The future of Logos and Faithlife: Help us make the right decisions!

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This post has 145 Replies | 17 Followers

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jun 24 2019 7:32 PM

David Ames:
Then they dropped 90% of their market when they came out with the Mac

That is revisionist history! They dropped their marketshare when MSFT ripped off the GUI OS and licensed it to clones. 

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 2:01 AM

JT (alabama24):

David Ames:
Then they dropped 90% of their market when they came out with the Mac

That is revisionist history! They dropped their marketshare when MSFT ripped off the GUI OS and licensed it to clones. 

Didn't Apple rip off Xerox regarding the invention and use of GUIs? What goes around comes around. Too bad more people don't contemplate that fundamental fact and its downstream impact. Politics, religion, daily life...

I think the point David was making is that FL would probably serve itself better by being the Mac of the Bible study world. I have probably influenced 2-3 people at most to buy Logos over 20+ years of use. When it comes down to it, most people's treasure isn't Scripture, so they don't spend their treasure on Scripture mastery. Freebies suffice for many, and most don't even want or perceive a need for the freebies. As has been suggested above (and I think I may have suggested it years ago, in so many words), "the Mac approach" of focusing on the serious Bible study crowd (pastors, yes, but primarily the scholarly community) is the focus that would probably serve FL the best going forward.

I also think Logos needs to rethink their licensing procedures, stepping up and creating a sort of Spotify for Bible study groups. Study groups could rent a given book for a month or three, and each person in the reading group would have access to the book for that time. Remember that Netflix took off because people could keep the movie as long as they wanted and there weren't overdue charges and people loved that. The platform could be based on Logos and include a given Bible and a smattering of helps, like Strong's, etc. I imagine that many of the books that would find interest would be in the Ebooks (Vyrso) arena. In all of these options, publishers need to be made to see (twist some arms if need be) that a total price restructuring that takes into account Spotify-style pricing (either pool pricing or deep discount...75%+) will create the kind of value that attracts customers and may even increase the potential readership pool, i.e. create more and new readers.

Speaking of Netflix, maybe FL could parlay their mEd and FLTV materials into a kind of Bible Study Video Club, where "book groups", so to speak, actually get together to watch videos and take mEd classes for a few weeks or months. If the pricing is friendly (i.e. cheap enough that a group of 5-10 can do one or two videos every month or two and feel able to financially keep going after the first videos are completed), this might take off. I think that most of the best ideas will require FL to make some rootbed changes to the "single user" licensing model. If FL can't or won't, they may find themselves floating in the doldrums seas for a long time to come.

From what I can tell, Bob is picking up on the fascination of contemporary mindsets for electronic gadgetry (a la Internet Of Things), and he wants to move that into churches. I think he may do better focusing on church members. Start with something that is like or close to something people are already doing (book groups, for instance) and provide a way for such groups to access their books (or videos) electronically. Despite what the old fogies who post to this forum may prefer, younger people are not as into ownership and they are quite content with temporary access. Focus on the "green" (i.e. treeless) aspect and play that up.

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David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 5:00 AM

David Paul:

I think the point David was making is that FL would probably serve itself better by being the Mac of the Bible study world. I have probably influenced 2-3 people at most to buy Logos over 20+ years of use. When it comes down to it, most people's treasure isn't Scripture, so they don't spend their treasure on Scripture mastery. Freebies suffice for many, and most don't even want or perceive a need for the freebies. As has been suggested above (and I think I may have suggested it years ago, in so many words), "the Mac approach" of focusing on the serious Bible study crowd (pastors, yes, but primarily the scholarly community) is the focus that would probably serve FL the best going forward.

Thank you for your backing. [[And you said it much better than I did - Thanks]]  I have gotten several to use a 'freebie' but have had zero luck in interesting anyone in logos. Mostly because of the cost. 

Posts 62
Ken Hicks | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 5:54 AM

Br. Anthony:

I really can't think of a reason why anyone would use the web app on a regular basis if they already have it downloaded.

I have the desktop version but use the web app when I am working on my Chromebook away from my office. It functions better than the android app in many situations. Plus it is faster. My personal usage is roughly 3 times per week. However, there are some (probably a very small number) who solely use Chromebooks that would be impacted by the removal of the web app.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 6:19 AM

David Paul:
Didn't Apple rip off Xerox regarding the invention and use of GUIs?

Yep, the sound of ripping was pretty loud. And their Mac was light years behind the Amiga (both being well ahead of the eventual winner ... IBM/MS).

I think it merits being mentioned that FL has had the horse out of the barn for a couple years now ... they bought the church management software and have been integrating it for a while now. It's not like they're just going to let their horse go.  They want to know which racetrack he should run in (he's not a good mudder).


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Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 7:33 AM

Bryce Hufford:
2) Lets be honest and acknowledge that Logos Bible Study software is complex.  It takes a lot of effort to learn how to use the tools, especially with the limited up-to-date documentation on how the software works.

Thanks for the feedback; this is a good reminder about the need to keep up the documentation. I just talked with the relevant team about making sure still-relevant Logos Pro and other feature videos don't get lost on the revised website; are there particular areas you'd like to see more help on?

