Happy 2022! I hope everyone’s year is off to a great start.
As you may have seen earlier this week, as of Tuesday, January 11th, Airtable has rolled out updates to our Free, Plus, and Pro plans*. These updates to our packaging are meant to give users access to more advanced features in Airtable, like apps and sync integrations. We’re also starting off the year with a few much-needed product improvements to our automations and view features.
We are excited about all of these changes and would love to have you join us for Table Talk on Thursday, January 20th to learn more. Airtable’s Self Serve Product Leader, Lauryn Isford, and Head of End User Marketing, Christy Roach will join us to share a behind the scenes look at the thinking and strategy behind our packaging changes, and Mary Cook from Airtable’s Automations team will also be joining us to talk about some new functionality we’re launching next week. You can submit questions in advance here.
For those who were already planning on joining us for next week’s Table Talk, this is a slight change of plans. We had previously planned to have Peter Deng, our Chief Product Officer, join us to talk about our roadmap. Peter is still excited to talk about all things Airtable Roadmap with you, and this has been shifted to Thursday, February 10. Thanks for your ongoing feedback and flexibility. We hope to see you at both of our upcoming Table Talk sessions.
*There is no price change associated with this update and no existing workspaces lose any capabilities. For more details about this update to our Free, Plus, and Pro plans as well as FAQs, please see this resource page published in our help center.
Could we get more clarification on why these two specific apps are exempt from the app limits? I recognize that they are extremely useful for “democratizing software development”, but I wonder if it is more than that.
When pondering possible reasons for the app limit, one possible reason was the fact that having a lot of apps that “watch” records can slow a base down. Scripting app happens to only run when a user clicks a button, and thus is unlikely to slow down a base.
I feel that there are other extremely useful apps that help base users but do not “slow down” the base because they do not “watch” records. Could Airtable consider also exempting these apps from limits for Pro workspaces?
At the very least, Description app should also be exempt from base limits in Pro workspaces. The Description app is useful for documenting how a base works and how to use a base. If people have limited slots for apps, this app is most likely to never be used, yet it can provide immense value when onboarding new users to a base or dealing with complex issues that relate to maintaining a base.
Similarly, Base Schema can help users understand their bases better, and it only watches for schema changes, not record changes. It is the one app that I always recommend to anyone trying to understand their base, and many times when I show it to clients who struggle, they have a “lightbulb” moment. This app really helps people better understand the concept of links and backlinks, which is essential to developing on the Airtable platform.
Other apps that are extremely useful but do not watch records (and thus should have minimal performance impact) are the CSV Import, Search, Dedupe, and Batch update apps.
I understand that having multiple tiers of apps (those subject to installation limits, and those not) can be confusing. However, if you already are making an exception for scripting app, this two tier system already exists. Plus, there will always be a multi-tier system when you include third party apps.
Having more apps not subject to the base limits may or may not be the way to go. Maybe you have a creative solution that we are currently unaware of. I don’t know how many of these considerations you have already dealt with, as you have not yet explained your reasoning for the limit. I am simply trying to add to the conversation.
[Edited by Author]
After a day of reflection, I decided to remove my previous post. My intent is not to publicly shame Airtable management to change their pricing model. My intent is to help them foresee the ramifications I believe will come from this decision from a business perspective.
I decided that sharing my feedback with them privately (which I have) instead of publicly will be more effective to help come to a workable solution for all parties involved.
I love Airtable. I want nothing more than to see it successful, but not just as a Company, but as a thriving ecosystem of partners/developers/community members. I have too much personally invested in seeing that success to not try to help create that. Maybe that is not possible at this point, but that is my hope.
They are. If you know how to script. I wonder how many people that AT is trying to involve in their “democratizing” mission can do that. Yes, there are premade scripts you can use, but if you look at the type of questions mostly posted in this community, even that is a bridge far away I’m afraid. That’s why I find it so important to include other very useful apps for those kind of users, like you very justifiably mentioned. So imo it shouldn’t be used as an excuse for the limited number of apps that will be possible.
The limit on the number of apps is extremely disappointing, but I appreciate the heads up that it’s time to develop for other platforms instead.
I’ve recently been working on a commercial app for launch on Airtable, after choosing it out over other similar platforms like ClickUp, Monday, and Notion due in part to the flexibility and power of the developer platform and app integrations.
This change not only greatly increases the competition among apps, it also gives a massive advantage to existing apps that pursue the “super app” approach where they bundle a lot of functionality into one app. New apps will barely have a chance, which is disappointing, but I guess I’d rather know sooner rather than later.
I feel like Clark Griswold in this video getting an annual subscription to the Jelly of the month club instead of a Christmas Bonus.
“If this isn’t the biggest bag-over-the-head, punch-in-the-face I ever got.” - Clark, but also me after seeing Airtable’s display of their perceived relationship with developers
“It’s good. It’s good.” - Clark, but also me trying, but failing, to find the light in this update for any of my community members, current clients, or future clients
The rest of the video I will leave for your own interpretation.
I do not normally post in this community forum, but this pricing change gave me no other option. I am normally engaging with the 1.2k+ subscribers on my Airtable based YouTube channel or my 5.9k+ Airtable Community Facebook Group with friends like Kamille, Rebecca, and many others community members.
The changes to the pricing plans are disheartening. I have been a very strong proponent of what once was a platform for the last 2 years, when I first stumbled upon Airtable. I was thrilled with the possibilities of the product itself and where I saw the community headed. Contributing to the Airtable Community and helping those not so technically inclined better use the tool to scale their business is something I was strongly passionate about.
