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I want advice on pricing!

Hi there

I'm still beta testing http://www.lingolanguage.com and I want suggestions for pricing. I want to choose a low price, but not so low it gives a bad image.

To explain: Lingo is a high level programming language, a bit like Eiffel mixed with Basic, and the 'deliverables' include a CD, DVD case and a thin manual. Software includes the compiler, examples, debugger, IDE etc. My thoughts are 3 versions:

Free version - a free download with a built-in time limit.

'Standard' version - includes the deliverables as above, licenced for one PC. US$49 ?????

'Pro' version - includes more documentation, support, and tools to make up distributable packages. US$125 ?????

Are these reasonable price points for a programming package? PS: I'm interested in what a hypothetical person would pay for Lingo, *if* that person thought it was a product they could use. I'm not so interested in whether you personally would pay only $X for it because you use language Y which is better or whatever.

Many thanks

Bill Rayer
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Who the hell buys languages?  Release the language, sell the compiler and/or IDE.  Sell support.  Sell libraries.

muppet
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Bill :

Check out Eric Sink's article on pricing. someone asked the same Q a couple of days back.

Prakash S
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Muppet--

You always seem to be one of the first to comment--maybe your boss *was* on to something...

anon-y-mous cow-ard
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Muppet -- RTFP

"Software includes the compiler, examples, debugger, IDE etc. "

Dad
Thursday, August 12, 2004

If it is a language you absolutely need to provide a freely downloadable version so people can be encouraged to use it and become  proficient in it.

Having a free version with time limit is not a good idea for a free version. Instead put in a restriction that the programs built using the free version cannnot be commercially distributed and then charge for the commercial version. 

How much to charge ofcourse depends on how convenient and useful your language is to users and the best way to guage that is from the free version. 

Code Monkey
Thursday, August 12, 2004

"Instead put in a restriction that the programs built using the free version cannnot be commercially distributed and then charge for the commercial version. 
"

Agreed. Have all compiled programs show a message "Not for commercial user" *OR* you could just now allow compiled progrms to run on a machine unless the IDE is installed.

Honestly, why would someone buy a programming language?

There are so many to choose from. If you just want to learn a new language, you pick up python or whatever.  If you need a langauge to build something to SELL then you  want an established language.

But... I could be wrong.  Good luck!

Mr.Analogy (ISV owner)
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Bill,

After more mature consideration, I thought "hey, why not look before commenting" ;-)

Website is very well done.  Your comparison to VB and Delphi are very interesting.  You're obviously approaching this maturely.  Good luck.

Have you considered positioning this more as a Scripting langauge for newbie programmers? E.g., an alternative to WinBatch or something like that?

PRICING
But... to answer your question:  Read Eric Sink's article on pricing. It's ..priceless.  You might list product as $150 regular but discount for beta (whatever) at $50.00. thus, it doesn't LOOK cheap, it look inexpensive.  Our sales went UP when we RAISED our prices (nearly doubling them) and marginally improving the programs. Cheap bad. Inexpensive good.

I do wish you good luck. Keep Jos (or at least me :-) posted.

Mr.Analogy (ISV owner)
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Muppett - my plan *is* to include the compiler and the dev tools. Selling just a language as a concept is too bizarre.

Code monkey - I agree 100% on the free d/ld. The time limit is because I wanted people to d/ld the latest version - I don't want someone endlessly using an earlier version that may have bugs I fixed 6 months ago. Also you can d/ld multiple times, the earlier d/ld doesn't stop the later d/ld (unlike Paintshop pro).

Mr Analogy - I'm sort of doing what you say about the 'non-commercial use'. The 'free' version lets you develop Lingo apps on your PC only, and the IDE and compiler has a use-by date (not the generated EXEs). The 'standard' pack costs money and lets you develop Lingo apps on your PC - the apps don't run on another PC. The 'pro' pack costs more and allows the apps to run on any PC. I wanted a 3-level approach (Free vs Std vs Pro).

Eric's Sink's article from MSDN - I've just read (OK, scanned) this now. He's got a different approach (OK, maybe a better one). My idea is to charge as *little* as possible, but not so little that people assume the product is like a cheap game or remaindered software.

Bill Rayer
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Bill, first of all, I really applaud your efforts: I know firsthand how difficult developing a product and company are, and I wish you the best of luck.

I don't have any specific pricing advice, as I've not dealt with consumer markets myself, but I was wondering whether or not you'd benefit from striking all references to "programming" from your materials.

The point of Lingo, as I understand it, is to give people w/o programming and development skills the power to do things that programmers can by writing code.

Is that right?

Well, those same people are turned off by references to "developer environment", "runtime libraries", etc.

Perhaps you can come up with language that emphasizes the power and wonder of what lingo can do for them w/o relying on tech-specific language.

Just a friendly suggestion.

anonymous financial IT guy
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Just a word of caution.  Can you use the name 'Lingo' for your language?  As I recall Macromedia calls their scripting language in Director Lingo as well.  Just a heads up.

zekaric
Thursday, August 12, 2004

anonymous IT guy - you're pretty much right. At least that was the plan, but some elementary programming skills and general Windows skills are needed to use Lingo. But I could certainly change the wording and make it less techie.

zekaric - there are quite a few other lingoes unfortunately, http://www.lingo.com and one in the UK as well as Macromedia. There were many posts about this when I started beta testing a year ago. But even if I change the name, I still have to choose a price.

