1. I've seen a few of these interviews being done online by others. This game is a winner take all game. The most popular such site is going to have everyone wanting to be interviewed there, and everyone will watch it because popular names are interviewed then. So it's important in this niche to become the dominant force and stay there, giving competitors no chance. Putting a paywall is going to lead to fewer incoming links and less traffic on old videos, slowing down growth, and giving others a chance to catch up
2. The payment model is unusual for video. People want to purchase a video and have it on their drives. They don't want to have to watch hundreds of videos in a single month.
3. The price is high. $25 for a month of access to video is a bit high, in my uninformed estimation
I think that a better strategy would be a focus on growth and improving the quality of the people, and focusing on breaking more into the mainstream. This particular move is going to slow down growth, and I think it may be difficult to get certain names on when they know that they are doing the interview for someone elses profit.
And my final argument is this: This model shuts down the possibilities of further experimentation. When the videos are closed, it's not possible to test other ways of monetising the traffic arriving at the videos.
People are used to paying for live video (PPV). People are used to paying to download content. They aren't used to paying for old content.
This seems to be like giving away your new hits for free and charging for the long tail - not sure that is ideal.
It'd really be interesting to hear Mixergy's thought process on this, though.
I noticed recently that you've started charging for your older interviews. Good on you, I hope you do good business.
I have one idea you might want to consider: Sell short edited versions of the interviews. This is the opposite of what most online ebook and tutorial video sellers do. They show some short teasers for free, but ask you to pay for the "full program". In your case, the full program is the teaser - it's a treasure hunt to find the golden nuggets of business wisdom interspersed in 60 minutes of internet video chat. I bet you lose out on a lot of viewers simply because they don't have the time to sit through hour-long interviews. I think you could sell edited, 15-minute versions to those people. Cheapskates like me will continue to watch for free, but people with less time will pay for condensed honey drops of entrepreneurship gyaan. Actually, I might pay too as I get busier with my business.
Andrew replied saying he loves the idea and has has a vision along those lines; he just needs the time and resources for doing it. As he has stated in his own interviews before, he is trying to create an internet treasure which will have long lasting value. I'm sure he won't let us down.
The Economist print edition comes at $15/mo. 30 days of New York Times, delivered in print is $29/mo. That's a lot more content than Mixergy. And you have similar similar sites like BigThink and the Stanford ECorner podcasts, which are free.
But I'd pay $5/mo, or better yet, $1 per video.
If you convince the Times to ditch the lifestyle coverage of things of importance to Upper East Side liberals and focus on interviewing Wufoo about conversion rates, I'll buy a subscription to them, too. Until you do that it strikes me like you're comparing a Ruby library and a chia pet.
But yes, I am moving towards a paid premium model that will include older interviews. And this won't be the last time I'll make a mistake.
It's typically the recent stuff that's 'hot' and therefore has the most value, while the older stuff tends to be more of a curiosity with less value.
Plus, a wide-open back-catalog is more likely to attract references from places like wikipedia, from people trying to cite it.
The back catalog is more important to a real entrepreneur. Someone looking for entertainment in the disguise of education content would find the "hot" stuff interesting.
Someone building a business cares about specific topics because they are having issues with specific things like search engine marketing, sales people, partnerships, law, etc. That may or may not be covered by the latest "hot" stuff but a quick search in the back catalog is likely to turn up a good interview.
This is his start up, it is his right to experiment as he desires.
Most of the users here should appreciate that a person's time and effort are not free. If you don't feel Mr. Warner's time and effort is worth what he's charging then go somewhere else and find a similar resource. To come here and pout like upset children that your free toy might be taking away from you is sad. To threaten to go out of your way to circumvent his system as some of you have is even worse.
For those of you who have products or services you actively charge for, I hope you have had the common sense not to chime in against this decision as if it was an attack on your very being. And if you haven't, imagine how you would feel if someone so callously ripped your decision to try to earn a living on your work.
I have long suspected that Andrew has been using fake accounts or paying people to put a positive spin on his threads. The above comment was made by a brand new a account and follows a trend of other fishy comments.
What you'll probably find if you keep searching the comments here is that many people will say that I emailed or called them personally after they commented on my work here.
I'm engaged in this community and that's easier and more effective than setting up dummy accounts.
