FounderQuest

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Summary

This week the crew talks about decisions around Honeybadger's recent pricing changes as well as the new mild and spicy plans. The discussion gradually fades to black when the topic of dark patterns creeps in, sparking rants about purposely poor UX. Listen now, we're the gravy on your Friday!

Show Notes

Show notes:
Links:

Build Your SaaS by Justin Jackson
Basecamp Hill Charts
Scrooge McDuck
Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software
Darkpatterns.org
Honeybadger.io

Full Transcription:

Starr:
So, how have you all been doing this week? I've been on vacation.

Ben:
This week has been an interesting week in the Curtis household, we discovered a water leak in our house, in the bathroom.

Starr:
Oh, my gosh. So when you say interesting, you're using it in the sort of like British way?

Ben:
Exactly.

Starr:
You mean like terrible.

Ben:
Exactly.

Josh:
Because, yeah, when you're in the middle of a pandemic-induced lockdown, the thing you really want is a water leak.

Ben:
Exactly. Yes. So, that has turned into quite the adventure, again in the British way. Yeah, plumber came, found the leak. It was a pipe in the wall. So, pro-tip, don't put pipes in your walls. So, yeah. Then, the mitigation crew came and demolished a good chunk of the bathrooms because actually this wall is the separation between two bathrooms in my house. So, two bathrooms were affected, not just one. So, it's...

Josh:
Ouch.

Ben:
It's been a week that's for sure, and it's not over yet.

Starr:
Oh my gosh. I'm so sorry. You have any bathrooms left?

Ben:
No.

Starr:
Oh no. I was thinking all I have is two bathrooms too, so...

Ben:
Yeah, yeah. It's been... We got four people, two bathrooms... Well, kind of two bathrooms now. It's been interesting.

Josh:
And yeah. You said it's not going to be repaired until what June?

Ben:
Well, yeah. So, the mitigation guy was telling us that, "Yeah, we can do the demolition, and we can get you basically to a point where everything is safe. We'll put some sheeting on the walls where the holes are and things like that. But, we can't actually restore your bathrooms because we're under the lockdown right now with COVID." So...

Josh:
They can only do the essential part.

Ben:
Exactly, only the essential parts, not the cosmetic parts, which would be having an attached wall, right?

Ben:
So maybe I'll send a letter to the governor. I'll make a petition. Please, can I have a contractor come to my house and you know. If worse comes to worse.

Josh:
Are you going to be out with the demonstrators?

Ben:
I can just do it myself.

Josh:
Out with the demonstrators in Olympia? You got a big toilet-shaped picket sign or whatever?

Ben:
A plunger, yeah.

Starr:
I need my vanity!

Ben:
But, I'm happy to say that everyone that has come to my house has worn protective clothing, has had a mask on, and of course, we have masks on too because we don't want them to think that we're trying to get them sick, so. But, yeah, that's been nice calling them and saying, "Will you please be wearing a mask?" And "Oh, of course that's what we're doing these days." So, that's nice.

Josh:
Nice. Yeah, it's still kind of hit and miss on the masks around here. A lot of people are on it, and then there's a good number of people who aren't.

Ben:
Yeah, it just makes sense to me. I don't know, in a common sense kind of way. If you have something in front of your face that will trap droplets, that will help other people from getting sick in case you're sick. So, yeah, that's just a good idea. Let's do that.

Starr:
It's just what the deep state wants you to think then? You all are just sheep. You're sheep. I bet you even going for that 5G service on your phones... Okay, I'm not going to...

Ben:
Speaking of that, did you read the news about AT&T and the 5G this week?

Starr:
No, I didn't. I didn't. So, just skipping it and going straight to 6G?

Ben:
Well, the FCC, I think it was the FCC. I guess it might've been the FTC. But, anyway, one of the great federal organizations that we have came down on AT&T for advertising the 5G thing because it's not actually 5G. So, you can't actually tell people that it's 5G, slap on the wrist kind of stuff.

