :-)

If you see a business that never changes, that should scare you. If you see a technology business where things are changing constantly, and where initiatives are tried and then sometimes canceled, then you know you're looking at a healthy company. Because, especially in tech, any company that has things 'dialed in' is only going to be stable for a brief moment, before they're dead.

Pre-Pub has been a great program for us, and we kept pushing it further and further. It made a lot of sense with popular books that sold over a thousand copies, and even with obscure titles that had low production costs and could rally a few hundred purchases. At first we only did books that were likely (once they covered their costs) to sell many more copies in the years following, adding profit to the cost-covering initial sale.

As we pushed further and further into 'the long tail' we stated producing books with much smaller audiences. This is normal; it's the nature of the long tail and interest distribution in all content. Of course you do the most popular stuff first -- it has the biggest market!

But these books with smaller audiences not only take longer to attract enough orders, they generally don't get many follow-on orders later. So they become profit-less products: we spend a year or more soliciting enough interest to cover costs, and then sell 1 unit a year (or zero!) after that, as they get 'lost' in a catalog of more than 80,000 titles. And they're not worth focused marketing and attention: in a huge catalog we don't have the resources to talk about each of the 80,000 titles, and even if you could take 10 more people into buying it, that's not a good use of time.

This isn't a failure, it's just the natural course of things: when we released one new Pre Pub a week, and it was a long-awaited, popular commentary, it was easy to have it be more profitable. Now we've done most of those titles. It doesn't mean the other titles aren't important or useful, it's just harder to make our particular math problem work out for them.

We kept pushing the model further and further to see where the limits were, and we found some of the limits. So we're adjusting to that limit.

This isn't a sign of overall business failure; it's a sign that we tested, and tested, and tested, and finally found the limits. That's what we're supposed to be doing.

Some of you have suggested that we 'grow our base' to help solve this problem. That's a great point, and that's what we're trying to do. Many of our new initiatives, and even things like using Kickstarter, are attempts to find new Christian consumers who aren't familiar with us. In our first Kickstarter project two thirds of the purchasers were people we'd had no relationship with before. (As opposed to Pre Pub, where 100% of the users are people we already know.) It introduced us to people who might be new customers for other products. It also let us experiment with 'multiple tier' pre-orders using their code framework, without having to put all that code in our system just to do an experiment.

Again, that's not a failure or evidence of something fundamentally wrong with our Pre Pub system -- it's a low-cost experiment that is much better than a high-cost experiment.

And we aren't 'hatchetting' Pre Pub... we're culling projects we know (from statistics and experience) are never going to make it. It's more a decluttering or spring cleaning. At the same time we're working on other initiatives to vastly expand our library of content; some things make sense via full Logos Editions sold via Pre Pub. Other titles (especially the long tail) may make more sense in a 'processed EPUB' format like we use for Vyrso. You should see a much larger catalog in the future.

Faithlife is a healthy company. At any given moment, though, we've got some crisis going on. Sometimes it's a personnel issue, sometimes it's a marketing campaign that is failing to work as hoped, sometimes we shipped a bug or wrote an email that annoys our customers. Sometimes we make tiny mistakes (I hate it when we use apostrophes incorrectly!) and sometimes we make big huge mistakes (like the wrong edition of Encyclopedia Britannica).

I like to think of all of this as 'life.'

If one or more of these things shakes you to the core, and causes you to lose confidence in us, I'm very sorry about that. You can call me any time at 360-527-1700 and I'll try to talk you through the crisis of confidence. I don't want to publish our internal numbers here, but by phone I'll share whatever is needed to assure you that we're in no danger of going away and risking your investment in your platform.

Every business has times where things are better or worse than 'normal.' That is the normal. I'm sure it's the same way in your family and in your church, and I imagine you're just as fond as I am of people who don't know all the details speculating on the causes and consequences. :-)

But we're a business, and you're our valued customer, and you have a stake in our health and circumstances. So call me any time and ask what you need to know. And if you feel compelled to speculate in public, or to call us to account for poor performance, so be it. But I'd would like to politely remind you: It is very difficult to reach leadership at huge companies, and they're also relatively immune to random public criticism. But we're both more sensitive to it (strong as we are, your public speculation can hurt us), and we're actually completely accessible: you can pick up the phone and call the CEO and ask anything you want.

Posts 775
Lew Worthington | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 12:15 PM

Thanks again for your detailed explanation. I had started to feel a little odd because I've not perceived any of this as a horrible sign of things to come. Maybe your message will persuade others how great it is to invest in Logos resources with confidence. Smile

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 1:19 PM

Bob Pritchett:
You can call me any time at 360-527-1700360-527-1700 and I'll try to talk you through the crisis of confidence.