I have had the same suspicion for quite a while and am surprised no one has looked into this. Glad to hear someone else thinks it's not just the little voices in my head.
AndrewWarner does link directly to HN and ask for votes, so it's quite likely that people register specifically to upvote/comment for his submissions.
I would like to see him comment on the ruby35 account, it is quite suspicious: http://news.ycombinator.com/threads?id=ruby35
I think that if you have no evidence to substantiate these accusations, then you should keep them to yourself.
I mean, he can easily just be one of the many happy frequent visitors of Mixergy? Andrew does post links to here quite often from the Mixergy site, and they can easily just follow that link.
Though, I must admit as a guy who loves the Mixergy interviews, who is currently saving up for his own startup; I am currently forgoing a cell phone, car, insurance and any other unnecessary expenses, and I cannot validate a $25-100/mo charge for this content. Its valuable, but not that valuable to me. I think he forgot about his bootstrapped followers who can't watch his interviews live and often catch them after the fact.
Though in hindsight, this just may increase the viewership of his live shows - which is an increase in viewer participation in the interview process. Perhaps that is his goal?
It's not about the live shows so much as it is about getting people to watch my interviews the day or week that post them.
What I'm finding is that if I don't create urgency around watching the interviews the day I watch them, people will consider them old and ignore them.
 I have no evidence that underover is male; I'm merely using the masculine pronouns by default.
Your assertion that Andrew created these new accounts is sophomoric and pathetic.
On the one hand creating an account to protect your anonymity when you make a potentially inflammatory accusation about the behavior of a prominent member of the community.
And on the other, creating an account to make it appear that you have more support on the forum than you actually have.
I find the latter to be a serious problem whereas the former seems reasonable and ethical.
Eulogy: Andrew was flirting with becoming a figure in start-up world... something which can't be bought. Managed to sell it.
The DVD idea might work for some small entrepreneurs who are not in the Internet startup space, but since most of the Interviews are focused on tech and the audience likely wants to see the videos online, there is a conflict there. Maybe Andrew should start expanding into other areas of entrepreneurship that appeal more to the non-Internet crowd?
One other note about transcripts: They are a pain to produce, as most of them have to be done manually. Prices are coming down thanks to online services and Mechanical Turk. But once voice-to-text tech improves to the degree where it's possible to instantly convert any podcast or video interview to text (and thence to e-book or whatever) that will really open the gates to e-book and custom publishing models, IMHO. It will also boost the output of journalists, who now have lots of overhead related to listening to audio post-interview and transcribing some of the results.
Bummer, I did not even watch the full PG yet, an it was 11 days ago.
Also, Andrew's lack of posting in this thread tells me that he is sitting back and watching the natural reaction rather than tainting it with his own participation.
So he's charging because he can, not because he must.
Welcome to capitalism.
I probably won't be paying for Mixergy on a monthly basis, but if he were to get a couple companies to sponsor the show for a couple hundred dollars an episode i would gladly sit through the intermittent plugs he would give throughout the broadcast.
If he is a half way decent programmer he could build a script in half an a hour to automate the whole thing. So the "valuing your time too cheaply" argument doesn't hold at all.
That's called copyright infringement.
People have burned through hundreds of thousands of dollars and learned less about pricing than was included in those 15 seconds.
Andrew draws out gems with sufficient regularity (signal to noise ratio: quite high) that I'm fairly confident I'll grab at least one idea and improve my business as a result of it.
On the subject of price points: I wonder what the above says about basing one's pricing decisions on the opinions of people who think $25 is a lot of money.
It's bleeding with killer actionable information.
Only change I would do, is make the time limit a little bit longer. Maybe 2-3 weeks/month, before a video goes behind paywall.
The monthly fees are kinda a downer though, until you think about it. Those people who want to watch all interviews, are better off paying a monthly fee, instead of being nickle and dimed to death with per video fees.
The whole idea here isn't to charge people, but to get more participation out of your audience. This way more people will watch people live/right away. And will be much more likely to discuss it in real time...creating more buzz about the interviews. Which should lead to even better guests.
+ think about it...the reason you are complaining that he is starting to charge...is because you realize just how valuable the content is. And if the content is valuable...what's $25?
But if he adds a forum - he can create a good membership site out of mixergy. And $25 per month for it is doable.