Josh:
I feel like they've gotten in trouble for that before with LTE and 4G.

Ben:
The funny part is AT&T is like okay, we'll take down the advertisements that say 5G. But, we're going to still show it on the phone. So, it's like okay, thanks AT&T. That's great, so... We won't lie to you on the billboard. We'll just lie to you on your phone.

Josh:
Yeah, but you've already bought the phone by that point. So, it's not false advertising.

Ben:
That's right, yeah.

Starr:
Oh, that's some universe-level thinking there, Josh.

Starr:
Well, so today I think we're going to talk about... Speaking about AT&T... Because when I was on AT&T, they always just raised prices on me. And so, we're talking about pricing. But, we're not raising prices on people. So, maybe I shouldn't have drawn that comparison. We're actually nothing like AT&T or-

Josh:
I thought you were going to talk about unlimited plans.

Starr:
Unlimited, yeah.

Ben:
Oh, yeah. Unlimited with an asterix.

Starr:
But, I'm out of the loop. I've been on vacation this week, which means that a time of COVID, when I am locked down with my family and I'm watching the kid half the time, that means I get to take an extra-long walk in the morning. That's my vacation. So, yeah, so I really don't know what's going on with pricing. Have we launched it yet? What's the deal? What're we doing?

Josh:
It's live.

Starr:
It's live? Oh my gosh.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
I got to go look at it.

Ben:
Launched it this week.

Josh:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, go check it out.

Starr:
Okay, oh this is going to be... It's like an unboxing video.

Josh:
It's the reveal.

Ben:
It's the reveal.

Starr:
Look at that. It's amazing. Oh my gosh. Oh look at that. You click on things and it updates the price live. That's some real nice JavaScript there doing that, or it could be CSS. I don't know because I've been on vacation.

Josh:
It's mostly CSS.

Josh:
It's a smattering of both.

Ben:
So, this is really Josh's initiative.

Josh:
We talked about it. This came out of our quarterly, our first remote quarterly conclave that we talked about a while back. And I think the reason that we initially... that we started talking about this was because of COVID and talking about steps we could take to help our customers out, help potentially stem the tide of either people not signing up or increased churn and that sort of thing. As it turns out, I think we're doing a lot better than we thought. We were kind of worried there for a little bit for that first month or so. I think everyone was, but for us anyway, it seems like things have kind of evened out and not a whole lot has changed in the revenue conversion department.

Ben:
I got to say I'm still worried because that's what I do.

Josh:
Yeah, right because we're not resting easily, but...

Ben:
But yes. We're definitely feeling better than we were a couple of months ago when things were just heading in a downward direction, right?

Starr:
Yeah, I'm feeling better, but I'm actually also kind of feeling worse because I don't know what's going on. Everything's terrible. The stock market's doing great though. And yeah, and our metrics are doing fine in our business. And I just don't understand how that's possible. And so part of me is just like there's another shoe that's going to drop. The other shoe is going to drop.

Josh:
Well, I don't know. For me, there's an element of that all the time. You don't ever know exactly why things are happening, especially with economics and stuff. It's pretty wild. Who knows what's causing what.

Starr:
We're getting into bit coin levels of not understanding that... Usually, I'm kind of like well, okay so the stock market... My company's doing pretty good. The stock market's up. Maybe the valuations are ahead of... They're a little bit high because people are being really... betting the future's going to be great. But, then we've gotten to the future. The future has happened, and it wasn't great. And so, things are still the same, so...

Josh:
It's great for some sectors though. It's still not great for others. The entire market is not up.

Ben:
On that note though, going from a macro-level there down to the micro-level, I have a question for you two because I was listening to Justin Jackson's podcast, I guess it was last week I want to say. He was talking about how he still some days, he thinks oh, this could all go to zero. I could wake up tomorrow, and Transistor.fm could be no more, right. The revenue could be zero, and I'm looking for a job. And I was thinking about that. I remember having that thought quite a lot. But, then I thought I haven't had that thought lately. And I think I've moved past that point where I actually am afraid that HoneyBadger would go to zero. So, I wanted to ask the two of you, have you thought about that recently? When's the last time you thought... you were really worried. You wake up in the morning and you're like oh, this could all end tomorrow.

