AndreaKeymasterSeptember 27, 2009 at 11:24 pmPost count: 875
Here I am with a bit of a capitalist-oriented post here 😀
As I mentioned in a previews post, we recently got enlightened by the guys balsamiq.com and their communication/marketing strategy.
To cut the story short, we’re about to move from Shareware to Freemium.
(in layman’s term, Shareware = 30days trial; Freemium = a free (but feature limited) version and on or more paid Premium versions).
For those who are wondering, we’re not profitable yet, we invoiced some 800$ of licenses in the first 2 months Tabbles has been out, and while we’re not desperate yet, we definitely need to steer the wheel towards a higher ROI 🙂
About the freemium: why and how
Unlike a text editor, a converter or a player, Tabbles is a kind of products that won’t produce immediate benefit to the user. It needs 3 things:
1) some time to find out how it works: we’re improving this, but I think that at the end of the day Tabbles is a DB-management tool and it can’t be made much easier than what it is now.
2) some work from the user to categorize all his stuff (and we’re dramatically improving this with the feature I announced in the blog).
3) some time for the user in order to realize that Tabbles helps you finding your stuff and can save you a bunch of time and headaches.
All the things above don’t hang well with the 30-days trial scheme that we’re using now…the thing is that I wouldn’t start spending time categorizing my files with a product I don’t yet trust/understand if I knew that in 30 days it’s over. Makes sense, uh? What we’re trying to do now, is to revolt the situation so that our challenges become our strength.
We’re thinking of releasing a free version that rather than featuring a limited amount of features, do allow the user to catalog a limited amount of data with a limited amount of Tabbles.
The idea is to give out something that looks free as in free beer, so the average Joes are willing to take the pain of install it, play with it, learn it and start using it. At that point we want to have the users split into 2 groups:
1) casual users: who are ok with a limited version (and don’t find it too limited), like the what they got for free and start spreading the word
2) hardcore users: who start using Tabbles extensively until they hit the wall and then they consider buying a license.
(Now, let me see if I can get Poll thingy to work…).
How to vote:
(you can pick up to 3 from the list)
When voting guys, please ask yourself:
1) how many tabbles I have on my system, how many files and how many tabbles I typically link to each file.
2) based on 1), what would be a good threshold between a casual user and steady user
3) based on 1) what are the limitation that still make a decent product and won’t make the downloaders scream "you bloody cheaters, your concept of free is twisted and you’re nothing but digital thieves".
Obviously, if you could think of anything else to limit the Lite version, your suggestion is very welcome.
A little announcement
(I make an informal announcement, and a more formal is coming later): the next big thing we’ll develop is a set of features to share your Tabbles db on an intranet. This is mostly for corporate users (I guess) and will be based on some P2P technology (serverless!!!). So basically if you’re using Tabbles at work, you can share a portion of your db (the files also need to be on shared drives) and all your colleagues will be see your shared tabbles and you will be able to see theirs…all of this inside Tabbles. Sounds like some kind of magic, but Maurizio is positive about the feasibility and thinks it’s less complicated than what it sounds like (he didn’t start coding this yet, so no promises guys!!!) 🙂
I’m making this announcement now, as the 30-40-50 tabbles limit gets a different look when you think that very soon your office will be able to share a db of tabbles… at that point 50 won’t probably be enough to anyone.
P.S: what about an advertisement supported free version? Well, of course we’re thinking of this… but banners suck and we believe we can deliver ads in a much smarter and useful way than banners, so banners are ruled out (at least for now).
Thank you guys: bear in mind that we do value your time a lot and we want to grow the product (and the company) together with you and following your ideas and directions!
AndreaKeymasterSeptember 28, 2009 at 3:24 amPost count: 875
thanks for voting nefycee! 😀
we didn’t decide yet… the idea is that, if the Lite version is usable well tuned, it will push the users to purchase a license. Therefore it would make sense not limiting the features of the Lite version, but limiting only the number of Tabbles.
There are more features planned for the Business version: archiving/backup and versioning above all.
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