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John Gibson

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Everything posted by John Gibson

  1. lmao, I didn't say anything at all about greed. I would have thought that to be a market leader in the future will be to go beyond the current paradigm of greed, to have a business model that truly encapsulates the hearts of users, AT SCALE, which means they will not want to change. But that does not change the reality of market forces. In the USA they have a saying too "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." In fact, its the 1st Amendment in their Bills of Rights. And from memory, this straight talking nation saved the dutch twice in the last century from the march of fascism across Europe, so excuse me for ignoring your quaint little sayings. In Australia, we have a saying too "call a spade a spade" which means call things for what they are, talk plainly and forthrightly without censure. Serif will do what it likes. But the market will decide in the end, and as a trial customer but a potential commercial customer, I want Serif to match their great products with a great strategy which they'll need to do if they want my business and the business of millions of others.
  2. Pfft, I already stated that Adobe has become lazy, arrogant, opportunistic and shareholder centric which is a known fact. But there are other reasons why Adobe also made the switch but you obviously didn't read my references. To quote George Bernard Shaw, and JFK who repurposed the phrase: "There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” - clearly you're in the former category. Serif could be a market leader if they developed a market leadership strategy to do so, and had the vision to execute it. People said that Apple could never beat Microsoft and blamed Steve Jobs for a lack of growth in 1985 just before the Apple board fired him, and yet now Apple IS THE BIGGEST COMPANY IN THE WORLD!!! As far as Adobe's software development goes, well as far as I'm concerned the main issues are legacy issues given the longwinded workflows, etc. I would have thought every studio waits a period of time before making any upgrades whether that be for operating systems, applications, apps or any other piece of software, including Affinity products, as its only prudent to do so. As far as convincing you goes, well you're obviously a lost cause. I'm not sure why you think you speak for Serif though. If you think its a pointless discussion why did you bother to advance your myopic view at all? But perhaps you're right. Maybe the biggest companies in the world and the worlds tech market leaders can only really originate in a place where there is can-do culture, where true imagination thrives, like California, the 10th biggest economy in the world, rather than in pessimistic Britain. It was Britain that turned to the USA twice to save its backside from two world wars because they couldn't help themselves, and it was Britain who agreed that the USA was right in fighting for its independence from the British by signing the Atlantic Treaty, admitting the USA had a superior way of life, which was the United States pre-condition for joining world war 2. And its Britain who thinks that stubbornly withdrawing from the EU will somehow make it stronger, when the only people who want a Brexit are the stupid, the racists and the aristocracy that don't want the European Court of Justice to finally bring some fairness to the arcane legal, political and social practices of Britain. So if Serif is going to continue like an old world company with a old world viewpoint, well they will go the way of Britain too - once an empire, now a niche player. But I have higher hopes for Serif. I hope that the very brilliance that has seen them produce excellent results to date, will someday translate into the same brilliance at a strategic leadership level. Or perhaps the biggest company in the world based in Cupertino will have to make them an offer they can't refuse for that to happen!
  3. Perhaps you're right. I tend to agree that having a captive subscriber base has lead Adobe into producing buggy products. I also think that their legacy issues have caused a lot of that too. So has their migration to a cloud based subscription model which has required a lot of code rewriting. So has their monopolistic market leader position, because without any true competition Adobe has become lazy, arrogant, opportunistic and shareholder centric. I'm sure there are other reasons as well. Cheers!
  4. Well there is lots of conjecture to your first question: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/adobe-software-subscription-model-means-you-cant-own-your-software/ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-08/how-adobe-got-its-customers-hooked-on-subscriptions https://www.comparex-group.com/web/com/about/press/2016/the-pros-and-cons-of-adobes-subscription-model.htm As to your second point, with all due respect, your point is rubbish. Google were once 2 guys in a garage that couldn't convince the market leader at the time, Yahoo, to part with even US$1M for their search algorithm, and where is Google/Alphabet today? And where is Yahoo? YouTube was founded in April 2005. In November 2005 they raised US$3.5M in capital from a private equity firm. In April 2006 they raised another US$8.5M in capital from another private equity firm. And in November 2006, YouTube was sold to Google for US$1.65 billion in stock. So clearly my point does not contain a false premise, but the Serif leadership need to have the will and the vision to execute such a growth plan, and I hope they do. But just because you can't see how they might do it, doesn't mean it cant be done. If all you have is a hammer, the whole world looks like nails. Sustainable is directly relative to context. Serif may well be sustainable for a 100 years running just as they are now, as a niche player, which you admit given your statement that they can't displace Adobe or even Quark. I'm talking about sustainability in the context of growing TO BECOME a market leader, as there is little point talking about sustainability as niche player - Serif is already doing that quite well.
