Analysis Paralysis and the Power of WordPress

Don’t forget, WordPress is a CMS.

It strikes us as somewhat ironic that many business owners who own WordPress websites seem to forget that WordPress is a content management system. Put differently, a lot of WordPress website owners seem to forget what it means that their site is built on a CMS.

They think that if they change their service offerings, they need a new site.

They think if they get a new logo, they need an entirely new site.

They think that if the site starts to look old and outdated, it needs to be rebuilt “from the ground up.”

Which ground isn’t entirely clear.

But, because these “projects” seem big and complicated, the “project” is put off for months or years because it seems so daunting. It’s classic analysis paralysis. From Wikipedia:

A decision can be treated as over-complicated, with too many detailed options, so that a choice is never made, rather than try something and change if a major problem arises.

The proof is everywhere: just look at all the old, dusty WordPress sites out there. Why would someone let their website get so outdated? Maybe it’s partially because they think their site is hard-coded and stored in a vault somewhere. While the DIY’ers of the world are familiar with the WordPress community’s superabundance of plugins and themes, site-owners don’t often take advantage of WordPress’s enormous potential. And we believe the reason for this, more often than not, is the fear of finding, committing to, and paying a new contractor to tackle the “project.”

We believe these site owners shouldn’t have to find a contractor at all; instead, what they need is an easy-to-use service that will help them take advantage of the site they already have. They need a way to request a task and quickly see the results. They need a system that, with few taps, lets them try on a new theme, or have their plugins updated. They need to easily preview changes without going live.

At HubRunner, we’re building a product that does all of the above. They keys are ease-of-use, instant service, and low prices.

If you’ve got an old clunker in the cloud, get the HubRunner app. Your site may be a classic sports car under the rust, and restoring it will cost a lot less than you might think.

Password Mania vs. Temporary Site Access for WordPress

Passwords are a necessary … hassle … when it comes to managing a website. Your site has to be secure, but it’s a pain to store, use and share passwords. Sure, there are some great systems (like LastPass) that help, but we’re dealing with lots of passwords, and we really prefer not to see anyone else’s credentials.


When providing website service, obtaining a customer’s website login credentials is the first task. In the old days (i.e., through 2015), it served as a token of trust in a business relationship. But it involved a lot of unpleasantness:

– Creating (and paying good money for) password management accounts for lots of users
– Training users on how to manage passwords (rules, organization, etc.)
– Managing administrative access to the password retrieval inbox
– Notifying users if login credentials were updated.
– And on, and on, etc.

Oftentimes, finding and using login credentials took more time than actually providing the service that had been requested. And on top of all that, it meant that anyone who provided service could retain the credentials forever, and could access the site as long as the user account wasn’t deleted from the site backend.

Exhausting, right? We called it password mania.


When it came to developing our own software for an on-demand WordPress support network, we knew we needed an elegant solution to the password mania problem.

After months of development, our software was really coming together, feeling cohesive and efficient. We knew that sending login credentials to a third party really should be a thing of the past. We believed the solution was a time-based website access system which would:

1. Enable a pre-approved WordPress agent to access a website when they claim a service request
2. Function without the agent ever seeing or entering the login credentials
3. Revoke website access immediately upon completion of a service request

Temporary site access for WordPress is just one of the features that makes HubRunner what it is – but in a sense, it’s the glue. HubRunner grants website access to an agent only for the duration of the work they are handling on that site. As soon as the user indicates the agent has completed a request to their satisfaction, the agent’s site access is revoked.

All of this happens without the agent ever seeing or entering your credentials. Beyond simply enhancing the smooth experience of using HubRunner for WordPress service, this feature increases security, creates a seamless way for agents to deliver service, and reduces the total time for each service request.

To learn more about how HubRunner matches customers to agents, read our post “Dynamic Skill Matching for WordPress Service.”

The Goldilocks Dilemma for Subscription Services

I recently came across a new subscription service founded by the self-described “inventors of the revolutionary sockscription.” Yes, they deliver fresh socks to your doorstep every month.

There are officially subscriptions for every type of product and service. Music, movies, razors, clothing, vegetables, social media management, website service, valet parking, prepared meals – everything.

But there is a major problem with some of these subscription services, one we might go ahead and call the Goldilocks dilemma.


Those of us who either work in, or subscribe to, these types of services (Software-as-a-service, Marketing-as-a-service, Socks-as-a-service, Razors-as-a-service, etc.) are well versed in the terminology of the subscription economy:

One the consumer side, we hear phrases like: Month-to-Month; No contract; Cancel at any time; One low monthly fee.

