News! It is now possible to buy Hook licenses. And Launch date

We have two big news items to share with you.

First, although Hook is still in public beta, it is now possible to buy and activate a license key for Hook!

Also we have settled on prices: Hook Essentials will cost $US14.99, and Hook Pro will cost $US19.99. The Pro price is $10.00 less than we had previously proposed. We consider this to be a bargain, given how valuable your cognitive productivity is, and all.

Hook Version 1.0-beta (build 2545, which we have just released, or a later one) is required to activate your license.

We will greatly appreciate any and all feedback from users about the purchase process, and of course about Hook itself.

Second, the Official Hook 1.0 Launch date will be Wednesday July 10, 2019, at which point Hook will exit beta.

We may release a new build before then. And we will release a build of Hook on Launch day.

For several years, we have been planning many of the upcoming features. Some of the upcoming features were partly developed over the years. We have also gratefully considered your feedback throughout the beta and will continue to do so. We are already busy on future functions of Hook!

Thanks for your contributions, continued support, and sharing information about Hook :slight_smile: .

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When considering when to buy a license, I assume the feature set for each tier isn’t going to change before release?

There’s an error on the feature table, ‘Maximum number of Macs on which can use Hook’ should surely be NA for Lite version.

correct. if we add anything before then, it will be to both.

thanks. I’ve set it to n/a.

I purchased Hook very easily from my mobile using Apple Pay. The activation process was simple. Two issues around device licensing:

  1. When purchasing, it needs highlighting by the Buy button how many devices you get per license, as the first question you are asked in the purchasing process is how many licences you want.
  2. I can’t see anything in the UI to see how many devices I have activated on and how many remain. Also, how do I deactivate a device — or is this all on an honour system?

many thanks for all this helpful feedback, Steve.

Hook currently doesn’t have a user interface to the license management system (whose implementation will change from time to time, e.g., with the dynamic multi-mac syncing). If users unduly hit a threshold, which should rarely happen, they are kindly asked to contact us, and we will promptly update the license manager.

Purchasing issues:

  1. ApplePay fails (MacBook Pro with TouchBar). I’ve seen this frequently with Paddle, so I assume it is a Paddle failure.
  2. Upgrading Hook via “Check for Updates…” fails a few times before it succeeds. Not sure what that’s about.
  3. After a purchase, and then click the license key link in the email, Hook fails to recognize that link as a license, repeatedly, for five minutes or so after the email is delivered, and then finally Hook “gets it” and applies the license. Seems to be a timing issue between servers in the background and might be a transitory issue. However, why not just send the license key and provide a field in Preferences to paste the key, which is “normally” the process. (If anything in software land is “normal” :slight_smile:)
  4. Had to read around the documentation to get the point that the “license” is really a 12-month type of subscription that includes releases. Why not just be upfront about this in the table – the row that says “Free Updates” should be “Updates – 12 months”. I think Agenda’s explanation of how its base and premium feature set works is a clear way of explaining this.

Anyway, bought the “pro” version. Good luck with your sales! Have to reiterate my main issue: a tool to search for and discovery existing meshes is very lacking and a drawback to wide-scale use of Hook for me.

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Just fiddling around and noticed that if I use the Essentials link I get charged in £GBP (local currency) but if I use the Pro link I get charged in $USD. That’s weird.

They’re device limiting so it needs to check with their servers instead of just checking the key is valid (one reason I’ve suggested they don’t limit by device).

Purchase process was superb.

Activation process was a bit non obvious (I was a bit dumb; going too fast) - I expected Hook to have an in-app menu to paste in the license code, like most shareware apps.

Like some other apps I bought in the past, yours is better: you ask us to click a link in the license email.
That’s great but I didn’t look at the instructions below the link and copied the “license code” to my clipboard to paste it in your app somewhere. Then I searched for 2 minutes in Hook for the activation menu before going back to the email and reading its instructions to do the right thing (witch worked).

I suggest writing a summary of the instructions above the link.

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That’s weird indeed. Our Paddle payment settings are identical for each product, except for price. I have contacted Paddle regarding your experience, with a link to this forum post.

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many thanks, @quorm, I’ve made some improvements to the Buy page based on your requests.

I’ll go into a bit of detail here given the imminent formal launch.

Had to read around the documentation to get the point that the “license” is really a 12-month type of subscription that includes releases.

The updates are limited but the full-featured app ownership is not. The app subscription model (which we do not use) involves core app features the use of which ends when the subscription ends, leaving the user with at best read-only features. Compare OmniFocus’s subscription option:

when you stop subscribing to OmniFocus you’ll lose access to the things that were being provided by that subscription. When a subscription ends you won’t be able to use OmniFocus for the Web any more—and any OmniFocus apps running on your own devices will go back to whatever state they were in before you subscribed.

(Of course, OmniFocus has a non-subscription offer too. But some apps are fully subscription — the ones I’ve investigated go “read only” after subscription ends.)

That is not how our model works. Hook remains fully featured even after a year, even if a user does not buy the Updates license. Our license model is based on Daniel Alm’s excellent Timing app, an app that I love and use daily. To illustrate the difference between it and an “app subscription” model, after my Timing license expired I myself went for several months before I renewed it (I waited because I wasn’t sure which of its 4 payed levels I needed, and the app met my needs). That gave me flexibility. And I could have gone longer without an upgrade, as the app worked fine for me.

With the Timing model (which Hook is based on): if a user’s credit card information is out of date, isn’t sure which level of the app to buy, is financially tight, is waiting for their employer to complete the purchase order, or whatever, they can keep using the app after the year runs out.

