Meet management made simple.
I've got my software licensing and activation API working now. Ready to roll out with the new update that will introduce our licensing model. You all who've been around for a while now know how I like to do things... really involve our community in this RaceTab project! So being open and seeking your feedback.
Most of you reading this are already our most loyal and supportive users. And I know most of you have no problem and fully intend to buy a license. In fact, some of you have already given donations!
First of all: the goal. RaceTab's goal ala 2006 was first to create a simple to use and affordable tool to create professional meet results for small meets. As it gained support and features, the goal and ambition evolved. And it is what it is today which is to keep it simple but re-think meet management software from the ground up and nothing short of change the sport! We aren't there yet, but we're getting closer.
The biggest challenge that RaceTab has is my time. Since I am running MileSplit as its CEO and involved in flrunners.com in Florida and other projects, I can't devote a high percentage of my time to RaceTab. So what results is, I block off a couple of weeks here and there where I am super productive on it... and then may only look at it here and there for a couple of months.
What I'd love to see happen is for us to start to monetize RaceTab to the extent that either a full-time staff member can be devoted to its development and support... or maybe we can afford a half-time developer and MileSplit can hire them on the other half for other projects. Then at least we have 50% dedicated time to move it forward! I hope you'll get behind us in that mission.
- The App Server running in RaceTab 3.5 will be for pro users only... without it, you can't use the apps
What other compelling, but advanced, features can we safely but effectively put behind this feature set? I want to keep RaceTab accessible to new users, so I don't want it to be handi-capped for them. That would hamper its growth and hurt our mission of changing the sport! But we need to have enough reason to make it worth the license fee. Potentially features like IPICO integration or FinishLynx integration could be behind it. Maybe the Label Printer, advanced reports..?? what do you think? Potentially things could also be limited in quantity without the upgrade.
WHAT WILL WE CHARGE?
Planning for it to be around $120-150/year for an annual license. This would include activation on a certain number of computers. Perhaps three. We could work out bulk deals or even custom deals for big timers with lots of computer installations.
HOW WILL IT WORK?
RaceTab 3.5 requires login to MileSplit at least the first time of use. The license would be tied to a given user name. So when you login to RaceTab, it will have a link to "Go Pro".... we'll then check on the server if you have a license and if it has an activations left. If so, it will let you activate that copy of RaceTab. Otherwise, it will direct you to purchase.
We'll provide further means to deactivate certain computers, so that activations can be opened up again.
The activation will be good for one year. Whenever RaceTab is online again, we'll check if the license has been renewed and if so automatically (behind the scenes) update the local activation for another year out.
I think IPICO and FAT are both reasonable things to tie to pro. Perhaps live results as well (at least via ftp). However I also think that when you get apps for clerking and field events (in that order is my vote as you know) I think they alone will drive it to be adopted as a pro item.
Meanwhile those wishing to type in (or import results) for smaller meets can continue with this great tool.
I'm in. I donated as you know and I'll buy a license as well when the time comes.
100% agree with Don. For me the pro features are more what the advanced user of Racetab is going to need to run meets. live results, FAT interface because lets face it if you spent the minimal of 3600.00 for flash timing you can afford the pro features to help boost racetab. Of course you are going to have people complain about the structure no matter how you set it up. You can't make everyone happy. So lets get this thing rolling. My first meet is March 6th lol.. I need a clerking app by April 20th:) And field events apps are like calling my andoid tablets name.
Well to clarify one thing... It is really not about my time already put into the product or recouping an investment on that. RaceTab was never built to be a profitable wing of MileSplit. It was built because we felt like there was a need for it, the sport could benefit from it, and yes we could also see indirect benefit by way of growth in the sport and better results.
The reason we are trying to "Go Pro" with it is for its future. As you probably know, I am not getting any less busy. In fact my time is getting more and more scarce. And I already feel guilty about not having enough time to devote to the RaceTab project as I would like to. I can't support it either. People email and call me... or ask me to call them to give them support of the product... I CAN'T. I just can't.
