Monday, April 27, 2009

 

When Bloggers Go Wrong

I have been speaking with John Gordon about his blog post - I have revised this blog post to focus on being informative.

So I thought I would take a few moment to dissect his blog post and then give answers to a few things that others may find confusing.

1. Here is his first comment - They’re at version 1.35 now; it is supposed to work with FileMaker 8 – 10 (I’m on version 8; FM Inc hasn’t done anything of interest to me for a while – I’m only on v8 because OS X required an update).

Stephen Knight - 1.40 is now available at the App store. Yes, it does work with FileMaker 8-10.

2. Problem is, it’s $70, and there’s no “LITE” version to test with.

Stephen Knight - Here's why we currently do not have a lite version?

One of my first questions is what would we take out? I hate the thought of limiting any of the features for FMTouch. Our direction is not to create a lite version, but to create a powerful application that does great things. Plus the price range enables us to employ a support team that is focused on the customer.

We could certainly lower the price to $29.99 and sell a million of these apps, but that is not our goal. We would drown in support. Our goal is to sell a respectable amount of FMTouch and concentrate on product excellence and support.

3.
The App Store reviews are marginal

Stephen Knight - The App store ratings are actually really good. 4 Stars for a software product is not easy! Our clients have to BUY FMTouch to post a comment on the App store. I'm not sure but I don't think that a lot of people would post a good review after spending $70 if they did not mean it!

4. The app is reasonably popular, but the vendor’s blog has been pretty quiet and the web site has been poorly maintained.

Stephen Knight - Yes, thank you for calling me out on the blog. I certainly do need to do a better job, and bringing this to my attention is very helpful. I will be more active and keep the FMTouch community more informed. - On a side note - most FMTouchers are hearing from me via email. Please make sure you join our mailing list. I email quite often about what's going on. (Update) As promised, I've been posting more to our blogs as well as to our mailing list. You will also notice that the website is going through a new face lift. Thanks for putting the fire under the seat of my pants!

FMTouch website - is going through a lot of changes - we are actually re-working all of the websites - www.fmgateway.com - fmweschool.com etc.. Also please remember our forums - they are very busy as well - http://www.fmwebschool.com/frm

5. The “tutorial” on sync is a screencast only. I can’t find any reviews from my usual trusted sources.

Stephen Knight - The user guide goes into detail on syncing and all aspects of FMTouch - http://www.fmgateway.com/download/FMTouchUserGuide.pdf - The style guide gives all kinds of help on developing the right look and feel for FMTouch - http://www.fmtouch.com/FMTouchStyleGuide_v2.zip

To the FMTouch community - we will continue to endeavor to develop a superior product - we will continue to listen to you - and we will always strive to do our best to provide excellent customer service.

In Kindness
Stephen Knight




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Comments:
I am a FM Developer from Malaysia/Singapore. I have been following the development of FMTouch. I personally think this is a great product. I have a couple of comments to make.

First, I like to comment on Steven Knight's reason for not pricing the FMTouch at 29.99. His contention is if he sells a million copies of FMTouch, he would drop in support. I do not agree on this. In the first place, if you can sell a million copies, you can certainly have the money to employ a few more programmers to provide the much needed support. Secondly, if FMTouch is a stable product with little bugs, it does not matter you sell 10 copies or a million copies. The level support is about same.

My second comment is as follow. At $70, you can only sell FMTouch to end user who knows FM and has the abilities to do database development in FM. In this case, your 'customers' base will be small. As a FM Developer, I want to 'bundle' FMTouch with my application and sell this to endusers. These endusers know nothing about FM or FMTouch. All they want is my application like clinical or real estate application on iPhone. In my country Malaysia, the wage of a engineer/programmer is about US$500 a month. In this respect, $70 is a BIG amount as compared to their wage. If I add on my own real estate application, it will probably be around US$150. So this is almost impossible for me to sell in big quantities to a large real estate company. I can probably sell a few copies. So this is a lose-lose situation to me and FMTouch.
 
I've been following FMTouch around for a while and reading people's response to the application. Although there haven't bee a lot of reviews, the rating has been very good.

I think what has been done with FMTouch is very impressive. Is very good how it can take a DDR and create its structure dynamically.

For some users this will be a very good tool. Specially if all that is needed is simply to carry information with you and do a few simple entries which you can then sync back.

But from what I've seen and heard, it lacks a great deal for developers who have rather complex systems and would need a lot more functionality in their mobile applications.

I would also agree that looking at the sales for a product like FMTouch, the price is much much too high. Compare prices in the App Store now and you'll struggle to find apps over $20. With the exception maybe of Navigation turn by turn. However, these applications are far more complex and do far more then FMTouch does.

But granted that if they don't want to sell millions, then over pricing will surely do that. From a business point of view, the comment about support makes no sense at all.

I don't know how many copies FMTouch currently sells, but for argument sake lets say they sell 100 copies a month at $70. That isn't exactly big money and support would certainly be stretched thin already if you need to hire a support person or are doing the support yourself.

Selling 1000 at $30 would strategically be a very smart move considering you could hire a support person for that kind of money. If focussing on product excellence is as iport to you a you claim, then in my opinion you're going down the wrong track.

But then my interest isn't very high regarding FMTouch to begin with because for me its much too limited in what it can do.
 
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