Bill Rayer
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Am I correct in understanding that the standard edition won't let me run programs on any system except the one on which the compiler is installed?  This may be just my opinion, but I think that removes the standard edition as an option for anyone who wants to use your product seriously, and it makes the pro version the only choice.  I'd find a different feature set to differentiate the standard and pro versions.

Kevin
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Have you thought about leveraging the dotnet libraries and CLR with Lingo.NET?

Miles Archer
Thursday, August 12, 2004

"But I could certainly change the wording and make it less techie.
"

You could even make FUN of those techie terms as something you'd need to know if you did NOT have LINGO.

BTW, I can't imagine anyone PAYING for something that they can only use on thier own computer.  But, then I'm not your target audience.

Your target audience, if I understand right, is my uncle Greg:  an electrical engineer managing lots of engineers and doing lots of reports. He'd like to automated stuff but doesn't know that programming lingo. Even vbscrip (in excell, etc.) is too hard for him.

Or my brother in law Bernie, Dr. at the CDC, who has written some simple batch files. His father is an engineer so he's very "techie" oriented.

They need EASY EASY EASY. 

Mr.Analogy (ISV owner)
Thursday, August 12, 2004

The prices seem ok to me, if you are going to charge something, that seems ok.

The standard edition where you can only run the executables you create on one computer though -- that seems very strange. If you change your network card or upgrade your computer does it stop working? If I got a 'standard' edition, I would not be expecting it to have such a feature. It would be bad enough if the IDE itself was restricted to working on one computer. It seems you are taking a situation in which I am already at a disadvantage - paying for a strange language with no market s hare, no user community, etc - and setting it up so I will be actively angry right off the bat.

The version where executables are restricted to the same computer that is licensed should be free at most.

I would be really pissed off if I wasted my time buying a language and developing a program for it and then found out it only ran on one computer.

Dennis Atkins
Thursday, August 12, 2004

>The time limit is because I wanted people to d/ld the latest version - I don't want someone endlessly using an earlier version that may have bugs I fixed 6 months ago.

I think this is a good concept but you are approaching it the wrong way.  No matter what time limit you set (and one month is too short) you do not want the user to have the program suddenly stop working. I think at startup you should connect and check if ther are any later versions available and if there are tell the user about it and give the option of upgrading it.  That  is how all Antivirus packages which depend heavily on getting the latest data do it.

Anyway what you are doing takes guts, developing a language and selling it is no small task.  I hope you suceed on the merits of your language and not on the price you charge!

Code Monkey
Thursday, August 12, 2004

You should stop refering to this as a "language". Nobody buys a "language". Try to position it as a RAD tool.

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, August 13, 2004

"Try to position it as a RAD tool. "

Just remember, your target customer (see my comment above) doesn't know RAD from ASS.

Mr.Analogy (ISV owner)
Friday, August 13, 2004

I have recently launched a website and software solutions company called www.quadrasolutions.com.

I would be keen to hear from you to discuss possible collaboration.

Best regards,

Quad Master

Quad Master
Saturday, August 14, 2004

I have recently launched a website and software solutions company called <a href="http://www.quadrasolutions.com">www.quadrasolutions.com</a>.

I would be keen to hear from you to discuss possible collaboration.

Best regards,

Quad Master

Quad Master
Saturday, August 14, 2004

Kevin / Dennis - I've thought about the reasons binaries created by the std edition run only on the computer on which they were created (OK maybe I'm wrong but bear with me...) I do know it's unusual from the view point of an experienced developer for this to happen.

I wanted a clear difference between the std and pro edition *in a way that makes sense to a newbie programmer*. Eg you as a newbie want to develop code on your PC and run it there - $49 for the std pack. You want to package programs to give/sell to others - $130ish for the pro pack, which includes pro pack menu options to zip the files, copy to disk etc.

IMO this 'worldview' is much more consistent with how non-programmers view software - they understand 'individual' versions where they use the product to its ability on their computer, and they understand 'networked' or 'multi-user' versions where their creations can work on other PCs. Eg a newbie writes a word doc - they can print and edit it on their PC. Then they take the doc to their office and want others to print and edit it - the others must also put word on their PC (assuming they're being legal).

Regarding the 'identity' of the computer on which the binaries run, this is defined by the HD serial # and the windows serial # (not the MAC address) so if you change LAN cards there's no effect. If you replaced the HD or reinstalled Windows, you would need to reinstall the Lingo std edition anyway, and the newly re-created binaries would then run on the new installation.

Also Lingo source code is version-agnostic, there's nothing stopping you using the std pack to compile a program that runs only on the computer it was written on, then recompiling it later with the pro pack. Also there's nothing stopping you from installing std packs on different PCs and compiling the source on each.

And even if you take a std pack binary from the PC it was created on and try to run it on another PC, it *will* run correctly - the only difference is you get a recoverable error when the program starts, and you can click OK to continue running.

I hope this explanation makes sense - altho I realize it's not a usual thing from a pure developer viewpoint, and if I have to I will change it anyway.

Code monkey - the free version doesn't suddenly stop working. It warns you 30 days before. You are right about the automatic upgrade, there will always be a more current version. But if I make it a one-click task to upgrade, that may reduce the incentive for buying the std pack! So I may have several one click links - a big button to 'buy now' and a smaller button to d/ld a new free trial pack.

Quadrasolutions.com - after looking at your site it contains the following text repeated over and over:

"This is a sample text sentence only for test purposes and will be replaced by real copy later. This is a sample text sentence only for test purposes and will be replaced by real copy later."

Also is your real name Jitesh Madhwani? Tell us when the website is finished!

Bill Rayer
Saturday, August 14, 2004

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