  5. I don't want Serif/Affinity to "mirror image" Adobe - I would like them to clean Adobe's clock and go past them like Apple did to Nokia with their iPhone. You may say that the Affinity products are superior and you're welcome to your view, but there are a lot of post here that raise the issue of functions that Adobe has in each of their software products that Affinity simply do not have. What Affinity does have however, is a clean slate, where they have not been bound to legacy products and shitty workflows, protocols and extensions like Adobe has, which means they can (and have) produce products that are simply better conceived that the Adobe suite without having the pushback of long standing legacy users. Serif is free to create from the ground up and simply make their products better than Adobe from the get-go and largely they have, for the few products they have in full release. InDesign may well be a dog for the legacy reasons I state, buy Affinity Publisher is yet to fully be released and this is my point. With a market leader capitalisation plan Serif would have the resources to fund far faster development of beautiful legacy free creative industry software without it taking years for each product to come to market, which is my other point!
  6. Ummm, because the mathematical law of exponents means that when the numbers are low and they double, the doubled number is still low, ie 2 squared is 4, 20 squared is 400, but 1,000,000 squared is 1,000,000,000,000. Look up 'exponential growth curve' as you can see it for yourself: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/ecology/population-growth-and-regulation/a/exponential-logistic-growth Being in business is quite different to becoming a market leader. Nokia are still in business, and yet Apple toasted them in the space of 2 years with the right leadership vision and capitalisation strategy which enabled a product development cycle that cleaned Nokia's clock within 2 years. I am talking about Serif being a market leader. I would hope that if they bring their client focussed sensitivities to market at scale, they would have very competitive subscription rates and also quite a few market segments to suit different user groups. Just so everyone understands, perhaps Serif could charge $10 per month for a similar Affinity suite as Adobe CC with better products, rather than $70 per month as Adobe does now. Perhaps students get the Serif Affinity suite for $2 per month, perhaps start-ups get it for $4 per month, perhaps casual user get it for $5 per month but only on the months they actually use the software so if they don't use it they don't get charged. Seriously, I'm giving away some seriously valuable strategic consultation here to Serif for nothing, so I hope you fanboys don't get too precious about your emotional attachment to Serif/Affinity. I mean, if you love Serif/Affinity so much wouldn't you want them to grow, be truly sustainable, able to lead the market, produce a superior suite of products (which they are yet to do) and withstand competitors?
  7. Again, mathematically perpetual licenses and one time license fees, or infrequent update fees are not sustainable in the long term, and they certainly won't lead to the type of capitalisation required to make Serif/Affinity a contender to Adobe, to provide some real competition in the creative industries software market. I'll take you at your word that Tony Brightman did say that regarding the most profit, and in the short term he may well be correct, but in the long term, without a capitalisation strategy beyond the current perpetual/upgrade license fees, Serif/Affinity won't be able to keep up in terms of development cycles. In the end, as I said Affinity will be a niche product (perhaps good for some freelance photographers and illustrators but less good if you run an agency like I do) or become an acquisition target, like YouTube became for Google or like Instagram and WhatsApp become for Facebook.
  8. Perpetual licenses are not sustainable unless there are infinite users - even a high school maths student versed in exponents could tell you that, but thats obviously also beyond your brain capacity. The problem is not the subscription model, but rather the price gouging quantum of Adobe's subscription model as it currently stands, as a result of Adobes monopolistic position. Ugly? What is it with people who can't call a spade a spade, for crying out loud? Where are the adults in the room that can have a frank and forthright discussion?
