It’s not like I’m going to say “poor Tripit.” Tripit was purchased last year for $120 Million in cash and stock. So I presume it generated a collection of happy founders. But the pressure on so-called fremium sites, like Tripit, must be tough. I’m getting emails now offering enticements to upgrade.
I like Tripit. I’m a happy user. I forward those confirmation emails I get from United and Hertz and Hilton to a Tripit email and they keep track of them for me, confirmation numbers, times, the whole collection of trip information. But — and here’s the problem — I don’t like it enough to pay for it. I’d rather keep track of conformation emails than pay for the “Tripit Pro” upgrade.
And yet I do pay monthly fees for some web apps. I’d give a quick example but the one that comes to mind competes with one I’m involved with, so I’m mentioning neither. But I do, I promise.
And there are also some I’d pay for if I had to. Evernote and Dropbox, for example. Both are free for me but (don’t tell them) if I had to pay they are so useful that I would. Within reason, that is.
And there are some I won’t pay for and will stop using before I pay. Like Tripit, which has my sympathy today because of the emails they’re sending me trying to get me to upgrade.
Specifically, my condolences go out to the people who have to decide how to sort features between free and premium versions. That’s got to be a really tough think line to walk. Tightropes come to mind. I’ve had some brushes with problems like these, which in my case were about light versions and free trials, and I didn’t do well with any of them. Tripit people, good luck with that.
What makes good software? For me, the use-everywhere factor is a big deal. I work with a desktop using Windows 7, a Mac at home and a Macbook for travel, mobile phone and a tablet computer. The more my gadgets spread, the more I appreciate the apps that let me get to my workspace wherever I am.
Dropbox. Now the files I’m working on, like drafts of documents and slide shows, show up as part of the file system I browse on my Windows desktop and all of my Macintoshes, and are available to me on my iPad and — not that I want to use them on my mobile phone — on my phone too. Its system software manages to work into natural file browsing too, as least on a desktop in Windows or Mac. Nowadays I routinely save documents to DropBox so I can pick them up wherever I left off, from wherever I am. I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t pay for my Dropbox, because they are leaving money on the table. I would pay if they made me. As it is, if I don’t use a whole computer’s worth of storage space, it’s free.
Evernote. Every bit as powerful and as useful as Dropbox, which is saying a lot. I can input a note using a keyboard, a microphone, or a screen shot or website. I can get back to my notes from any computer, laptop, iPad or iPhone I use, and I think I could get it on Android as well, probably on Windows Mobile too. Type a note on the computer you’re at, and access it later when you need it. Fabulous software, and this too is free. And I’d pay for it if they made me.
Kindle reader. I have the Kindle software on every device I have. I’m never caught waiting for something without immediate access to the latest book I’m reading, unless I don’t have my phone. Kindle automatically synchronizes to the last page I was reading on whatever device I was reading last. And it’s on phones, laptops, tablets, and desktops. And it’s free … although obviously I have to buy the books. Lately Kindle has also become a document manager too, so that — to cite one example — when I’m reading business plans I can load them to my Kindle and get the documents anywhere I am.
Roboform. I complained three years ago when I switched to Mac at home and couldn’t get Roboform on my Macs. Now I can, and also on my iPad, and on every phone too. Roboform helps me keep track of logins and passwords, and — God help me — I sure hope it’s safe. Roboform is not free, but some of their browser add-ons are, and it’s worth a lot more than the equivalent of a good lunch, which is what they charge. I think I’m glad they charge me, and I hope they invest that in keeping up with security. They do have updates as often as any software I deal with.
Things. Things, by Cultured Code, gets honorable mention here, for the new beta version that synchronizes my to-do list on iCloud so that I can access it, work with it, and massage it from my phone, iPad, laptop, or desktop Mac. That’s not the production version yet, and it doesn’t extend to Windows. But I do like it a whole lot. Things costs $49.95 and it’s worth every penny to me.
Disclosure: Last week I posted here that I didn’t post this one because there’s so much sleazy spammy tactics going on, paying bloggers for plugs, that I worried you’d think I’m doing that. I’m not. Nobody’s paying me a penny to recommend these five apps, and the ones that aren’t free — Roboform and Things — I purchased.
This is just great software. And I felt like sharing.
I admit it. Pricing is often baffling to me. Test your pricing IQ by answering these 10 simple questions.
1. Why is an iPhone application expensive at $4.99 but a magazine can sell for $6.95, and a no-frills 20-ounce cup of coffee for $2.50 without anyone getting up in arms?
2. Why is a gallon of gas expensive at $3.00 when a gallon of bottled water costing $4.00 isn’t an outrage ?
3. Why is a Sunday newspaper just fine at $1.00 and up but a news website way too expensive at $2.99 per month?
4-5. Why are great applications like Google Earth or Evernote free? My generation was taught to mistrust the man in the trench coat offering free candy. Should we worry?
6. Why do we accept advertising without question in newspapers and magazines and most television, but not in an iPhone app we paid $2.99 for?
7-10. Why do we assume email is free? Why do we pay hundreds of dollars for one productivity suite, or nothing for another? Why do we assume content has no value, and why do content providers give it away? Why do we assume anything we can copy has no value, or that copying isn’t stealing?
Pricing is magic. And baffling. And to score this test, make something up. I have no idea.