App Monetization and Distribution Expert from LicenseSpring will answer any and all of your questions! ASK ME ANYTHING about Software Monetization, Development, Distribution, Licensing, Tech, SaaS, Cloud-based Licensing, Agile, Life and much more! #AMA

Edmon Moren
Jul 5, 2018

Want to know how to make the most of your App?  OR Want to know about software development in general? Or perhaps you have questions on how to make, distribute and sell an awesome app idea!

MEET EDMON! Edmon Moren, Serial Entrepreneur & Co-Founder of LicenseSpring, is passionate about Revenue Optimization & License Management for applications. He has worked with several tech start-ups as well as a top 100 Internet Retailer. His experience lies as a project manager in Agile development settings, and as a seasoned analytics-driven digital marketer. His latest venture, LicenseSpring, is an enterprise-class, cloud-based licensing platform for both Windows and Mac software publishers that brings simplicity to configuring software states, maintenance periods, updates, and upgrades for each customer at scale. In other words, it is a free cloud-based licensing solution that helps software developers optimize their revenue models by selling their apps! Ask Edmon ANYTHING! 

What is the Vibe of this AMA? What is AMA Vibe?

This AMA has finished, no more comments and questions can be posted and votes submitted to those. Check other similar AMAs here or host your own AMA!

Conversation (53)

In three easy steps and under a minute you could be hosting your own AMA. Join our passionate community of AMA hosts and schedule your own AMA today.

Let's get started!

What is a reasonable amount to offer a coder to develop a simple app for a website? I want to create a page on my website that offers my students simple matching games to practice in between lessons. Ideally, I would be able to create various data sets and just merge each with a game to create a new version for each step in each level and save all of the different versions so I can share only what's relevant with each class as we progress.

Jul 11, 9:59AM EDT0

I generally believe that when it comes to developing an app, you usually get what you pay for. Additionally, it's very easy for projects which seem simple to fail. Here are some considerations when developing an app:

  • Which platform does it need to be compatible with? (you said web, so I presume most browsers)
  • Does it require a database to store and retrieve any information?
  • How important is the design / user interface?
  • Do you expect to expand the features / functionality of the app?
  • How many people are going to be using the app? This will influence your decision on the sort of hosting / DB you would select.
  • What sort of access and reporting will you need? These have to be planned ahead of time.

It's very rare that you would find a single coder who can do everything (unless it's a simple web application), so you might be better off looking for an agency with a PM / front end dev and back-en dev at the very least. salaries for decent developers start at about $25 / hour and up. For a very imple app, there are "templates" you could use and try to customize which can be cheap (such as plugins to a content management system), but it will be very difficult to customize it to suit exactly what you're looking for.

Jul 17, 7:45PM EDT0
Outside of direct mCommerce, what are the basic options for app monetization strategies?
Jul 6, 8:03PM EDT0

Hi Koushick, I answered a similar question for Jay. The obvious ones are:

- Cross-promotion / advertising

- offering paid support

- selling the data of your users (see Social Networks)

- sponsoring content / solutions

I have heard of publishers adding cryptocurrency miners in their "free" apps. Note that I do not condemn or condone any monetization strategy :)

Jul 17, 7:36PM EDT0
Why is it best to consider and plan for monetization during the Strategy phase of an app?
Jul 6, 2:26PM EDT1

The way a software publisher monetizes their software will have important repercussions across almost all aspects of their business. For example, the revenue model will greatly affect the development process. If a publisher sells perpetual licenses, they are incentivized to divvy up their products into periodic releases (eg: Release a new major version once a year), and manage a potentially daunting matrix of upgrade prices. Using a subscription model incentivises the publisher to release smaller more frequent updates to their users rather than a large periodic major update. From a product management and also from a corporate culture point of view, switching from a waterfall to an agile approach is no mundane task.

