"A New Mindjet is Coming" and existing software assurance plans

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I've just received a notice from an Australian distributor regarding Mindjet's intention to move to a subscription-based model across its full product range. The email links to a more detailed announcement here: http://pathways.mindsystems.com/mindj...

The announcement is both a little confusing and somewhat concerning. The subscription prices mentioned (in Australian dollars) seem quite high, although there are incentives in the form of a limited time window during which reductions are offered for those who buy new but current MM2012 licences or who upgrade to the new Mindjet 11 version if they already have a MM licence (though it is not clear which current versions are eligble for this offer).

Perhaps the greatest concern for many existing users is the lack of any mention in this announcement of any additional discounts or offers for those people who are currently participating in the Mindjet Software Assurance and Support program.

The announcement is also puzzling because I have not seen any reference to this new subscription model anywhere else, including Mindjet's own website. I'd appreciate some more information about whether the subscription model is being rolled out everywhere, some more clarity on the different subscription and upgrade options and some information on how current subscribers to the software assurance program are going to be treated.

Subject to confirmation that a subscription model along these lines will be introduced and the provision of answers to some of my questions above, I still have a range of specific concerns about the new model which I will discuss in more detail in another post. I also intend to prepare a cost-benefit comparison between the current ownership model and the new subscription approach.
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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Posted 8 years ago

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Myk Rushton

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Personally I think that MindManger with 2012 reach its useful apogee and Mindjet are now adding ‘extra’ features and 'services' to raise profits - This is not a bad practice but I believe the current approach is flawed. Previous statements above about the failure to communicate/collaborate with customers, current market place developments with regards to mobile devices/apps, the failure to support the add on market and the current communication issues that Mindjet has all point to a disconnected executive who forgot to leave their ego at the door when designing applications and services

As a single user who pays for their own copy of MindManager it is unlikely that I will move on from my Mindjet MindManager 2012 V10.1.459 to a licencing model as I cannot afford to keep paying for the software each year - plus, I need my Gyronix!

I already have a subscription to MindMeister as its online uncluttered interface is good for collaborating with new mindmappers so I have no need of the services Mindjet are currently peddling
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Mark Ternent

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Below is most of the text of an email I sent to the NZ agent...

I’ve been using MindManager since the 2002 version and have shown it to a great number of people over that time, many of whom I know have bought it (as a business coach and presenter I used it for workshops / client sessions). From memory I have participated in 4 paid versions (2002, 5, 6 and 9). I am a strong advocate.

I’ve been watching the price go up over the last few versions, without corresponding benefit increase for a sole user.

Obviously Mindjet have been moving towards the US corporate workgroup market.

But as you’ll have guessed I letting you know that I won’t be upgrading any more. The cost of the product is out of proportion to what I am prepared to pay.
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Samuel Edge

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I've been a loyal MindJet / MindManager user for 20 nearly years now. Before this whole cloud thing exploded, a small company came out with with an online MM solution, mindmeister. See https://www.mindmeister.com. I've been using them for two years now. (~$47.00 / year).

I would hope MindJet sees their current pricing model as a being cost prohibitive to the "home/personal" or even the small business, which I am.

FYI: It seems today, that adding up all the costs of my subscription software, I'm certainly not paying less.
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David Hannam

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I believe I have now bought my last mindjet upgrade - been using Mindmanager since 2002 and will not pay £30 per month. Thanks for the memory....and good luck with the Corporates
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Placer Ventures

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Just received the email from Mindjet outlining their new pricing model. I am gone too. I am a teacher and run a small software business and the subscription fee it way to expensive. I also have been a long time MM user and you have lost another customer. Hopefully MM9 for the Mac will continue to work until I find an alternative.
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Myk Rushton

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It does appear that there is a large cohort of single/small business/freelance users for whom there is not provision for in the new corporate pricing structure. The chances are that this group contributes very little to Mindjet profits (thus the reason for its ommision?)

As Mindjet has outgrown its early adopter/grass roots support users we need to adopt a new champion

I have a subscription to Mindmeister which I use for online collaborating with new mindmappers - it has a simple interface that is quick for novices to understand and work with, is affordable and mobile - but its is not good for large maps or printing

I also have a licence for iMindmap v 1.179 (which I purchased after realising the Mindmanger prices were just going up and up!) but I find the maps to classical for commercial work

What other mindmapping programs are other using?
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Dick Foster

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Look at http://www.mindomo.com. They have a free desktop version and reasonable pricing for online version with sharing, etc. plus mobile. And multiple languages.
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Full numbers here:

