The Market Forces Behind My Move from Koncision to Adams Contracts Consulting

Some of you will recall that in December 2010 I launched Koncision Contract Automation and the accompanying website. I shut it down in June 2014, but it was irrelevant long before that.

A few days ago I announced a new business, Adams Contracts Consulting. The factors behind the demise of Koncision are the same as the factors behind my starting Adams Contracts Consulting. In case it’s of interest to anyone, I’ll now explain what I mean.

With Koncision, I dipped my toe into commoditized contract creation for the masses. It offered an automated confidentiality agreement, using ContractExpress. The content reflected the input of an editorial board; the language complied with the guidelines in MSCD; the template offered extensive customization. It allowed you to create the confidentiality agreement of your dreams.

Initially I charged $195 to use the template; in April 2011 I reduced the price to $50; in January 2012 I made it free. Even though zillions of confidentiality agreements are used every year in the transactional world, hardly anyone paid to use the template. Even when it was free, few people registered to use it. What explains that?

Well, I don’t think price mattered. If it had, making the template free would have resulted in a rush of registrations. It did not. If anything, the low price might have been a turnoff. There’s such a thing as being too inexpensive.

Was the problem that I had just one template on offer? That I wasn’t an established legal publisher? Those factors might have limited my success, but I don’t think they explain the near-total lack of interest.

Instead, I suggest that it was as if I were renting out state-of-the-art ditch-digging equipment that would allow you to dig particularly intricate ditches more quickly and at less cost. But to use the equipment, you have to read the 150-page instruction manual. And you have to operate the equipment yourself. You ultimately decide that it would be easier to stick with your current creaky-but-just-about-functional ditch-digging equipment.

In other words, completing my template for the first time requires answering around 60 to 80 questions and consulting the associated annotations. That would likely take a couple of hours, and you would have to do it on your own. Opting for some other template, one that doesn’t require that you answer so many annoying questions, would be an understandable response.

With Adams Contract Automation, I aim to reduce those obstacles. If you want to create a standard commercial template for your company, I or one of my helpers will go through the questionnaire with you. You’ll pay a fee that’s way more than $50 but nevertheless a bargain. And we’ll help you with any adjustments.

Of course, this will be of interest to only a small fraction of companies. Most will be content with what they have, even if it’s the dysfunction of traditional contract language, or they’ll have their personnel cobble something together, or they’ll ask a law firm to cobble something together. But all I need for a thriving business (in addition to doing seminars and bespoke drafting) is for a small fraction of companies to decide that they want something other than dysfunction and that they aren’t satisfied with half measures.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.