Dealing with existing customers while changing the revenue model can become very tricky, since the publishers will need to take into consideration the expectations of existing users. For example, when switching from a perpetual license to a subscription, the publisher will need to offer a way for old customers to transition to the new pricing model. Usually a change will disadvantage some customers

Changing the pricing model even by a little bit is usually met with a lot of scrutiny and resistance (unless it’s clearly better for customers). Any changes usually need to be justified and defended publicly, especially for software titles that have had any sort of public visibility.

 

In real world, app companies almost always have to modify their revenue models as their product and service offerings evolve. Although painful, it is often a necessary step that these companies have to take in order to remain relevant.

Jul 17, 7:20PM EDT0
What were the considerations that your team used to determine the type of monetization you wanted to develop?
Jul 6, 3:58AM EDT0

License Spring is monetized through a pretty straightforward way for now:  We offer a free version for small companies looking to add a license management solution in their app, and a paid version which enables publishers to offer more complex license models.

However, our license management solution enables app publishers a lot more flexilibity with how THEY choose to monetize their apps. For example, they can use licensespring to set up a trial / puchase, issue keys that work on multiple computers at once (concurrency), locking the usage of the license key to a particular network (such as an office / VPN), or even setting up a subscription to their app.

Depending on the types of customers that app publishers sell to, different monetization models will make sense in their category. We give them the tools to implement an optimal monetization strategy.

Jul 17, 7:30PM EDT0
How has monetization methods changed over time and how has this evolution affected the development of LicenseSpring?
Jul 6, 3:49AM EDT0
How safe is a person's data when they are using SaaS?
Jul 4, 2:17AM EDT1

Most Security experts will adamently admit that everything is "hackable". There is news of a data breach in a major firm that handles sensitive data almost daily. Some antivirus companies will even go so far as describing the likelihood of breaches as a matter of "when", not "if"...

Any respectible Cloud-based company (we'll assume cloud-based SaaS companies) will have many safeguards in place to ensure that if a breach were to occur it would be minimal. They would also have a plan in place to deal with any eventual breach (such as network monitoring and alerts for suspicious connections, and informing their users to reset their passwords). In fact, a description of the safeguards as well as a detailed action plan in the event of a breach is part of the law in some parts of the world (see GDPR).

Most companies with a cloud-based offering will be constantly monitoring and auditing their security protocols to minimize potential exposure over the long run. This is something that is very hard to do for companies that run all of their services in-house (unless they are large corporations with many resources at their disposal).

I should also add that the word "safe" could mean a few things. I'm assuming you were asking whether SaaS products have proper safeguards against a breach in their user's data, and whether those safeguards are normally more robust than alternatives (such as your personal computer, or mobile phone). I would suspect that subscribing to a SaaS product will protect your data better on average, since he average person is not particularily saavy with regards to protecting their personal information online.

On the other hand, I can think of a few SaaS companies that are notoriously  deceptive with the way they use a person's data, Although I suppose safety and deceit are two different things....

Last edited @ Jul 5, 7:38PM EDT.
Jul 5, 7:29PM EDT0
What are the must ask questions when one is choosing a SaaS vendor?
Jul 4, 2:15AM EDT0

It really depends on the type of service you are looking to choose, depending on how expensive it is, how critical it is for your business (or yourself), and how sensitive the data that they process is. Here are a few categories of questions I usually think of:

- Success stories: See if there are any customers that can vouch for the product or service.

- Security: have your IT person evaluate the product from a security standpoint to ensure the product complies with your internal security measures.

- Reliability: Find out whether they have a Service Level Agreement, and compare it to their competitors.

- Legal / compliance: some countries require that data is handled in specific ways. Canada for example requires the servers for some types of private data to be within Canada.

Jul 5, 7:48PM EDT0
With SaaS sales, is it better to have an annual price or a monthly price, billed annually?
Jul 2, 9:02PM EDT0

This really depends, since there is a lot that goes into pricing. Often times a SaaS company only breaks even on a client after several months (sometimes longer!). This is because they need to factor in acquiring the customer (marketing / promotion), along with all costs associated with serving the customer. By receiving the money up front (even with a discount), some potential cashflow issues could be relieved for the company. This could be very important for some companies, especially ones with insufficiently-funded SaaS companies.