We based our model on Timing’s because we wanted to give our customers something better than an app subscription model — i.e., we sincerely believe it is significantly different and better for them. (Indefinite use of the app, subscription to post 12-month updates at an additional cost).

the row that says “Free Updates” should be “Updates – 12 months”.

It’s very tricky to fit wording in the cell of a table that adequately conveys the information, which is why we used a hyperlink. I.e., a cell is not enough for a description that captures the alternatives. (Some people read the table on iPhone-size screens.) However, your suggestion has prompted us to update the text. I think it is clearer now. It still contains links, which is essential because to understand the row, one needs to read the Software Updates section, which is the very first section after the table.

On related notes,

  • subscription models are of course rather new to Mac consumer software, so it remains to be seen how models will develop, and what naming conventions will be used. If more developers follow Timing’s lead (as we have), perhaps a distinct term will be used for it in the culture of Mac users.
  • this model is a bit more complex (and hence requires more text) to describe than a 100% subscription model. However, it’s simpler than offering both a subscription and standard license model (contrast the options for OmniGroup’s excellent OmniFocus software).
  • The updates section and the rest of the page were tricky to write given that during the beta period, we also received feedback to make it briefer than it was.
  • Our model differs a bit from Timing’s, however, in that we offer a Lite mode enabling users to use some features of Hook for free. Getting that option right (if we have) required a lot of thought. By providing a free Lite version, I think we’ve given something that delivers additional value for paying users. It means paying users can send friends/colleagues links, and recipients can use them for free. In addition, Lite users can also create and send links to emails. This we hope will help Hook to spread, which is also good for all Hook users. We’ll be making further email-related enhancements to Hook for all users.

I think Agenda’s explanation of how its base and premium feature set works is a clear way of explaining this.

Are you referring to this page: https://agenda.community/t/get-all-features/21 , the third parag of which is about recurring fees?

As explained above, the wording of Hook’s Upgrades section is adapted from Timing’s page, which is the model that is closest to Hook. It is different from Agenda’s.

Later, I will write a blog post or help page explaining the rationale for our sales model, as I think it’s relevant to the Mac blogosphere as all developers try to optimize their sales models to fund product development and operations, and consumers optimize their purchases.

I still concur with your expressed need for more mesh features. This remains on our todo list, multi-device syncing being amongst our highest priorities.

Thanks again for helping us improve Hook and its documentation!

And thanks to Daniel Alm for the model he developed for Timing, and for discussing with me over the last several years.

One thing I am still not clear on is script additions/updates. Are they always free or do they count as part of the paid updates?

Also, you have probably already thought lots about this, but I can foresee problems where a customer doesn’t renew, so maintains pro features but no updates, and they get sent a link from a newer version which is not compatible (possibly a rare change in link-coding). They are left with either installing the newer Lite version and loosing their pro features, or not being able to open some links but keeping pro features.

During the beta we had separated script updates from app updates. This proved to be too cumbersome to explain. We then put them together in the Updates tab.

Script updates count as software updates. Therefore, when the right to free Updates expire, scripts updates will also stop.

The Updates license is partly meant to fund ongoing maintenance of scripts, reflecting the real cost of development. ( CogSci Apps has [currently] unpaid founders and paid software developers – no offshore development)

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I don’t know the solution but that then raises a similar issue to the one I raise above — if script updates stop and a 3rd party app update breaks the script (and you can’t fix it yourself with Essentials) then you have to choose between keeping features but loosing access to existing hooks in that app, or downgrading to Lite (or paying to regain access).

I entirely see from a business model why you want to directly link the work of updating scripts to the income, but purely from a customer’s point of view it puts them in an unexpected and confusing position.

Pricing and purchasing are inevitably multi-dimensional optimization problems with several dependencies.

If a customer encounters a compatibility issue, they can renew their Updates license or refuse/backtrack the update from the other app if possible/desired. (Sometimes users have the choice to update the other app or not.)

If a customer wants to update the Hook scripts themselves; yes, they need a Pro license and that too is known up front.

Compare 1password (and similar apps). 1p integrates with browsers and other apps. Browser changes sometimes force AgileBits (its developer) to update the app. If a user has an expired subscription license, they won’t get that update. I’m a 1p user and I simply keep my 1p subscription up to date.

Similarly with Timing, and presumably other time tracking apps. They integrate with lots of apps via scripting (to be able to report time in them). If those apps change, Timing might be affected.

Or compare a (currently) typical app license: a macOS update (whether major or minor) can break a major function of the app. Often developers will issue major updates coinciding with macOS updates (because it’s a lot of work).

In all cases, customers need to make decisions about when go for the upgrade or renewal.

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I think you’re probably right. The difference may end up being how fragile Hook’s scripts turn out to be in practice. If the occasional app breaks after updates expire, you’re right this is normal but, if everything collapses without updates a month after expiration, then Hook is actually an (unintentionally ) disguised subscription model.

On a tangent, have you considered making Hook available additionally through SetApp? I don’t know how the numbers work out for you, but as a SetApp user Hook seems a good match with what they’re doing. I don’t know the minimum time you’d have to commit to but in the first year, say, of Hook’s launch, it would help raise its profile. Long term I think it fits the update model too.

thanks again for that. Paddle got back to me and it turns out that I had misread their user interface. I have corrected it and enabled all currencies for Pro too.

Sorry for the inconvenience, and thanks again — now it’s corrected for everyone.

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Thanks to everyone who supported Hook development by purchasing a license already. And again to each and everyone of you who posted on this forum!

Hook is and will be much better as a result.

We are within hours of the official launch! Prepping the Hook DMG, doing final modifications to the press kit, etc.

But first, a quick trip to the gym for me :slight_smile: