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More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)

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Franz Bieberkopf
More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 27, 2012 at 7:07:58 pm

http://www.cultofmac.com/181492/mountain-lion-already-accounts-for-3-of-mac...

The estimate in that article is 2million (paid) downloads.
2million x 20.00 = 40million$

On the Mac App Store, Mountain Lion is already "Top Grossing" (ahead of Pages and FCPX). Of course, we have no knowledge of what the rankings are really showing us, but at face value it would suggest FCPX has lower sales than 40million$.

40million$ / 300.00 = 134K

Wrong math? Wrong estimates? Misleading ranking?

Franz.


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Craig Seeman
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 27, 2012 at 7:11:24 pm

A while ago (a few months I believe) it was reported that FCPX passed 2.5 million downloads. I can't recall if it was from Apple or SCRI. I remember that number being quoted at the Blackmagic Roadshow in NYC a few months back.



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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 27, 2012 at 7:19:44 pm

Craig,


Was it an announcement - or just someone else's napkin numbers?

I mean, Tim Wilson thinks it's 10 million units, but that doesn't make it so.
http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/335/36498

It also doesn't explain the rankings.


Franz.

Also Craig - I knew you'd be first in on this one ...


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 27, 2012 at 10:07:10 pm

In another post, Tim said you have to think in terms of Apple numbers.

Apple = volume, big big volume.

Just the other day in the earnings conference call or whatever it's called, a question was asked about the AppleTV and if it was still a hobby.

The answer was at 4 million units sold this "fiscal year", yes, it's still a hobby.

Despite earning 8.8 billion dollars in the best third quarter ever for the company, and probably teeing up the best year ever, the quarter was seen as a miss.

I'm sorry, but that is completely messed up. I don't understand financial analysts at all. Nothing is good enough and it forces the leaders of companies to do weird things, and the leaders have no qualms about doing weird shit, like keep your money in offshore accounts. I am not talking about Apple only, the managemt at other large tech companies are just as suspect.

Sorry for the language, it's frustrating to me, but I'm sure it's becuase I don't understand operations at that level.


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Gary Huff
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 28, 2012 at 2:25:38 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Despite earning 8.8 billion dollars in the best third quarter ever for the company, and probably teeing up the best year ever, the quarter was seen as a miss."

They were probably holding out for eleventy billion dollars!


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 28, 2012 at 7:37:57 pm

[Gary Huff] "They were probably holding out for eleventy billion dollars!"

Clearly.

I have a sneaking suspicion that even if "Keanu" was right and eleventy billion was achieved, it probably would have been labeled a miss.


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Bill Davis
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 29, 2012 at 3:52:16 am

Dialog that happens in my head.

(Regular Person) "I'm happy"
(Expert) "No you're not."
(Regular Person) "But I feel happy"
(Expert) "That's because you don't know any better"
(Regular Person) "But why does that matter, they're my feelings?"
(Expert) "Well some of us are simply more sophisticated about the human feelings game"
(Regular Person) "But why should that matter to me?"
(Expert) "Because if you're happy when I feel that you shouldn't be, it reflects poorly on me."
(Regular Person) "Oh... Sorry."
(Expert) "Don't worry, just keep listening to me and I'll gladly show you how to change.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Joseph Owens
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 27, 2012 at 8:41:26 pm

Is FCX the application running on the MacBook on the new retina display Apple broadcast ads? Or is it iMovie? Can't tell while all the glitzy stock footage of somebody's family vacation is being edited by an ADD person on bennies... Hmmm... shooting curls in iceberg alley, a little shopping run to get some blankets up at Macchu Picchu, and a few shots of the Aurora Borealis... probably just grabbed with the iPhone. Yeah, pretty ordinary weekend for me, can't think why I'd have to edit a big deal YouTube video of it though. But definitely something I'd want to use Final Cut X for! Lot of data to relationalize to have it make that much sense.

jPo

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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Eric Santiago
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 27, 2012 at 10:23:53 pm

[Joseph Owens] "Is FCX the application running on the MacBook on the new retina display Apple broadcast ads? Or is it iMovie? "
Ummm I think so....