1. Are you a current MindManager License Holder?

Yes 91.3% 21 respondents
No 8.7 2 respondents

2. How many years have you used MindManager?

0-1 year 1.75% 5 respondents
2-4 years 17.4% 4 respondents
4-6 years 17.4% 4 respondents
6+ years 43.5% 10 respondents

3. Did you find the old pricing system confusing?

Yes 8.7% 2 respondents
No 91.3% 21 respondents

4. Do you prefer the new pricing system?

Yes, definitely 4.3% 1 respondent
Yes, Its ok 0.0% 0 respondents
No, but I'll live with it 4.3% 1 respondents
No, not at all! 91.3% 21 respondents

5. Do you feel the new pricing method is focused on the user or the investor/stockholder?

the user (me) 4.5%v 1 respondents
the investor or stockholder 95.5% 21 respondents

6. If Mind Manger were to change the pricing structure back, would you consider that move to be:

Flip flopping/wishy washy 4.3% 1 respondents
A great move, by a company that learns and grows 95.72 2 respondents

7. Profession: are you a

Freelancer 26.1% 6 respondents
Jobholder 39.1% 9 respondents
unemployed currently 8.7% 2 respondents
educator 0.0% 0 respondents
working for a large corporation 26.1% 6 respondents

8. Has this move caused to you to look at other options?

Yes 87.0% 20 respondents
No 13.0% 3 respondenets

9. If there was a good option for people on a small budget or freelancers, would you stay with MindManger? (of course, this option must not be subscription based)

Yes 91.3% 21 respondents
No 8.7% 2 respondents
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Damon Casey

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Ray, unfortunately, even the reduced cost subscription is not a good deal for me. I want to use MindManager on the Mac, I don't need or want the web, Windows or iOS versions. I have iThoughtsHD on iPad which is perfectly capable that I don't need anything else.

The last upgrade from MindManager 8 to 9 was $129. MindManager 8 was released in January 2010 and MindManager 9 released in June 2011. Basing the costs on that, I would be paying $249 per year, nearly double what I would pay for an upgrade if release cycles were annual (although this has not been the case since I started using MindManager 6).

The feature set for MindManager for Mac is way behind MindManager for Windows and I see no value in paying an additional $120 for the first year and then having it increase to an additional $231 for subsequent years.

There are no new features that I would receive in paying for this subscription, only different versions of the product I do not need. I would like to see a true upgrade from MindManager 9 to MindManager 10 where there is parity between the Mac and Windows versions at the same upgrade cost of $129 and then I would see better value.

Unless this subscription model is significantly reduced or upgrade pricing reinstated for people who only want a single product, you will lose another customer to your competition.
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Myk Rushton

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Whilst Mindjet are upping their prices some other companies are dropping theirs

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Stark Huet

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It's amazing that your post was not removed yet...
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Xavier van Binsbergen

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NovaMind (for Mac) also just slashed their prices from USD 50-150-250 to USD 30-80-150 (for Express/Pro/Platinum versions)
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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Wow - over a hundred posts on this topic which I started two months ago. I don't know if this is a record on a Mindjet forum and if it is whether I should laugh or cry.

OK, the 103 posts includes multiple posts from the same people as well as posts supportive of Mindjet's new subscription model (though not too many of these), but the response indicates both the depth of feeling about this issue and the strong opposition of many of Mindjet's more experienced users to this new model.

Several things stand out from the responses. First is the opposition to the move to a a subscription model per se; for some users this is a matter of principle, while for many others it's because of practical considerations.

Closely associated with this is the widespread condemnation of the extraordinarily high subscription fees Mindjet is attempting to charge. While there are some suggestions that the quoted prices are merely a basis from which major discounts to corporate users, there is a strong feeling that these headline prices are simply unsustainable for smaller organisations and individual users. They will also make it impossible for individual users within a large organisation to encourage the "viral" spread of mindmapping through the enterprise.

In other words, Mindjet will now have to do the bulk selling of their product upfront to large corporates instead of relying on early adopters. This might just work if Mindjet had developed a compelling new product range as a basis for their subscription model, but as several users have pointed out, clearly the company has failed to do so.

Instead, according to these users, all Mindjet have done is to cobble together the existing agring and modestly-updated PC product, a Mac version which misses many of the PC version's features, barely adequate tablet and smartphone apps and a couple of third-party products - and attempted to call the result the "new" integrated Mindjet collaboration subscription package.

Some users are cynical enough to suggest that this is being done to convince investors that Mindjet has caught the online software subscription wave. I don't know about this, but it would seem that if Mindjet are trying to transform themselves so as to compete in whst is for them a completely new market space, they have done a fairly poor job of it.

