"A New Mindjet is Coming": Part 2 - continuing concerns with the subscription model

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  • Updated 8 years ago

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Since the original thread with this name seems to have been deemed to be "answered" after 144 posts and has been closed for new comments, I thought I would continue the discussion here as a Part 2 and choose "idea" as the topic type.

While to their credit Mindjet have both allowed the discussion to continue as long as they have and have also responded to the criticisms with a cheaper subscription model for individual users, it is obvious that many users are still unhappy with the changes.

Continuing concerns revolve around several key themes. These include the quality of individual applications within the Mindjet package, the integration (or lack thereof) between these components, the cost of subscriptions particularly for new users and the more general question of whether a subscription approach is appropriate for specialist and predominantly computer-based software.

I'll comment briefly on the last two. First, the cost. It's interesting to compare Microsoft's new subscription pricing model to Mindjet's. Microsoft seem to be adopting a carrot and stick approach - the carrot is the competitive pricing of the subscription packages and the stick is the increased costs of and greater restrictions on perpetual licences - but at least the latter are still available,

The US $100 annual household subscription and the annual $150 per user for Microsoft's Home Premium Office and Small Business Premium respectively are very good value, especially when you consider that the Home version includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access and can be installed on up to five devices.

This compares very favourably with Mindjet's $180 annual charge for new individual subscribers and $360 for business subscribers, essentially for PC and Mac versions of the same program and a collection of web-based connectivity, sharing and task management applications, with no option to purchase outright.

Second, the wider question of whether Mindjet or Microsoft should have introduced subscriptions still remains. One small company I am aware of tried to move some of its products from perpetual licences to a subscription system at prices far more modest than either Microsoft or Mindjet. Even at these pricing levels there was such an outcry that the company abandoned the attempt.

The company's conclusion based on user feedback was very simple but instructive: users hate paying subscriptions for non-cloud software. For better or worse, users seem to regard programs which they install on their computers as opposed to online applicationns as being "their" software and resent being forced to pay for it again on a monthly or annual basis, even if this charge compares favourably to the one-off purchase price.

I think this is even more of an issue for specialist software like Mindjet which is only ever going to have a small user base compared to Office. You would have to be a very intensive user of Mindjet to get anything like the value offered by the Office subscription package, even if you include the task sharing facilities which Mindjet is now promoting so strongly.

I'm curious about other people's views on this. Using Microsoft Office pricing as a benchmark, should Mindjet reduce its subscription cost further, to say $90 or even $50 annually for individual users? Should Mindjet offer at least a limited perpetual licence similar to Mircosoft - or should both companies abandon subscription models altogether, at least for the desktop versions of their software?
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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Posted 8 years ago

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Photo of DaveG


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I have been a user and evangelist for MindManager since Version 3. The new subscription business model has caused me to seek alternative mind mapping software. Not only do I no longer recommend MindJet, but I actively counsel clients to avoid the package. This is unfortunate as the mind mapping functions are good.

The value proposition relative to other software such as office or Salesforce is not there. Luckily there are a number of decent competitive mind mapping software packages on the market. The biggest problem is not pricing but the intended customer lock-in holding data editing hostage to renewing subscription. Office files can be easily migrated and opened by a number of packages. Even Microsoft who is not known for holding customers in high regard did not try to introduce Office 365 with terms as draconian as Mindjet. Mindjet could easily modify the new business model to be more friendly to current customers but it would be difficult trust the company in the future. It is obvious that MindJet has been targeting the enterprise accounts rather than individual users, but it is usually the individual what introduces an champions new software in an organization.

It will be interesting to see how current users and potential users respond to the new model. A major portion of my consulting work is business model development for technology companies. It is very rare for companies to succeed by screwing loyal customers. We will see if Mindjet is one of them. I am creating a Business Model Canvas (one page graphical business model) for the Mindjet model and competitors to illustrate why Mindjet is now one of the last choices on the market.
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I think this is a really important issue, and I'm glad that SOOOO many people are voicing opinions about it, (most seem to be negative)

I came on the forum today to look up some info on how to create macros, but feel that everyone should say their piece on such an important issue.

First, I think mindjet should be proud to have created a product that so many users are passionate about, and willing to spend their limited time providing feedback on. I post on very few forums in a feedback capacity, but mindmanager 2012 is a great product, and worth standing up for.

1)I like the subscription model used by MS and Adobe. but the reasons are:
a) It allows you to get the latest software,
b) Pay monthly, cancel at any time with some plans.
c) flexible - there are different plans to sign up
d) you can choose perpetual or subs
e) significant savings,

Mindjet's offer has NONE of these. Offering a subscription service would allow you to offer people to put together the system they want, at a keen price. charge $6 per month for either the desktop client, or the cloud service, and everyone will have one. forever.(well not quite, but you get the picture). Then allow people to subscribe to different products, with savings for each additional product, and you're using the subs model well.

2) the cloud is great. i use it all the time, particularly dropbox, spotify, google sync and evernote. They are fabulous examples of what a great cloud app is. I don't need to attach my phone / mp3 via a cable, then wait while my pc shows a syncing icon while my music, notes, files and tasks get uploaded. it just works. it happens in the background an it' 100% trustworthy.
With Mindjet that's not the case. I've all but removed my maps from connect as i don't trust it.why?
a) no local storage (like dropbox) that is as easy to use as dropbox. ie - to save a file offline, you use save as. but then it's easy to accidentally open up the backup, so now you are editing 2 versions of the map.
b) I lost a map, as did several others by the look of it - https://community.mindjet.com/mindjet...
c) i lose data, as do others (and 7 months, no fix? jeez...) - https://community.mindjet.com/mindjet...

so it's great to promote the sharing features between people, but if the system doesn't share properly between devices, it's useless.

3) The mindjet website is very confusing, and all mention of the free connect version seems to have . try to find a propers comparison chart for the feature differences between the products (individual, business and 2012). you know, in a table, like this:

4) Mindjet seems to only care about large corporations buying many 'seats' of software. You can publish words on your website that say different, but your actions don't match. I'd be interested for you to publish a graph showing your distribution of customers between large business, small business and individual user. It's fine to model your business on large corps. but be honest with us small guys. if you don't care about us, be honest and tell us, so we can go look elsewhere and stop trying to make a difference with you.

I'm going to keep using MM2012, as i like it very much, it does what i want, and i've invested time learning it. But i won't be buying one of the current MJ subs. Make the offering and pricing more realistic, and i might. make the software significantly better (Process maps anyone?) and more reliable and i might. but failing those 2 things, When i come to retire mm2012, i'll be going to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_... and evaluating all the options thoroughly

Finally, I'm giving a talk on productivity to a local group soon. although i will be showing MM, I'l be suggesting the check out freemind and xmind. So also i don't think i'll be recommending MM to others anytime soon.

While i am certainly a satisfied customer for MM2012, Currently i feel very far from from being a mindjet customer evangelist.
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Chris Journal

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Been using MM for nine years - have religiously updated and invested in keeping current. Became totally confused with different product names, features and add ons. Have now paid for subscription model but don't like it. Would like to keep desktop copy of all maps and have them sync automatically to the cloud. Right now, I cannot find out how to move all my MM Connect (free) files into my new MM Web (subscription) account without laboriously opening each one and saving a new copy - which will lead to lots of confusion!
Mindjet (I think that's the official company name???) needs to rethink its file management - Dropbox, Box, Evernote, Egnyte are good role models.
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Brittney Mazzetta

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This is a great conversation that's separate from the main topic, so I created a new topic to continue the discussion. Please reference the new topic here: File Management: Mindjet Connect Free to Mindjet web