  9. Good on you Jim, how very quaint! You sound like a Brexit voter from the 1950's to me - better to go it alone than to strategically collaborate - look how that's turning out! I have no idea what Bentley's, Waterford, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Rabbit, Harris tweed or bagpipes has to do with anything other than to demonstrate your vintage! The people who will decide Affinity's fate will be the market, the customers and no-one else. The management may steer it, but the market will decide. If Serif want to survive in the market, as a market leader rather than a niche player, they are welcome to do it, but they won't get my business. I run a large design studio, and I have NO CHOICE but to use Adobe at this stage, despite how gracious the Serif people may be and how apparently wonderful the Affinity products may be. The fact of the matter is that I cannot switch my studio to Affinity at this stage, despite how much I'd like to (even though I really would like to as I hate Adobe's business model) because: 1. Serif does not provide a complete set of integrated products - Affinity Publisher will be here soon, so then Affinity will cover Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, but what about Lightroom, Dreamweaver, Premier Pro, After Effects and Character Animator? What about the assets library of fonts, photos, etc? What about Behance? Adobe currently wins because of their full suite of products, their individual product features and the integration between their software products 2. Serif does not provide fast enough development cycles - Adobe have the capital and scale to continue to outpace the development speed of Affinity products, which means whatever Serif does, Adobe can copy, match and block in return 3. Serif, as far as I am aware, does not have the capital base to become a market leader - Adobe is a publicly listed company on the Nasdaq with a current share price of $244 per share, up from 22 cents in 1986, with a market cap of $119.51B, thats billions Jim, not millions! Serif are a privately owner British firm. If they are going to contend as a market leader in the CREATIVE INDUSTRY SOFTWARE market (not the bagpipes market Jim!), they will have to seek an Angel, go through various rounds of capital raising on their way to an IPO, because unless they go public or team up with an entity who is already public (such as Branson's Virgin) Serif won't have the capital or the capacity to actually challenge Adobe. This means that currently Serif just cannot compete with Adobe, in the professional creative industries software market. And given that is the case, if Serif does not capitalise for growth, they will either be an acquisition target for another company (like Black Magic, Apple, or even Adobe so they can shelve it like they did Freehand) or go up and down like a balloon similar to Quark Express. Now I only say all this because I hope Serif, or someone, can finally take Adobe on at its game. I hope the graciousness you speak of Jim regarding the Serif people sees a new type of business model developed for the creative industries, one that is far more sensitive and responsive to the needs of creatives than Adobe has ever bothered to be. I hope this new type of business model build quality products like Serif has done, rather than the Adobe bloatware and Adobe's dead-end, discontinued software packages like Freehand, AnimateCC, etc which leaves everyone hanging, or their bullshit proprietary crap like Flash rather than working with common agreed standards, and many other issues I have with Adobe. I hope this happens sooner rather than later, because Adobe think they're invincible, rather like Yahoo did when they knocked by buying the Google search engine for $1M in its early years because they arrogantly thought they are better. Just like google started with 2 guys in a shed, there is no reason whatsoever that Serif cannot take on Google, and if they did I would support them the moment it was commercially viable to do so. But guess what - Serif will need to capitalise and they will need to play with the big boys to do it, otherwise someone else will do it, like Apple, perhaps on the back of acquiring Affinity from Serif, and should this happen then Apple is no better than Adobe when it comes to ignoring customer requirements and delivering poor value for inflated prices. So I hope Serif does it with their own steam just like the Google lads did, and I hope they harness to power of the creative industries crowd to do it, because there is a lot of resentment against Adobe that Serif can capitalise on. I wouldn't even bother sharing these detailed viewpoints if I didn't think the quality of Serif products gave them a fighting chance, but one thing is certain however - they won't get very far with quaint 1950's views, or raving reviews from hobbyists and the consumer market alone. Instead, they'll need to bring the creative industries fully on board. Oh, and finally, I'm sure that Serif can cope with suggestions from the market as to how their offering is viewed and how potential customers view their future options, with a view to becoming commercial customers of Affinity, which is why I have contributed my view.
