The advantage of subscription is that everyone is always running the latest and greatest. Typically software will instead charge for major version releases in the future which segregates your users and increases support costs. This is not good for anyone. Interested why this is a turnoff for you though. What would you like to see instead?
To offer a counterpoint to fit2rule's comment, I'm probably smack in the middle of your target demo (currently employed as a business analyst, technically competent but not a programmer, have entrepreneurial ambitions, etc...) and I think your price point and subscription model are abundantly fair. I've paid a lot more for a lot less over the years. Don't see myself shirking at $25/mo when it's (potentially) core to my business.
I haven't tried PencilCase yet, but it looks like a great product with solid implementation. Good luck to you guys.
Hey, I'm another one of the developers, thanks so much for the kind words! I agree, it sounds like PencilCase would be a perfect fit :) We definitely want anybody to be able to use PencilCase: Studio, even if you aren't a programmer.
I'd like to buy it once for a fixed price, use the heck out of it, and purchase an upgrade offered to me as a loyal customer, when it happens, if I want to.
Milking money out of me on a regular basis, adding to a line-item in my budget, feels predatory - as a developer, this turns me off because it doesn't actually benefit me in any way - I'm paying for your inability to fund yourself through multiple iterations of software development cycles. Put a fixed price on the product, charge for upgrades when - and most importantly: if - they happen, and it would be a done deal in my case. But right now, I don't want to have to deal with your regular charge against my credit card. Too much hassle, and you haven't been in business/released enough software, long enough for me to believe its going to be worth a year of charges.
When you buy software for a fixed price, you've just bought a depreciating asset (relative to upgrades) with no way to adjust spend and fine-tune your ROI based on anticipated or unanticipated changes to your usage.
What I'm trying to say is that your "return" from this product is obviously contingent on how much you use it/what you make with it. If you have 95% confidence that you'll produce enough to net a positive ROI over and above the fixed price, then yeah it's more convenient to buy it once. But especially for a new product like this, I much prefer a subscription model because I have more control over my costs and I can't yet anticipate my true benefit. It's a win-win: software maker gets to push frequent updates and ensure a constantly improving experience, and user gets to check-in frequently and re-consider if they're not getting enough value.
So you can buy this software for 24.99, and then after a month of use, decide not to use it - cancel your subscription - and the software then becomes useless to you. You've just lost 24.99 and end up with nothing to show for it.
If you buy this software for 299.00, you can use it for a month and then decide its not for you - you've lost 299, but you've still got the software on your system, and can change your mind 3 months later, if you need to, and still have a valid, working tool.
I dunno, I just don't like the idea of having to be beholden to a company, every month, for the right to use a developer tool that I'd be happier having a permanent installation of .. it reeks of the trappings of a walled garden, and even if the bells and whistles are worth the hassle, the politics of the situation just rubs me up the wrong way.
I'd be much happier buying a tool I'm going to use, at my own discretion either regularly, irregularly, or not at all (my choice), than have to ask permission to use it every month. Its the asking-of-permission, expressed as a subscription model, which is the core of my disinterest.
(I've signed up for a 14-day trial, anyway, because the tool interests me enough to warrant further investigation, but unless I find some serious bells and whistles, I'm quite sure I'll be throwing it away after the trial..)
In your example, you've just paid for 3 unnecessary months of use between when you "decided it wasn't for you" and "changed your mind." In a subscription model, you'd just resubscribe.
I can understand your unease given how subscriptions have been abused by unscrupulous parties in the past, but there's much less friction in cancellation these days. Ultimately I'm just finding it hard to understand why you'd deliberately create a fixed cost for yourself. I'd rather have the ability to consume a product when I need, and pay for that and no more.
I'd rather have a fixed cost than a continuing cost. Why is it better to be paying for a tool every month rather than to own the tool, outright? I'm not seeing the argument for having to keep paying for a tool that you'd be using, if you choose to use it?
If your argument is that the subscription model allows uncertain developers to get involved, I would argue that tools like this should be purchased by those who are certain they are going to use them. Otherwise, the only benefit is to the tool-maker - and that's the case here. The subscription model only really benefits the producer of the product - not the user, who is ultimately only able to keep using the tool as long as they are paying for it, on a regular basis. Meh. No thanks!
Hi, another dev here. Thanks for sharing your views, I can see that subscription is a big pain point for you and I understand your frustration. There is always a trade-off when choosing between a subscription model versus a fixed price model and when looking at where we wanted to take the app, subscription made more sense to us. Thanks for taking the time to give the free trial a go despite your reservations. If you like it, we're happy, if not, we appreciate you taking the time to give it an evaluation and welcome any feedback you may have :)
My feedback: your subscription model has completely soured me to your product.
I get that you have your reasons for choosing the economic position to support your own continued developments; I think you're passing the problem on to your customers though, and that just makes me think less of your effort as a whole.
I'll enjoy checking PencilCase out, but I definitely won't be purchasing it.
The effect "High karma can give you a little boost" is not due to HN karma itself. Many contributors to HN already have a reputation for good content and thus people are more likely to read/vote new submissions from them. So the boost is earned by the contributors by having impressed HN audience, not granted by HN solely based on past karma.
I believe this argument is flawed. Carpooling has been free only with friends in most cases which limits the number of possible carpools as it only works when people you know are heading same direction.
This opens up doors to higher number of carpools which would be a big boon for big metros like Los Angeles where rush hour traffic is a nightmare. Reducing traffic will be a big win for humanity.