Tips and tools: Why freemium can fail, how a young designer “handled” Steve Jobs, and farewell Charlie Munger

Published: December 2023

Here are some great resources we have recently shared with one another

(We don’t profit from recommending things. We just love sharing things we think you’ll appreciate. You can see our other Tips and Tools articles here.)

Why freemium may not be the answer for your SaaS business

A graph showing the peak, fall, and second peak of a companies revenue.
No business wants rollercoaster revenues. (Except theme parks, obviously.)

Bobby Pinero is the CEO of Equals. We really enjoyed the way his recent article—How Freemium Almost Killed My Business—challenges dogma in the SaaS space.

“The choice to go free was a decision that broke our business (for a minute, at least) and is one of the biggest risks I’ve taken as CEO. I went into it with a ton of conviction—and I turned out to be wrong.”

The hard-won lesson: Few strategies are applicable across entire markets, let alone business as a whole. (Although it is possible to remove the guesswork and unlock game‑changing profits with our Price Optimization Analysis service.)

How a young designer “handled” feedback from Steve Jobs

The original Macintosh calculator design—a boxy, greyscale, pixelated design.
Pixel perfect. The original Mac calculator.

We enjoyed reading how one designer “handled” Steve Jobs’ feedback on designs for the first Mac calculator. Jobs was “non-plussed.” (Sorry!)

As a bonus, the story contains a useful tactic for getting decision-makers on your side. (A topic we covered in a previous article: Before you can persuade your visitors, you need to persuade your boss).

An animated explanation of AI chatbots

A word cloud explaining how AI works
Chatbots are built upon large language models.

The Guardian’s visual explainer of how AI Chatbots work does a great job of simplifying a complex subject. We particularly liked the explanation of “attention”, which is widely considered a breakthrough in natural language processing.

From the archive: Psychological barriers that stop you from adapting

A photo of yellow rubber ducks in a row
We love a subtle metaphor—and if we find one, we’ll replace this photo.

As each year ends, individuals (and companies) can find themselves reassessing their roles.

Some face uncomfortable changes. Others face big, daunting opportunities.

At Conversion Rate Experts, we find it easy to reposition our clients’ companies—and we’ve had great success doing so. But when it comes to repositioning our own company, we notice a psychological resistance.

In this article—Psychological barriers that stop you from adapting—we described some of the phenomena that make people reluctant to adapt. If you are facing an opportunity or change, it’s a good place to start.

Farewell Charlie Munger (1924-2023)

A photo of Charlie Munger
Charlie Munger (1924-2023).

Charlie Munger passed away as we were working on this article. He was Warren Buffett’s business partner and one of the most insightful minds of this (or any) time.

We’ve mentioned Munger before in our article on How to get an unfair advantage, but in recognition of his passing, we’d like to share a quote that had a big impact on Conversion Rate Experts:

“How can you best get what you want? The answer: Deserve what you want! How can it be any other way?” — Charlie Munger

Our fifth company value, “we become deserving of what we want,” owes a lot to the power of this idea. (It’s remarkable how something so obvious can be so helpful.)

For deeper insights—and there are many—we highly recommend Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger, or this excellent collection of quotes on

If you have come across something worth sharing, let us know. Maybe we’ll include it in a future article.

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