It’s a shame that consumers largely balk at paying for mobile productivity apps like email, calendars, to do lists and so on. Despite spending our lives inside of this software the developers can’t seem to charge more than a few bucks. Perhaps it’s because the free alternatives are ‘good enough.’ Perhaps because they’re often *just* front-ends to other infrastructure. Perhaps it’s because we only want to pay for pleasure and entertainment, not ‘work tools’ (unless we can use them to directly make money). These might be true but I tend to believe it’s also because these apps do a poor job of quantifying the accrued value we get from using them. Quantifying and promoting the realized benefits seems like a promising vector to enable subscription models, pay-per-use type of fees or even something like “$1 upfront and $10 on day 90.”
Although it’s not an “app” per se, Fancy Hands, the virtual task service has a really compelling way of reminding you how much value they’re delivering.
While I’m not into the Trophy gamification, the dashboard review of activities and time saved is masterful IMO. Compels me to think “damn, look at all that time they saved me, I would have hated to make those calls, etc.” And it’s cumulative, so builds over time. I don’t even really understand it all – such as the difference between “Time on phone” and “Time Saved” but who cares, it feels right.
Could you apply this same idea to productivity suite tools? How much time has this email app saved me via filtering spam or message prioritization? How many unique people have collaborated with me on the docs I’ve created with this tool? Does each app have a set of native metrics that could be elevated and used to justify charging in different ways?