Faithlife Financially: "What condition is your condition is in?"

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Posts 237
C M | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 26 2015 10:17 PM

Bob,

Thank you for going beyond the requirements of your responsibilities to respond to your customer's concerns. You have fulfilled once again that your are attentive and responsive to inquiring minds. Your detailed remarks and future directions are most helpful and almost inspirational. The CEO of a private company (Faithlife Corp) and your willingness to relate to customers directly is a "cut above the rest."  Your style of relations may become the model for others CEOs to follow in the future. You have reassured and encouraged many today. Thanks again for taking time from your Thanksgiving Day to feed others with words of truth, hope and stability. May the blessings of Heaven rest upon you and the Logos Software Product.   C. McNeil

Posts 237
C M | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 26 2015 10:41 PM

Kent:
I don't understand this. In what way are you looking to "come aboard?" 

Fear not, I am not coming to take anything, from anybody. Nor am I seeking to invade any space where I don’t belong. The short answer to question is in the passage you quoted above:  “It pays (always) for one to do his or her homework before investing heavily in a product.” This simply means, to buy or rent (Now/Cloud, long term).

Kent:
Do you require information like this from other companies when you buy their product?

Yes, depending on the product, amount investing, and when service after the sale is necessary. Is something inherently wrong with this? Regardless, I am not free to ask questions of inquiry? Is there a prohibition in America that I am not aware of?

Kent:
Nevertheless, Bob has been very forthcoming and did not have to be.

I thank Bob for being responsive to questions and the needs of his customers. I knew he didn’t have to answer any questions he didn’t want to answer. Bob knows this. He was not forced or threatened to answer any questions, mine or anyone else. What is your concern here? 

We are customers and he does not have to provide any more information than any other private business does.

This is true. Does this preclude one from asking questions? Bob is his own man.

Giving away the software and only charging for resources is an excellent business model that has benefited Faithlife well and has given us tools that other electronic book distributors can't touch. Those that complain of a lack of communication should try and get more from any other company. I have never known a CEO to directly contact customers to explain anything.

I will admit, Bob is a special kind of CEO. He is different. This is probably one of the reasons, he’s love and respected. He’s not complaining. Besides, he’s well capable of speaking for himself. Bob is a mature businessman. What is your concern here?

Kent:
Yet I still sense the feeling of entitlement among those that use Logos and it saddens me to see people calling themselves followers of Christ whose attitude is not distinguishable from others.

You’re entitled to your feelings, but that doesn’t make your perception so. The “feeling of entitlement”, that is, to what? I don’t know what you are trying to say here.

Could it be that what “saddens” you is that you are comparing “people calling themselves followers of Christ” with “others” (people) and not with Christ? Jesus is our example. We’re changed by beholding Him. I trust you will find renewed peace in knowing Christ and seeing how much he loved those that “saddens” you. The instrument of measurement or tool for judging can greatly prejudice the outcome. However, if you would like me to make some suggestions, I would do so, only at your request.

Posts 1956
Donovan R. Palmer | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 27 2015 9:25 AM

Bob Pritchett:
The Payment Plans got away from us; I have explained the math in detail elsewhere, and that's what it is: a math problem. Something that was a way for a few customers to stretch out a big purchase became something that too many people used for every purchase; it allowed us to continue growing revenue further/faster than might have happened otherwise, while slowing down cash flow.

I thought your explanation in another thread was excellent. Users should not be shocked. In financial modelling there would come a point when the percentage and cumulative size of payment plans would start to impact cash flow, particularly if they were increasing at a compounding rate every year. 

Bob Pritchett:
(I have this same experience with lots of products. I used to be excited about each new release of Word and Excel; now I barely pay attention, because my specific use cases for each were completely addressed by the 2007 (?) feature set.) 

I agree.  I see this in two areas...