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Bret Williams
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 28, 2012 at 12:26:05 am

It's mail, aperture, and FCP X.


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Chris Kenny
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 28, 2012 at 4:20:01 am

[Franz Bieberkopf] "Wrong math? Wrong estimates? Misleading ranking?"

The exact methodology of App Store rankings isn't known (ranking algorithms are routinely kept secret to make manipulation more difficult), but they're certainly not measuring cumulative sales since release. They seem to be heavily weighted toward recent downloads. One analysis I ran across suggested they're only looking at the last four days worth of data, and even within that window they're giving more weight to more recent days.

So all we know is that Mountain Lion has brought in more revenue than FCP X over the last couple of days, which isn't very surprising given that it's brand new and probably has more mass-market appeal than a $300 specialty market app like FCP X.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 28, 2012 at 3:28:18 pm

[Chris Kenny] "The exact methodology of App Store rankings isn't known ..."

[Chris Kenny] "So all we know is ..."


Chris,


I think you have to choose one of those statements or the other.

I'd go with the first - as I've stated above (and before): we really don't know what the rankings of the App Store mean. As far as I have been able to determine, Apple makes no claims about them anywhere.

Frankly, I think 134K is an unlikely, low number. But the exercise is useful as a negative proof. It suggests that absent a known methodology, App Store rankings are not a viable source on which to base sales numbers.

It would follow that Craig Seeman's original speculation about 600K (from 9 months ago) is equally meaningless:

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/335/19507#19507

Until we have an announcement from Apple or a more fact-based estimate, the numbers are a mystery.


Franz.


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Chris Kenny
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 28, 2012 at 3:35:05 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "I think you have to choose one of those statements or the other."

The fact that we don't know the exact ranking algorithm doesn't mean we can't establish some things about it (like what sort of time period it reflects) with a fair degree of accuracy.

[Franz Bieberkopf] "Frankly, I think 134K is an unlikely, low number. But the exercise is useful as a negative proof. It suggests that absent a known methodology, App Store rankings are not a viable source on which to base sales numbers."

Sure, they're mostly just useful for establishing relative sales (e.g. that FCP X is probably one of the bestselling apps on the platform) and for ruling out extremes (e.g. ruling out that FCP X is a horrible failure in the market).

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 28, 2012 at 3:43:11 pm

[Chris Kenny] "The fact that we don't know the exact ranking algorithm doesn't mean we can't establish some things about it (like what sort of time period it reflects) with a fair degree of accuracy."

[Chris Kenny] "Mountain Lion has brought in more revenue than FCP X over the last couple of days ..."


Chris,


I think you mean "speculate" when you say "establish", and "broad claim" when you say "degree of accuracy".


Franz.


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Chris Kenny
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 28, 2012 at 4:00:59 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "I think you mean "speculate" when you say "establish", and "broad claim" when you say "degree of accuracy"."

It's simply not that hard to establish things like the fact that App Store rankings are highly weighted toward recent purchases. Pretending we can't know things like this because we don't know the complete ranking algorithm is silly. There are many fields in which we have woefully incomplete knowledge, but nonetheless have been able to establish certain particular facts to a high degree of certainty. Physics still hasn't figured out what gravity is, but we don't stand around waffling over whether things will fall when we drop them.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 28, 2012 at 4:05:08 pm

[Chris Kenny] "There are many fields in which we have woefully incomplete knowledge, but nonetheless have been able to establish certain particular facts to a high degree of certainty. Physics still hasn't figured out what gravity is, but we don't stand around waffling over whether things will fall when we drop them."

Chris,

I think you're talking about articulating theories.

Scientists show their work and submit to peer review. It generally takes quite a bit of work before theories get accepted. You seem to be using this as a model for "establishing" a claim but the dictionary offers a simpler definition (probably more useful in this case):

to show something to be true by determining the facts

Franz.


