Poor retention rateMany people try SageMathCloud, but only a small percentage stick around. I definitely don't know why. Recent SageMathCloud rates are below 4%:
Is it performance?Question: Are the people who try SMC discouraged by performance issues?
I think it's unlikely many users are leaving due to hitting noticeable performance issues. I think I would know, since there's a huge bold messages all over the site that say "Email email@example.com: in case of problems, do not hesitate to immediately email us. We want to know if anything is broken!" In the past when there have been performance or availability issues -- which of course do happen sometimes due to bugs or whatever -- I quickly get a lot of emails. I haven't got anything that mentioned performance recently. And usage of SMC is at an all time high: in the last day there were 676 projects created and 3500 projects modified -- which is significantly higher than ever before since the site started. It's also about 2.2x what we had exactly a year ago.
Is it the user interface?
Question: Is the SMC user interface highly discouraging and difficult to use?
Is it the open source software?
Question: Is open source mathematical software not sufficiently user friendly?
SageMath (and maybe Numpy/Scipy/IPython/etc.) are not as user friendly as Mathematica/Matlab. I think they could be even more user friendly, but it's highly unlikely as long as the developers are mostly working on SageMath in their spare time as part of advanced research projects (which have little to do with user friendliness).
Analyzing data about mistakes, frustation, and issues people actually have with real worksheets and notebooks could also help a lot with directing our effort in improving Sage/Python/Numpy/etc to be more user friendly.
Is it support?
Question: Are users frustrated by lack of interactive support?