We also believe that the mobile apps and Faithlife TV will be continue to become more accessible to users who don't want to invest as much in learning the full Logos system.

Bryce Hufford:
3) My biggest concern as a Logos customer is that I see this initiative as a resource drain away from improvements that I would like to see with the Bible study software.

I understand the concern, and we're trying to avoid it. But that's one of my points here; without other product revenue sources, it's getting harder for us to support the investment. So we'll go through a period of needing to redirect resources to launching new products, but should come out on the other side with a broader revenue base to support investment in Logos, where margins are tightening.

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Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 7:38 AM

Fred Chapman:
Many are feature rich, but many of those features are not needed for a small church like ours, with the demographics of our congregation.

We are planning to make much of Faithlife Equip free for small churches; your example of Faithlife Sites is a good one: it's free if you are okay with having your site at "churchname.faithlifesites.com" (and you can even have a domain redirect here). That might be enough for a very small church; you only have to pay if you want it hosted at a domain. And in the full Equip bundle, the website service is just one of many things bundled at one price; while you can purchase it alone, it'll be an even better value in a bundle.

Thanks to the power law, :-), 20% of the market is almost always where 80% of the revenue comes from. (It's true of Logos revenue, too...) I certainly don't want to ignore the largest group of churches, and that's why we're going to make as much of Equip as possible usable by small churches at no cost, but we want to deliver enough value that churches of 150+ (just a guess) will find enough value to want to make it part of their budget. (We expect, with our bundled pricing, that they'll even be able to save money, because we'll start replacing enough other services they already pay for.)

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Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 7:41 AM

David Paul:
The main thing I'm looking for is...to paraphrase Neo..."Titles...lot's of titles."

We love this too... but we're finding that the more academic the title, the fewer the customers -- at almost any price point. (That's why some of these are so expensive in print, too.) The unit sales on some of these can be 50 copies... and it's hard to make the math work on text processing at that point. Let alone the overhead in time involved in licensing/discussion/etc. We're working on ways to streamline our book production costs even more so that we can get titles without huge audiences to pencil out, but it's an ongoing challenge.

Bloomsbury was willing to find a very creative solution in our partnership, but it was a bold move I'm not sure other publishers would do... though we can try a little harder....

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Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 7:47 AM

Mark Barnes:

If you're going to attract churches like ours, you would need to do at least one of the following:

  1. Offer a modular system, whereby we could choose which parts we wanted.
  2. Reduce the costs for smaller churches in recognition that small churches have far fewer problems that CMSs can solve.
  3. Offer sermon import to websites, and pastoral visitation to the CMS.

We're going to offer as much as we can for free to very small churches. (Already much of the Faithlife system works for free... and we are planning a model where you only need to pay at certain volumes of data/email sends, etc. which should let very small churches use it at no cost.O)

We'll think more about the modular idea, but the thinking right now is to bundle everything at such a good price that it's smarter than modular. Some components will be sold stand-alone (Proclaim, Sites, Giving, Logos, Faithlife TV for Churches), but most are so tightly integrated that we think there's better value in a get-it-all-price, like Amazon Prime.

I'm going to talk with the team about batch sermon import. I know we can do it for you manually, but we should look into ways to let people manage that themselves. What format would you have the data in? An Excel/CSV file with filenames? Would you want to batch-upload all the audio or videos? Send URLs to where they are already online?

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Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 7:57 AM

Kevin A. Purcell:
I agree wholeheartedly with Graham’s sentiments. I would add that our church uses Proclaim and I use Logos, but we will not be moving our website any time soon even if you said, “here’s all you need for free for life” just because what we pay is so low and so under utilized by the congregation and pure area that. I’m a single staff church member and we have no one to enter info into a church management website so same holds true for that. When you have a small number of people, you can keep track of them informally or using what you already have with an excel spreadsheet. To add something else without a person dedicated to maintaining this just adds one more responsibility to an already over worked congregation trying to maintain everything but the pastoral duties with volunteers.

One of our goals is to make the Faithlife Equip ChMS functionality as easy to use as using Excel... and to offer enough extra value that it's easier, and helps you be more effective in your ministry. In the same way, we hope to change the conversation about church websites from "Not that important because they get so little use" to "Now so useful that they get used by our members AND help us bring more people into the church."

We're not there yet, but I'll take this as a challenge. :-)

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JRS | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 8:19 AM

It's just my two cents worth of observation,

but I suspect that there are many people who are getting burned out on all of the technology and whiz-bang stuff that is constantly being thrown at them.  Everything is beeping at them from their cars to their refrigerators.  Even the simple telephone has become nearly impossible to use because of incessant, daily robocalls ("Hi!  This is Carley and I've been trying to reach you ...")  Consequently, more and more marketing and sales pitches are failing to reach more and more ears that do not hear and eyes that do not see.  To many the world is becoming overly (and unnecessarily) complex.  Perhaps, in the zeal to expand markets and increase revenue streams, technology-fatigue is concurrently growing at a cancerous rate.  