Josh:
Yeah, I haven't worried about that in a while. I'm fairly certain that if things did go to zero, it would take us 10 years or more. So, it would be a very... I don't know. I think that would give us plenty of time to prepare for zero. I'm not worried about a sudden, Oh, no everyone's gone.

Ben:
Right,

Starr:
The rapture happened.

Josh:
The customer.

Starr:
I guess we'll get to see if our customers were good or bad.

Josh:
I mean that's part of it. And that's the thing, we do lose customers through churn and we replace customers. And the fact that we still replace customers mean that there's still people out there who like us enough to buy Honeybadger and that means we have a brand and something that people know. And that just doesn't go away overnight. You don't lose your brand, I mean unless... You could destroy your reputation. I don't think any of us are planning on doing anything to destroy our reputations overnight though. If that happens, we have other problems, so.

Starr:
I'll let you know when I get back from my big game hunting trip.

Josh:
Right.

Ben:
To Africa.

Josh:
Yeah, you go... So, yeah, outside of some major reputation incident, I think that we have something that people... that just doesn't disappear.

Starr:
I don't worry about it just dropping to zero. I think Josh, you're right in that if there is a decline, it's going to be sort of a slow steady decline. The thing that I'm worried about now isn't... It's not the sort of thing where it's a business-ending event. I see the congressional budget office or whatever was predicting the gross domestic product was going to be down something like 30% or 40% this year. And I was just like, "That's got to come back and affect us at some point." That's got to affect our customers and that's got to put some people... I don't want to jinx our customers. So, I'm not going to go there. But, it just seems improbable that we're going to get away scot-free in this scenario.

Ben:
I'm knocking on wood over here. So far, so good.

Starr:
Yeah, so I mean if that happens, I wouldn't expect it to go to zero because there's still going to be companies out there. But, the the thing I am more concerned about is just kind of a... I don't know, an environment which makes it... I don't know, that sort of puts us into that gradual decline. But, I don't think we're there yet.

Ben:
But, I remember... I guess back to the topic, I remember back in the early days... I guess it was within the first year or so that we launched, we decided you know what, we need to change the pricing. And we did. But, I think at that time, we were still like "Oh, this could all go to zero tomorrow." And we didn't have nearly as many customers and not nearly as much revenue, right. So, that was still a valid concern, I think. But, I think these days, we're a little more apt to do tests like that, to test pricing or do bigger experiments because I would feel a little more confident that whatever we do, it's probably not going to destroy an entire business within a month.

Josh:
Right, yeah and that was part of this change that I think allowed us to move a lot faster on it than like you said in the past because we did lower... We lowered and raised prices a little bit at the same time, added to the low end and increased prices on the high end, by just a little bit I think. But, my thought was we can always do... We can always change prices again. We could raise the prices next month, and every month after that, if we wanted to figure out where the point is where people will stop paying even then we could that. We kind of did that with our pricing before over time. We started out charging way too little, and then we progressively... I don't remember.

Starr:
How much did we charge?

Josh:
I don't remember what...

Starr:
I think our lowest plan was $9.00.

Ben:
Yep, $9.00 a month.

Josh:
Was it $9.00 a month?

Starr:
Yeah, $9.00. For people who care so much about their web applications are will to pay $9.00 a month to monitor them.