(I personally think its just an experiment to control high bandwidth costs...)
I also think it's going to prevent new users from discovering the value of the site and returning/becoming fans. Yes, you can watch one or two recent videos for free (currently doesn't work?), but I think people become fans when they can dig into the archive and watch some other interviews. I became a fan after discovering a link to a video somewhere and then spending a few hours digging through the archive. I'm not sure people who are just discovering Mixergy will get out the wallet on the strength of one or two videos, so they'll be less likely to dig deep and find the value of site. I wouldn't have done that, and probably wouldn't have returned except for the occasional link that shows up in a stream somewhere.
It's a tight rope to walk. There are a ton of monetization options he can explore and I don't blame him from trying. Just hope he doesn't put off his audience/guests or lose his momentum while trying to find the right path forward because this is probably the hardest one to sell.
How can the bandwidth be high if it is being hosted on justin.tv? I would suggest an advertising model where there are short 20 second ads (maybe 5 per interview). Though I really like the interviews, 300 ponds a year 20 interviews is way too high (I watch about 2 a month).
Best of luck Andrew, I hope it goes well!
"An enterprising person is willing to try out new, unusual ways of doing or achieving something."
I'm not agreeing that this is the best route for him to take, in fact, I don't think it will work (I could be wrong) - but there's nothing wrong with trying new things.
Andrew is obviously testing this, just sitting back and absorbing these comments and the financial results of this test.
I don't think this exact model will work, but at any rate, good luck
I don't necessarily think instituting a pay wall for older videos is a bad idea.. I'd love to see Andrew post some stats for his community about how successful this decision is/was when the dust settles a bit.
I'm not sure that this is the best possible model, but if it's not then Andrew will figure it out once he has some data.
I think this is an excellent business model for Mixergy. As a fan of Mixergy, I am happy that I have a weeks time to listen to the interviews before they go behind the subscription wall. Andrew, keep up the good work.
They're arguably worth it, but I can see folks with tight budgets not willing to pay that much for any content.
Also with so many good startup eyeballs I am curious if the sponsorship angle was considered, specifically from service providers. There seem to be a ton of lawyers & other products that would kill for eyeballs and ears in Andrew's market.
I'm a big fan as well but I still find this a bit startling. But I do appreciate as well the fact that you can watch interviews free for the first week. That is plenty -- he could have cranked that down to one day and personally I'd still find my way over there to watch/listen.
(So, I just archived all the available transcripts that I was interested in. Who knows when those go behind a paywall?)
I try. The formatting is hard to read, the transcriptions aren't always accurate (in a funny way).
Guess I can't blame him for wanting to profit, but this particular move for profit just feels cheap. I would've much rather see some other ways of profiting. i.e. Quarterly Boxed DVD Sets, etc.
Most interviewers profit by charging advertisers. The advertisers then become the customers and the viewers are just "users." By choosing to charge his listeners directly Andrew is making his viewers his customers.
A business naturally tries to please its customers. To the extent that advertisers' and viewers' tastes differ, we can expect Andrew's business to change for the better: it will be more pleasing to viewers.
Were you passing judgment on Andrew Warner, as that is not his birth name, but a professional name that he has adopted?
I think the price is a bit high. He should of had a $10/month option and I would have signed up tonight.
This thread is very useful!
Finally I'm sure out of thousands people 10 will subscribe but potentially that's pretty much it, that model wouldn't work unless you got something crucial. And to be honest this is just chit-chat. Yes I love to listen Paul Graham talk on stuff but none of the interviews are actually ground-breaking or great, it's just good time.
That's why I doubt if anyone would actually bother to subscribe.
Give it 3 months then I'm sure he'll change the model.
I don't think there's anything fundamentally wrong with bait and switch - it's a common marketing tactic - but let's call a cat a cat.
The HN lynch mob is pathetic.
Bullshit. Information is power.
Mixergy should concentrate on monetization with different ways rather than subscription model
The provider of that information should be able to charge what he wants. It's capitalism.
On another note, I'm glad to see Andrew turning Mixergy into a real business that can be self-sustaining. As entrepreneurs, we should all be able to agree with that.
...I used credit cards and ingenuity to create a $30+ mil / year (in sales) internet business...
Maybe he has a grand master plan to make more 30+$ mils with mixergy ....