Bob will run FL as he sees fit, but it is valuable to point out that it is possible that the number of people who are jumping off the techno-bandwagon is increasing daily.

[And I am not saying this as some old, anti-technology, curmudgeon who sits behind the curtains of his house in order to catch those @#*&X$% kids on his front yard - I have ridden the crest of the technology wave from my first pc in 1983(?) which ran at a blistering 4 MHz right up to the current core i9 which turbos up to 5 GHz.]

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

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Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 8:51 AM

I really appreciate the transparency with which Bob runs their business, and I understand the need to adjust to changing market conditions.

This is going to come across more negative than I intend it, so try to read this generously...

I've got well into 5 figures spent with FL (the vast majority on Logos resources), and I have the FL Now subscription. I love Logos, use it almost daily, promote it, try to help where I have time, etc. So I'm financially and mentally / emotionally invested.

When I read Bob's post about their plans and where they're trying to make decisions,...
and when I couple that with the new products / markets they've ventured into over the last ~5 years,...
and when I couple *that* with the enhancements they're making to the Logos product itself...

It makes me seriously consider switching to Acc*nce. I'm a pastor, and none of those products / markets are of any interest to me. (I looked into sites and online giving, but they weren't competitive). I don't believe I'm using any of the major features from L8. I love the desktop product, but it's being taken to places that I don't think I'll ever go with features that I'll never use. I should also add that I love the mobile app - I read from it to the tune of hours per week.

I'd like to think I'm FL's target market - seminary grad, pastor, daily/weekly working in original languages, sermon prep each week, regularly reading books and journals, plus a technologist for 30+ years. But maybe I'm really not.

My $.02 ...

Donnie

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David Couch | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 9:52 AM

A couple of thoughts from overseas (well, the UK...):

  • In the UK a number of churches won’t pay a subscription unless they see it as worth it. So companies like PlanningCenter do well because they have a certain free tier. That means that a lot of churches will then think of them when they do want something that costs - maybe Faithlife can do similar?
  • The other thing is that the current companies don’t do a good job of localisation. In the UK we have to use US English for things (which isn’t major, but doesn’t look good), and use terms that we don’t use elsewhere (like Kindergarten etc.) Good localisation would do wonders for reaching the overseas market. 
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mab | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 10:45 AM

All the new things Faithlife is doing are fine by me, but it assumes a bigger congregation than the one I currently attend. We are still Jurassic in things you are creating.

As long as all the new stuff doesn't draw resources away from Logos Bible, I am happy for Faithlife in trying to serve the church. I am often reminded about Solomon and all his wives leading him astray. As long as that doesn't happen with Faithlife, that's good.

The mind of man is the mill of God, not to grind chaff, but wheat. Thomas Manton | Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow. Richard Baxter

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 11:41 AM

Bob Pritchett:
I'm going to talk with the team about batch sermon import. I know we can do it for you manually, but we should look into ways to let people manage that themselves. What format would you have the data in? An Excel/CSV file with filenames? Would you want to batch-upload all the audio or videos? Send URLs to where they are already online?

A CSV files with URLs would suit me best. I wouldn't want to download all my MP3s and then re-upload them.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 11:55 AM

JRS:
it is possible that the number of people who are jumping off the techno-bandwagon is increasing daily.

I wonder if that's an age-thing.  I was surprised we're down to about 150 meg usage per day. Trash mail adverts. Don't ever answer the telephone unless overseas timing. Limited TV/cable. Forget streaming. It's almost like we're rejecting the 20th century; exhausted. When I pulled my Logos offline, I wondered what might happen. Happily reading, researching, etc. out on the deck.


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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 12:25 PM

David Paul:
Didn't Apple rip off Xerox regarding the invention and use of GUIs?

It wasn't the same thing, or to the same extent... but that wasn't the point. It wasn't the advent of the Mac that caused the downfall of Apple, which was what David stated. Of course, this is a bit off topic. Smile

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Bill | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 12:49 PM

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JRS | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 1:34 PM

Denise:
I wonder if that's an age-thing.

I can only speak anecdotally and not authoritatively, but I would think many aging Boomers have found the exit door or, at least, have one foot out the door.  Streaming, subscriptions, anything that is always 'on' and always listening, the cloud, Google/FaceBook/Amazon/Apple/Samsung/Microsoft/etc., constantly being asked to evaluate this or that online, &etc., are all suspect and prone to rejection.  Don't want to sound like we wear tin foil hats around the house, but my wife and I have become rather scrupulous to be sure the technology serves us and not the other way around - there must be a genuine ROI.  We avoid novelty like the plague. 

Please excuse me now ... the thermostat has been listening and needs to speak with me.

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

Posts 262
Jonathan Bradley | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 25 2019 10:03 PM

Bob,

I enjoy your transparency with everything y'all do at Faithlife. However, most of the newer changes for the church I pastor, which is small (50-70 on Sunday Mornings) are a moot point for us, because our internet service where we live is almost non-existent (satellite internet, which really cannot fall under the realm of "high speed" as it claims). 

So, I am going to keep reading and looking at all of this, and once REAL high speed internet gets here, maybe integrate these into our local church. 

-Jon

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