“All good things must come to an end.” – An English Proverb
Simple words. Strong message.
On 22nd of February of 2010, Andrew Warner of Mixergy posted his decisions for wanting to charge for his interviews. This Is Why I Want To Have A Paid, Premium Section Of Mixergy. What Do You Think? He was also kind enough for asking the community’s feedback.
As expected, the sentiment was full of mixed opinions filled with emotions of anger, joy and insurgence. As one blogger posted: “…the whiners have come out in force”. This strange phenomena takes me back to Magento’s upheaval battle with the community when they introduced the Enterprise version of their open source ecommerce platform.
What is Magento Commerce?
It is a feature-rich eCommerce platform built on open-source technology that provides online merchants with unprecedented flexibility and control over the look, content and functionality of their eCommerce store. Magento’s intuitive administration interface features powerful marketing, search engine optimization and catalog-management tools to give merchants the power to create sites that are tailored to their unique business needs. Designed to be completely scalable and backed by Varien’s support network, Magento offers companies the ultimate eCommerce solution.
How is it relevant to Mixergy?
The first public beta version was released on August 2007. Two years after it’s initial launch, Varien, the company behind Magento, is now enjoying the number one spot as the world’s best open source ecommerce platform. See latest statistics below.
As a new platform, not only did it become the new darling of open source ecommerce platform, it also knocked off the long standing king, osCommerce, off the number one spot that it was enjoying for many years. This amazing feat was achieved within short period of fifteen months.
The wonderful Snow White story didn’t come without facing its own wicked witch; the “whining” community. On May of 2009, Varien introduced the Magento Enterprise Edition with a hefty price of $8,900. That was the starting price and was also based on annual subscription. As you can see below in the illustrated graph, Magento lost almost 20% of it’s community as a result. And they did not leave quietly. The “whiners” didn’t only expect free access to the software, but also demanded that certain updates and extensions be added so that their ecommerce shops become successful. This without acknowledging the man-power and finances needed to keep up a software that its ultimate goal is becoming the best open source ecommerce platform in the world.
Some of them even went out of their way rating 3rd-party extensions with low scores and adding derogatory reviews all across the forums. Varien couldn’t keep up with them fast enough with deleting their accounts. Once an account was deleted, the user would open a new one. I remember one user specifically, and I’m very certain it was the same individual. He would pop up one day as LargeBalls, then BlueBalls, and yet again, RedBalls, it was almost very amusing watching this individual spending his/her time degrading someone else’s work instead of putting that effort into his/her own endeavor. At the end, Varien closed the rating and review sections of the 3rd-parties’ extensions. As an avid user of Magento, this action deprived me of reviews for my own personal needs. Varien’s actions were very understandable.
How does Mixergy compare to Magento?
Short answer; it is yet to be seen. The following graph illustrates the latest reporting of Mixergy’s visitors. Many followers who are unwilling to pay for a subscription, have stated that they are only willing and able when they see a bigger community. I believe sixty thousand (60,000) unique visitors is a large enough community for a site whose purpose it educating entrepreneurs or individuals who have the desire and ambition to becoming an entrepreneur.
An analogy of comparing the ratio of Employers vs Employees would illustrate this better. It is comprehensible for a company having One Employer (entrepreneur) to 99 Employees, not 99 Employers to 1 Employee.
Is Mixergy’s community large enough?
To answer this question would require access to better analytics, but the following graph illustrates that not only is Mixergy community healthy enough, it even surpasses certain popular entrepreneur sites. Startups.com and Answers.Onstartups.com are two popular Q&A forums for entrerpreneurs. The Alexa reporting clearly shows that Mixergy’s pageviews have been steadily rising and as of the latest available reporting, it also surpassed both sites. Therefore, the short answer would be; Mixergy’s community is large enough for Andrew request of subscription fees.
But is it fair?
Interesting question. That is what the “whiners” are asking. Why should they pay when they can get free content all across the web. They don’t have too. They are correct. As an ecommerce developer, would you rather use osCommerce that comprises the work of dozens of programmers or Magento that has the solid backing of a reputable company, Varien? Would you rather spend your valuable time scouring the web for good content or you rather visit a centralized site that is specifically dedicated to helping entrepreneurs by providing content that is relevant to their endeavors? I say the latter.
But is is fair? Yes it is. Unlike Magento, Andrew repeatedly had reminded the followers of Mixergy of his impending subscription plan. As a matter of fact, he had sought out many times live on video chats for feedback. Magento did not. The announcement of the Enterprise was a shock and very unexpected.
What do I propose?
Per Andrew’s request for feedback, I have emailed and even discussed my views of a subscription plan during the testing of Vokle platform; a new up-and-coming and very promising video and chatting platform.
After much thought, I personally propose three (3) tier pricing with an additional private and personal access to business professionals.
Beginner: $99 Flat Lifetime Fee
- Access to all interviews (archived and new) with a flat lifetime fee of $99
- Access to all interviews (archived and new)
- Access to dedicated entrepreneur community
- One (1) Group Consultation per month plus access to archived pre-recorded group consultations
- Access to all interviews (archived and new)
- Access to dedicated entrepreneur community
- Three (3) Group Consultation per month plus access to archived pre-recorded group consultations
- Special Discount on All Products
Personal: $249-$499 per consultation
- One hour dedicated one-on-one expert consultation with an attorney, brand manager, social media expert, and more.
What are the tiers?
It is understandable that certain individuals have the ambition and desire to becoming an entrepreneur and would benefit accessing content related to the expertise and experiences of battled entrepreneurs. These same individuals would also understandably might not have the means to pay a monthly subscription. A beginners level would suit best for an individual such as this.
Experienced plan would also give an entrepreneur access to a community of entrepreneurs. It is true that startups.com and asnwers.startups.com offer a free community, but a subscription based community would have better answers and content since all subscribers are on same par and eager to share experiences and advice.
An added benefit to this plan would be the introduction of group consultation. Consultations can range from filing of a corporation presented by an attorney to a social media expert educating the latest trends in social media and best steps to succeeding in the market. The plan also includes access to archived recorded group consultations.
Serial plan would offer all features of above with addition of two (2) more participation in group consultation and access to discount to all products, such as books and personal consultations.
Personal Consultation would offer one-hour consultation with an expert such as an attorney; brand manager; social media expert and more.
Can Mixergy offer more?
I believe it can.
Mixergy is the vision of a successful entrepreneur, Andrew Warner. Since Mixergy is dedicated to internet entrepreneurs, I believe it can also go one step further and become an incubator. Dedicating funds to promising early stage startups would benefit both Mixergy and community in large.
A recent comment from a “whiner” brought up a good point. Why would a person go from $30MM+ revenue per year to Mixergy. Starting an incubator in conjunction with the stated plans above would attract more ambitious and willing entrepreneurs with visions of the next best thing and yet without the means or resources. Mixergy would be a good stop to offering services to well researched and potential individuals the path for a fruitful success.
Los Angeles could use a small incubator. We wait for Andrew’s return.
These are my own opinions. As an avid follower, this is how I envision Mixergy. If you are ambitious and willing to learn and want to advance your entrepreneurial dreams, Mixergy would be and should be the place to visit. Having the ability to learn from the experiences of successful and occasional teachings of a failed entrepreneur is a golden nugget in long abandoned mine.
Would this replace a MBA program? Seth Godin tried his hands on creating an alternate MBA program, maybe Mixergy could become that. An alternative to a MBA program.
One can dream. Can’t he or can’t she?
I’ll let Thomas Edison close this post. “I failed my way to success.”