Realmac's purpose?


(LabCoat Guy) #1

I received an email notice from Realmac inviting me to subscribe (for $100 US) to their CMS course for RapidWeaver. See https://www.realmacsoftware.com/rapidweaver/tutorials/total-cms/

They offer multiple other RapidWeaver tutorials for hefty fees. I wonder how many subscribers they have compared to the number of copies of RapidWeaver 7.x they’ve sold.

It seems to me the smarter way for Realmac to maximize their revenue would be to give away tutorials on how to easily build websites with RapidWeaver, and then they’d sell more copies of RapidWeaver.

Producing tutorials obviously takes away from development, which makes me wonder if development is what they’re most interested in.

This reminds me of a circumstance I was in several years ago while working at an ad agency, and we had a client that manufactured ball bearings. It turns out choosing ball bearings is a complicated, at-least-30-step process. The client developed software for eliminating 98% of the time required but wanted to sell the software at an exorbitant fee.

We went back and forth for months with various campaigns, but the client could never decide until finally an agency person asked if they were in the business of selling software or ball bearings, and the client immediately answered, “Manufacturing and selling the highest quality ball bearings.”

Next, our sage asked if they’d sell more bearings if they sold the software or gave it away?

The client reluctantly agreed to give away the software and eat the development costs, and we produced a campaign about the free software.

Sales exploded by 500% beyond projections and three competitors went bankrupt, all within 6 months.

Is Realmac in the business of selling software or tutorials?

I’m asking because this community has seen multiple, long-standing 3rd party developers walk away from RapidWeaver within the last couple of years: Henk, SeyDoggy, LogHound, etc.

At the same time we continue to see complaints here about publishing problems, preview problems, etc.


(Doug Bennett) #2

I would agree with you about selling more software if they gave away the tutorials. Look at Affinity products, great FREE tutorials, Great Documentation, folks see everything they can do with the product and don’t hesitate to purchase. not the RealMac, business model.

That part is not true in this case. Ben does the tutorials and is not an Xcode developer, but a web developer (more a super user of rapidweaver).


(Barrie McDermid) #3

I think the main difference between Affinity and Realmac is that Realmac has nothing without Stacks. I know you can build a website with Rapidweaver along, but does anyone really do that?

Affinity created a product that’s a VERY cost effective replacement for Photoshop and it’s pretty much all in the box. They then did the same with Illustrator (Designer).

I think Rapidweaver is better than Dreamweaver/Go Live, but if we all add up the money we’ve spent ton themes and add-ons, it’s certainly not a cheap option. Whilst I’m not saying it’s not value for money, Realmac have probably not gained too much from that additional revenue generated, so they need to look at monetising in some other form.


(klaatu) #4

Realmac has nothing without Stacks

Yep. Rapidweaver core is the cost of admission for Stacks in my view. I’d predict that at some point in the not too distant future, or sooner, Stacks and stacks will fill all the space and resources available to it by the RW plugin core/Api and then we will have hit the limit from a performance perspective.


#5

I very much enjoy the Realmac tutorials. They are very well done; well planned, executed, and no wasted time. I learn a lot. Good tutorials are invaluable for people like me who like to be shown how things work. They make me appreciate Rapidweaver even more…and appreciate all the work done by developers too.


(Greg Schneck) #6

I remember a time before there was a Google (or at least before it was well known). I had an online bookstore and I paid a hefty little fee just to be listed in Yahoo business directory (see pic below). Yahoo thought they were going to make a lot of money by charging people to be listed with their service. Then Google came along and realized where the money really was… changed everything.

Click for a pic of Yahoo in those days…

Summary


(Rob D) #7

I am wondering the same thing.

Of course, there will always be some people, like Lynn above, who feel that they can not live without expensive tutorials and they will pay for them. Most people, though, even those who feel that they need tutorials, will turn away from paid tutorials and seek other ways for educating themselves.

I am totally in agreement with this statement. I would even go further and send free tutorials directly to my subscribers’ email, like Skylum does. Their sales skyrocket…

I would also add to this that, personally, I feel like YourHead Software is doing more good for the RW community than RMS ever had – from the development point of view.


(Stuart Marshall) #8

This all seems a bit harsh on Realmac who provide (and continue to develop) a solid product with which we can build our websites (and yes - that couldn’t happen to anywhere near the same extent without Stacks). v8 is apparently in development so there is no concern from me that time isn’t going into developing this.

And it’s absolutely fair enough that they try and supplement their income by selling tutorial videos. They could arguably sell more copies of RW if the videos were freely available but that’s entirely their decision to make.


(Jason Bostick) #9

Not trying to argue/persuade your perceptions of how much time they spend developing but, they do have a host of free tutorials which seem to serve this exact purpose of demonstrating the capabilities of RW (https://rapidweavercommunity.com/tutorials/free).


