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.
- 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!!!
- 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.
- 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!
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.