Premium - Done right

Recent news in other maker communities show just how sensitive people can be to charging for things that feel like they should be included out of the box. I’ve been a software product engineer, and Product Manager for over 20 years and it is never an easy discussion to have with your users about how to price your products.

As much as we all wish everything was free, the fact is that people at Glowforge want to feed their families and keep a roof over their head just like we all do, and they deserve to be able to charge for the value they provide. Trust me, software engineers don’t work cheap.

Where I think Glowforge has done an excellent job is trying to prepare users for the fact that they were going to offer a premium service, and that they might introduce beta features and let everyone test them out, before they finally ship as part of premium. Taking away features that someone already has is almost never a good move. In this regard, I really do appreciate the care that GF has taken in trying to honor whatever price you came in at. If you had features that were free (not beta) then you continue to get those. If you started in the $15/mos promo, you get to stay at that level. I feel like throughout the process that GF has tried to balance the need to generate sustainable revenue to pay their support and development staff, with honoring commitments to the user community.

While the discussion around whether people think that Premium is worth the cost is a different discussion, I do see that the value received has continued to increase month over month so I feel pretty confident that GF will eventually get to a point where even at $50/m it is a really solid value (still feels a little overpriced IMO).


Totally agree on all points. One advantage that I’ve had is that I have been around for a few years, and realize that they do ultimately deliver, no matter how long it takes. (And yeah, it took a little longer for some things than was comfortable. That’s just the world.)

I’ve been mostly out of touch this last month, but just spotted your wood work, it looks like a great fit for the Glowforge! Welcome to the forum, the best is yet to come. :slightly_smiling_face:


I’m also seeing this recent news as additional incentive for companies like Glowforge to continue to keep promised free features and basic functionality out of the premium plan. The backlash is very much there and very much not worth it.

You’re assuming a lot here.

Two things we do know:

  • Dan is no dummy
  • He has more information about metrics than any of us.

So the only thing we can make a reasonable guess at here is that if it isn’t worth it, the program will change or be discontinued.

Since it’s still ongoing I’d say that either It’s not going well and they’re still looking further ahead than any localized “backlash”, or that it’s going just fine.

I’ve always thought that this was really just a way to justify a higher IPO price, but as Dan replied when I first expressed my theory: [paraphrasing] “yeah you got me, I’m secretly trying to build a successful company”

Point taken, Dan.

Anyway. The fact that you don’t like it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not going just fine for Glowforge. Complainers are vocal, they can seem like a bigger cohort than they are.


yeah, i have to agree with @evansd2. while i also don’t personally find it worth it, if people are paying it, then it’s worth it to them and GF. i know i’m not the target audience, though. i build everything in illustrator/photoshop. i don’t make in the GFUI.


What most people miss in this answer… is that it is not worth it for You. That is a value judgement everyone must make for themselves based on their circumstances.

For me, as a small business owner, I find the current value provided by Premium, at the price when I signed up for Premium (December), to be totally worth it. If the features offered in premium saves me just one hour a month in time, or provides me one or two resources, then it is more than worth it. If it adds more projects/designs that I can use as learning tools to improve my skills, then it is totally worth it (I already pay more than this for access to monthly training courses and tools for my software career). As more premium features are added, the scale will continue to lean more in more in my favor, and because I choose to support the company now, when the scales are not so lopsided, I get a great price. Later, when Premium is a no-brainer for almost everyone, I will continue to get rewarded by GlowForge because I supported them when they were just launching the Premium program. That is why I believe that Dan and GlowForge are doing this right. They don’t have to cater the premium program to all users. Just a significant segment of users who are willing to pay a premium price to get features that will help them generate even more revenue in their own businesses.


While your point is valid I believe @wing was saying that the collective backlash won’t be worth it to Glowforge in the end, not that the service wasn’t worth it to them.

Of course wing can correct me if I interpreted the post incorrectly.

I agree well worth the cost. he back lash is like everything else today, they want it for free…


I agree with everyone that the Premium is worth it. I am a small business man and It took me a 1 1/2 years to decide on the GF. When I came in it was just as a hobby and maybe make a little money. But GF has proven to me is that They want me to succeed. The Premium has given me other tools that I would have had to pay for somewhere else. It has given me the opportunity for another avenue for an income stream by making it easy for me to make stamps. All I have seen is that GF is helping me make my life easier to make money for my family as they are doing to support their families. We all have choices. I chose GF because I saw that if I wanted to build a bigger business, GF was giving me the tools. Someone out there must have asked about making stamps, they listened. Support has always been a major factor in me makiing a decision on what to buy. If the support is not good, then the product is will weaken when support is needed. GF support has always been there for me, but the best support I have seen is from the community. They are awesome and it was GF that help put them together. Thank you to all


The jury’s still out if they’ll ever deliver on their open-source promise they made on day one and don’t point out their half-baked attempt to satisfy their lawyers as actually trying. :crazy_face:

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I’m afraid you might have misunderstood. I never saw any promises about making it open source.

Dan did say that they would make available a copy of the firmware…he did it because a lot of people at the time were terrified that if the Glowforge endeavor failed entirely they would be stuck with a permanent brick, and being a nice guy, I think he was trying to calm fears. Glowforge did provide a copy of that firmware. But there was never a promise to hand over the operating software, or to allow other people to access their system.

Moot point anyway, since Glowforge didn’t fail, and they have a two month waiting period on orders, (still). So everything is fine and dandy.


I think both of these posts are in response to some recent news from Cricut that people will be limited to 20 file uploads unless they subscribe to a premium service. The backlash is, indeed, very nasty, and it is also making some people worry about GF, so the backlash is potentially spreading beyond their brand.


Didn’t GF already have their moment here with the 30 day limit? That seemed to blow over.

To quote @Dan from an early forum post (which is still there):

Glowforge firmware is user-flashable, so you’ve got both an escape hatch (if something happens to us) and a platform to experiment with. If you buy it, it’s yours – you should be able to do what you want with it.

Yep. Clearly not there yet, sorry.

Is the firmware provided not user-flashable?

i think most of the open source folks have all looked at the information provided and determined it was too heavy a lift to make it worthwhile. scott gave up.

i would say that if GF went belly up, the chances of us not having (no tongue in cheek in this instance) giant paperweights is pretty slim. it’s not impossible someone could/would figure it out, but we definitely don’t have anything anywhere near close to being able to run them w/o the GF servers.


I’m not sure deleting files after 30 days vs only allowing a user to upload 20 files in a month is a fair comparison. Also, GF grandfathered everyone on the file storage.

That said, there is still quite a bit of hostility over the premium service out there. We don’t see it much here, but it crops up frequently elsewhere. That hasn’t blown over at all. I have no idea if it impacts sales (seems that even if it does, they might make up for it with subscription fees), but it has certainly had an impact on attitudes toward GF and the trust level for the company.

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it’s not truly apples to apples, but both are limitations that owners didn’t expect going in. the grandfathering helped on the GF side, for sure. i haven’t looked at their sales info since they changed that to see how clearly they spell that limitation out.

I expect you could replace the electronics with a Grbl or something and then use Lightburn to drive it. Not going to be able to use any existing designs or settings or anything else but it would laser. Would be fixed focus at the start until someone figured out how to set the head height.

and the average GF owner is not going to be a “replace the electronics” person. hell, most of the advanced owners are not going to be that person.