I fail to understand why dynalist charges a higher fee?

Hi Guys,

I joined dynalist a few years ago and like it as a product. It’s a minimalist approach. Eveytime I think of making it my sole task management/note taking app I balk at the price they are charging compared to the tools that are available in the market. I understand they have a students discount and referral discount but its an overhead. I really wonder how many of their customers are actually paying the 9.99$ per month or 95$ that they ask for. I wish they consider changing their pricing to attract more users to the app. It baffles me to see them leaving money on the table.

1 Like

Hey, Shida here from Dynalist.

Figuring out how much to charge is a hard problem. There’s so many things to consider and so many variables at play. Here’s just some of things we’ve internally discussed to arrive at the current pricing:

  • Users pay for the value they get out of the product.
    Some people use Dynalist as a simple to-do list for groceries, while others use it to manage high value contracts and projects. While we do have plenty of users asking for discounts, we also have users who actually wish they could pay more because Dynalist is so essential to their work. Some users genuinely wishes that that by paying more, they could ensure the product will be continuously developed and maintained.
  • The price of a product affects the perception of its quality.
    If a product charges significantly less than a competitor, then it is perceived to be in lower quality, even if it’s better. This is a well known psychological phenomena and unfortunately there’s not much we can do about it.
  • Lowering price is easy, raising price is hard.
    I don’t think I need to go too deep into this one, but for us, it meant that we really should be careful not to charge too little. It would be almost impossible to raise the price in the small chance that we’ve under-priced the product.
  • Software companies are hugely impacted by economies of scale. A popular/general purpose software product can be priced much more cheaply than a niche product. This is why companies like Evernote, Wunderlist and Trello can afford to charge much less, while still making millions dollars in profits after paying their engineers.

To address your specific concerns:

There’s actually a healthy portion of our users paying, and a significant number of these are paying the full price.

This is the tricky part. Let’s say we slash our prices by 50% across the board. We’d need to attract 2x the amount of paying users to break even on revenue. This is not taking into account the added amount of priority support emails, the extra file upload hosting cost, etc.

From our observation, it’s quite unlikely for that to happen, mostly because it’s much much harder to convince a free user to type in their credit card number for a small payment than charging a higher price. Many users would never pay a single cent for the product because there are always other apps they can use for free.

And we’re ok with that. From day 1, Dynalist has given away more for free than our competitors like Workflowy. We didn’t want to make users feel like we’re squeezing dollars out of them to unlock some incapacitating limits. Our pro features are all very specific as to add some kind of value for the user, whether it’s convenience, customization, automated backups, etc.


Nicely written, @Shida! :slight_smile:

Thanks for such a detailed explanation. This sort of transparency is what sets Dynalist apart - it’s also another reason why some of us are happy to pay and support it :grin:

1 Like

Thank you for this detailed insight!
I am paying for Dynalist since two years and for me the app is totally worth it.
Nevertheless, sometimes I wish the development could be faster. There are many features wished from users since years and it would be really awesome to see them implemented! I hope this is not received as rude, I see all the work and effort that goes into Dynalist and I really appreciate die transparency and interaction with the users.

Thanks for the reply Shida. I appreciate it. I understand this is a hard problem to tackle and I give you full credit for it. :slight_smile:

I dont agree with a few things you said.

Yes I agree. But i feel its fair to say most of your users are not power users and dont use it for high value contracts and project.

This is very subjective and I dont think this can be generalized to all software products.

You should remember that dynalist is in a growth phase , it can easily be disrupted by new players in the market. Your price should reflect that phase you are in.

I completely disagree here. 50% off 50$ is not a small amount. You had this plan before 2017 and did you not get any subscribers then? I think you fail to see that you are alienating a segment of your audience here.

Finally if I were you here is what I would do. I would research the feature which I can offer to a middle segment and which doesn’t eat into my PRO segment. So eg offer 500mb monthly upload to a middle segment and charge them 49$. This way you address all the segments.

I hope you think about this and what you could offer to a wide variety of your audience. Thanks and keep up the good work. :blush:

Thanks for the kind words! I totally understand where you’re coming from and we do wish things could be done quicker too.

1 Like

That’s fair. And we don’t expect to convince anyone using Dynalist for very simple things to consider paying for it, especially if they have the choice of a million other productivity tools for their simple use cases.

The thing is, only if a user find unique advantages of using Dynalist over every other competitor are they willing to pay for it.

This means that paying users are almost always power users, or they’re using Dynalist for important work. Or their company reimburses it.

It is subjective, but it’s a well known psychological phenomena and there’s no denying that it has some effect. Understandably it may not be the strongest indicator of quality but it has an effect on it nonetheless.

This is especially true for the Enterprise business customers (those who gets Dynalist Pro reimbursed by their employer), where companies are used to paying high prices for software, it’s common to identify “cheap” software as lower quality.

We’ve actually been through that phase - From 2015-2017 we’ve had the Early Bird discount for anyone who signed up before ~July 2017 which was 50% off the full price, which stacks with other discounts like our Christmas sales or referral credits.

Since the ending of the early bird discount, we haven’t seen a noticeable drop in new paying users, surprisingly. There was a dip in the months immediately following but the effect was very small overall.

I’m not sure if I haven’t been clear, but convincing double the number of users to pay a single dollar is more difficult. I’m sure there ARE users who are willing to pay after the price adjustment. In fact, many users do email us with the exact feedback you wrote in the first post.

It’s a matter of statistics. There just isn’t a lot of users who are in the position you describe - willing to pay but aren’t paying because of the price.

For those users, we have the student discount (if they happen to be students/professors/researchers), and from time to time we’ll run sales like the Christmas sale. This satisfies most people in that category.

We’ve discussed this many times internally as well. It’s also a difficult decision for many reasons:

  • What features/limitations would be on the lower tier, and what would stay on the higher tier? I’m not asking here, but I just want to illustrate the difficulty of the problem. We’ve spent countless hours thinking about what a lower priced tier could offer, and something like “offer 500mb monthly upload to a middle segment and charge them 49$” is just too hasty of a decision.
  • From a pure business standpoint, whether we benefit from this lower tier entirely depends on the balance between how many new users sign up for the lower tier (who were using Dynalist for free) vs how many current Pro users would downgrade to the lower tier. In this regard, we think that our discounts have done a great job for people who can’t afford to pay the full price, but still wishes to pay. Everyone gets the full Dynalist Pro experience, and not a crippled Dynalist Pro just because they’re less financially able.

Either way - We really appreciate that you wishes to help us!
I just wanted to express that we’ve been at this for a few years now, and pricing is something we spent a considerable amount of time on researching and experimenting.
I completely understand that it may not be as apparent when viewed from the outside, but our internal data suggests that we’re in a pretty good spot right now.

1 Like

I appreciate the reply and your thought process here. It seems you have done extensive research on this and have made the conclusion. A mark of a great startup is to constantly validate your assumptions.
You have a great product hear and I wish more people were aware of it. I wanted to subscribe to your product but not as this price and no company is paying it for me :slight_smile: niether am I a power user.

I think I might give workflowy a chance and revist your product next year. :slight_smile: Thanks. Keep up the great work :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks! I just want to reassure you that people like you are not forgotten. We’ll likely be running sales in the next few months which brings Dynalist to more affordable levels. Keep an eye out :wink: