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James Hudson | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Feb 25 2018 7:07 AM

Context

There has been a lot of disquiet related to the Faithlife Connect situation. I think this happened because I’m not sure that people actually knew or understood they were renting. People who rent shouldn’t complain when prices go up - that has always been the case with rent and the risk you choose to take.
In the long term, renters always pay more than owners.
These 2 reasons are some of the reasons why, for me, renting is not wise stewardship of my limited financial resources.

What happened? What questions does/should it raise?
So the subscription experiment failed . I think that even subconsciously Logos knew that rental won’t work when they decided to include loss leading sweeteners to tempt people to do something they didn’t naturally want to do in the first place-rent! Those who weren’t blinded by the 'lie' (see below) predicted that.
The Logos Research and Development team need to be asking why it failed - why didn’t people rent?
The fact they thought that more people would rent, should now get them thinking that they had/have a wrong premise - it seems they actually are believing their own lie that a rental model is what users want. This is time for reflection and re-evaluation. It is time to ask those serious questions- is the premise flawed or faulty?
I believe (and it has been proved) that the majority (98.8%) of people (users) don’t want to rent. In fact, of those that did, a number even stated that the only reason they subscribed was to help Logos out.

I am concerned that they are not learning from their logos now experiment and and going to repeat exactly the same thing again (and therefore like out on profit).

You have heard it so often - the world is going towards subscription - look at the facts - it is not true. I will not be renting my food or even my car fuel anytime soon!

It is said that if you repeat a lie frequently enough then sooner or later everyone will believe it. Even the people that start it. It seems that Bob certainly believes it (although from his analogies I think he is perhaps confusing thin clients for desktop software?) Let’s not call it a lie, call it a misunderstanding- the desktop software market is NOT going to a rental model - even DropBox released statistics today show only 2.2% of their users pay to subscribe(only a handful of companies have done that and they are practical monopolies in their particular sector and forced it in to their users - not because users were clamouring for it) and it’s definitely not the case in the bible software sector.

By desktop software, I mean exactly that, software that has many functions and is not just a front end for an online data store. I have over 150 pieces of desktop software that I have purchased in the last few years on my home and work laptops and apart from office 365 at work, none is subscription. I have also purchased over 300 mobile apps (no games!) and none of them are subscription either.
Yes there are a handful of programs in the world today requiring rental but the majority do not.

In case you are confused, please note that Amazon video, Netflix etc etc are NOT desktop software. Logos is NOT amazon video or Netflix. So analogies to rental immediately break down. It maybe because many people rent entertainment services (and spend more time being entertained than using desktop software for work)that we *feel* this way - but let’s examine the facts. Look at what software is actually rented!

Let’s do some critical thinking here folks and not believe the lie that the desktop software industry is going rental based.

Indeed it is very interesting/ telling that even DropBox released statistics today that show only 2.2% of their users pay to subscribe (https://www.cnet.com/news/dropbox-files-for-ipo) I find it fascinating that that is almost exactly the same percentage as the Logos Now experiment showed. Is 2% the industry norm?

What next?

a. How should Logos restore vision?
In fact, it is far more likely, that desktop software is going to stop - decline in pc sales, then laptops as people transition more and more to tablets and phones. (Have you seen Apple’s “what’s a computer?” commercial?) Just witness the number of people on the forums who talk about tablets for both study and preaching. If I read correctly the number one requested feature on the logos 8 wish list thread was touch capability- why do you think that is?!!

Logos needs to see this and focussing their new development money on their apps for the mobile. During the time they have been ‘playing ‘ with other sectors (faithlife TV) and considering dating agencies , there was no significant development of the mobile app (only just now in 2018 has there been a change!!). Does this indicate that logos has not been visionary enough ? Have they lost direction? Maybe! In my fairly large church, I may be the only one using the logos app . The other members are getting pulled into other bible software ecosystems - even my 70 year old parents use Olivetree!!! Why is that? These are the questions that logos research and development team need to be asking.
But mobile is, in my opinion, the future and the way to tap into young people.