I will develop it, I will put it out there, I will listen to feedback here. But the development can't move forward as it should and proper support can't be given by me... especially as I get busier as MileSplit keeps growing.
So.... the reason we are trying to have to start to make money is to get another developer into the fold at some point or at least a support person. The world isn't free and can't be free. The point of putting some big parts of it off limits is to convince people to pay up. I already found out the donation route doesn't work well. We raised all of maybe $1,200 on that.
They can use most of RaceTab for free... but we gotta put enough off limits to get hundreds of paying customers or its all for naught.
What's to stop them from using another product? Easy. Make sure RaceTab is hands down the best meet management software there is. Done.
With the other Apps.... once I roll this version out. Other than bug fixes, I am not planning any new features for RaceTab 3.5 for the near term... all apps baby!
That is a good point on FAT ... not sure ... because I also see the need to get people started. I really think that the ClerkTab if well explained is a huge hook. I discussed it with many these past two days and many said ... "I want that". Several said yes I would pay for that.
Thanks for the feedback. Don't want to scare anyone off certainly. But like we discussed earlier tonight on the phone, Don... we really need to get AT LEAST 200 people buying licenses to even make it do anything. And that's just to break even on a part time developer.
I can almost see some people that are just starting out saying: RaceTab is $125 annually x infinite years where as EasyMeetManager is only $300 forever. Even HT after it's initial purchase has a lesser license fee. I understand why RaceTab is better but the average 'joe' may not. Could there be a per meet option? $30?
I'm going PRO for sure even though I see myself using the pro option 3-5 times this spring.
A few thoughts on the PRO version:
As a high school, we put on roughly 4-5 meets/yr. We do not have our own computers, and typically have to borrow from our district, so hopefully it will be easy to authorize/deauthorize them.
Regarding the cost, in future years (probably including this one), we may plan for this expense, but it's another little expense among little expenses that add up, and somewhere (for something) we'll have to say no. (High school budgets are never enough.) Also, we have to decide whether it is worth it to pay $120-150/year, when in two or three years we’ve paid for another program that I don’t have to keep paying for (as mentioned above).
Having said this, we understand completely the reasons outlined above about the financial means to further fund and develop tools. We very much like RaceTab and have not seen anything else we like on the market. We like the Apps and their potential, and we like the ability to network computers to the same RaceTab file.
Our preference is to keep using RaceTab, and hopefully badger our AD to fund the PRO version. If we decide not to pony up for PRO, the feature we would like to see in the free version is FAT, and leave the Apps and other features - like IPICO - for the PRO version. We still find them very appealing and may yet find some money for them.
After a few years, if the Apps have been developed nicely and RaceTab is working well, is there a possibility that the fee will decrease, when all that is needed is basic maintenance of the Apps and RaceTab? Knowing that the fee would come down would play a part of our decision to get PRO now; if we know the cost is going down in the future, we’re happy investing up front. With the Apps coming out and the potential for new customers, perhaps there could be an incentive for people who “invest” early, and perhaps their fees could come down in the future.
I'll opt for the standard edition and don't need all the extra features. As a grade school coach, we attend and participate in several meets, but only host one meet per year. I used RaceTab for our meet last year and it was wonderful. I'm willing to donate to keep it going, but will never be able to pay for the PRO license. I just can't afford it.
Thanks to everyone for their feedback. I am listening and considering what everyone has to say. Questions in my head: Are we good at the price point suggested? Would we sell enough more to make up for it if we came down by $50? Should we have a per meet fee? Maybe the pro upgrade is included for meets that use MileSplit's online registration?
Somehow we just have to make enough compelling reason for people to support it or support us. Donations weren't working. Again, the goal is that I can afford to hire a developer/support person at least half time. Developers are expensive, so that is at least $30K/year that this needs to generate. $60K/year if it's to be a full time staffer. My time is just too limited to get it where I want the product to be for you all, to keep it moving forward, and provide support. My support is pretty pathetic right now.