Regarding the specifics of the changes and how they cut off Airtable at the knees for new users/companies, I echo what has been said above by Dan, Scott, Justin, Kamille, Rebecca, and Kuovonne. These changes are very concerning as someone invested in the growth of this product/community.
With these changes, I can not help but to still be passionate about helping business owners solve operational and technical issues, but this 100% disincentives me to trust Airtable as a tool or company to base my resources on. My good friends and developers, specifically Dan, Kamille, and Kuovonne, had what I perceived to be the closest relationships with professionals at Airtable. They have been effectively given a Jelly Of The Month Club membership, and it too was delivered late. With these pricing updates in mind, I can not help but think about what other tools (eg. Google Tables) I should be looking at for long term relationships and prosperity while solving these problems for business owners.
I hope the decision maker on this update at Airtable gets a good idea of how this adversely impacts key stakeholders of Airtable and the Jelly of the month club subscription is exchanged for the truly deserved Christmas Bonus. Give us a gift that truly keeps on giving.
I’m sure you’re growing weary of these comments, so I’ll try to be succinct, a skill that y’all know I do not possess.
Chilling Economic Impact
It’s difficult to put into words the chilling economic impact the new pricing policy will have on both aftermarket developers as well as small and large businesses who typically enter the Airtable sales funnel on a whim or a recommendation from the esteemed supporters in this community. Recommendations from “grandfathered” users will only make this miserable policy change that much more distasteful.
No Aftermarket Upside
Much has been said about the app constraints and how this will cause “all-in” aftermarket supporters (like @openside) to plan their next moves with greater scepticism. There’s no debate that in light of Airtable’s posture, many of us have already readjusted compass-headings at a professional level, although, emotionally we are still “all-in” and likely share delusions or hope that this is like The ninth season of the television series Dallas which was annulled as a dream of character Pamela Barnes Ewing. That was the demise of Dallas’ advertising earnings in case you’re a bit too young to know this colloquial pop-culture reference.
You Misjudged The Definition of Your Own Product
Many of the responses here have articulated a detailed fracture between your internal definition of Airtable and the perceived possibilities that new buyers glean with the help of many people, products, and app flexibility. Most importantly, these perceptions are fundamentally based on apps that make it possible for customers to fabricate an ideal fitness-of-purpose; a fleeting possibility the more you constrain the number of apps.
I was recently entertaining the idea of a Trello-to-Airtable sync solution that might have drawn in hundreds, possibly thousands of Trello users who wanted to utilize their cards as data. That project was tossed in the trash as soon as I saw the announcement because its success is gated by enthusiastic future users; not today’s users. Technically, nothing has changed; the capability to deliver is there. However, the individual future visions that each customer may have is now severely myopic.
In 2020 I referred to the prospect of pushing scripting out of reach of early users as a tax on innovation. You chose wisely to make scripting free for all – from early users to enterprises. This was a smart choice. Your new pricing policy is tantamount to massive taxation on innovation; a tax so high, no one will ponder what-if’s with Airtable because there’s no clear upside for users at any level of the sales funnel except enterprise.
Future Former Customers
Imagine a very happy “grandfathered” Pro user who manages to attract 20 other partners to become new Pro users. They begin to collaborate and share apps. The happy customer (the ring leader) is giddy with the prospect of increased productivity and rapidly getting the group to experience the delight of Airtable. Then the low app ceiling begins to demonstrate this was a bad idea. The new users are dismayed that they are each lesser class citizens. The ring leader has egg on her face. The group seeks out a better approach and all are future former customers.
What’s the Remedy?
Everyone in this thread is either an Airtable customer who is responsible to other Airtable customers both current and future – or – an avid customer who is likely an influencer of other Airtable customers both current and future. I believe we represent and influence (to varying degrees) the entire sales funnel.
With all due respect to the need for Airtable to be profitable, I believe it needs to augment this pricing policy or it’s “so long, farewell” for many dedicated members of this community and specifically those in this thread. I get the sense that the current policy is simply untenable for many reasons.
So, what isn’t untenable?
Airtable’s [apparent] premise for Pro accounts ( in light of this policy change) is that an enterprise “evaluator” need only a few apps to validate and envision the benefits of Airtable. This is flawed, of course, but maybe not obvious to Airtable “execs” who have not witnessed the slow and methodical transition that larger customers typically traverse before getting a PO for $36k.
I hate to complain without offering at least one possible resolution; perhaps this is one strategy worthy of consideration:
Policy #1 is designed to incentivize Airtable and consultants to work toward a common goal - finding and selling bigger customers on this platform.
#2 is intended to provide Airtable with alternate revenues available to lessen the impact of new users and encourage an easier transition between adolescent customers and thriving larger customers; growth hormone therapy at an affordable step.
#3 is intended to qualify adolescent customers as potential larger customers; it’s a natural sales funnel that helps Airtable sales identify the likely enterprise customer embryos. (edited)
Yep. The chilling economic impact is real. Well said @BenGreen!
This is a very good point; the gift - one that Airtable has been decisively generous with in the past - is the freedom for newcomers to innovate. If you eliminate the ability to explore and expand and extend the product, you will effectively eliminate a future of possibilities for many who hold a vision for making work better.
Love the Clark Griswold reference!
How long before this becomes a Harvard Business School case study on how not to treat your developer and customer base? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:
Here’s what a $735M Series F round of funding gets you. Greed. I suppose we should also be pointing fingers at some of these players too:
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