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Craig Seeman
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 28, 2012 at 4:05:47 pm

One simple example is watch the ranking of a new program
7toX was a good example since one could immediately compare in the various listed categories after the first day and follow it through as other programs were introduced. Without knowing exact number one can plainly track trends.



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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 28, 2012 at 4:11:12 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Without knowing exact number one can plainly track trends."

Craig,

Agreed. (Though, absent a known methodology, we don't know what the trends express.)

This is quite another thing from calculting 600K.

Franz.


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Tim Wilson
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 28, 2012 at 4:42:23 pm

I'm honored and humbled that you would take the trouble to link to my very, very napkiny numbers. I saw an article from a paid app developer who said that it took a million-ish downloads to stay on top of the paid apps list and napkined from there.

I'm going to assume that your numbers are much better than mine. LOL They HAVE to be. However, if you multiply 2 million by $300, you get $600,000,000.

Compare this to FCP/Studio, which took a dozen years to get to 2 million paid licenses. (At least that's the last number I heard Apple mention publicly.) That's 2.4 billion. FCPX is 25% of the way there in ONE year, and didn't have to share any of the money with dealers, no manufacturing and distribution costs, etc.

So $600 million is quite a bit lower than my original napkin numbers, but you can buy a lot of napkins for $600 million.

It also underscores my basic point, that FCPX is a financial success on a scale that The Legend of FCP never was, and never would have been.


Tim Wilson
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou

The typos here are most likely because I'm, a) typing this on my phone; and b) an idiot.


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 28, 2012 at 5:12:58 pm

Tim,

Thanks for joining in - your perspective may be just what is needed.

But where are you getting 2 million from?

My calculations (based on Craig's method) are 134K.

I don't think they're right.


[Tim Wilson] "I saw an article from a paid app developer who said that it took a million-ish downloads to stay on top of the paid apps list ..."


Link?

... also there is a second issue here which is sort of a subtext to the issue.

You are assuming that the App store rankings adhere to some sort of blind algorithm. It's good to remember that the App Store is a marketing tool. It certainly uses the language of "blind ranking", and maybe a large part of it is so. I'm not making the claim that Apple features its products in rankings without regard to numbers, I just don't think anyone can make the claim they don't. I haven't found any such claim by Apple - I've asked before if anyone has read what Apple claims the rankings mean - perhaps part of development information that I don't have.

Franz.


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Chris Kenny
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 28, 2012 at 6:52:34 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "My calculations (based on Craig's method) are 134K.

I don't think they're right."


Again, your calculations rely on the premise that the top-ranking lists are based on all-time total downloads. We know for certain this isn't true, or it would be essentially impossible for new apps to quickly rise on these lists, which is something that happens all the time.

At best your numbers are establishing an upper limit on how many copies of FCP X could have possibly been sold over the last few days. But that upper limit is very high — if we assume the rankings look at four days of data, your 134K implies annual sales of ~12M. That's not very interesting — if we could establish a low upper limit it would be evidence FCP X wasn't doing well, but an unrealistically high upper limit provides no real information.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 28, 2012 at 7:09:26 pm

Or, in summary, we don't have any good estimate on the number of downloads / installs of FCPX.


Franz.


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Tim Wilson
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 28, 2012 at 11:48:29 pm

Franz, the 2m FCP number came from a public Apple preso. I misunderstood your first post, and thought you were saying the article said 2m FCPX, when it was Mountain Lion. I get it now.

Chris, I like your "guesstimate multiplier" 12m napkin number because it's close to my 10m napkin number. LOL

But to carry our Scientific Method Saturday Funfest forward, my postulation remains that FCPX has made an insane amount of money. I'm now back to being unwilling to back down from my original position, that Apple has netted, and quite possibly grossed, more from the first year of FCPX than in the first decade plus of FCP/FCS, at least partly because I haven't seen the first reason to do so...and I'm also kind of an a-hole....

The thing to keep in mind is that there are people paid a lot more than you and me whose sole job is to make sure we never figure this out. Which is what makes this so fun.