After Logos 4, Logos 5 and subsequently 6 represented a real maturation of the software in stability and features. Logos 4 for me was a rodeo and I submitted many bug reports. Now most of what we hoped for from Logos 3 has been incorporated and in many cases improved on. Additional features that we had not even dreamed about particularly in datasets have also been produced. (still would love clippings to be synced to mobile though!) Smile So the question of where we go next, particularly if you are not a power user, is less impactful.

Also, resource wise for those of us who 'grew up' with the Bible software industry and were able to invest in resources as they became available for the first time in digital format, it was exciting. There have also been some exceptional values over the years and IMHO still to this day Logos 4 Platinum was one of the best buys of all time.  You do however get to a point where you really don't need many more commentaries and some packages are extremely hard to justify unless you are into a specialised track of study. It would seem to me that purchasing for some users will stabilise with new general materials that are being released.

So as I make my annual Christmas visit to the Logos site, there are items that are still of interest to me, but the energy and excitement of seven to ten years ago is not quite like it was.   I still remember the Christmas promo of Logos Cash... that was a lot of fun... but even more the fun turns to how we leverage our awesome collection of resources that we never dreamed we would have 20 years ago.  Thanks for the ride Logos.

Posts 2844
Don Awalt | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 27 2015 10:01 AM

I hope in the operational improvements the forum software is high on the list. Almost every time I have reported a problem with it the response is that the software is old (how old is it? I remember when it was installed...), and needs to be replaced...no time table on that. I am sure the list is LONG that prohibits people from using the forums more. I know I use them less now than ever, because it's aggravating and it does not seem to get any better. Thanks for listening.

Posts 8967
RIP
Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 27 2015 12:11 PM

Charles McNeil:
Thank you for going beyond the requirements of your responsibilities to respond to your customer's concerns. You have fulfilled once again that your are attentive and responsive to inquiring minds. Your detailed remarks and future directions are most helpful and almost inspirational. The CEO of a private company (Faithlife Corp) and your willingness to relate to customers directly is a "cut above the rest."  Your style of relations may become the model for others CEOs to follow in the future. You have reassured and encouraged many today.

I am happy you feel this way. Bob has gained the trust of many, many Logos users by going beyond the call of duty time after time. 

Logos 7 Collectors Edition

Posts 8967
RIP
Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 27 2015 12:17 PM

Don Awalt:
I hope in the operational improvements the forum software is high on the list.

You might get a better response starting a new thread.  

Logos 7 Collectors Edition

Posts 452
Mitchell | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 27 2015 12:34 PM

Bob Pritchett:
The preparation for considering investment is very healthy. If you take the time to look at your business the way a potential investor would, you see things from a different perspective, are forced to explain and justify your use of resources, etc.

For those who didn't take the time to read Bob's full response, this is the key point to highlight IMO. The recent changes don't reflect a hurting company trying to save itself. They reflect a healthy company that is actively resisting the temptation to get sloppy just because it can afford to. 

Posts 2844
Don Awalt | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 27 2015 12:46 PM

Super.Tramp:

Don Awalt:
I hope in the operational improvements the forum software is high on the list.

You might get a better response starting a new thread.  

Why? I would hope Bob was watching this thread for comments, No one else has replied. In fact he told me over a year ago there were no technical issues standing in the way it could be done. It seemed to be a tacit acknowledgement that for a search company not fully supplying search functionality in this case was surprising.

Posts 10886
Forum MVP
Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 27 2015 1:24 PM

Bob Pritchett:
I know that some of you think we don't communicate enough (I'm sorry -- I fear I could just write all day long and still not meet that need!), but we are at least very open. If you're wondering, just ask.

I should note when I say that communication is not FL's strong suit that it is much improved in recent months. However—as an example—the change in the payment plans seems unnecessarily abrupt, and the reasons were not communicated very clearly in the beginning. You do go the extra mile—and then some—to explain things once the uproar starts. It would just seem that better explanations at the outset of a new direction for the company would eliminate much of the uproar.