As some people have pointed out, Mindjet run the risk of burning a large chunk of their existing users while failing to attract many new ones. This does not seem to me to be an approach which investors would enthusiastically support embrace.
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Ray Polanco

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Official Response

Over the past several weeks you may have heard or read about our new subscription and pricing model. There has been a spirited and productive exchange about Mindjet’s product and pricing model and what that means to both our customers and the company as a whole. In each comment and post the passion of the Mindjet Community has come through. Thank you for your feedback.
I’m writing to say “we hear you” and we have taken action.
We want to make sure that individual users focused on information mapping can get started with Mindjet and are counted among our biggest fans.
We know that the individual and word of mouth play a strong role in the success of Mindjet – when people see someone using our products, they naturally want to know more about how they can use such a great productivity tool. Individual users often become team users when their colleagues see the value of Mindjet. With your feedback we’ve aligned our web, marketing and sales efforts around the globe to make sure that the individual remains a cornerstone of what we do – now and into the future.
Today, we introduced Mindjet for Individuals, and while it won’t meet everyone’s wishes we do think it goes a long way to meet many of our customer’s individual needs.
We believe that the simplicity of a single Mindjet is a key to success in the future; and with Mindjet for Individuals we want to be sure our customers who want the best in information mapping and task management at a more affordable price to Mindjet’s can get it. The Mindjet for Individuals subscription includes our desktop products for Windows and Mac, along with use of the Mindjet web app for personal file storage and task management. The price is $180 (USD) per year and we’re offering a 50% year-one loyalty discount for Mindjet customers that bring the price for existing MindManager customers to $90 (USD) for the first year. Multi-year purchase options are also available.
For those of you that have purchased Mindjet’s full subscription offering and now want to trade in for Mindjet for Individual please contact customer support at customer.support@mindjet.com and we will convert your subscription
To learn more about Mindjet for Individuals go to www.mindjet.com/customers/individuals.
As always we look forward to your comments which continue to make us a better, more responsive company.

Raymond Polanco
Vice President, Global Customer Success
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Martin Silcock

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Here's an idea for you Raymond. In your subscription model give a loyalty discount. Each year you stay with MindManager you get a higher discount.

The problem you have created for many is simply

1. Perceived value v price is too small
2.You did not really engage with individual users when new strategy was developed
3. Cloud may be the future, but the future is not evenly distributed yet
4. Mindmapping adoption in businesses tends to be viral, not central IT demanded - you need advocates...and in many cases your recent actions are losing these
5 You risk losing your core users by not providing a good enough and optional migration path. Nokia did this with OS systems and went from 40- share to <10% in 2 years.

Try running an NPS (net promoter score) survey amongst user base and I suspect the 8 and 9 level values (i would recommend) will have plummeted.

Be truly responsive and provide a no subscription final desktop version of MM, with no more upgrades promised, but open for 3rd parties to develop and run in parallel with the subscription model, and let your customers have a choice.
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Mark Ostryn

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Martin - Methinks you're wasting your time telling these half-wits how to treat their customers.

Even if Cloud was appropriate for Mindjet (which it ain't thanks to speed issues) a US$180 per annum snip is obscene. Microsoft Office has 100x the functionality, cost me US$190 with a free upgrade to MO2013 and my desktop copy will remain active ad infinitum. Microsoft will have to earn my future dollars, not like these Mindjet clowns.

Secondly, their hype stinks so badly its laughable. Two rounds of press releases telling us how wonderful their new offerings are - and how they are doing us a favour! Plus they have a cheek to include a "give praise" section on their community social media.

Thirdly, they have spent the last many years engaging their community - asking for beta trials, feedback etc, giving us free Mindjet web product, knowing full well that as soon as we roll over and reveal our backsides, they give us the proverbial you know what!

I love Mindjet. They have provided me with a beautiful case study in how to totally screw up social marketing that I can relay to the many hundreds of entrepreneur students I speak with every year. I had to pay the US$90 this year as I was unprepared for their grubby grasping, but overall it's been worth it, cos there's plenty of mapping products out.

I'd even pay another $90 to be a fly on the wall when they present their actual / budget cash flows to their private equity backers.
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Martin Silcock

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I know. Having set up the first and still the original and even now biggest online forum on Yahoo 1999 I have always wanted MM to be successful.

There has always been an element of "we know best" in their relationship with customers, but until the recent moves that break the relationship for many, people have put up with it.

No product or brand can dictate for ever though, and when £££ is the only prime thought, and you treat customers and users as dependent on you that is when things will go off the rails. It happened to Nokia, may even happen to Microsoft. Mindjet have a choice and an opportunity still to keep their options open...but it takes a humbleness that I don't see them possessing to help them realise the valley of folly they are creating for themselves.

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