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Limiting PU access & support to 1 year for long-term viability

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Edit: changing this topic from "idea" to a public explanation after we moved forward with it. 

We limited access to and support for PU to 1 year.

It wasn't an easy decision, but we see it as a short-term pain to ensure long-term viability and success (for all).

Reasons why

Some of the initial reasons that suggested me this was a potentially good option:

  • Support with infinite access is unsustainable if you play the long game because the longer you're around, the more past customers accumulate.
    TPM's mission is for the long haul and, on a long time horizon, infinite support to an ever-growing number of people on a one-off payment is mathematically unsustainable.
    P.S.: this may also be a sign of quality and a bigger issue for quality products like PU, since people do come back for second, third, or several rounds.

    • Prevent heavy-demand customers from keeping TPM's support hostage, such as the customers who never learn how to reset passwords or who don't take 1 second to look for PU in the menu. It's a case of a few spoiling it for all, but it's how it is
  • Continuous access constraints improvements, because guaranteeing access from one sytem to another may prove difficult (or barely possible). A more nimble TPM can instead change content delivery services based on what provides the most value (instead of what guarantees the easiest access to all)
  • Infinite access takes my time away from product & development, to admin work because support folks may not know anything about previous systems and they'd end up contacting me (and my priority is to stay free for making better products, not support)
  • Performance may deteriorate with many users
    • Concomitant users issues
    • Database
  • Infinite access runs against our value of "highest possible quality of product" because it takes time away from product development and into marketing and sales because it's a business model that intrinsically needs to chase sales. Limiting access to 1 year may lead to more repeat purchases, which could allow me to focus less on marketing and sale, and more on product
  • Financial viability to stay in business: there are threats for businesses that need constant new sales (especially if you're dependent on the goodwill of a single channel of acquisition, as we are). I want TPM to be more independent of those risks and market swings.
    Example: I've seen firsthand some otherwise good websites struggle and pump out a flurry of new products just to stay afloat. I don't want TPM to ever do that. We want high quality, not high numbers.
  • The longer you operate, the longer and more complex it gets to service older customer (and takes my time away from product development). Not just in terms of number, but also in terms of finding the records (past emails, past transactions, past systems, etc.) It already happened that this issue took my time from product development to admin work, and it would only get worse with time
  • Piracy issues (that this move helps address). Not the biggest item, but still adds up


There are important downsides to this approach:

  • TPM has to go back on our original word, which sucks. On the other hand, I think it's the lesser evil once you realize your past word was ill-advised (just like for a divorce: it sucks, but if it's unsustainable, it's better to part than suffer)
  • Our reputation and brand may take a hit, which sucks. On the other hand, many others would understand or even appreciate our position
  • Past customers may go from fans, to lukewarm or disappointed, which sucks. They'd have all the right to be disappointed, BTW. For that: my bad, I'm sorry for this, it was my mistake.
  • New customers may be less likely to join if access is limited to 1 year, which may negate the benefits of financial stability and helping more people

The downsides are likely to be mostly short-term and past-looking compared to the benefits, and can be mitigated.

Furthermore, they concern fewer people (only a fraction of former alumni).

The gains are mostly going forward, and since our time horizon is to develop the best products for the time to come, the short-term costs are often worth the long-term advantages.


  • Better products
    • More time to dedicate to product development
    • Potentially more room for investment: professional videos, professional infographics, editors, design-based summaries, etc. This would take PU to the next level we're aiming for
    • Financial incentives align with the goal of adding the most possible value - products so good that people may want to re-join (focus on quality for word-of-mouth and repeat business, VS churning out new sales with focus on marketing & ads). Now that's a good challenge pulling you in the right direction
  • Better customer service based on the principle of "fewer but better"
  • Higher odds of long-term survival and/or thriving
  • Potentially higher completion rates with a "sense of urgency" to go through PU at a faster pace and use it for what's it meant to be: a tool for self-development

Overall, the long-term advantages better align with TPM's mission and values.

The upsides also reach far more people, since it's forward-looking and longer-term.
So from a utilitarian point of view, it also makes sense.


To mitigate the downsides, we will or may:

  • Add an additional "grace period" for past alumni who contact us (doing it already)
  • Add reminders to help people follow through in reasonable terms (done already)
  • Add reminders before the course expires
  • Offer discounted / preferential re-joining options / bonuses for alumni who want to rejoin after 1 year (planned)

And potentially:

  • Add options for download so people may always have access to the version they signed up for (and the updates during that year)

So, in brief:

While I think there are important costs and it bothers me to push those costs on some former alumni, I believe it's a "short-term punch" I must take for the longer-term bigger pie for all.