(Ken) #10

@labcoatguy Clearly you did not purchase the course. Why really? Probably because you are not into 'Content Management Systems" of which Total CMS is one of the best. Whilst not hugely complicated, there is a lot to Total CMS and few could work it out on their own. I purchased the Password Protection Course from Realmac, because of a need, which it duly provided. I shall purchase their course on SEO sometime, because this is a very complex subject.
I don’t know why some developers have left Rapidweaver, but maybe it’s due to simple competition. There is some great stuff now from NEW developers, so clearly there is still a great attraction. Also there is a move to Framework solutions such as Foundation & Foundry, which themselves spawn projects for example.

The MAC FORMAT magazine rates RW as the best WEB tool for the MAC and also because of the plethora of ‘add-ons’. It’s not just Realmac that support ‘addons’ - look at Photoshop - they are abundant AND expensive.

I personally have invested a lot into the total RW ecosystem and hope that Realmac survives, by whatever commercial way possible. It’s a shame that their EMBER & SQUASH products are not so successful - I use them both and they suit my workflow very well.

The pros & cons of Stacks have been aired to death on these forums, but they both now depend upon each other.
A friend of mine purchased RW + 1 Professional Theme only. He produced a site that he thinks is great - I’m sure there are many others like him that want to do just that.


(Ben Balser) #11

“This all seems a bit harsh on Realmac who provide (and continue to develop) a solid product…”

I can’t update any of my sites, cause I’m getting an error uploading that RMS can’t fix. Been almost a week since I did what they asked me to do. No reply back. Tech support seems spotty, and the application’s stability is in question, IMHO.

As someone who’s worked with software/IT companies most of my life, I can tell you that tutorials are done by trainers who are good at tutorials, not necessarily by developers who are busy working on the product. One does not take away from the other.

Should tutorials be free? Some companies offer it free, some don’t, there’s no industry standard, and no data to show it is better one way or the other. So, debate…


(Joe Workman) #12

Ok. I am going to jump into the lion’s den here… If any of you use some of my products, you probably know that I do a lot of video about how to use my products. So much that sometimes it can be overwhelming to beginners. (I have some ideas to improve that).

I have stayed away from doing structured courses for products because I have always felt that I should not charge for videos in order to learn how to use a product that you purchased from me. But…

I have been getting requests from users to create some sort of master class course for RapidWeaver/Foundation/Total CMS (separate courses).

I already have a ton of free video for users to watch and learn how to use products on my YouTube Channel. If I were to do a paid course, it would be completely optional. Since the course would be paid, I would be able to allocate more time and effort to making the course a good as possible (and supply updated course content over time). I could also maybe dive into some more advanced topics. Doing a video course the proper way take a lot more time and effort than putting together a 15-30min tutorial video.

I completely understand both sides of the argument… I would love here your thoughts.


(Joe Workman) #13

I do also want to add that the Affinity comparison to Realmac is a little unfair. Serif is a large company that has been around since 1987 and have around 100 employees. They have a lot more resources than Realmac or companies like myself.

As I stated in my last comment, I completely understand your argument. I even share that sediment, but am challenging myself to think outside of that for the benefit of users that need those extra learning resources.

As for being nervous that some 3rd party developers hav left… don’t be!

Henk has created some great themes over the years but really has not regularly put out new themes in many many years. Loghound built some apps on the side which turned into more ventures and a nice job that did not leave him much time for working on RapidWeaver. Adam Merrifield (SeyDoggy) was in a similar boat. Adam is a hard core techie that was dying to work on emerging technologies.

If we look at the ecosystem as a whole, RapidWeaver is 10x better than it was just 5 years ago. User are building sites that we never could imagine would have been possible. I don’t want to toot my own horn but I have been working tirelessly for the past 5 years on Foundation, Total CMS and other products. I feel these have played a big part in that shift.

I am not done. I think that 2018/2019 will be the biggest years ever. I have some stuff coming that will definitely raise the bar. I can see the finish line of the vision that I had for the perfect web design product just over 5 years ago. Its taken me a lot longer to get here than I ever thought but I am so glad that we are almost there.


(klaatu) #14

@joeworkman

You have accomplished so much. More, I think it can be said, than any other add-on developer - especially in the stacks, frameworks and CMS AND email space. Pardon me, if I’m missing anything else as your output is as prolific as it is transformative.

Offering paid tutorials for those who need them to maximise the value from your portfolio is a great idea; sounds like a perfect fit for Udemy to me.

