At Woodpecker, Fear is not an Option. Shockingly, the Feeling isn't Always Mutual.

At Woodpecker, our goal is to make your life better, to empower you to get back to what you actually enjoy doing and to what you do best.  If we make your life better, all of our customers’ lives better, we will be a better company.  You win, we win.

We put a lot of effort into things like these blog posts to get the word out, so that you’ll try (and hopefully love) our platform. We can be helpful.  We can be incisive.  We can be funny . . . well, try to be funny.  But fear is never an option.  We cannot make your life better by making you afraid.  We will never resort to inciting fear to get our users to act a certain way.

Recently, we became aware of a particularly notable sales outreach email.  The email is from a “Sr. Account Executive” on behalf of one of our competitors (a legacy document assembly software company).  We won’t mention which company, or the name of the person who sent it.  We aren’t going to share the whole email either.  This email shows what happens when your company message is all about fear.

The email was sent to a one of the company’s customers; one who refused to “upgrade” their purchased software to a subscription.  The message starts with fear:

I understand you do not want to move to a subscription basis…but this is a necessary step you need to take in order to mitigate the risk of your data being compromised.

The email then goes on to list a myriad of ways in which the customer could be hacked.  We won’t repeat that list because we don’t want to spread fear and because most of the items are just flat out incorrect, but we will note something incredibly important: this is a company talking about the hacking risk that comes from their own product.  A message this ugly bears repeating: the company is telling its customers that it is holding them hostage for the vulnerabilities that the company has failed to fix in their own product.  Still have any doubts about that?  Then read one of the lines that comes next:

Moving to a subscription basis will ensure you get the security patches and updates you need to mitigate that risk.

Pay more or get hacked, that is what is being told to this customer. No word yet on whether you have to pay that subscription fee in small, un-marked bills.

The email gets worse – yes, it actually gets worse:

I want to help you avoid having to notify your clients that their confidential data has been compromised if you were to be hacked. I also want to help you save the time and money it takes to recover from a hack.

Be afraid.




Is there any other message that this email could be sending?  Do we think that this company, do we think that this “Sr. Account Executive” wants to make the life of their customer better?  Of course not.  They want to make their customer afraid.  They want to make you afraid.

Messages of fear come from an atmosphere of fear 

What could make these legacy document automation software companies so afraid?  They’ve spent decades investing in expensive infrastructure, writing thousands upon thousands of lines of code, hiring legions of people to build, market and sell their software.  Their products are big and powerful and incredibly complex.  Many of our customers tell us how they have tried - and failed - to use those products to make their lives better in the way that they were promised.  They spent lots of money and lots of time to attempt to install, integrate and implement software that did not live up to the hype.

It’s been said many times that a start-up’s motto is “Move fast and break things.”  What is it then, that we at Woodpecker are trying to break?  Not our customers.  Not your security.  Not the relationships you have with your own clients.

We’re intent on breaking that old model, where companies spend decades and millions of dollars to create big and powerful and incredibly complex software.  We’re intent on breaking the model where those companies will do anything – anything – to capture a return on that vast investment even if it means terrifying their own customers.  It is long past time that that model be broken. This fear-mongering email shows why.

At Woodpecker, fear is not an option 

We make your life better or you don’t pay us.  We don’t and we won’t try to scare you into buying our product or an upgrade or a patch for a security problem that we should have fixed in the first place.  Our job – our only job – is to make your life better and more efficient.  You don’t have to spend huge amounts of time & money on implementation, you don’t have to patch anything, you just work in Microsoft Word as you’ve always done.  If we improve your life, make you more productive, and cause you to be a hero within your own organization, that’s a win for us.

That’s what we do as a company.  That’s who we are. That’s who we always will be.


Alex Melehy, Founder & CEO

And the entire Woodpecker team

Want to try Woodpecker without the fear of commitment (or any fear for that matter)? Feel free to give it a try and let us know what you think.