Once again, what a generous offer you make to the broader community to affirm that Faithlife is not in trouble. You are one of the most accessible CEOs that I heard of. Thank you for your openness and I hope it continues to bread confidence in the future among all Logos users.

Using adventure and community to challenge young people to continually say "yes" to God

Posts 267
Roger Dittmar | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 1:59 PM

Bob, Thank you for your response.

I am a long time Logos owner and a short time user. Most of my now considerable (in my opinion) investment in Faithlife products has been since October 2015. I participated in the 30-day Bible Study challenge and loved it while learning a lot.

My confidence gets shaken when I cannot receive answers to what I believe are reasonable questions. I tried by phone, email, and the forums. I was kindly reminded that the forums are primarily for members helping members and not a means for directly communicating with Faithlife.

I don't want to waste your time with a phone call. My preferred method of communication is email. If my emails are no longer available, my questions are here in the forums. I don't have very many posts. I would greatly appreciate a response from any Faithlife employee.

Thanks for products that I use every day!

Sincerely,

Roger Dittmar

Posts 852
Michael McLane | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 3:26 PM

Sorry if I hurt the "sensitive" people here, but what a bunch of whiners. I admire Bob's risk taking. That's what a good, responsible leader does. And he does it against all the squeaky wheels who keep pecking away at same tired complaints. The OP had some merits and the email irritated me a bit too. Then I went and bought some more resources.

Bob Pritchett:
I'd would like to politely remind you: It is very difficult to reach leadership at huge companies, and they're also relatively immune to random public criticism. But we're both more sensitive to it (strong as we are, your public speculation can hurt us)

I am not sure if Bob meant it this way, but whining and moaning has very little affect on a leader. They get it so much that they are immune to the emotional impact and evaluate its source and validity, among other things. Additionally, if I were a perspective customer, this kind of public rolling around on the floor might scare me away. Its one thing to hold a company and its leader to account but this kind of blathering can do damage. How many times does Bob have to say that the company is healthy? Why don't we just call him a liar and get it over with.

If you don't want to buy any more resources because of the changes, then don't buy them. I am sure that voicing it in the forums is not going to change Bob's vision for the company. And whining about the prices isn't going to change the math they need in order to stay in business. After 25 years I am sure Bob knows a few things about what he's doing.

I am not a mindless fanboy but some of you sound relentlessly uncharitable over and over. I, for one, will continue to invest in Logos. Stick to your guns, Bob. Your doing a great job and I appreciate most of the things your company is doing. Although, I really do not get faithlife.com. Its really confusing.

Oh yeah, and graphical search interface. Embarrassed

Posts 2992
SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 3:40 PM

Thank you Bob. Honestly, none of the stuff people have been referencing in this thread has shaken my personal belief in the longterm viability of Faithlife. I've written to that effect before on these forums and I'm happy to do so again amidst the latest hullabaloo. I don't need to phone you to be confident in Faithlife. I'm still buying, saving up for, and recommending Faithlife products, especially Verbum ones. And since Faithlife is not the crazy company that some of the concerned people make it out to be, I expect this state of affairs to continue.

And if someone from Faithlife ever wants to talk to me about anything I do or don't write or allude to in these forums, you have my email and phone number.

Posts 2021
GaoLu | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 4:18 PM

Bob, your post took time to write, and I appreciate knowing what you are doing and why.  We wouldn't have to know, you don't owe it to us, but I appreciate that you chose to tell us.  Having a better idea rather than speculation builds our confidence.  I appreciate knowing you obviously do hear users and respond.  

Nothing in life is guaranteed risk-free or annoyance-free, but I do have a lot of confidence in FL and realize it is the best thing out there.  

Thanks. 

Posts 1073
Sean | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 5:44 PM
To each his own. I'd prefer fewer mess-ups requiring long threads and apologies. Sell me stuff, let it match the description you give it, and let it work properly from the get go. That is what makes me a satisfied customer. Some seem to enjoy a more complicated and intimate relationship with their vendor. But it's not something I'm looking for.

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LogosEmployee

Roger Dittmar:
I don't want to waste your time with a phone call. My preferred method of communication is email. If my emails are no longer available, my questions are here in the forums. I don't have very many posts. I would greatly appreciate a response from any Faithlife employee.

I replied to https://community.logos.com/forums/t/123339.aspx. I couldn't find any other unanswered questions (after a brief search).

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 6:13 PM

Roger, in re: Resources needed for Noet Scholarly Tools a Faithlife employee request that you contact him via email. I assume you followed up on that offer.

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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Roger Dittmar | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2016 7:46 PM

MJ,

I forwarded the requested email on Feb. 5.

Thank you for all of your helpful posts.

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