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Eric Santiago
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 29, 2012 at 4:30:26 pm

I dont have anything smart to add to this post but Ill do my best.
Ive had two classes avg 12 students for FCPX.
At the start of the course avg 3 people owned a copy.
By mid course it grew to 6.
I just got word that all of them now own a copy.


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Bill Davis
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 29, 2012 at 6:26:48 pm

Just two things to keep keep in mind from my perspective.

First, the app store changed everything about profitability in business software sales.

Driving ALL the supply chain costs out of a purchase is the truly transformational deal here.

The next unescapable reality to keep in mind is that Apple has a zillion things on the App Store priced between .99 and $80.

And ONE thing priced at $300.

Now to my thinking, $300 is a bit much for an "impulse purchase" but I suspect that for some well-heeled experimenters and business users, that's precisely what it represents. An impulse purchase. For legions more, it represents a reasonable hedge against not participating (or at least examining) the next wave in the ever growing field of general purpose video editing.

The key is that Apple intelligently vastly lowered both the price and accessibility barriers to purchase - and, to my thinking, that's the huge business school lesson here.

Even if X had failed, it could easily have been chalked up to a reasonable business experiment under the banner of "can we sell high dollar items via a click and pay software delivery model?"

THAT question has been fully answered no matter what the X gross sales numbers might be.

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Richard Herd
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Aug 2, 2012 at 3:50:31 am

[Tim Wilson] " scale that The Legend of FCP never was"

That means, we're just waiting for the movie -- the one edited in X -- that generates the halo effect. We should all really be downloading Final Draft and reading Syd Field.


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Tim Wilson
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Aug 2, 2012 at 6:34:38 am

[Richard Herd] "That means, we're just waiting for the movie -- the one edited in X -- that generates the halo effect. "

I think the halo is already there, provided by Apple itself. If you don't see what you need, no number of features being made can make up for the features you need that are missing.

To put it another way, Cold Mountain was the halo project that some people needed as validation of the faith that they were increasingly putting into FCP. It said to them, "C'mon in, the water's fine." For all that the FCPX halo is tarnished for a lot of old users...albeit shining back up for many others...it's inconceivable to me that, short of giving away ponies or puppies, Apple can possibly make itself more attractive to the extended audience Apple wants to draw in with X.

For the record, I don't actually believe that Cold Mountain provided that much of a halo. Anybody who took a closer look saw that it was a terribly convoluted workflow that was primarily organized around index cards, Filemaker, and a dedicated crew to wrangle FCP that was bigger than the movie's entire editing team. Cold Mountain's workflow was a nightmare, and did a lot to keep FCP AWAY from film production for several more years.

The halo was provided by you folks here in the COW, a far vaster FCP community than every other one combined, who helped each other see that FCP actually worked for the kind of jobs that most people actually do. You helped each other see that it was far more useful for far more work than it was actually even initially intended for. Widespread adoption would have happened even more quickly without Cold Mountain muddying the waters.

As I think about it, I think that some of the same dynamic contributed to the development of X. The Legend of FCP was developed by looking at existing professional nonlinear workflows, and quickly improving them and, more importantly, extending them.

So now Apple was looking at 2 million+ registered users who were extending that extension out even further. The largest part of these users was trying to do things that legacy NLEs were never intended to do, as the notion of "professional video" was exploding.

Yeah, traditional professional production has expanded, but the percentage of legacy NLE-style users has been rapidly shrinking relative to the new nucleus of FCP users for nearly the entire lifespan of The Legend of FCP. To get to the next TEN million users, TWENTY million users, Apple had to extend the extension being pushed by new users who had been enticed by Apple's original extension to believe that this thing could do anything -- which wasn't remotely true. Apple knew it needed to start actually BEING true.

This is why Apple has so regularly blown up their existing customers to start over. Customers inevitably innovate faster than companies can -- but Apple regularly, and understandably, wants to get out in front again, and remarkably, has the brass ovaries to do it.