Maxim Levinsky, C_P and 7 other users have reacted to this post.
Maxim LevinskyC_PIlyaLorenzoEJohn FreemanTinaKavalierPower Ducksillygoose9845
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Hello, Lucio, I think it's only fair. Over these two and a half years, PU improved massively; we've got tons of value on top of what we had already bought when we first signed up, many new additions, updates, articles, not to mention the prompt interaction with you in the forum, solving every kind of doubt, problems, and improving people's lives massively. All of this requires constant work from you, with increasing upkeep, without getting any new revenue from it. After some time, it's easy to see it's unsustainable, since the initial ammount of profit you received would soon be drained by the costs of maintenance. I think everyone that went through PU can understand it's a sucker's trade.

With the download options, you are effectively keeping your promise of "keep it for lifetime", at the same time you're freeing yourself from the burden of providing endless support with the costs involved which might, in the future, kill the business if you didn't address it. And if the business got killed... then it's lose lose for everybody. I think the solution you propose is very win-win.

The caveat, though, is that PU's price tag may suffer pressure to fall. At the current price (which is fair for the value you provide), few people can afford monthly/yearly payments on a continuous basis, though the same people might put in the effort if they were keeping access for lifetime. On the other hand, lower prices might mean more revenue, if more people subscribe.

It's also worth it discussing the matter from the side of legacy alumni, though. True: legacy alumni paid less in the beginning, and only once; but they also paid when the initial ammount was crucial for the business to materialize, and when TPM still had to carve a name for itself in the self-help market. It was high-risk for them, since, while by all means they paid less, the price was not low.

Many additions to PU are also user-generated, since the members' interaction in the forum provides a lot of case studies and new ideas, especially the most advanced ones - sometimes even articles. If, for a reason or another, a high-value member loses his ability to contribute financially, TPM would lose an important driving force for improvement. In a way, current members are already giving back, putting out content for TPM to monetize with new subscribers. It would also be a sucker's trade for the community to pay for content it generates itself.

In the current model, legacy alumni have intrinsic motivation to continue contributing. Even if some user is less active from time to time (due to life constraints, which are bound to increase as we fly higher, or perhaps he had some kind of misunderstanding with other members in the forum, but may be able to overcome it), he feels part of the community and can come back at any point in the future and get back at interacting. But once they start to pay continuously for his access, the relationship might revert to "transactional", in a process that might not be conscious.

So, all in all, I think you've got a fair demand, though, as with everything, there are nuances involved. I favour any decision that is necessary for keeping the website I'm so grateful for, and gives you the well-deserved fruits of your hard work!

Maxim Levinsky, Lucio Buffalmano and 6 other users have reacted to this post.
Maxim LevinskyLucio BuffalmanoZathrianconanMats GAnantha SairamPower Ducksillygoose9845

Great, geat post, Kavalier.

You beautifully covered both anglese equitably and fairly.

It's still a vague concept so far, so no details to go into.

But the most important issue is the "high-level one" anyway.

So the most important high-level caveat about your excellent point about the community and user-generated content/ideas, is that it's not written anywhere that any rule must be a blanket rule (the "law of equal for all" isn't such a great approach when you can find a better alternative to give more to the givers).

Instead, it can be used for worst case scenarios, or as a backstop.

For example, a guy comes back to you every month with some question or request, and you have a backstop to say "can't help anymore after this, you'll have to learn to recover passwords on your own".
Another case may be that one is rude to customer service, and they have the right to say "support is not due anymore" -something I care about, since if we teach people to respect themselvse, anyone who's around or in TPM should have the same right-.

You don't have to necessarily apply that if there is enough spare time and/or to someone who had a legit issue with, say, his account being hacked after one year.

And of course, community members and those who contribute or have contributed with ideas, case studies, feedback, etc will always be in a category of their own.

Even without going too much into details, I think you know what that means :).

C_P, Kavalier and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
C_PKavalierMats GPower Duck
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Hey Lucio, I purchased this course awhile ago and don’t worry I totally understand your decision, but could you allow me access for perhaps just a couple more weeks or whatever you’re able to? It would be greatly appreciated!

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Hello Lucio this feels a little bit short notice.

I would’ve been 100% cool with it if I could’ve downloaded my version of Power University.

There are great books/courses that change your life where  you like to go back and read them over the years.

this would feel like a loss of value if you can’t access the content at a time when you would’ve really benefited from it.

I would like to ask for access until the end of the year. If you feel like my demand is too big, I would like to have access until the end of the summer to go over the content one last time


Lucio Buffalmano, C_P and LorenzoE have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoC_PLorenzoE

Hello Jack,

The decision was indeed WAY too short notice.

It wasn't planned to go down that way.

What happened is that I activated the setting thinking it would only apply going forward and then give me some more time to think about how to go about for previous alumni.

