Today is the most exciting and exhilarating in our journey with Creately – Creately is out of Beta!
With our move out of beta we are also announcing two new versions – Creately Public and Creately Plus!
After a year in beta, during which we showcased at Demofall 08 & TechCrunch 50, we now have what we, and the majority of our users (over 90% of people give us 4 or more stars) consider to be the best online diagramming and design tool on the Internet. By moving out of Beta we are offering our users and future customers the opportunity to tailor their Creately experience and enable us to continue to improve and keep Creately development moving at the pace it has been.
Creately Public is as the name suggests – Free for anyone to use – it costs you zip, zero, nada, nothing! There are few limits to what you can do with it but it won’t stop the diagram dabbler from creating beautiful looking diagrams.
Creately Plus! is the first of our paid plans – it offers what the heavy user and privacy concerned user will need. (I didn’t say pro here as this is coming in a future version).
A lot has been argued about the merits of Free and Priced models by smart people like Chris Anderson, Malcom Gladwell and Fred Wilson and I am not going to re-iterate the same discussions. We have a fresh (and dare I say adventurous) perspective on the matter.
As a business, we need to make money for our shareholders and to allow us to continue to build Creately and other tools in the future. In order to do this we need to increase revenues and profits.
Increasing revenue is two fold.
- By increasing the number of people using Creately
- By converting more free users to paying users
And to improve profits, we could;
- Charge high prices, or;
- Cut costs
Charging high prices is out as we don’t want to rip off customers. Our operational costs per user are pretty low (but not zero as there is still IT infrastructure to support and at some point everyone needs support – we do provide really good support).
That leaves us with increasing our revenue through user growth.
Basically, if we can increase the number of paying users, we can run a better, bigger business.
When we look at users, we think there are 4 types, those that:
- Pay whatever the price, because they can’t live without it.
- Pay because they think it’s worth the price.
- Pay because they think it is the only option.
- Won’t pay or are against paying for software.
We obviously prefer types 1 and 2. Type 3 and 4 alone are unsustainable for a business as a competitor will always come along and disrupt you. However a mix of these makes a healthy business and user community – we want all types working with Creately.
We believe there is a lot of potential in type 2. However the price one finds ‘worth it’ is extremely relative to one’s economic situation and usage patterns, be it commercial or private. Given we have really passionate users from all corners of the world and our team is from various parts of the world, we understand these factors deeply.
(In case you didn’t know Creately is developed by Cinergix. Cinergix is based in Melbourne, Australia with team members based in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Jakarta, Indonesia and London, UK. A fairly diverse lot over here.)
So what is the right price? It’s relative.
So we are offering Creately at ANY price our users are willing to pay.
(but keep it above one dollar – unfortunately Paypal isn’t free
You may be thinking – They are Mad!!
We might be, however just because one person pays $2 does not mean that is the value to everyone. Perhaps that’s all a student can afford, but to another person using Creately to build mockups for his/her client, it may be worth $20 – the decision has to be personal and realistic.
We think the following factors will help us pull this off:
- We have built a great piece of software. Using our signout feedback widget we polled over a thousand users after they had used Creately and over 80% said WOW, almost everyone else said it’s Great. People constantly say that the Creately experience is far beyond their current experience from existing similar products.
- Most people are fair. Creately is a high-value application, for similar products you’d pay hundreds of dollars for a license. So when compared to the alternatives we believe people will choose a sensible price.
- Our entire team is really passionate about helping customers and it shows in all our user interactions. You guys have told us how much you like our support.
This may be a fairly risky proposition and we know it might not work or be sustainable. So we are piloting this with our group of Beta users – right now this trial is time limited - so upgrade now while you can name your own price. The offer ends on 17th September 2009.
We’ll keep you posted on how this ‘pricing experiment’ goes. Wish us luck.