Optimizing GRID for spreadsheet modelers
Love is growth
These last few months we’ve been reevaluating our strategy a bit. We know we’ve put together a unique product and built some amazing technology. But while our mass-market approach of building “the numbers tool for the next generation” has attracted a large number of users, commercial results have been modest, so we’ve been asking ourselves some deep hard questions: Where are we really? Where does the truly unique value in what GRID has built lie and to whom is it valuable?
In addition to deep analysis of our user and usage data (we’ve always been very data-driven in our approach), we also had discussions with many of our super users; those that are truly using the unique aspects of our product to fulfill valuable aspirations, many of whom use GRID for hours every day.
The long and short of it is that the people that *love* GRID are spreadsheet modelers. They are also the people that are using GRID in their "craft", often for something very close to revenue generation, ranging from the lead capture calculators we saw early on to directly selling access to GRID documents in the form of a "Model-as-a-Service". I wrote a blog post with some more details on these types of use-cases last month. It turns out GRID empowers modelers to do so much more than just calculators, we just didn’t see it early on.
Of our paying customers a vast majority (>80%) are using spreadsheet models. This is despite our 16 month push in the “Next gen” world where the use-cases are primarily static visualizations. And many of these paying modelers have been with us for a long time. In fact we still have an incredible proportion of the early subscribers from 2021 still with us.
There is a lot more, all leading to the same conclusion. In short, spreadsheet modelers use GRID to build important tools that can hardly be built using any other product, while those with static data build visualizations where other methods exist. Additionally, the models usually have significant business value while the static Notion visualizations often do not.
As a result, we're changing our efforts on all fronts:
Product development: We've doubled down on features that are especially valuable for spreadsheet modelers and those with more serious use-cases. Many are highly requested features that we've pushed in the name of focus on the next-gen users. On the one hand they're related to interactivity and on the other to embedding and users' ability to control the look, feel and behavior of their embeds and documents - including for lead capture and analytics.
Sales and customer success: We are becoming more "sales-y", helping strong leads over the finish-line with their GRID projects, but with clarity on that there is a subscription sale on the other end. We will also be selling “one-off” consulting where we help customers building out their first document(s) to completion.
Pricing: In line with the above, we are today making a big change to our pricing and - as mentioned in the beginning - business model.
Free tier: The biggest change is that users will now have full access to all GRID features and functionality on a free tier - as long as they are building only for themselves. This gives them ample opportunity to get to know the product, make sure that it meets their requirements and in fact build out their solution in full. However, they will no longer be able to share documents on the free tier.
7 day trial: As soon as a user shares their first document with others, they start a 7-day free trial. Again, this allows them to see what they have created "in production", whether embedded on a web site or by providing others with direct access. However, if they don't upgrade within 7 days their documents will cease to be accessible by others.
Pro ($49/mo): Customer gets the ability to share with some limitations to the number of monthly views and form submissions as well as restrictions with regards to advanced features.
Premium ($215/mo): User gets access to a range of premium features and a generous amount of views and form submissions. Most of the features have to do with professional web development needs, such as highly tailored look and feel, event tracking for granular web analytics, and (shortly) APIs for direct interaction with the GRID documents and their underlying models for programming purposes.
Despite having just now released the plans, we already have commitment from several customers on both plans giving us confidence in the direction we’ve taken.
We are quite excited about this, and the amount of love and affection we are hearing after doubling down on this user group again is truly invigorating.
The phrase "love is growth" (paraphrasing Sean Ellis in his book Hacking Growth) has been thrown around a lot in the office these last few weeks, and we strongly believe that focusing on the users that love GRID will pay dividends fast - and provide a basis to grow - albeit initially with lower top-of-funnel numbers, but a lot more paying and retained customers.
For those who are interested, we published a longer version of this blog on Medium.
CEO of GRID