Josh:
Nine bucks. Yeah, and we had no idea what we were doing, which is why it was $9.00, I think. And over the next couple of years, we had several iterations of pricing where we probably didn't go high enough the first iteration. So, I'm all for gradual experimenting and gradually increasing the prices to see if we feel it's not quite right. In this case, we wanted to take the prices... We wanted to offer a lower priced plan again, specifically for businesses who might for whatever reason be struggling, or new businesses that are starting up that have more limited resources than before, we just wanted to make it more attractive and useful to those businesses. So, I think we've done that and yeah, in the future, we could raise them again. But, I think the thing that really helps with that for us is that we never change prices on our customers, our current customers. Current customers are always grand-fathered into old pricing or whatever the new term for that is that we're using for now. And so when you have that, we can change prices as much as we want. And it doesn't affect anyone, except new people signing up.

Josh:
So, that makes it a lot easier because if we were asking our current customers to upgrade to new pricing, we would never change pricing. I don't think we would ever do it.

Ben:
Yeah, I mean no one loves getting that flyer in the mail from Comcast that says, "Oh by the way, you're now charged $10.00 more per month. Have a nice day."

Starr:
So, we're talking about raising and lowering prices and stuff. But, the change that you guys just rolled out, it's a little bit different than that. Yeah, the price has actually varied a little bit. But, it's actually kind of an organizational change, right, because previously we had a list of four plans maybe. What was it, micro-small, medium, large or something?

Josh:
Small through extra large, yeah.

Starr:
Or small through extra large. We ditched micro at some point.

Josh:
Yeah, we ditched micro.

Starr:
Yeah, so and now we have essentially two main plans, team and business. And then each of those two plans has different traffic levels. So, different numbers of errors that they can send us per month. So, what was the impetus for going that route?

Josh:
I'm not going to take any kind of credit for this structural change because basically I just ripped off all our competitors because everyone else is doing this now too. And I can see why because it makes a lot of sense to me. It had been a while since I went and reviewed what the rest of the market was doing for pricing for tools like this. And like you said before, it was usually either some kind of mix of just a flat list of plans that you could choose or maybe just a straight-metered pricing, choose how much traffic you want to send, and there's just one plan. But with this, it's basically, there's two levels of pricing. And it's usually some combination for teams and for businesses. And so, I think it makes sense for us because we have two types of customers. One type of customer is a team within a business, a single team within a larger business. Or maybe it's a small... a team, an agency or something that just... 10 people or something. And they want to have error tracking just for their employees or whatever. That's a team, and I think that's one type of customer.

Josh:
And then the other type of customer is an entire company or business, a large business that uses HoneyBadger, in which case, they're going to want more of the user-management features. They want to have multiple teams, be able to control access for different groups of people and get more of the enterprise type features, SSO and all that other stuff that we offer. And so, this kind of splits those features on those two plans. And then people can choose how much traffic they want to send on either one. I don't know if that's... I rambled a little bit there, but do you get the gist of it?

Ben:
Yeah, that was great. I remember you saying that one of the things that made you want to change it this way after looking at our competitors was we know that people are shopping around when they're looking at services. And it makes sense for us to be directly comparable to our competitors.

Josh:
Well yeah, people are comparing... They're comparing us, and yeah it really helps if you can compare us to some... compare apples to apples, basically.

Starr:
So, you actually come out ahead in a lot of those comparisons, but we're making that harder by having plans that were hard to compare.

Josh:
Right, yeah. Yeah, for instance, a lot of people haven't even realized that we... A while back, we started offering a free plan again. And that's because we had added it, but it was kind of down on the page a little bit and you had to find it to know it existed. But, it's actually the best free plan. I think I'm safe to say it's the best free plan for an error tracker on the market. I don't know of anything that is more generous than our free plan, which yeah, so...

Ben:
Yeah, I think... This also reminds me of another bit that Justin mentioned in his podcast recently, talking about choosing a market and choosing your pricing and things like that. And the reality is that you're probably going to have competitors for your business. So, people are going to compare you. And you really can't go way too far outside the range of your competitor's pricing, right. You can't come in and say, "Oh, my competitors are priced around $20.00 a month. So, I'm going to bill mine at $200.00 because I'm awesome." Right. Unless you're super, super awesome and you're in a really different kind of category, it's really not going to work. People are going to be like, "No. I'm just going to go with the $20.00 option." So, I think it is if you're just starting something new and you're thinking well, I want to be making X per month and what does that look like and the number of customers I have to support, etc., etc., well you got to look at pricing there because people are going to compare your pricing to everybody that's already out there.

