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).