Today I’m changing Sofa’s price from Free to $4.99. In a world were people don’t pay for apps, you may think that I’m an idiot. While very possible, there are a few good reasons to do this.

The goal is for Sofa to become a sustainable business. To do that, it needs to make money. There are many ways to potentially do this, and all have pros and cons. The rest of this post goes into some of the thinking behind the decision.

I Understand the Job-to-be-done

When I first launched Sofa 2.0, I wasn’t sure what people would hire it for. This is one of the reasons it was free. I treated it like an extended beta test. Now that 2.0 has been out for a few months, and I’ve spoken to customers, I have a good idea how and why it’s used. This is the main reason to move to a paid app.

Why not Free + Ads?

I thought about using ads during the beta, but decided against it. The main reason being how Sofa is actually used. People use Sofa to help them relax. Whether it’s picking their next book to read or a movie to watch after a long day of work. Placing ads in this flow doesn’t make people more relaxed. There is a good argument that it makes them more stressed. No ads.

Why not a Subscription?

I gave this option the most thought. While it’s always a future option, it ended up not being a good fit. In it’s current state, Sofa doesn’t lend itself to a subscription. Additionally, I’m concerned about subscription fatigue. Subscriptions are great for businesses, but too many can be overwhelming for customers.

Why a Paid App?

When you weigh all the options I outlined above, you can see how I landed here. This model is simple and used most in everyday life. I see something I like, I pay for it, and now I have it. That thing you pay for could be coffee, a backpack, or headphones. I am aware that people don’t pay for apps like they used to. What I really hear is “people don’t pay for apps they don’t think are worth it.” As long as I deeply understand the job customers have, I can develop a product worth paying for. Like building any business, this will be incredibly difficult.

I already downloaded Sofa for Free. Will I have to pay now?

Nope. If you’ve already downloaded Sofa, this price change will not affect you at all. Thanks for being an early Sofa user and enjoy the free app :)

If you haven’t downloaded Sofa yet, you can get it in the App Store. It’s a great tool for helping you remember what to watch and read.