Josh:
Yeah, yeah. One of the things that I liked about this change is how much we simplified our pricing tiers. Before we had... Like I said, whatever five plans or something, and each plan had a bunch of different features. Each plan kind of built on the plan before it. But, each of them also had a matrix of different things between them. So, each one had a different error rate that you could send. Each one had a different number of check-ins that you could create, and as well as uptime checks that you could create. So, it created this really complex matrix of things to think about when you're trying to choose which plan you wanted. And with this change, it's really just about the errors per month is what we are tiering on now, as well as the two, are you a team or are you a business? But, those two, team and business plans, for all the other things like check-ins and uptime, those are fixed numbers. Now everyone gets the same thing, basically, which I think makes a lot of sense for us because our primary... The thing people are really comparing us on still, I think is error tracking.

Josh:
I think you probably agree. So, the other stuff is really just... I don't know, it's all gravy.

Ben:
I know, as far as advertising goes, you just made a great point, how awesome we are compared to our competitors in pricing because not only is our pricing good just for the error monitoring, but you also get a time-monitoring, and check-in monitoring for free.

Josh:
Exactly, it's free.

Ben:
You should do this deal all day long, right?

Josh:
Yeah, it's free at least until we split them out into separate products or whatever.

Starr:
Can we make the new tagline for Honeybadger be Honeybadger, It's All Gravy.

Ben:
It's all gravy, yeah.

Ben:
I wonder if... Do honey badgers taste good with gravy?

Starr:
What? What?

Josh:
Didn't we... We could probably find out... I don't know. We'd be doing the world a favor it turns out

Starr:
That's cannibalism.

Josh:
... because honey badgers are destructive.

Ben:
That might be our business ending event if we go try and find out if honey badgers taste good with gravy.

Josh:
They're killing the bees.

Josh:
Didn't we talk about some sort of the extra... the special sauce, add the special sauce or something?

Starr:
Yes.

Josh:
I just wanted to have that.

Ben:
Right. I really wanted that where instead of the team and business, we just had one thing, and then we had a button you could push, put on the extra badger sauce, and that would give you basically the business kind of stuff as well.

Josh:
Well, and I mean that's really... That would be kind of, basically a UI change. And the reason that I didn't do that... Because I mean I'm all... That's totally our style. The reason I didn't do that is because I wanted to actually get pricing launched this month. And I didn't want to go try to become a designer.

Ben:
Yeah.

Starr:
To be honest, that would kind of hide the business plans behind, you'd have to click the thing to see them.

Ben:
Yeah, I like it the way it is.

Starr:
Yeah, I petition to rename team and business to mild and spicy.

Josh:
Mild and spicy, I like that, yeah. Are you mild or are you spicy? Yeah.

Ben:
Well, it's a good thing you made that call too because I delayed the price of launching for so long by working on so many yak-shaving things that it's good that we went with the plain language.

Starr:
I'm not sure that was you. I think that was just pricing delayed the launch, the pricing.

Ben:
Just blame Stripe. Stripe delayed the pricing.

Josh:
So, I was a little strategic in this project because this was... I don't remember if it was assigned to anyone on our quarterly action plan or whatever. But, I was like all right, I'm going to do this. We'll get this done first. We'll just do it quick, and then it'll be done, and we can have that checked off the list. And so I went and I actually did the UI work on our sales site and kind of figured out what the plan, the new tier should be and got it already basically to go live for people to purchase it. However, there's a second part to the project which is doing all the back end stuff to prepare the plans for people to actually get assigned to them in our Rails application. And so, for that, I went over to Ben, and I was like, "Hey Ben, do you mind handling the back end side of this while I'm working on the front end?" And lucky for me, it turned out that the back end... It was the tip of the iceberg type thing. I was like, "Hey Ben, can you break up this little tiny iceberg?" And then he got in there, and it turned out to be this massive... I think a month later, we upgraded Stripe. And we have a new versioning system for our plans and all kinds of things you did.

Ben:
Yeah, a lot of refactoring went into that. That was one of those total developer, "Yeah, sure, that'll take two days." And it takes two months.

Josh:
In my defense, I had no idea that that was all under there. So, I wasn't literally trying to get you on the hook for all of this, but I do really appreciate you doing that because I think it would've taken me a lot longer than it took you, to be honest.

Ben:
Well, it turned out really well, and I'm really happy that I had the chance to go in there and do some of that stuff. We didn't really have to do that. We could've worked around it. We could've launched the pricing faster. But, the engineer in me... it's like oh, we can make this nicer. We can make this better for future generations and so..

Josh:
We fixed a lot of things that were bugging us.

Ben:
Yeah, I know.

Starr:
Yeah, thinking of children, thinking of children,

Ben:
Paying that debt now.

Starr:
You mentioned that programmer thing where you're like, oh, this will take two days and it ends up taking a month. And that happens so much to me that I sort of got scared straight about that. Now, it's my tendency to say things will take a month, and then it takes me two days. And I'm really embarrassed because I was like, oh, okay, this wasn't as bad as I thought.

Josh:
Way overestimated.

Ben:
Yeah, well I love the... Totally unrelated, but I love the concept that Basecamp has with the hill charts, where there's this ramp up of uncertainty, where you have a decreasing uncertainty about what the project or the task involves. And then you get to the top of the hill, and you're like, yes, now I fully understand what needs to happen. And now it's just a matter of getting it done. I know the concepts, and I have a plan, and now I just need to execute a plan. And then you go down the other side of the hill as the task becomes towards completion, and so you can-

Starr:
A downward slope of merriment.

Ben:
Exactly. And I just like that idea because in every software project, you do have so many unknowns. And even if you think you know going into it, you get surprised along the way, and you're like oh, what about this? And I didn't think about that. And the uncertainty definitely is growing initially until it starts to contract and you finally figure out, oh yes now I know what I'm supposed to be doing, and it's already two weeks past the deadline.

Josh:
Yeah. Yeah, that kind of keeps from starting a lot of projects these days, come to think of it. I'm just like, I know I'm not going to dive into this right now. I need to plan this out.

Ben:
My favorite contribution... I guess a very minor contribution to the pricing, what you can see on the home page is the subtitle under the enterprise plan because this is great. So, Josh put it together, and he showed it to us and he's like, "What do you think?" And it was just slightly unbalanced because the basic plan had this little free subtext, and the team and the business had their own little bits. But, the enterprise had their little bit underneath it. And so I'm like, you just got to put not free under there. And it's totally a joke, but you did it. And I think it's awesome.

Josh:
Yeah, I love that. It's a little... And it's great because it's enterprise, so that's where you're not supposed to be making jokes, right. You're supposed to be like, it's serious business, but not at Honeybadger. So, yeah, there's a price attached to enterprise, I assume then. Honestly, that's more your department anyway, but I don't think you're... Yeah, I didn't think you were giving it away for free.

Ben:
Yeah, I just didn't want to put call us on the page because everyone says, "Call us." Right. It's so boring. But, really it is call us.

Josh:
It's contact us.

Josh:
We should've just used the money bag emoji.

Starr:
Oh, there you go, just have a picture of Scrooge Mcduck on there.

Josh:
It's just like... yeah.

Starr:
Maybe just have an animated background of Scrooge Mcduck diving into his money bag.

Josh:
Yeah, so one thing I want to be sure to rant about on this podcast about pricing is the practice of displaying annual... defaulting annual pricing on your pricing page, but display in monthly units. So, as I was doing my research, it seems like most of our competitors do this. And then I went and looked. If you look around... Especially a lot of the... I don't know. It's kind of trendy, it seems right now, to use this practice where you basically... You go to a pricing page and it's like, oh cool that's $26.00 a month. That's reasonable. But, then you find out, oh well, that's if I pay a year's worth up front, and I don't even know what that is. So, I have to multiply 26 by 12 to figure out what I'm actually going to have to pay. Or I'm going to have to go find some toggle that says, show me the monthly prices, in which case, the price goes up. And I don't know about you all, but that's just shady to me. And yeah...

Ben:
I think it's officially called a dark pattern.

Josh:
It's a dark pattern, right, yeah.

Starr:
I find it mildly annoying. I never really thought it was shady, but...

Josh:
Yeah, I go back and forth on the dark pattern because that's I don't know. I agree. It's kind of... It's in between somewhere but it's definitely... It's shady to me.

Ben:
So, you think it's not necessarily 100% evil.

Josh:
I don't think it's 100% evil, but I think at the very least it's hostile to your user because you're forcing more work on your user. And it's a little bit of a trick, to be honest. I mean when you go to a website and it says $26.00 a month, and then you have to realize through searching on the page, that it's actually not $26.00 a month. How is that not tricking them?

Ben:
That reminds me when you see the price at the gas station, and it's $2.65 per gallon, and then in small letters, it's cash. But, the credit...

Josh:
It's the same, yeah, the same idea.

Ben:
The credit is $2.75. It's two cents more per gallon.

Josh:
Right. And it's not, yeah, like you said, it's not a total... I don't know if I'd call it a dark pattern, but it's a little sleazy-

Starr:
A dark pattern would be...

Josh:
And do we want to be a gas station. Is that what we're attaining to?

Starr:
It seems like a dark pattern... That seems a little more dramatic like when you delegate out a murder or something.

Josh:
Well, I think a dark pattern is...

Ben:
Dark.

Josh:
Yeah it's usually like an intentional trick. There's a web site. You can go look at the web site.

Starr:
I'm just being facetious now. I'm imagining... Was it the gang of four who did the patterns book, the original patterns book? You have the Gang of Four book, but it's all dark versions of all the dark design patterns.

Ben:
That'd be awesome.

Starr:
You have the hit man patterns, I don't know. Okay, I'm about to say stuff that I don't want to be on here saying, so I'm just going to... I mean there's...

Josh:
If you go to darkpatterns.org, and there's a-

Starr:
I'm not going there, Josh.

Josh:
It's a list of dark patterns that have been used.

Starr:
Do you know what happens when you look at that web site? It steals your soul.

Ben:
Or it steals your credit card number.

Josh:
Yeah, but to... Yeah, seriously though. It's a list of dark patterns, if you want to know what they are.

Starr:
I trust you. I trust you. 

Josh:
I know this because I'd actually thought about this a little bit, and I came to the same conclusion. I don't really think it's a dark pattern, but I think it's just tricky... It's just tricking people. And it's not... If we're really all about our customers, we're not tricking them, and we're trying to make things easier for them. And for me, if I'm going to buy something, showing me the correct price so I don't have to do math in my head, that's a no-brainer. That makes my life easier. So, I think there's maybe one of our competitors that do it the same way that don't do this. But, I'm pretty happy that we are one of the ones that don't try to trick our users into annual pricing.

Starr:
Yeah, me too. I'm glad we're not growth hackers.

Josh:
Well, and so the other great thing about this is that... And that's, yeah, I'm a growth hacker.

Starr:
We're not the bad growth hacker. We're the white hat growth hackers.

