More Summer Updates

We have another set of updates we've shipped out recently that we wanted to outline. As we regularly mention, we're always working behind the scenes to enhance Tula in both big and little ways. Here are some of our latest updates:

The return of one to one emails

We had to turn one to one emails off for a bit as technically those were more of transactional emails than group marketing emails, and our email service provider wanted us to treat them differently. That work is done now so you can once again send one to one emails to your students.

New report: Expirations report

It's always been possible to get an idea of when passes were expiring, but we never had an explicit "expirations report" where you could easily choose a date range to see all the passes, and the people who held them, that were expiring within a date range. Now you do with our new expirations report!

Class Attendance report updates

Our class attendance report was timing out sometimes, in particular with larger data sets. We've made some updates to this report to move it to a background job where the report is delivered to you via email once it's run. It's much better and faster now.

iPhone Bug on Profiles

At times the iphone app would crash when viewing a student profile. This was related to our support of international phone numbers and we've pushed out a small update to fix this bug. Now there's no more crashing on any of the student profiles in the iphone or ipad apps.

More to come!

We have a few other things (bigger things!) that we've been working on that we're very excited to announce. We're not quite ready but we should have another announcement for you in early September with one of our most highly requested features!




New: Change the pass that credits come from

Last week I wrote up a post about a few early summer updates we had just released, but I'm happy to say we already have another announcement, this time for one of those "big little" features. As customers of Tula know, much of our system revolves around the notion that people buy passes, and passes pay for the Attendance to an event.  

This setup is a wonderfully powerful approach to paying for classes and tracking attendances. One problem with it though is that sometimes a customer would want to override the logic we have in place at the system level to indicate which pass should pay for an attendance.

For example, in our system, we always pull from an unlimited pass if someone has one of those and we always pull a credit from the pass that expires the soonest. Which is great, unless someone has an unlimited pass, and they also have 2 credits left over from a previous pass and they want *that* pass to pay for someone else's attendance.  So for those occasions where you want to pull a specific credit from a specific pass for a specific event for one reason or another, now you can! 

Here's how it works: 

When you check someone into class, everything will operate the same as it always has. But now, you'll notice the pass that paid for the attendance is hyperlinked. Simply click this link to bring up other pass options that can pay for an attendance.  

Change the pass that pays for an attendance with a simple click of a link. 

Change the pass that pays for an attendance with a simple click of a link. 

What's great is that this feature works on all regular classes that are paid for with credits, no matter how many credits the class costs. Meaning, let's say a class costs 3 credits, and you want to change things to pay for the class with three separate passes that each have one credit left on them, well you can do that too.

In addition, you can make this change on the attendances tab of someone's profile as well. 

Big thanks to our customers who wrote in requesting this feature - we're glad we could ship this out for you and hope it makes Tula even more powerful and flexible for you!

Early Summer Updates

We've recently pushed out a number of updates we wanted to share with you!

Many of these are various small fixes we've made on the back end to take care of some bugs, while a few are new things to give you more capabilities. Here are some of the latest things we've been working on:

Show/Hide passes for your special events

One of the most powerful and flexible features of Tula Software is our special events feature, which allows you to indicate specific passes that are valid for specific events. We've long allowed our customers to show/hide passes from their main payment form, but special events always showed every pass that was associated with them when students would go through the buy-flow from the calendar. Now, when creating and editing a special event, you can indicate which passes should be visible to the public vs. which passes should only be seen internally.

Quickly and easily indicate which special event passes are visible to the public and which are only available internally. 

Quickly and easily indicate which special event passes are visible to the public and which are only available internally. 

This is great for events where you're having an early-bird price that you want to be able to turn off from public view once the early-bird date is over, or if you have a free pass you use for team-members. 

Custom Calendar Updates

One of the great things about Tula is you can make as many calendars as you need for your studio. Previously though we had some limitations on which events could be combined with each other. So if you chose to show "all regular events" and also include a handful of special event series', the calendar wouldn't load anything.

We've updated things on the back-end of our custom calendars to provide for more options that give you more flexibility on the custom calendars you can make. 


Bug fixes and small updates

Along with the above, we've also pushed out a number of other updates which include:

  • Officially adding support for Japanese Currency
  • Fixed a bug that was preventing valid passes from paying for a special event, if the special event pass type had been trashed.
  • Fixed a bug that would cause new students who no-showed, to later appear in the registration list without their name being included.
  • Fixed a bug where we weren't properly saving the country code on phone numbers when new accounts were created from the updated student widget.
  • Fixed a bug causing some invitation email links to be invalid

More coming soon!

We have a host of other things we've been working on that we're not quite ready to show you, but it won't be long before we have another update for you!

Is mindbody preparing to acquire classpass?

With $100 Million cash on hand and positive cash flow according to their most recent investor call, why is mindbody selling another $120 Million in shares? I believe it's either because Mindbody believes their stock is going to fall, (and I don't believe they believe that), they simply want another $100 million sitting in the bank, or they are getting ready for a monster acquisition. 

It's important to note that I have absolutely no information regarding my hypothesis, but I'm reading the tealeaves we always read and it appears to me that mindbody is preparing to acquire classpass. 

