Is Bonsai Mirai Live Worth $300/year?

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Location
New Orleans, Louisiana
USDA Zone
9a
#1
Here's the pricing schedule:
https://live.bonsaimirai.com/pricing

Tier 1, at $72/year, seems fairly useless unless you're going to be watching the live stream each Tuesday night. I have no idea what "And so much more means." I never trust that phrase. If it is worth something, then tell me what it is.

Tier 2 seems okay, even at $180/year. I can watch all the prior videos. I can watch live on the Tuesdays I'm free and after Thursday of each week when the videos are published. Most of the other things, including HD Wallpapers, are all just marketing hype.

Tier 3 is fairly good looking for the features, but $300/year is a bit steep. But then, look in the store and you'll see that pricing philosophy carries itself across the site. The key added features look good on paper, but I'm not sure how much material there is and how often it is replenished. The video access in Tier 2 is at least promised every Tuesday. The Tier 3 add-ons are questionable. "Extended-cut" workshop lessons is especially worrisome. I'm afraid its lengthy unedited videos where finding the good parts means sitting through a great deal of filler.

My other question about the site pertains to applicability. While our zones (9B-me, 8B-them) are not too different, the species availability differences between Oregon and Louisiana leave me to wondering if some of the Tier 3 species-related features would just be useless.

I'm hitting Bonsai Nut first, to see if anyone is already using the Bonsai Mirai site.
 
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131
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Location
Off the Oregon Trail
USDA Zone
9a
#4
I can't speak for Tier 1 because I have a Tier 2 subscription- by far the best $180 I've ever spent on bonsai- period hands down.
@BillsBayou

+1 for me... You can also pay monthly- that's what I do. Well worth EVERY penny...

To alleviate your worries- you can quit anytime- so you may "waste" what, $18 on a Tier 2 for a month? Again, NOT a waste, it has been the most valuable tutorials of bonsai for me period. Ryan also fields questions (but not too much to take away from the pace) from people all over the world. He explains when and what to think about before doing anything to a tree. "What is the goal?". I too was skeptical, but now I am a HUGE believer. Every week has very well produced content in high quality video to access anytime online. I too am way to busy to commit to every Tuesday at 6pm- so utilizing the archives is perfect for me. More so, I have such a better understanding of my trees and am having much more success and fun working with my collection.

If you have any questions, hit me up on DM.

Best,
AB
 

Bonsai Nut

Administrator
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Location
OC, CA
USDA Zone
10A
#8
I'm a Tier 3 member... but I may go with Tier 2 next year. The service in general is really good:

(1) The tech is great - the streaming, video and sound is top-notch. They have two camera operators for wide shots and close-ups, and Ryan can ask for the cameras to zoom in to focus on specific things he is working on.
(2) They have a good support staff - including a tech person and a general co-host in the chat channel as well as via off-camera mikes.
(3) They have a good structure to the sessions - Ryan introduces the topic, and then they normally start with some prerecorded background material, and then dive back into the live stream. They take questions from the chat channel which makes the session feel a little bit more like it is being recorded in front of a live audience.
(4) The content has not gotten stale. You would think that after 40 or so live streams Ryan would start running low on subject matter, but not so far. Just this last week he focused specifically on one species - California juniper - and it was both different from prior streams as well as complementary to what he has taught in the past.
(5) Access to the archives is critical. I find myself forgetting some of the earlier streams... and then as I am about to style a spruce thinking - why don't I go back and re-watch the highlights of the spruce video?

I'm not 100% certain that the benefits of being a Tier 3 member are worth the rather substantial step up in price. At some level, if you get to ask one question a week, is a question answered by Ryan Neil worth $2? :) Put that way, it may be. :) I was hoping the chat channel would be a little more alive with active discussion, but not so much.

It is definitely a sound investment in the hobby. If it helps you keep one decent tree alive that might have otherwise died - right there you have a good return on your investment. I will definitely be subscribing next year!
 

Stickroot

Masterpiece
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Mid MO
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5
#13
All the time you spend yanking to that virtual BS you could be spending with your trees that actually have the energy to teach you something.
Read with your trees!
Read to your trees!
While you sit with your trees and read the link between your thoughts and the visual with your trees will speak to you.
 
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Location
Augusta Maine
USDA Zone
5
#14
If you havr the money to blow sure do it. Id rather spend the money on material and watch it grow, read the web, trim, wire, apply techniques ive read about in and out of season, and monitor results. Mirai is not your back yard, your material, collection, soil mix, recovery time, feeding regimine, expieriments or hardiness zone... Real shit is real and different where you live. "Pros" are always selling and making their skill a must have... Think about how many people wear jordands cause mike did... Spend money on trees, watch for results of what you apply, amd make notes. Sure Mirai might save you a year or two, but what's that when decades make the difference.
 
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Location
London, England
#16
Im a tier 2...its worth every penny
Been in the hobby 5 years and learning a lot from the in depth content.
I was skeptical at first being that his main focus is on conifers and i love deciduous....not only are there a few vids on him working deciduous trees but a lot of what he does can be applied to other species. Was watching the dead wood on the juniper last night....im working on a yew atm and many of the same deadwood techniques can be applied. Looking at my trees in a whole new light now in terms of aestetics..styling..care...maintenance..wiring...etc etc
 
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sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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Location
Berwyn, Il
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6.2
#19
Here's what I know....

Over the last 6 years I've killed more than $300 in nursery stock. Closer to $1k.

Just the free content has me sure most of that would have been alive today had these streams been available 6 years ago.

So a year at tier one would have saved me about $400.

Here's my pricing schedule...

Tier 1...Carrot Dangled. Get Tier 2.

Tier 2...Economical and Valuable.

Tier 3...Baller Status. Get Tier 2.

Sorce
 

Anthony

Masterpiece
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Location
West Indies [ Caribbean ]
USDA Zone
13
#20
The secret of Bonsai ------- shhh

Seed in colander ------> ground grow ----------> trunk and 6 branches

Dig up when trunk is x

Place in over sized container and refine.

Cost very, very little.

Here's the catch --------- The Design part.
Get some art classes, learn how to translate what you see in nature into
a drawing.
Trace image with 9B pencil from computer screen or print and trace.
Appreciate what you discover.

Learn to make your own pots. Design.

Cost factor very low.

You guys are taking a very simple situation and making it difficult and expensive,
Sad.
Good Day
Anthony

$300 US = $2,100. TT -------------- no way brotherman