This morning I composed and sent this message to Patricia Pomerleau, the CEO of the online service CEOExpress.
Soon my subscription to CEOExpress will expire. I do not plan to renew it. I thought you might benefit from knowing why, so I have composed this as-yet-unsolicited “exit interview.”
First, my reasons for leaving are not related to anger or dissatisfaction with the service. You’ve built it into a rich environment that offers the user convenience and ease of use. That’s why I think you will continue to be successful with it. And I am sure many business people and many like me who aren’t executives will continue to use it. You’ve enabled those who don’t want to bother with burying their nose in the details of technology to create a home page that is personalized and to share that with whomever they choose, and for that I congratulate you. If I were an executive running a large company, or even a small one, who didn’t have the time or inclination to build for myself what a homepage on CEOExpress is, and if I could expense the cost of my subscription to my company, I would probably continue to use the service.
However, an executive I am not. In fact, employed I am not. I am retired and on a fixed income.
Hence I have concluded that it no longer makes sense for me to pay for the convenience of CEOExpress’ offerings. An aggregated page of links can be duplicated by intelligent bookmarking. A personalized set of online links can be duplicated on Google’s Personalized Homepage, the so-called iGoogle page. The email service from which I am writing you is a nice addition, and I’m sure it will be better in the future, but it doesn’t compare with the free Gmail offerings that I use and whose paradigm I prefer (labels vs. folders, etc.). I have five different Gmail accounts, each dedicated to a different purpose, so I seldom use the one here at CEOExpress. I know how to use an RSS reader, so the RSS feeds here don’t offer anything unique to me. I suppose one might argue that the social network of users, presuming many or most of them are business leaders, might be worth paying for if I were in a different demographic than I am. But I am what I am, and if the truth be known, I haven’t availed myself of the polls and discussions of them anyway. There is an abundance of social networks and discussion groups online that are free to anyone.
So I am not renewing my subscription because I no longer see sufficient value for me in paying for what I can duplicate, with a little more effort I’ll admit, for free online. The bad news for me is that I no longer have as much money to spend for the convenience your service may offer. The upside of that equation is that I have more time, and probably what’s more important, the interest and inclination to see how I can put together a similar package of services for free. So that’s why I’m not renewing. The decision is economic. I can no longer justify spending the money to subscribe to CEOExpress. And that, I think, may be something you and your team should consider as you tweak your business model.
I hope you find these thoughts useful, and I thank you for the service you have offered me as a charter subscriber for as long as you have. My best wishes for your success in the future.
For you, dear reader, who may not be familiar with CEOExpress’ rates, I offer these facts from a recent renewal letter I received from Patricia.
Renew now for unprecedented savings.
3 years of CEOExpressSelect, for a total of $111. (That’s only $37/year!)
2 years for only $89.
Or, renew for one year at the normal rate of $49. (Monthly subscriptions are also available.)