And there's something a bit odd in their pricing model, isn't there?
The plus tier is $10 per user per month with a limit of 5,000 records per base; the pro tier is $20 per user per month, with a limit of 50,000 records per base.
Suppose I want to use it to replace a spreadsheet where our staff record some kind of work they have done.
If I have a staff of 2 I can pay airtable $20 per month on the plus tier and each person can do work generating 2,500 records in a shared space before I have to upgrade.
But if I have a staff of 50 and I pay airtable $500 per month on the plus tier, each person can only generate 100 records before I have to upgrade. Even if I pay them $1000 per month on the pro tier I'm still worse off on this metric at 1000 records per person.
And conversely, I have an unmarketed plan with <well known IaaS provider> despite being a tiny customer with no leverage - the point being that the packages marketed aren’t always the complete range available. But you have to ask.
If your base has 5,001 records, only users with a $20/month plan can edit that base.
Everyone in your company to my understanding has to have the same plan though. So, you can't have one staff member at a $10/month plan, and another at $20/month plan.
SaaS had to be priced somehow, then someday someone came up with the idea of charging per-user and everybody followed that up, but it is not smart. Most SMB end up sharing accounts, which makes your product look worse than it actually is and at the same time makes your users miserable.
I agree, it's not right for a lot of products (some of which are better charged at a flat fee, or a per "thing" basis), but it's not a stupid decision for a lot of businesses.
With regards to the SMB scenario I agree - and probably it would make sense for many services to have a base bundle tier with 5 or so accounts. And then price it based on some minimum value created. But also hard to do this if your competition is offering 1 user for $2.99.
That said, the costs of SMBs getting away with one login do not outweigh the benefits of getting to charge enterprises per user. Most of these tools with free tiers and per-user pricing (Slack, Airtable) make most of their money from enterprise, not SMB.
Therefore I don't agree with you that it's "stupid" or "not smart".