Regards going into different fields , I agree with other forum posters- focus on what you are good at (Bible software) - keep the main thing the main thing. Be a master of one trade rather than a jack of many.

b. Do some market research
Don’t theorise about and have meetings about why people didn’t do something or what people might want. Actually ask them, do an online survey, get researchers into churches etc etc. Ask people what they want and then don’t ignore it even if you don’t like it! People will pay for what they want! You talk about uservoice failing because of "hijacked by big many-features-in-one-request posts that remove clarity about actual priorities" - I know what you are referring to- but it wasn’t removing clarity - if you read between the lines it was many users saying one thing - -improve notes and make them useable (Something Bob for some reason was against and so didn’t happen). So what did you do - effectively remove the post- I think many people lost confidence in user voice (I haven’t used it since). Also you talk about uservoice having too many pet peeves - think about how many happy customers you would have if you addressed everyone’s pet peeve(yes I know that’s unrealistic but in an ideal world...). A key business maxim is “happy customers are your best salesmen”. Perhaps a mind shift is needed - they aren’t pet peeves they are happy customers and happy customers are salesmen and that brings in revenue! Work on the most ‘popular ‘ pet peeves!

About me (Why am I posting?)
Rant over. Just a bit of context. I am a huge supporter of logos and have been since the early floppy disk days. Logos is open and running on my computer 24-7. I have purchased over 28600 ebooks, I am fortunate enough to literally purchase some every month. I own the full and extended feature set including concordance. I will never rent. I have invested more in Logos than anything else I own (except perhaps my house). I want Logos to do well. I can’t bear to think of Logos loosing money.

I would pay regularly for them to do well (I think Logos should give away the basic software engine and charge on an ala Carte basis for additional features so people can buy what they want. Each new feature shoud be added when available eg every couple of months. Suggested new features should be created on a community pricing basis ONLY and well communicated. That way development will only go into those areas that customers want!).

I’m glad for experiments that fail - it helps us learn , so please learn the lessons from the Logos Now experiment and not repeat your mistakes.

An unrelated note...
While I’m here I think your website front-end needs addressing. There should be one front end for searching Logos , Vyrso (now ebooks) and noet. Further, the 1990s-style ‘show 60 books’ is laughable- in this day and age we need to have JavaScript continual flowing . Also easy filter options (to hide those books already owned and to hide fiction) without having to type obscure GET options in the url box. The website is the face of the company, little things matter - make yourself look modern not old and confusing!


Thanks for giving the opportunity to get this off my chest!

Thank-you

I appreciate all the hard work that has gone in over the years to make a superb, high quality product to help us study the Word of God better (what higher calling can there be?). Let's hope Logos Bible Software will remain the focus of the next 30 years as it has in the past - whether that be desktop or mobile. May it continue to improve, get faster and more efficient and provide innovative ways for us to better understand and apply His Word. May Logos not become distracted in that goal! A heartfelt thanks to Bob and the team!

Posts 11194
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 25 2018 7:38 AM

James Hudson:

There has been a lot of disquiet related to the Faithlife Connect situation. I think this happened because I’m not sure that people actually knew or understood they were renting. People who rent shouldn’t complain when prices go up - that has always been the case with rent and the risk you choose to take.
In the long term, renters always pay more than owners.

Really, James?  The apartment owner doubles your rent. Pay up or do without!  Plus people don't know they're renting? And rent is more than buy? You've never been dirt poor.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 781
scooter | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 25 2018 7:42 AM

+ James Hudson  What a great post.  Marketing wants mindshare + sometimes uses a very coarse sieve before sending customers the bumpf.  Yup, lies fall through into the ''reality'' of their promotions; workthink-groupthink is the way its going at FL now.

James, I hope FL reads your effort here, taking these ideas to heart.

Posts 30
m wilson | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 25 2018 8:04 AM

James Hudson:
DropBox released statistics today that show only 2.2% of their users pay to subscribe (https://www.cnet.com/news/dropbox-files-for-ipo) I find it fascinating that that is almost exactly the same percentage as the Logos Now experiment showed. Is 2% the industry norm?

Yeah, only 11 million paying for the other 489 million to use the system leds to this line from the article:

"Dropbox isn't profitable yet, though: It lost almost $112 million in 2017."

