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Ravi Mehta Analyzes the Switching Costs from Jira to Linear, Plus Unity's Pricing Faux Pas

Hosts: Brian Balfour & Fareed Mosavat

Topics: Linear vs Jira, Airtable, Unity

Release Date: Sep 21, 2023

Our third guest at Unsolicited Feedback is none other than Ravi Mehta - previously the CPO at Tinder, Product Director at Facebook, and VP of Product at Tripadvisor. Now, he's the co-founder and CEO of Outpace, and Ravi is not afraid to swipe left as they

🧳 Analyze the migration from Jira to Linear, including the conditions that triggered Ravi’s switch (starts at 1:32)

🔥 Discuss Airtable's move to conquer the up-market (starts at 27:43)

🔮 Offer some hindsight Unity probably would have appreciated heading into their pricing change this week(starts at 50:41)

These discussions will uncover the secrets behind switching costs and the eternal question of whether to serve a niche or go for mass appeal.

Jira Gets Bit by a Nasty Bug [Filing System]

Linear has just announced their latest fundraising, and experts are discussing their momentum. The question arises: How has Linear managed to attract customers away from Jira, considering Jira's powerful capabilities?

Ravi explains that there are two main reasons for his dramatic shift:

  1. 🤯 Jira has become too complex. It is powerful but complicated. 🤯
  2. 🐞 Jira has neglected to focus on making the bug filing process seamless, whereas Linear has successfully addressed this issue. 🐞

Fareed mentions that "the people who benefit the most from project management tools are project managers. However, for the engineers, designers, and bug filers—the ones doing the actual work—the end-user experience is poor." 🤔

"If the planning process places all the responsibility on persona X, but the value goes to persona Y, failure is inevitable if the experience is bad for persona X." 💡

Then, the discussion turns to the significant topic at hand: 🔍🗣️

People Overestimate the Magnitude of Switching Costs. 💼

Conditions that enable someone to come into a market and disrupt the incumbent without significant innovation include:

  1. Low switching costs 🔄
  2. Solving a very significant problem. ❗
  3. Hatred for the incumbent. Simply being better than X is not enough if X is not that bad. 😕
  4. Serving a sub-persona that is both high-value and vocal. 🙌

Is it possible to avoid the power user trap? 🪄💥

Either you can focus on the power user, but risk alienating new customers (e.g., Salesforce).

Or you choose to remain simple but accept that some customers will outgrow the product (e.g., HubSpot).

The latter option is more challenging, and the trio expresses concerns that Airtable may be the next victim as they move up-market, away from their Product-Led Growth (PLG) roots.

Who else is in danger? ❗⚠️

🎨 Ravi believes Figma is at risk and for Figma Super-fans Fareed & Brian, jaws hit the floor. Ravi defends his stance saying, it seems to focus too much on new products and features for technical users, neglecting the non-technical users. 🎨

💬 In another surprising hot take, Fareed suggests Slack is also in danger due to communication overload. Although it is not entirely Slack's fault, the product has not effectively addressed this issue. 💬

🌐 Brian mentions Zoom. Why? 🌐

  1. They are adding a ton of new features and products.
  2. At the same time have not developed the strength of consumer-grade design and user experience.
  3. The combo leads to the product feeling overly complex and frustration starting to take hold

Can We Hit Control-Z on Unity’s Surprise Pricing Shift? 😮🎮

For those who are not aware, Unity announced a series of new pricing changes that will take effect in 3 months. The most significant change is that they will now charge per installation.

It’s clear Unity is in a real pickle at the moment 🥒, but where did they go wrong and what can we learn from it?

  1. 🤔 Didn’t think about their customers’ business models. For those making free games, they could operate at a loss based on this new model!
  2. 😵 It’s COMPLICATED. It took Fareed 10 minutes to understand all the ins and outs of the pricing model.
  3. 🔒 They broke trust. Many of these games take 3 years to make, so they made decisions based on a business model and there’s been no talk of grandfathering in.
  4. ❌ It’s not aligned to the value that Unity is helping them create. Unity helps them make a game easier and get ads on the game, but they do not help with getting downloads.
  5. 👎 No Win-Win or Give and Take here. There was no increased value or new optionality associated with the model change.

Let's hope Unity can find a way to respawn ASAP! 🤞🕹️