Instead, it applied right away to the full list -my bad, could have checked before, but I guess that's done now-.

As for extending for previous alumni past the 1 year ago, it's already underway.
Get in touch with support for that and it will happen (connect @ thepowermoves . com).

This thread is more for the rationale / explanation / discussion.

If anyone wants to discuss about the decision, including feedback, criticism, or why it's not a good idea, please feel free to do so at any time.

One of TPM's value is to add value to anyone who transacts with it.
In some cases, such as this one, it can be a balancing act between some costs, and other benefits.
No decision is set in stone, but at this time, I still believe the benefits outweigh the costs -in the longer run, even for the alumni-

C_P, Jack and Mist1102 have reacted to this post.
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Hey Lucio I’ve tried several times to email you at the address you’ve provided but it keeps telling me that it wasn’t delivered?

“connect @ thepowermoves . com”

this is the correct email? I could give you my email address or another address of mine I’m not sure why it’s not going through. Perhaps you could send me an email that I could reply to? I’ve tried all sorts of different methods but I can’t seem to send an email your way b

Hello Lucio,

personally I'm not in favour for restricting access to past customers in general. Changing the duration of the access and support for new customers I totally understand. For past customers who accepted the term of the contract as "unlimited access" this retroactive change of the terms feels unfair to me. It feels like a unilateral change of the terms of the contract. So I think this could be solved by changing the rules for future customers and leaving the unlimited access to past customers untouched.

Regarding the support, I totally agree with you to limit it. Personally I think it's fair that support is limited in time and don't mind that this rule is applied retroactively in my specific case. However, for coherence's sake I think this also should apply from now on to new customers only. Differentiating access and support does not bother me at all.

There is also a side-effect on your end I believe. If past customers don't have access anymore to PU, they won't probably buy it yearly. They also might try to download it to secure their continuous access to it. So it creates a grey zone that incentivize people to download it whereas they would have no gain from doing so before since they would be assured of continuous access. So I actually think this would incentivize piracy.

Moreover, they won't go back-and-forth over time (Learning power dynamics is a process in years) so it might limit their learning and the potential feed-back they could give based on their learning. So to me, applying it to past customers is lose-lose. That's how I feel.

A suggestion would be to ask for a fee to past customers for each new version and if not paid, the person would stay at the previous version. For instance, each update could cost 5-10 dollars per customer.

To me, the problem is less about continuous access than continuous support. So personally I would only address the later and leave unchanged the former.

Edit: Personally, receiving reminders that I have to finish an online course, whatever the topic I don't like it. There are already enough deadlines and constraints in our personal and professional lives. Self-development is not something where I want to feel pressured like I have a deadline.

If the matter is that financially the deal does not work on your side for unlimited access, another option is to have 2 different fees: yearly fee or unlimited fee (that you could charge more of course).

Lucio Buffalmano, Ali Scarlett and 14 other users have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoAli ScarlettJackAnthony99 ProblemsMaxim LevinskyC_PKavalierIlyaLorenzoEZathrianconanMats GDGX37Power Ducksillygoose9845

+1 to John's points.

And I personally feel that since almost every course I've seen promises lifetime access, it's become expected and many current and would-be customers feel entitled to it.

So, it might be harder to compete in the marketplace this way.

And, at worst, it could begin to damage TPM's reputation on platforms like Reddit where people are happy to talk about things they don't like.

Lucio Buffalmano, Jack and 7 other users have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoJackMaxim LevinskyC_PKavalierLorenzoEZathrianDGX37Power Duck

Thank you John and Ali for sharing.

My honest thoughts on what others may be doing in this area:

Probably a few may have found a way that works for them (too bad if they did, they don't share it in their material :S).

But for many others, it's easy to promise lifetime access when:

  1. nobody wants to get back to said courses
  2. the course won't even be around after 2-3 years
  3. it's easy for the creator to promise something publicly, and then don't reply when the time-consuming questions come in privately

And I think those cover a large chunk of courses.

Power University has no intention of being one of those.

As for that costing in terms of marketing and sales, it's entirely possible indeed.

But we cannot know that for sure.
Personally, if I read someone outright stating about the access limit before I buy, I'd also think that I can trust their other claims a lot more.

As for differentiating support VS access, I find the two to often be the same in practice so that you can't differentiate and fully deliver on it.
If one cannot access the course with your support, the "unlimited access" is useless. An empty promise you've just given to entice them to buy, but that you had no way -or intention- of upholding.

At that point, the user has more of a right to be disappointed and feel short-changed than if instead he was told how it is, straight up.

C_P, Ali Scarlett and 3 other users have reacted to this post.
C_PAli ScarlettJohn FreemanJackKavalier
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