Perhaps I have too much please tell us something—anything hangover from the pre-Mac version release Wink Stick out tongue. We Mac users wanted news, but you felt that you had nothing new to tell us. I understand your perspective, but we wanted regular reports, even if it was just "we are still working on this, but we have no news." Even that would have been better than silence.

I revive and beat that long-dead horse because sometimes I feel that FL could have avoided these long contentious threads with a little better communication at the outset rather than waiting for the natives to storm the castle.

But, as I said at the beginning of this rambling post, FL has gotten better at communication that you were 7-8 years ago. I was tired of relying on Virtual PC—I wanted a Mac version Big Smile. Thank you for providing one Yes

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 27 2015 1:27 PM

Don Awalt:
I would hope Bob was watching this thread for comments, No one else has replied.

You can email Bob directly at 

     Bob@Faithlife.com

Logos 7 Collectors Edition

Posts 10886
Forum MVP
Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 27 2015 1:40 PM

Kent:
Those that complain of a lack of communication should try and get more from any other company.

Since this shot seems aimed at me, I will respond. I have tried—with different levels of success—to get better communication for a variety of other companies. From your statement, I must conclude that you have never used Accordance. While I gave all my Accordance license to a grandson, I never had reason to comment on any lack of communication from the leaders of that company. On more than one occasion, Helen Brown called me directly when I raised a question of their forum, once even from Israel.

Bob is far above the average CEO in responding to customer's inquires and complaints, but FL is not perfect in communication. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a customer expressing concern about these occasional lapses in communication.

Posts 2844
Don Awalt | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 27 2015 3:02 PM

Super.Tramp:

Don Awalt:
I would hope Bob was watching this thread for comments, No one else has replied.

You can email Bob directly at 

     Bob@Faithlife.com

I've done it many times. I am content to see if anything comes of this or we continue with a crippled search capability.

Posts 2844
Don Awalt | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 27 2015 3:28 PM

Jack Caviness:
We Mac users wanted news, but you felt that you had nothing new to tell us. I understand your perspective, but we wanted regular reports, even if it was just "we are still working on this, but we have no news." Even that would have been better than silence.

Exactly! I support this frustration 100% Jack, and it is the source of immense frustration to me. Somewhere along the line Faithlife got the idea that, in fear of saying something that does not come true, they won't say anything until there is 100% certainty. What they seem not to realize is this paralyzes their customers because no expectations are possible - we could see something happen, or never see it come to pass, or anything in between. I can't believe it is their culture that they handle their personal relationships that way, How would you feel about a friend who in response either said nothing or a non-committal reply much of the time? You would take it as "find another friend". I don't know why they are so petrified to say things like "Our goal is to have this by August...", and then rationally reset if it does not come to pass. I think if you look at the forums any time they have explained a "miss", people have been understanding. They take some flak if there was a bonehead mistake, but who wouldn't. 

For me, there are some things really important to me that FL just doesn't reply on. From a customer perspective it feels like I spent a ton of money and they just don't care. Faithlife is good at addressing issues after the fact, but they are terrible at setting expectations and being transparent on what their goals and intentions are. It grates me to no end that I can't even get replies on things important to me as a customer, yet I see new things coming out that I have not even asked for - nice features to be sure, but I am crippled with some issues in the software and it apparently is super low priority, apparently because it won't help FL grow enough, or there isn't the money to address them because the money I spend on Logos/Verbum is going to some new initiative I don't at the moment care about. Maybe I am not valued as a customer any more, despite how Bob says he values us.

You are exactly right Jack - great in post-mortem communications, but as a result of this lack of transparency I have no idea where they is going with the product I care about, Logos/Verbum. Will I like it a year or two from now? Maybe - my only choice is wait and see. I have no idea what their priorities are.

I wish this would all change, it would improve my feelings immensely. I really like the product and I think FL is a good company with good people, but they make it very hard to be happy in relationship with them.  I get more responses from people telling me what forum to post my requests for updates in, than I do responses from FL. While I have not decided to yet, despite all that I have invested, I think regularly about severing the relationship the communications is so terrible. Maybe FL knows that and it's why my opinion doesn't matter anymore.

Posts 452
Mitchell | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 27 2015 7:02 PM

Don Awalt:
I've done it many times. I am content to see if anything comes of this or we continue with a crippled search capability.

Go to Google and type "site:community.logos.com" before your search string. 

Posts 4264
LogosEmployee
Kevin Byford (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 28 2015 1:58 AM

Super.Tramp:

Don Awalt:
I hope in the operational improvements the forum software is high on the list.

You might get a better response starting a new thread.  

True, thanks for posting this.

Posts 1723
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 28 2015 12:42 PM

Don Awalt:
I hope in the operational improvements the forum software is high on the list.

The forum software is on a third-party platform that is essentially unsupported; we hack changes into as we can, but have had several incidents of the person being assigned to it (and who knows it well) leave the company.

It basically works, and improving it is expensive and doesn't directly generate revenue; our long-term hope is to have the forums hosted by Faithlife discussion groups, but we know the technology isn't ready for that yet. In the meantime we don't have the resources or enthusiasm to invest in a new third-party solution (which would require more custom code to integrate with our single-sign on, user accounts, etc.).

We did explore other platforms, and considered Discourse. ChristianDiscourse.com was set up for its own purpose, as well as a form of test-bed to see if people really took to it more than this platform, but I believe our conclusion is that it's not significantly superior, or even as well suited, to be worth switching these forums to.

So the plan for forums is that once Faithlife Groups support really robust forums, we'll move them there.

Posts 1723
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 28 2015 12:47 PM

Jack Caviness:
I should note when I say that communication is not FL's strong suit that it is much improved in recent months. However—as an example—the change in the payment plans seems unnecessarily abrupt, and the reasons were not communicated very clearly in the beginning.

Jack, I appreciate the kind words about our improvements in communication, but I still think you're being unfair. This is a perfect example:

You heard about the payment plan changes within minutes of the changes being made. You heard about them, in fact, before many employees did. 

It seems like you create an impossible standard:

Users: "Tell me everything and communicate openly."

Faithlife: "Okay. Here's some big news..."

Users: "Wow! That's big news! I'm completely shocked. Why did you communicate this so abruptly?!"

What are we supposed to do? Start with a post that says "Are you sitting down? Sit down. Then tomorrow I'll post some news." :-)

(I'm exaggerating to make a point... and in this particular case, I believe the payment plan info was actually 'leaked' by a salesperson who literally walked out of the meeting where we announced the changes, just hours after we even decided to make the changes, and sent an email to customers on his own initiative, before we coded the changes to the web site or wrote it up. How are we supposed to communicate earlier than that? We only thought up the change hours before you heard about it.)

Posts 1723
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 28 2015 1:04 PM

Don Awalt:
Somewhere along the line Faithlife got the idea that, in fear of saying something that does not come true, they won't say anything until there is 100% certainty.

We got this idea from our customers here in the forums. :-)

I've been doing this a long time, and we have never announced a single date or plan without being castigated for every eventual variation from that plan. So we don't make predictions about dates.

Don Awalt:
For me, there are some things really important to me that FL just doesn't reply on. From a customer perspective it feels like I spent a ton of money and they just don't care.

Again, I don't think you're being fair in light of our history.

We generally reply to every direct question we know the answer to. The problem is, we just don't know the answer to lots of things. 

I believe that most of what you're complaining we don't reply to is questions about 'When?' or 'What is the status?'. And the answer is, we don't know. There are more than 400 people in this organization, and more than 800 involved in our partner text production company. The process of releasing a book involves us, our partner production companies, the publisher, etc. It's a big huge machine with many moving parts and lots of gating factors. The staff who hang out on the forums don't know the status of each of the 8,000 - 10,000 titles moving through production. They don't know if the only person who knows how to check this is going on vacation next week. And it's very expensive to try and chase something down, in time and resources, and even then you can be wrong. And it doesn't matter, because there's almost nothing you can do to change the result, and guessing as to delivery date is just likely to antagonize someone when the guess is wrong.

Don Awalt:
they are terrible at setting expectations and being transparent on what their goals and intentions are.

And when the question isn't about delivery dates for books, the answer is also likely "We don't know." We're changing things all the time -- all 400 of us! Teams meet weekly, and things are constantly re-prioritized, based on resources, revenue, and staff.

Don Awalt:
but I am crippled with some issues in the software and it apparently is super low priority, apparently because it won't help FL grow enough, or there isn't the money to address them because the money I spend on Logos/Verbum is going to some new initiative I don't at the moment care about. Maybe I am not valued as a customer any more, despite how Bob says he values us.

There are literally thousands of cases in our issue tracking system. Some are bugs, some are requests, some are new features. We have to balance 'fixing potholes' that annoy users with putting in new things that drive upgrades and sales. And some things which seem obvious and easy to you are actually hard to do, or expensive, or require a particular set of skills that only a few people on staff have, and they're working on other issues. We have 3.2 million registered users, and you'd be amazed to learn how diverse their interests are. (For example, some users are 100% mobile, and are angry that we spend any time on the desktop -- an antique platform! -- instead of 100% of our energy on mobile. Others say mobile is a simple tool for reading, and they bought powerful Bible software, and 100% of our time should be on fixing / improving the desktop software.)

We do value our customers -- but with millions of them, we have to spread that attention around. (Even if we just count 'big money' customers, there are thousands with significant investments, and diverse priorities. I could name four forum users who alone could keep us busy for years! :-) )

Don Awalt:
I get more responses from people telling me what forum to post my requests for updates in, than I do responses from FL.

The people who spend the most time in the forums, like Kevin, have that as part of their job. However -- partially because they spend all day in the forums! -- they don't have the answers to your questions. When you're sent to another forum, it's to increase the chance that the person who does know will answer, because teams tend to watch the forums related to their areas of responsibility. I'm sure you could just ask that Kevin or I do this dispatch for you, but we don't even always know who to contact -- the 400 people are on dozens of teams, and team assignments change frequently. (Think about the math -- if each person moved just once a year, it would mean someone was moving every day! And dev teams and marketing team members often move more than once a year.)

But maybe these cases don't cover what you're talking about. Can you give me an example of your top three unaddressed issues / unanswered questions? I promise to directly address them all.

(I know they're probably already in the forums, but I can't read the whole forum traffic -- it would literally take my entire day, and I'm going other things that I hope support you.)

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Forum MVP
Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 28 2015 1:09 PM

Bob Pritchett:
(I'm exaggerating to make a point... and in this particular case, I believe the payment plan info was actually 'leaked' by a salesperson who literally walked out of the meeting where we announced the changes, just hours after we even decided to make the changes, and sent an email to customers on his own initiative, before we coded the changes to the web site or wrote it up. How are we supposed to communicate earlier than that? We only thought up the change hours before you heard about it.)

Now, that was abrupt Big Smile. My main point in that example was that the reasons for the change were given later in the exchange of forum posts. However, when I see how the initial announcement came down, I understand the reason for the apparent delay in providing reasons for the change.

Posts 2844
Don Awalt | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 28 2015 5:18 PM

<edit>

Super Tramp's short reply to my post down below was a wake up for me - I have said too much. I have become increasingly frustrated, and I have alienated others. I was mistaken to assume, when I am unhappy with the relationship with Faithlife, that it was Faithlife's job to fix that. My posture to force my views on thoughts on them made me appear to be a chronic complainer, which I am not. Again I apologize for that and any remarks which were perceived as offensive. I am unhappy with the relationship so it is my responsibility to deal with that, which I will do immediately. This will make my life and others I affected better.

I hope many blessings are bestowed on all. 

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