Josh:
We're white hat growth hackers. So, back to the comparison thing, if you're comparing two pricing pages, I wanted our pricing to be comparable to our competitors', just general tiers. So,, people could look at the numbers and get a sense of what they should be comparing to. But, I also didn't want to... Because our competitors are displaying the annual pricing, the low plan is $26.00 but it's actually $29.00 or something when you switch to the actual monthly pricing. I was like, screw it. I'm just going to show... Our plan is just going to be $26.00 a month, but it's actually going to be $26.00 a month. So, we actually are cheaper. We're beating them. I don't know if people are actually going to notice this because, again it's hard to tell until you find that annual pricing button, or monthly pricing button. But, we actually are cheaper on an additional level now, so...

Starr:
We're not cheaper, Josh. We're a greater value.

Josh:
Yes, yes.

Starr:
Yeah, I'm glad that you went with this transparent approach. I feel good about it as much as I'm throwing bombs into your little explantation of it.

Josh:
Yeah, well. I'll die on that hill. It's sleazy.

Starr:
So, how is this working? How is it going? It's too early to know, right?

Ben:
It's hard to tell.

Starr:
Have you had any sign-ups yet with it?

Ben:
Yeah, we have.

Josh:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Starr:
Awesome.

Ben:
Yeah, the way that we test pricing is we put it out there, and if the revenue keeps going up, then we're happy.

Josh:
Yeah, we're not really...

Ben:
We're not supersophisticated about these kind of things. We don't do A/B testing on our pricing. And if goes out, if it goes out there for a while, and the revenue doesn't go up, well then, we just pull the plug on it, right. And we just go back to our previous generation.

Josh:
Or go to a new one, yeah.

Ben:
It's a little bit difficult with all the stuff going on in the economy. There's going to be some extraneous things affecting pricing, I imagine. But, the good news is we're patient. We don't insist on having the results within a month. We can wait a while, and we can see how it goes and... Yeah, there's nothing scarier than a patient honey badger.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
That's a deadly combo right there, patience and a honey badger.

Josh:
The one thing we didn't mention is the new free plan. The other big change to the free plan, which I think was Ben's idea was that it went from user to three users, which I think that's the big COVID response thing we did, if anything, I think is like... Some other companies have created... I've seen people create a $1.00 plan or something, or done interesting pricing things to cut people a break or whatever. And we kind of just decided, let's just make our free plan good enough for... to get by if you need to. Or if you're small, and if you're a small team of three people or less, you can now use Honeybadger with the collaboration features. And I think it's 12,000 errors per month, which is enough for a lot of people. So, I'm pretty excited about that, and I think it's a really good value. I don't know how long it'll stick around so...

Starr:
Act now.

Josh:
If any of our listeners have been on the fence, yeah at least go grab your three-user...

Ben:
Basic plan.

Josh:
Basic plan because like I said, we really don't move people if we change it in the future, so it's a yours for life type deal.

Ben:
And we have yanked plans in the past. One of our tests was yanking micro back a few years ago, so...

Josh:
Are we calling it the free for life plan?

Starr:
So, yeah when we yank this bad boy, these things are going to be valuable in the secondary market.

Ben:
For real.

Josh:
They'll be on eBay. Yeah, you might... Yeah, go get two or three of them. Don't, but it's one per customer.

Starr:
Yeah, it's not toilet paper.

Ben:
Supplies are not currently limited, but you should still act now.

Josh:
People are now stockpiling the free plan, free SasS plans. That's good.

Starr:
Well, I think we're coming to the end of our time. Have we talked about pricing as much as we wanted to. Is there anything else you wanted to add?

Josh:
I just wanted to get that rant in. I'm good now.

Starr:
That's good. I'm glad you did, work out the stress. 

Starr:
You have been listening to FounderQuest, and yeah, if you want to review us, please go do that on wherever. And if you want to write for us, go to our blog. There's a link at the top of the page. You go to Honeybadger.io, click on the links to our blog. Click on the link to write for us. And I'd love to hear from you. All right. So, yeah stay safe guys, and see you all next week.


What is FounderQuest?

Three developers building a software business on our own terms.