Sales Questions


How can Morning Flight be free?


Posted: 8 December 2008

We’re being asked that a lot lately. One such question showed up in my e-mailbox over the weekend:

"I've been in printing for 30 years and done a fair amount of estimating with Franklin and Focus and am interested in what you have and yet I don't understand how this is free, please explain."

Before you read my answer, click here to see how Morning Flight got its start. The main reason we’re giving away the Free Edition is because of a commitment I made a long time ago. I, too, have been in printing for 30-odd years and have done my fair share of estimating, much of it an exercise in futility. A ton of quotes for people just shopping around or looking to validate pie-in-the-sky projects that never had a snowball's chance to see the light of day. I vowed that if I ever came up with a way to shortshift this lunacy, I would share it.

But that's not the only reason. Back in the early nineties, halfway through writing the program, the idea of giving away the core application was beginning to make good business sense as well. The emergence of the internet and viral marketing concepts only reinforced my earlier decision. Today, our entire marketing strategy is built around it.

To be clear, we’re not giving away the store, just a sizable chunk of it. The Free Edition of Morning Flight is free now and will be free forever. No ifs, buts, or gimmicks. The remainder of our product line will eventually come with a price tag. An affordable, relatively small price tag. With the basic Morning Flight package available at zero cost, we'd have a tough time selling more capable versions at high-ticket prices.

I'm not ready to spell out the details of our business model on a public forum, but here is a final thought: Printers who use the Free Edition either can’t afford to pay for the extra features, or don’t need them. In either case, we’re not losing business. We’re gaining potential customers.

Suggested Reading:


Blue Ocean Strategy - Harvard Business School Press
Unleashing the Ideavirus - by Seth Godin
The Tipping Point - by Malcolm Gladwell