On Angie’s List Pricing (or how NOT to price in one easy lesson)

Last week, I surfed into Angie’s List, a site which allows people to exchange information about local services providers like carpenters, yard services, etc. I knew it was a paid membership site, and I was curious about the pricing. Long story short, I did not sign up for a membership.

This morning I received the following email from them with the subject: Oops! We meant to give you a bigger discount


So, let me get this straight. Angie’s List does a poll that indicates that 80 percent of companies do not have the confidence in their product or service to stand by a price they have given a prospective customer. In other words, they are liars – their “price” was not their price! Angie’s List then decides that rather than being an indication of a problem, they adopt this policy themselves.

In addition, they cast doubt upon all the vendors who use their service and tell me that they (Angie’s List) are liars (their price was not their price), but that they would really like me to sign up with my PayPal account and get even more off. Ahhh, no thanks!

Have I missed anything?

On the Occasion of Rob Johnson Leaving Sage

imageAs many of you are aware of by now, my friend and colleague, Rob Johnson has decided to leave Sage and join Avalara (the lucky dogs).

Early today, our partner programs team had our last call with Rob at the helm. With their permission, I am sharing some of the content of this call.

First up was myself, playing (in my bang on the keyboard style) one of my and Rob’s favorite songs, Corner of the Sky from the 1972 Broadway musical, Pippin. (Please excuse the clunkers.)

Next up was a poem written by Joo Sohn DeView entitled: Our Lifetime Friend. Each member of the team took turns reciting the stanzas.

Remember your team and never forget,
The first time you became our boss and we met.

Youthful Christina has really come a long way,
She’s managing programs and taking care of a baby all day.

And what about Ed whose ideas were so grand,
Talented is he, he was even in the Sage band.

And sweet Diana who took pictures of you sleeping,
Now she is sad that you’re leaving and weeping.

And your dear friend Joo who always gave you a hard time,
Is now struggling to write a farewell poem for you that will rhyme.

Who could forget your “y’alls,” kicking your own ass, and nightly ice creams?
We really did have more fun than all of those other teams.

You really enjoy your girls, running and public speaking,
A replacement for Sales Academy we’ll need to be seeking.

You’re leaving a legacy of a boss who really cared,
Your hopes and dreams of soaring you happily shared.

You are entering a new chapter in your life that’s exciting,
We are eagerly anticipating the next book you’ll be writing.

Good bye dear friend, we will miss you a ton,
You’ve inspired us with your optimism and our hearts you have won.

Only one day left as our boss but a lifetime friend,
Our exciting time together will finally come to an end.

We’ve shared many laughs, frustrations and tears,
But through it all, it was the best time we had in years!

Then Diana Waterman, presented Rob with a customer shirt she had made on all of our behalf for him.


The front of the shirt depicts Rob, asleep in the back of Diana’s car while dreaming of a Robism, “Two thumbs up!” This was taken at Summit as they went out to an early dinner with him.

Lastly, we all said our “farewells” including Christina Parra, our programs specialist.

“There’s no crying in software. Talk to y’all next week,” Rob ended.

Rob, thanks! ‘Nuf said.


Economics Made Simple Resource Guide

Many thanks to the Allen Area Patriots for having me as a guest speaker this week. I hope they enjoyed the session.

First, here are the slides:


As a follow up for them, I have created a short, but deep list of resources for anyone who might want to dig a little deeper into the topic of economics.


On the Web



Digital Electric Meters and the Future of Energy Pricing

In the not too distant future, many of us will have the option of switch from our standard analog energy meters to digital ones. Along with this will come the ability (depending on the level of deregulation in your state) to purchase energy in different ways.

For example, you will be able to control the energy usage of major appliances such as air conditioners, washers, dryers, etc. This will allow you to load balance your electrical usage. You will be able to set a budget for say your air conditioner. When the price of electricity goes up, the thermostat will automatically rise so you do not spend as much.

Even better, if and when battery technology improves, you will be able to purchase more energy in the evenings at a lower price and store it for use during the day when prices are higher. It is very cool stuff.

One possible additional benefit will be to allow you to purchase you electrical energy from different sources, or at least from different plans based on provider. This would mean that you could buy a “green plan” which will tell your provider to purchase more from green or alternative sources on the grid. Cool huh?

Now, what if I told you that these green plans will cost two to three times the traditional plan. Would you opt for the green plan? Why or why not?