On multiple previous investor calls, including the most recent linked above, mindbody has talked about how the revenue they earn from API calls has fallen due to one of their "key partners" changing their business model, resulting in lower registrations counts. I believe they're talking about classpass who's CEO stepped down in March and who was replaced by Fritz Lanman, a classpass investor. Make no mistake, the primary aim of this new CEO is to ensure the $84 Million raised over 5 rounds isn't lost.

Mindbody is also experiencing significant churn numbers right now, losing more than 5,000 customers last quarter while at the same time their revenue is increasing. They talk now of their "high value customers" that generate significant revenue on the consumer side of things via payments, deals engine offers, etc and they openly talk about the importance of consumer revenue.

And now we learn they're selling another 4.4 Million Shares priced at $27.95 per share. 

As we've written about extensively on this blog, mindbody is in the process of pivoting away from being a software company serving small businesses to becoming a consumer marketplace, where they're the uber of fitness and studios are a commodity providing "inventory".

A classpass acquisition would fit perfectly into this strategy. Perfect for mindbody of course, not for your studio. Again, we're making predictions here, and not all numbers line up perfectly. Fortune reported that classpass was "close" to raising $35 Million back on May 5th at a reported valuation of around $400 Million. 

Did this funding fall through? Did Fritz call Rick to make a deal?  We don't know, but I think we're about to find out.

My prediction: Mindbody is about to acquire classpass for $100 Million cash, plus stock. This would pay back all 29 Classpass investors, give them some stock in mindody, and allow them to pat each other on the backs for operating a business with gross negative margins, and claim a successful exit.

As for your studio, if you're not already on Tula, you might want to consider making a switch unless you're looking forward to becoming an uber driver for Mindbody.

The Real Reason Mindbody acquired Lymber Fitness

Mindbody has made their latest investor driven move to leech off your yoga studio, steal your customers and take over your pricing for their own benefit.

A visualization of mindbody's business model.

A visualization of mindbody's business model.

The other day, Mindbody announced their acquisition of Lymber. If you're a frequent reader of our blog, you know Lymber is a dynamic pricing company, another in a long line of companies trying to explain how giving discounts is good for you. We mentioned them a few months ago when we released our variable credit feature and wrote a post about how you can use our system to create your own demand based pricing.

Lymber is a company that actively promotes to consumers that one of the key benefits of using their apps is you don't need a membership, yet you can still have access to thousands of classes across hundreds of studios. Mindbody is literally competing with their customers for the consumer's attention. 

So why would they make this acquisition? Because, as we've mentioned before, mindbody and other markeplaces like them have the primary objectives of:

1. Turning service providers (gyms, studios, salons, etc.) into commodities that provide them with "inventory" (class spots, appointments, etc.).

2. Build a relationship with consumers, so that consumers purchase their services through the software company, instead of through the service provider directly, so that the software company can make money processing credit cards.

3. Mine the data obtained through the above process, because in the new economy, data is the new oil. (Important: you have the oil!)

What mindbody believes is that your yoga studio should replicate the buying experience of purchasing an airline ticket.  Mindbody can be the Orbitz, and your studio can be the United Airlines in this equation. When you're an investor owned and controlled company that makes almost half of their money processing credit cards, this is how you think.

Don't take my word for it though, here's Lymber founder Doug Hecht in an interview shortly after the announcement of the acquisition, explaining what they do:

“We’re basically an Expedia for fitness and wellness studios,” Lymber co-founder and CEO Doug Hecht told me by telephone after the Mindbody deal closed.

Okay I'm sorry, I was wrong. Expedia, not Orbitz.

Got it.

But here's the really scary thing for independent studio owners: You can't look at this acquisition in a silo. There are numerous other moves mindbody has been making that we've constantly been writing about. And together they paint a nasty picture for independent studio owners.

Consider the following:

1. Mindbody released the Deals Engine last year, which allows them to introduce your studios to your competitors.

2. Mindbody makes 10% off of every introductory offer they help studios sell.

3. Lymber is a data company. mindbody will know everything about your company, your competitors and most importantly the behavior of your students.

Add this all up and what you see is that mindbody is incentivized to target your students with offers at other studios to get them to switch around. The reality is: a consumer that is loyal to you is a far worse consumer for mindbody, and generates for less revenue for them, than someone who hops around.

Let me explain:

  • A loyal student on a monthly membership that costs $100 per month at your studio generates exactly $2.75 in revenue for mindbody. (charging their credit card). That's it, nothing more.
  • A student they can get to purchase just one $50 pass at any other studio in their network generates $6.38 in revenue. ($1.38 in revenue from credit card processing + $5 Deals Engine Fee)
  • Get the student to switch again, and they make another $6.38.

If mindbody is able to incentivize your most loyal members to try two new studios, they increase their revenue off of that student by over 400%. Spread this out over millions of students and you can see why Mindbody's been so keen to move into the consumer space.

Now, of course Mindbody is going to tell you how their acquisition of Lymber is all about helping you create the best pricing for your studio. Don't fall for it. 

What Mindbody is really doing is building a system to maximize the revenue they generate off your students by getting consumers to change studios as often as possible, because your most loyal members are a threat to their growth rate.

The good news is there's always Tula Software. If you've been thinking about switching, there's never been a better time than now!