Now, that said, lets bring this back on topic and let me make two points or observations:

  • The concern which was raised, I think, was why are RMS spending time on developing and selling training on RW when our expectation, I think, was that they are supposed to be working away on improving, stabilising and innovating the product? I won’t get into direct product criticism as I know you won’t/can’t be drawn on that, but let’s face it… where is the innovation in recent years? Blog page / Publishing (dump it!!) / Resources limitations / Speed of use / Quality of built in themes and so on?

  • stacks (lower case) inhabiting Stacks (upper case) are riding along as a humble ‘page type’ in the RW core. Correct? So much of this infrastructure and community you and other have built is founded on a page type and plugin architecture exposed by RW Core. Don’t you, as the forward thinking guy you are, find that a little limiting?

Don’t you, and the other innovators in this space, deserve better? As you talk about the future, I look at what else is happening in this space ( New Divi, anyone? :heart_eyes: ), and I’m saddened that visionaries like yourself are constrained to such a small interface. So, as you talk about the future and what you have planned … let me put it to you… reach further than even that and look beyond the Api’s that bind you.

Let’s see a RapidWeaver Stacks Edition - where the interfaces between the core engine, including the renderer!, and developer products converge in a website tool befitting the age.


(Doug Bennett) #15

Serif didn’t start with around 100 employees, RealMac has been around since 2002. The comparison was intended to compare free training and well-documented products (like you have done) to a product that until a few years ago, didn’t even have manual and charged for even basic videos. I know it kept me away from RapidWeaver for years.
Different business models can produce different results.


(Joe Workman) #16

I wish that I could tell you things that I know, but I cannot. RapidWeaver is improving, Stacks is getting better, and my stuff will make you happy (I hope). If you find tools out there that have feature that you would love to see inside RapidWeaver, I would love to know what they are (probably not on this thread though).


(Dylan Banks) #17

In all fairness, Ben creates the tutorials and I don’t believe he’s a Mac app developer and more full stack. But correct me if I’m wrong Ben. You can’t expect someone to do fully fledged tutorials for free.


(Tapio Laakkonen) #18

I understand points @labcoatguy brought up, and I think it is a topic that will benefit the community in the long run.

As a new weaver, I was happy to found those tutorials. I love how well they are made. Real Mac has been generous in offering deals for their courses as well.

Thanks @joeworkman for jumping into lion’s den and making a clarification and giving hopeful glance int to the future and what to wait.


(Gary) #19

I would rather see developers and RM spend more time making the “product” easier to use than create expensive video courses on how to use the product. Why not make the RW SEO easy to understand than continue with the antiquated current system that needs a £129 video course with supporting material?

For example, some stacks developers do not use the brilliant stacks Tool Tips, which should be the first line of on Edit screen support. Many support videos were created many years ago using RW5 making these videos almost redundant. Also, some documentation is nothing more that a list of min and max values and nothing about the function of the stack.

IMHO, instructional product videos that you have to pay for are not tolerated in most markets and they should be free. New prospective users of RW must be put off by the fact that there are video courses that are more expensive than the product itself. A quick check of some of RW’s competition in a similar space (Blocs, BootstrapStudio, Sparkle & Pinegrow) reveals that their instructional videos are all free.


(LabCoat Guy) #20

While we’ve got Pandora’s Box open, and we’re fishing around in here, let me clarify a couple of things. For the most part I’m happy with RapidWeaver, as I’ve been an owner/user since v3.

At the same time I’ve also bought other RealMac titles because of my RW experience, but they’ve all just sort of evaporated or melted or disappeared for no apparent reason:

LittleSnapper, ButtonBuilder, Socialite, ThemeBuilder, Ember, Clear, Courier, and I’m sure there are more.

Oh yeah, Typed, a writing/blogging app. I really liked that one while it lasted.

I know LittleSnapper became Ember, but Ember went away. It’s not even listed on the RealMac web site anymore under products, but this thread popped up a few months ago: Help with Ember App Update

The RealMac wiki page is even more comprehensive. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realmac_Software#Apps

Does anybody want to place a bet as to how much longer the image size reducing app Squash will stay under the RealMac roof? I’m sure it’s a good app–for now–but how much longer before it goes away or the support dwindles?

I’ve not bought Squash because of this reason, but I have bought every other RealMac title. I still use Clear near-daily on my iPhone. I think it’s fabulous.

Despite a perpetual history of inconsistency, the one consistency about RealMac is RapidWeaver. That’s got to be their bread and butter, because it’s the only app they still have, and if that is their bread and butter, why not explain it better without making us buy it all over again with the paid tutorials? Why not give us all tickets to get under the hood and maximize it’s potential?

If we do buy the tutorials, will those disappear too along with all other RealMac projects–with the exception of RapidWeaver?

Or is the revenue stream so poor at RealMac that the paid tutorials are now critical?