In The Legend of FCP's case, they saw customers moving more quickly than their own ability to refine -- and in fact refinement had become a mug's game. That's why The Legend of FCP had been largely unchanged since 2005. The two biggest features added since then -- multicam (2005) and ProRes (2007) -- were copies of features that had been around for years (ProRes was virtually identical to Avid DNxHD, introduced 4 years earlier), with very nearly zero added to The Legend in 2009. I don't think that that little movement qualifies as refinement. It certainly doesn't count as innovation. YOU were innovating at lighting speed compared to Apple's increasingly calcified pace.

The only way for Apple to even catch up with YOU, much less to be DRIVING innovation instead of dragging it down, was to throw everything else overboard. Racing against the wind, the most precious cargo becomes ballast.

That's why I don't think Apple is looking for a halo project. Look at their website and outbound marketing. The halo is provided by the Apple computer itself. X is just one more cool thing you can do with your new laptop while you're waiting for Siri to show up. They've otherwise all but abandoned the concept.

You know what you're waiting for, and it's not based on anyone else doing anything else. You're way, way past that. You need X do what YOU need it to do, and if you adopt it, it will be far more based on what you read here than in the Hollywood Reporter or at Apple.com, or see in a movie theater.

Tim Wilson
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou

The typos here are most likely because I'm, a) typing this on my phone; and b) an idiot.


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Walter Soyka
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 30, 2012 at 4:27:58 pm

What would knowing the number of FCPX unit sales really tell us?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 30, 2012 at 5:00:18 pm

[Walter Soyka] "What would knowing the number of FCPX unit sales really tell us?"

Exactly the number of purchases?

;)


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 30, 2012 at 5:13:58 pm

Walter,

Agreed - it's of vague value (though I'd like to know, it doesn't really impact on assessing the tool).

On the other hand it seems to have been a point of interest and speculation over the past months - Craig Seeman in particular has been interested and I think his numbers were used as a reference point for others. So far none of the comments here (including his) have addressed the 600K calculation from Dec, though it was arrived at with the same method.

Franz.


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Tim Wilson
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 30, 2012 at 8:25:50 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "Agreed - it's of vague value (though I'd like to know, it doesn't really impact on assessing the tool)."

Wow, I certainly never meant to give the impression that I thought it was of any value whatsoever. LOL If you visit the COW's Film History & Appreciation forum (AND YOU SHOULD) you'll see many of my posts dissecting TV ratings, movie grosses and all kinds of other numbers for no reason than that I think it's fun.

At BEST, numbers like this, and how people feel about those numbers, can tell you something about the audience, but precisely zero about the thing itself.

That's actually where I think that the sales numbers discussion heated up around X. I got the feeling that some people were hoping to show that Apple had passed up the gold mine that was The Legend of FCP in favor of a bunch of pocket change chumps. I've made my case that Apple hands are bleeding from carrying the bags of FCPX money relative to the ceiling that The Legend of FCP was fast approaching.

Ironically, this is the exact inverse of the demand for numbers a few years back, where FCP-ers turned to sales of The Legend of FCP as validation of their choice in NLE. Maybe it's the same thing then - hoping for pitiful sales of FCPX as a validation of their belief that Apple made a colossally wrong move, and that they should have kept showing me the same kind of love, the same kind of way because that's how I loved THEM.

Which also speaks to my first point. Numbers won't tell you much, if anything, about the thing being measured. Merely its reception, and with a little more thought, seeing the audience's feeling about how they've received it.

Or, re: FCPX, you can ignore the numbers and just read this forum. LOL Plenty of fun to be had, maybe even moreso in the absence of hard facts.

Tim Wilson
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou

The typos here are most likely because I'm, a) typing this on my phone; and b) an idiot.


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Rafael Amador
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 31, 2012 at 11:13:47 am

Two millions licenses sold, now we only have to find where the users are.
Through internete i know there are people using it but haven´t meet them yet in real life.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Joseph Owens
Re: More Napkin Numbers? (FCPX Units)
on Jul 31, 2012 at 3:42:03 pm

What I'd be curious to know is how the X numbers correlate to sales of the "daughter" apps associated with it -- Compressor and Motion.

Do people who buy FCX complete the suite?

jPo

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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