  10. Hello Affinity developers and users, I am John Gibson. I want to put it on the record very strongly that I can barely wait for Affinity to become a true alternative to Adobe. Given you are based in the UK, your management team may well remember how the upstart Virgin Atlantic took on British Airways to establish itself. I wish Affinity would commit themselves to this strategy against Adobe. How about Serif adopt a realistic, long term pricing strategy, announce it as a strategic plan on a product by product basis and win the treats and minds of the worldwide swath of reluctant Adobe users who can barely wait to leave Adobe for a superior, fair minded, fair value alternative? Let's get real here. No company, Serif included is going to be able to maintain year in-year out service on single lifetime payments, without an infinite, ever expanding user base, which does not exist and is not realistic. At some point, Serif is going to have to say to its users (somewhere before market maturity and user saturation points) you can keep your current version of Affinity software forever as promised, but our new offering will be subscription based in order to maintain our service given our growth has plateaued, or words to that effect. Instead of moving at an exceedingly slow glacier speed taking years to build each piece of software, why not crowdfund software development, where you create a brand that rivals every piece of software and services Adobe provides (and some that I sure you could think of which don't exist yet) and treat them like a seperate start-up, using crowdfunding (and traditional capital raising to match), to find the development of these potential offerings simultaneously. Serif could then charge a subscription rate that is fair, say $10-$20 per month, rather than Adobe's $80 per month, and undercut Adobe from the get-go. More importantly, it could brand itself as a true saviour for the creative world, a saviour that is going to see-off Adobe, much like Virgin Atlantic overcame British Airways and Goole overcame Yahoo and Alta Vista. Seriously, Google didn't even have a revenue stream for its first 5 years or so, while it capitalised in the meantime, just on the potential of its offering and its market share growth in the intervening period. With a clever, adaptable and creative pricing strategy, Serif could create lifetime subscriptions for pre-purchasing early adopters, various bundles of current and future products, various price points for established industry users, students, hobbiests, infrequent users, start-ups and the like, creating niche strategies for a whole range of user groups, much like Donald Trump created up to 40,000 different variations of a single facebook advert for micro-audiences, which ended up winning him the US Presidency. Given Adobe is a bloated giant self-serving its C-Suite and shareholders almost exclusively to the detriment of its subscribers, as if it will forever be an unchallenged monopoly, with price gouging subscription rates that have created resentment with almost all of their users, undercutting Adobe across the board, even in beta development, this would immediately have an impact on Adobe's share price, its consequent capitalisation ability, its infrastructure and its personnel, and would establish Affinity as a true rival immediately, rather than a potential rival far in the distant future, if Serif ever gets there, which it will not if it persists in dribbling out a new software offering every year or so. I mean, are we really all going to wait 20 years for each new Affinity release when Adobe's market leader position, capital, scale and market share ensures they can (and do) exceed the Affinity offering with superior speed of development? The capital that Serif could raise with this strategy would fund it to start attracting the best talent directly from Adobe and other software houses, at scale, to truly equip Serif with the capacity to match and beat Adobe. Everyone at Serif has done an amazing job so far with the Affinity software suite, enough to establish Serif's bona fides as a true Adobe contender, for which I congratulate you all. However strategically, it's not enough - it's not nearly enough! Why not reach out to Richard Branson, bring him onto the board, rename the project as Virgin Affinity and use Branson's brand to signal to Adobe, and more importantly the market, that the fight is really on, while at the same time adding to this traditional capital through the crowdfunding 20 or so software offerings and services Serif will need to build to properly rival Adobe. I for one would be a pre-purchasing subscriber to the market leader Affinity strategy, and it would easily throw $200-$500 at Affinity if you declared you were really in this game to win. And if I'm prepared to do it, in order to give the middle finger to Adobe, I'm guessing there are tens or hundreds of thousands of disenfranchised Adobe users just like me who could barely wait to see Adobe cut down to size. What say you Serif people? Kind Regards, John Gibson
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