As providers of these services, we talk about: Productized service; Recurring revenue (Monthly, Annualized, etc.); Scalability; Churn; Customer lifetime value; Customer acquisition cost; Et cetera, etc.

In reality, most subscriptions are product-and-service combinations with business models that rely on one key input: recurring revenue that rolls in by charging subscribers’ credit cards or bank accounts each month.

Consumers are drawn to subscriptions because they offer cost control, elegant user experiences, and long lists of features (some high value, some not-so-high value). Service providers yearn to create subscriptions because they offer the predictability of recurring revenue. But in order to efficiently run and market a subscription service, all sorts of constraints must be placed on the product – and therein lies the Goldilocks dilemma.


Across diverse fields from cognitive science and astrobiology to economics and pricing, the Goldilocks principle refers to something that falls within some reasonable margins instead of being at either extreme (“This porridge is too hot…this porridge is too cold…ahhhh, this porridge is just right!”). In short, we are all like Goldilocks – insofar as we want things to be “just right.”

The Goldilocks dilemma for subscription services can be summed up as follows:

When you charge a group of customers the same price for a recurring service, you must factor into your pricing the fact that some customers will pay and never hassle you, while some needy customers will pay and hassle you to no end. The hassle-free customers are paying for your costs of dealing with the needy customers. And unless you have a god-like ability to know EXACTLY how many of your customers are going to be good verses bad, you’re pricing is going to be off – both for you, and for your customers.

Subscription services suffer from the Goldilocks Dilemma to varying degrees. This is mostly a function of where they fall on the product-to-service spectrum, and the cheap-to-expensive spectrum. This can be visualized using the admittedly rough and imprecise Goldilocks quadrant, and I’ve included a sample below:

The Goldilocks Quadrant for Subscription Services

As you move into the top right of the quadrant (more like a service + more expensive), you run a higher risk of encountering problems due to the Goldilocks dilemma. It’s also most common to find B2B subscription services in this area, because they’re usually more expensive.


Firstly, subscription service pricing is inherently unfair. Why? Because in order to make a profit, a company must first cover all their expenses. If a company sells a sock subscription, it will lose money on the picky customers who frequently send socks back for replacement. “These socks are too thin,” they might say.” “And these socks are too thick”. And it will be the reasonable customers, the ones who pull up their damn socks and go to work, that pay for it.

Secondly, subscription services are forced to construct rigid product barriers to control their costs. Customers are sold one-size-fits-all packages, because otherwise you begin to lose the efficiency that underpins your entire business model. Put differently, it’s hard to scale if you don’t constrain your features and service. Again, this unfairly punishes the easygoing customers for the heightened service demands of customers who need more hands-on service. To continue with our metaphor, the bad customers eat all the warm porridge, and the good customers are castigated to the support forums.

Last, but not least, the Goldilocks dilemma leads to high instances of customer churn for the service provider. Because you’re selling a one-size-fits-all service that’s expensive and burdensome to service – customers will take their business elsewhere when their patience is tried too many times. Some companies never solve this problem, and they die. Many “productized” web services companies attempt to solve this problem by hiring tens or hundreds of salespeople to feed more and more meat into the grinder. The reality for these companies is that they don’t build those giant sales teams to grow, they build them to fight churn – their most important metric.

Companies offering subscription services that suffer from the Goldilocks dilemma truly do mean well. They are indeed solving a perceived problem: it’s expensive, time consuming and burdensome to hire a company or individual to provide the same type of service. It’s also hard to find the right one to hire (see our post on finding the right contractor). But in the end, for most customers, these types of subscription services almost always fall short – especially when it comes to higher margin services.


goldilocks dilemma for businesses

There are lots of ways to address the problems caused by the Goldilocks dilemma: expanded feature sets with different pricing tiers, paid consultations, premium support, etc. These strategies allow service providers to keep costs low for the customers who don’t put a burden on the support staff.

But, some services simply shouldn’t be subscriptions in the first place. If you’re looking for candidates of services that shouldn’t be subscriptions, use the Goldilocks quadrant to find them. Not surprisingly, website service is one of them. We believe on-demand alternatives will displace these subscription services – that’s why we’re launching our new instant website service app.

With the advent of businesses offering subscription alternatives in virtually every product and service market, subscriptions seemed like the way of the future. But, the rapidly emerging on-demand economy will push many subscriptions out of the way. Why pay a monthly subscription for a highly constrained service when you can get the same high quality service instantly, and only pay for exactly what you need?

Gazing at her smartphone screen instead of a bear’s porridge bowl, a modern-day Goldilocks might say, “This subscription service is too expensive…this subscription service is too limited…ahhhh, this on-demand service is just right!”

To learn about our own struggles with Goldilocks, read our Velocity Pricing post.