Why isn't Dynalist as well known as Workflowy?

I think it would be good PR and for building the community to know a bit more about the team (I’m not being nosey!) I had a look on the site and LInkedIn and couldn’t find anything about Dynalist, the company, or the team. We all know about how powerful the tool is and how good the support is, but perhaps some potential users think it is a “bedroom project”?

Yes, with WorkFlowy there seem to be a lot of posts about different ways of using it and potential applications. In fact the reason I changed from WorkFlowy was that all their blog posts were from a power user with yet another way of using it, but never any product updates!

Another of my favourite tools, AirTable, has loads of posts about usage scenarios and templates.

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About: https://dynalist.io/about
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericaxu/ and https://www.linkedin.com/in/lishid/ and https://www.linkedin.com/company/dynalist/

It was pretty easy to find…?

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I stand corrected…

I know Dynalist doesn’t need armchair quarterbacks telling them how to run their business, but since the topic came up I’ll share my two cents. Basically, I think they need better branding, better mobile apps, and more discount plans (especially for the academic market). I elaborate on these points below.

  1. I personally think “Dynalist” and the infinity logo are both rather bland and forgettable. In fact, when I was first trying out dynalist I kept having to google “Alternatives to Workflowy” in order to find it because I would forget the name after a month or two of not using it!!!
  2. Workflowy started when the desktop was still king, but a lot of people I know are ditching desktop and laptop computers for mobile devices, and the iOS app only became usable for me after the last update, about a month or two ago. Before that it would always crash on me. And even though it now works, it still doesn’t feel like a native app. If you start with the desktop app this is OK, but many people first encounter Dynalist on their phones and the app is not a very good advertisement for the product.
  3. The free tier is very generous, but the pro plan is out of the price range of most people I know. I recommend it to many academics, but they need the pro features to make it useful for them and they just can’t afford it. (As an early user, I was lucky to be grandfathered in to the cheaper rate, or I couldn’t afford the pro plan myself!) I think the academic market is a huge one for Dynalist, and Dynalist does offer a discount to students, but 50% off is still very expensive for students with a lot of debt, and if their teachers can’t afford it they won’t recommend it in the classroom. Maybe a mid-range plan between free and pro might help? This is even more of an issue here in Taiwan where academic salaries are much lower than in the US, but in the US many academics are also struggling as adjuncts without job security. It isn’t just students who need discounts!
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No worries!

No worries! It’s kind weird to see our links getting clicked a few times (a Discourse feature).

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Kerim!

To add to your last point, the currency exchange rate is also a problem for people in some areas. Not sure what’s a good solution to that, for a niche app…

To justify the high price (yes I do realize it’s double what our competitors charge), in my humble opinions niche apps like Dynalist only get to exist when people who really need/love it pay more than the average price, otherwise because we don’t have as many users per employee as Evernote or Things and the service could get discontinued eventually. We don’t have the same level of economy of scale.

To be fair, we never tried charging less, so it might work better, we don’t know. What we do know is that revenue growth hasn’t slowed down that much after we ended our early bird pricing, meaning that there exist people who are willing to pay a higher amount so that everyone in the free tier can benefit and continue to have Dynalist around as an option.

Does that make any sense?

I won’t pretend to understand the finances of running a business like this. All I can say is that I know some people are so put off by the pricing that they don’t even use the free version of the app, even though they don’t really need the pro features. I think a middle pricing tier would serve to assuage such users that if they invested time and energy into putting their data in the app they wouldn’t reach a point where they have to move it all out again because they can’t afford to go pro.

Here is a thought balloon about what features might be included in a mid-range offering:

  • Capture to inbox
  • Unlimited bookmarks
  • Image and file attachments
  • Item finder

I’ve also seen some interesting approaches by some developers, such as Agenda who have tried something that is a little less than a subscription model:

Agenda’s sales model lies somewhere between freemium and subscription. The app itself is free, with no time limits, but there are extra premium features that require an In App Purchase (IAP) to unlock. When an upgrade pack is purchased, all current features are permanently unlocked across all of the user’s Macs (…and iOS devices, when the iOS app becomes available). In addition, any features added to Agenda in the twelve months following the purchase are included, and permanently unlocked as well.

Only after the twelve month pack has expired can new premium features begin to appear that require a new purchase. The user can choose to buy a new pack, unlocking twelve more months of new features, or be content with what they already have until features are added which tempt them to purchase again.

No idea if that has worked out for them, but I can imagine Dynalist maybe experimenting in other ways that make the app more affordable for more people?

This seems to be a good article on pricing strategy by someone who understands this better than I do.

That’s an interesting method (Agenda’s). That’s essentially an one-time fee for the current features and a yearly subscription for next year’s new features.

It’s a bit hard to explain to new users though. It might get more popular in the feature? I don’t know.

I think business is better to be performed through any social media (better be Instagram, as I use it with bots that are extremely useful when you need more followers activity, like the https://zen-promo.com/instagram_auto_direct_message, one of my favourite ones). Startups are just boosted up by clients.

I bet after Dynalist being featured on on channels like Keep Productive, it will help improve recognition https://youtu.be/g_w775MeOoA


You’re right Wayne. It would be interesting to hear from Erica if there is a spike in sign-ups following this video. Over a thousand views in less than a day :thinking:

@Wayne_Smith @pottster there was a spike but not a very significant one. Maybe 140% of the usual sign up rate?

It still helps with long term awareness though. If they decide they need to use an outliner some day, hopefully Dynalist comes to mind :slight_smile:


Well, basically there are two ways to get popularity for your service: either you wait till more people will know about the product (considering it’s a quality one) or you establish a promotional campaign; the thing is you should understand perfectly who is interested in your product and what platform should you use for advertising. Here’s the source, an article that explains all these things. I hope if Dynalist ever will make a promotional campaign, they will use the basic rules of advertising.

This is a HUGE boost! Factor how much time it took to do this, and repeat it. You do this 10x, 20x, 30x and you’ve got a MASSIVE customer boost - this is what effective marketing looks like!


I think this site might be helpful. Try implementing some of the startegies here. Simple tweaks. https://marketingexamples.com/

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There are lots of 3d party services that can push advertising, also apps, maybe there are some companies that can promote this site.

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Challenge accepted! :slight_smile: I have several well-watched videos on Notion and Airtable on my YouTube channel and will definitely be adding some Dynalist ones.

I think you are right that Workflowy has been around longer so has many more videos about it. I tried Workflowy some time ago, but never really liked it. Dynalist is one I started using recently and really find useful and I am happy to promote it.


Very cool!