James Hudson:
I believe (and it has been proved) that the majority (98.8%) of people (users) don’t want to rent.

Or like Dropbox, maybe only a few people need more than the free parts and don't want to pay anything.

The only models that I can think of that come close to what Logos is doing is Kindle. They sell the content and give the app to use the content. That is the basic model. 

The obvious difference is that the the Logos SW is far more advanced and sophsicated and costly to maintain. That's what FL needs to address. As you pointed out, most all other companies either sell content or sell/Rent SW as a tool, not both. 

Posts 133
Andrew116 | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 25 2018 4:37 PM

James Hudson:

In my fairly large church, I may be the only one using the logos app . The other members are getting pulled into other bible software ecosystems - even my 70 year old parents use Olivetree!!! Why is that? These are the questions that logos research and development team need to be asking.
But mobile is, in my opinion, the future and the way to tap into young people.

Regards going into different fields , I agree with other forum posters- focus on what you are good at (Bible software) - keep the main thing the main thing. Be a master of one trade rather than a jack of many.

Spot on. 

Posts 677
Robert Peters | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 27 2018 6:36 AM

Sorry but this post is  by one who has very little understanding of the software market and doesn't work in the field. I have been in the software market and work in higher education. Software is going to a subscription based approach and has been for the past five years. Although piracy is one aspect, new features is ultimately the reason for the subscription model. Sorry but we are the the reason for the subscription based model. Why? We want features. We want resources. We want videos and tutorials. Logos users want so much and people do not realize that development costs money. The only feasible way to continue to add all of these things is through the subscription model. 

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 27 2018 8:52 AM

Robert Peters:

 The only feasible way to continue to add all of these things is through the subscription model. 

Unfortunately FL took that away from us. Wink

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Posts 1943
Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 27 2018 9:58 AM

JT (alabama24):
Unfortunately FL took that away from us.

Indeed.

-Donnie

Posts 218
James Hudson | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 27 2018 12:45 PM

Robert Peters:
Sorry but this post is  by one who has very little understanding of the software market and doesn't work in the field.

Sorry to disappoint - I actually do work in the field and have done for many years - now in the education sector but in the past have advised multi-national companies. I am responsible for large IT budgets. Please do not make judgements without facts or assumptions about other posters - it tends to invalidate the rest of what you write!!!

Posts 677
Robert Peters | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 28 2018 7:25 AM

JT (alabama24):

Unfortunately FL took that away from us. Wink

Which would you rather have the product diminish and price stay the same or the product improve for and increase the price. Last time I checked software engineers are not cheap. 

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 28 2018 8:00 AM

Robert Peters:
Which would you rather have the product diminish and price stay the same or the product improve for and increase the price.

You have a false dichotomy. Firstly, we already do "pay for the software" in a real way. Every two years FL releases new base packages. When they do so, they "sell the software" in the form of cross grades / feature sets. A couple years ago FL tried a new means to do this called "Logos Now." Some users bought in, others didn't. Many were persuaded to change their minds. If the model is unsustainable as Bob suggests, I am ok with him getting rid of it. Logos Connect, however, isn't a replacement... He even said so himself:

Bob Pritchett:
we are retiring Logos Now and offering a new subscription product, which you may not want, but which new users may value and consider a great deal

Logos Connect is for new users, not old users. Furthermore, it doesnt work in FL's interest to abandon the "free engine." Firstly, it would be breaking a promise. Despite all the hoopla over killing LN, no explicit promises have been broken. Secondly, if FL killed the free engine, those who decided to stop making large purchases would have no reasons to continue to make ANY sort of purchases. Lastly, there are many users who pop in and just buy a book here and there. If the platform weren't free, you would lose ALL of those customers. The entire basis for your argument is a non-starter. 

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Posts 2933
Doc B | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 28 2018 8:01 AM

Robert Peters:
Which would you rather have the product diminish and price stay the same or the product improve for and increase the price

Your dichotomy is false.

I want a stable product that does what is advertised and for which I am not forced to pay subscription fees after I've paid ownership fees (i.e purchased licenses). I don't want a lot of unfulfilled promises and a constantly shifting business model. And primarily, I don't want the marketing people writing checks the developers can't cash.

My thanks to the various MVPs. Without them Logos would have died early. They were the only real help available.

Faithlife Corp. owes the MVPs free resources for life.

Posts 2933
Doc B | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 28 2018 8:02 AM

JT (alabama24):
You have a false dichotomy.

Ha! Great minds...

My thanks to the various MVPs. Without them Logos would have died early. They were the only real help available.

Faithlife Corp. owes the MVPs free resources for life.

Posts 510
Richard Villanueva | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 28 2018 9:08 AM

JT (alabama24):
You have a false dichotomy.

Doc B:
Your dichotomy is false.

Doc B:
Ha! Great minds...

Or plagiarism... oh wait... wrong forum. 😉

MBPro'12 / i5 / 8GB // 3.0 Scholars (Purple) / L6 & L7 Platinum, M&E Platinum, Anglican Bronze, P&C Silver / L8 Platinum, Academic Pro

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 28 2018 11:11 AM

lol Smile

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Posts 2933
Doc B | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 28 2018 8:14 PM

Richard Villanueva:
Or plagiarism... oh wait... wrong forum. 😉

Ha!  Well done!

My thanks to the various MVPs. Without them Logos would have died early. They were the only real help available.

Faithlife Corp. owes the MVPs free resources for life.

Posts 677
Robert Peters | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 1 2018 5:45 AM

JT (alabama24):

Robert Peters:
Which would you rather have the product diminish and price stay the same or the product improve for and increase the price.

You have a false dichotomy. Firstly, we already do "pay for the software" in a real way. Every two years FL releases new base packages. When they do so, they "sell the software" in the form of cross grades / feature sets. A couple years ago FL tried a new means to do this called "Logos Now." Some users bought in, others didn't. Many were persuaded to change their minds. If the model is unsustainable as Bob suggests, I am ok with him getting rid of it. Logos Connect, however, isn't a replacement... He even said so himself:

Bob Pritchett:
we are retiring Logos Now and offering a new subscription product, which you may not want, but which new users may value and consider a great deal

Logos Connect is for new users, not old users. Furthermore, it doesnt work in FL's interest to abandon the "free engine." Firstly, it would be breaking a promise. Despite all the hoopla over killing LN, no explicit promises have been broken. Secondly, if FL killed the free engine, those who decided to stop making large purchases would have no reasons to continue to make ANY sort of purchases. Lastly, there are many users who pop in and just buy a book here and there. If the platform weren't free, you would lose ALL of those customers. The entire basis for your argument is a non-starter. 

I tend to disagree. I particularly think that the subscription model is not for new users, but a way to keep the cost down for the Logos product. I think the question for faithlife was, given all the users I may have, how do I keep my product semi affordable.  I use semi loosely. As a software developer you cannot separate  the software from the tools. I understand promises were broken maybe I am less upset because I understand sometimes in the shifting market of software, models do change and you cannot keep every promise you make because the market is changing so fast. This isn't outright breaking promises, but maybe I have to break a promise I made in the past because I did not see the long-term affects of decision I would make. I am seeing this in my field of education models are changing and sometimes programs and prices you offered in the past are not feasible today. 

Posts 205
Marshall Harrison | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 2 2018 5:34 AM

I've been a software developer for 30 years until I retired in January of this year. Logic is my bread and butter. If renting Now didn't work then how can someone think renting Connect will work. Its like the old definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Yes we are seeing companies start offering software as a service (SAS) or even platform as a service. Salesforce has grown to a $8 billion company with this approach and is pretty much a cult centered around hero worship of Mark.  But that doesn't mean it will work for everybody. What works for customer relations management won't work the same way for a niche Bible software ecosystem.

I'll admit that I like the web app for Logos. At least in concept, But it still has work that needs to be done. Ideally it would give people that rent/lease/subscribe to Connect access to all of the features and resources their subscription level provides. But as an owner I should be able to log into the web app and have access to features and resources that I own. Same as the renter but based on my resource set.

Am I the only one that has the feeling that Bob and friends have sent us off to our proverbial room to rant and rave until we calm down. Just as in the beginning of this whole mess they seem to be absent again.

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