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Why not a Perk for Beta Testers.

christopher_quijanochristopher_quijano OS Professional Posts: 41 PRO
I posted this comment in another thread but I think its worth having its own thread.

There has been a lot of discussion today about the free plans being very limited now and almost unworkable for many people. Onshape obviously wants to make money so their is a push to get people on the Pro plan.

At one end of the spectrum, for the hobbyist, those that may only do one or two side jobs a year, or those that already own a seat of another cad system, $1200 is very difficult to justify. At the other end of the spectrum, the Full time professional, or the company, Onshape still lack a lot of capability to be usable in production.

I see lots of great things in Onshape and what it is trying to do for cad. As with most people here I have been very outspoken to colleagues and pretty much anyone I talk engineering to about how great this tool is going to be.  At the same time (really today) I feel like Onshape wants me to pay $1200 (full price) to be a beta tester and this bothers me.

So, instead of creating a middle tier, why not give the beta testers 50% off a year of Onshape or until the beta period expires?  This offer would probably more than double Onshape paid user base providing them with more revenue. It also provide more users who are able and willing to test the full system, larger models, partner solutions, etc.  This would in turn provide Onshape with a better program, thus getting more users and more revenue. Hopefully by the time this offer expires, we would be able to export and import our documents from our local hard drive.

For the beta testers is allows us to keep pushing what the limits of what the software can do and allows us to be part of the future of cad.  Onshape will have more people out preaching about Onshape and spreading the good word.

Onshape is a great tool that has the potential to really change the cad world. However, it is beta and it still lacks many of the basic functionality that is needed for a full fledged cad system. I think as users we are being ripped off if we pay full price for the current state of the software but at the same we cannot be greedy and ask not to pay anything.  I would like to see a win-win for everyone.



  • martin_bruckermartin_brucker Member Posts: 1

    I agree with your points and I think that this is propably one of the greatest challenges to any web-based service that is offering a product to both full-time professionals and part-time more-or-less-hobbyists.

    I had a similar thing with Photoshop when they started "disappearing" into the cloud. I could justify the cost for a local software (student version, mind you), because I only pay for it once and can then continue using it as long as I wish. But I could never justify the expense for a monthly subscription because there could be months without me using the software.
    I don't need all the functionality of the full version, but the "consumer" versions like Photoshop elements, and the alternatives on the market (like GIMP) lack so much functionality that I don't consider them. They are too "dumbed down". So I need maybe 70% functionality and cannot pay a monthly fee.

    I appreciate that this may be a non-issue if you make money using a software, then it becomes a cost-benefit analysis and you don't care if you pay a big sum once or a smaller sum monthly, plus you can justify much higher costs than a hobbyist or startup, because you make a lot more revenue with it.
    As soon as onshape becomes a real alternative to conventional CAD, with all the additional functionalities that are being developed right now, pro users will be happy to pay a monthly fee.

    However, hobbyists, "makers", tinkerers etc. like myself will not be able to justify a thousand dollars a year, ever. The question for Onshape is, do you want them to pay, too, or do you want to give them the proverbial free ride?

    Will there be a "full grown" CAD system for commercial users in the future, with automatic BOM creation, parameter lists and calculated parameters, with basic FEM functionality like in SolidWorks, with sheetmetal and piping and whatnot functions that pro users can use as a full replacement for today's 3D CAD systems? And will there be a limited CAD similar to what we have in Onshape today, aimed at startups and hobbyists?
    Of course this "hobby" Onshape must not be too dumbed down, then it would be useless. I think when Onshape is used by people in their spare time, it is used by people who have an interest (and experience) in serious CAD and not Sketchup and the likes of that. Limiting its functionality too much would deter these people and furthermore, mean that makers don't see Onshape as something worth considering once they start a business and need a "real" CAD system.

    So, to wrap up, I don't think there will be an issue to convince commercial users to pay for the service. Onshape is already good and on track to becoming awesome. The concept is great, and so is the support from their staff.
    The question is, how do you charge hobby users?
    Do you keep a basic Onshape free? If yes, what is "basic"?
    Do you want to limit functionality? Well, that is a possibility, but you would need to make the cut where it really only hits commercial operations, either in functionality or in complexity/number of projects. Again, too "dumbed down" and it loses so much appeal that you won't see it as a "proper CAD".
    Do you want to continue limiting storage, like today? Well, first of all, limiting "private" storage does not cut the costs, public projects still need server space. Second, what if I reach my total storage limit? Can I download projects to my hard disk for archiving or do I need to delete them for good? I would not mind storing things locally to relieve Onshape from having to store my stuff, but I could imagine a re-upload after three years could be problematic from a compatibility point of view?
    Do you want to charge for time to use? Well, sounds great, but somethimes I have a quick idea and log on for five minutes to make a change or just check something and that's it. If I had to buy a day pass (or week, or month pass) just to do that, that would be a serious deterrent everytime I am not working "full time" on something.

    These are difficult questions, and while I certainly don't have the perfect answer, I hope the team will come up with a good way to solve these issues. Not only because I have finally found a real CAD system that I can use in my spare time, and I would love to continue using it, but also because I think the idea of onshape is too good to die for a lack of funding just because you are clogged up with hobby users who don't contribute to the system...

  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,431 PRO
    I think we just need to move on at the moment.

    Let's see how it goes with current plans. Hobbyists can jump to pro for a month ($100) and then back to free. You can always log on for five minutes and check something - paid or free.
  • juan_avilesjuan_aviles Member Posts: 78 ✭✭
    edited September 2015
    For now I'm with @3dcad .  The problem I would have with a 50% plan is not knowing what the future holds for Onshape's pricing plan.  When I have time to work with Onshape, it's on projects for my business.  I don't really do "what if" or "experimental" modeling just to learn since I don't have the time.  If I commit to Onshape during a 50% plan, and the final price plan changes at release to something I can't use, then all my work is locked up in Onshape.  

    For now, I'm just riding along and with the current plan, until I have a more concrete idea of what the future holds.
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