However, pricing can also be seen as part of the customer onboarding strategy. Paying month to month may feel less risky for the customer. If they love your service, they might eventually switch to an annual contract.

Jul 5, 7:56PM EDT0
What are the best resources (books/blogs/websites) to read on enterprise sales for SaaS?
Jul 2, 8:30PM EDT0

Some of my favorite blogs about SaaS are:

 

Here are some books related to the psychology around making people willing to adopt a recurring revenue model which I had found helpful:

  • Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
  • For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business
  • Delivering Happiness

Some of my favorite companies to follow (which are SaaS products):

  • Quickbooks (Intuit)
  • Mailchimp
  • HotJar
  • GitLab
  • Zapier
  • EventBrite
  • Trello
Jul 5, 4:53PM EDT0
What does it mean for a company's open source software distribution to be "certified"?
Jul 2, 8:22PM EDT0
What is something that most people fail to understand or have misconstrued ideas about when it comes to your business?
Jul 1, 3:43AM EDT0

I think the average person on the street has not given a whole lot of thought to the fact that they do not own the software on their phones or their computers, but rather a license that allows them to use the software in a specific way.

Jul 5, 4:49PM EDT0
What should a client expect when they hire you?
Jun 30, 8:39PM EDT1

The job that our customers (software publishers) hire us for is to help them set up usage rights to their software that is aligned with the way they wish to sell it.

Turns out its almost never worth building this in house, while most existing solutions are either difficult to use, or very expensive.

Jul 5, 4:47PM EDT0
What are the business that you target to have as your clients in LicenseSpring?
Jun 30, 1:57PM EDT0

We primarily serve desktop application developers for Mac, and who do not think selling on the Apple App Store is worth the exorbitant commission they ask for. We have the same functionality and support available for Windows-based application developers, but for some reason they don’t seem to sell on FastSpring as much as the Mac devs.

Jul 5, 4:48PM EDT0
How has LicenseSpring grown in terms of services offered from when you started out till now?
Jun 30, 1:45PM EDT0

We started off with a single client as a use-case and developed a solution that allowed them to handle the trial, and full version of the app that they offered.

We now have built out whole LicenseSpring platform and integration with Fastspring’s E-commerce platform, along with SDKs for Windows, Mac and iOS developers, to make it easy to integrate our licensing solution into any app. We have also extended the different types of licensing models available, as well as built a platform for customer support to manage the keys.

Last edited @ Jul 5, 4:44PM EDT.
Jul 5, 4:44PM EDT1
How the idea for License Spring came into being?
Jun 30, 7:32AM EDT0

Hi Dumohin,

I replied to a similar question posted by Jahan, thanks! 

Jul 5, 4:32PM EDT0
Can you name some of the benefits your clients get from using your license management solution?
Jun 30, 2:47AM EDT0

What strategies have you found most effective to market License Spring?

Jun 29, 8:43PM EDT0

Currently we have had some success contacting publishers directly. We have also seen some results by advertising on search engines.

Jul 5, 4:42PM EDT0
Who is your target market? What kind of businesses are best served using License Spring?
Jun 29, 8:19PM EDT0

We primarily serve desktop application developers for Mac, and who do not think selling on the Apple App Store is worth the commission they ask for. We have the same functionality available for Windows-based application developers, but for some reason they don’t seem to process on FastSpring as much as the Mac devs.

Jul 5, 4:42PM EDT0

How is your company any different from others like it? What is unique about you?

Jun 29, 8:13PM EDT0

I believe we are still the only FREE Enterprise-grade licensing solution :)

Jul 5, 4:41PM EDT0

What would be the motive for a tech company or a startup to monetize their software?

Jun 29, 3:58PM EDT0

Money supports the development of the software. It allows the developer to maintain and improve their software, purchase rights to embed other people’s software for components that are too costly to produce in-house, promote the software.

Jul 5, 4:40PM EDT0