However, I think this is a really bad business move, second only to using a fake name. It creates distrust and devalues the community aspect of the product.
Calling the interviews chit-chat is nothing short of demeaning the effort of both Andrew and the interviewee. I would argue that the interviews are great and do teach us a lot. Often as part of the interview other parts such as history are covered, but that again adds to the whole experience.
Finally, the reason I believe this will not be a blockbuster, is because of two reasons.
1. On the net people rarely pay for content.
2. Scrappy entrepreneurs by my guess, are not the ones who would fall in the category of "paying people".
I do hope that Andrew is successful though.
People pay for trusted, consistent online content that will help them achieve specific solutions. And Andrew's interviews are a prime example.
There are lots of people doing this. They just don't show up on many Web 2.0 sites.
I didn't mean bad, what I meant they are conversational interviews, they are not focused on teaching you something. The very nature of these interviews is the reason that I wouldn't pay money for them.
I'd pay for MIT Startup Bootcamp videos because they are solely focus on something which directly potentially almost instantly will effect my business (if the topic is relevant). In these interview I'm lucky if I can pick up 2-3 things by pure luck.
So again I don't mean bad, I think they are really nice, but it's like renting a video from a video store. Not great for business but great to watch and have a good time.
However if I'm going to pay I expect the get some more actionable outcome from it.
Yes, spoon feeding days are over. And yes, that is a good thing.
Andrew, based on my experience and data from the content/marketing industry, I'd encourage you to charge more -- at a MINIMUM $47/month, probably $97/month or even $297/month.
If you want to chat about why I suggest this, and some of my internal metrics, please email me.
Andrews videos are useful but they aren't your short cut to millions, start ups are still going to be a lot of work and a big gamble no matter how much wisdom you have gained from people on the subject.
I'm sure there are plenty of upstarts who find these videos extremenly valuable, but aren't willing or able to pay hundreds of dollars. I don't think it's in Andrew's goals to do that.
What is the ideal story for these videos? That some kid who doesn't know what to do with his life stumbles across them and is inspired to start a startup. Is that going to happen with a $25/month paywall? Of course not.
Andrew - what's the purpose of your site? Is it a social service? Or is it a for-profit business? I do not get the impression you are poor. I cannot imagine how the bandwidth costs of the site exceed $100/month or so (and if they do, talk to me). But if you see it as a for-profit business, I think it will fail. And if it's supposed to be a "giving back" social dividend for your own success - and that's honestly the impression I got - then this nickel-and-diming will shoot it in the head.
I think that's the strange thing about this.
On one hand, Andrew makes out to only have an interest in helping others out. But then he starts charging. It's starting to look like the guy who wants to teach you how to make a million dollars next year -- if you'll only buy his $29.95 book
Of course, it's his site to do with it what he wants. And I don't begrudge a man for wanting to make a few bucks. But this doesn't fit into what he says he's trying to do.
It's almost like he can't help himself -- he wants to tell a story a few years from now about how this venture made X dollars. As if by doing it for free, somehow it undermines his image as a crafty businessperson.
But that's just idle speculation on my part.
I see a lot of reasons for Andrew wanting to charge. People countlessly complain on here about the quality of transcripts. That could be remedied if he had more money coming in. Charging might also support the b/w costs. Not sure how much he has been taking in via the ads in the beginning of his videos.
I have to wonder if there is a better solution for what he is trying to accomplish. To me, part of the problem with making Mixergy throw off cash probably stems from the fact that right now the audience is kind of narrow. It targets scrappy people involved in startups. Advertising probably wont yield much on that end.
Maybe the goal should be to actually expand Mixergy's audience to a wider audience to create more advertising opportunities. I wonder if Andrew has ever considered trying to offer his programming on one of the bigger tech sites. Some kind of deal there could work and he has a good library of content built up.
What sort of moronic bullshit is that? Can you not mow your neighbor's lawn for a few hours on a weekend?
The sense of entitlement here is appalling.
25$ not being much: if you are not Ramen profitable, it is (It's 5 days of food). To put it in perspective: 25$ is the price of my internet flatrate or a book like "Founders At Work". At the moment I don't buy every book I fancy.
Not saying the interviews are not worth 25$ (don't know), but it is not a "sense of entitlement" to simply have other priorities for spending 25$.