Dan Balcauski was a program leader for Northwestern University, where he also went to school seven years prior. He is the founder and Chief Pricing Officer of Product Tranquility, a company that helps high volume B2B SaaS CEOs define pricing and packaging for new and existing products.
In this episode, Dan talks about pricing and packaging and how he applies its principles in helping B2B SaaS companies.
Why you have to check out today’s podcast:
- Learn about the similarities and differences of pricing model and pricing metrics
- Discover the fundamental principles of how to decide which features to put on which packages
- Understand why there is no such thing as absolute and optimal pricing
“You don’t really have a choice of whether you will have a pricing conversation with your customer. The only decision you get to make is when you’re going to have that conversation. So I recommend having it as soon as possible.”
– Dan Balcauski
01:13 – How Dan got the title “Chief Pricing Officer”
02:04 – The work that Product Tranquility does
02:16 – Dan’s thoughts on packaging
04:31 – How Dan defines pricing metrics and pricing model
10:24 – How Dan decides which features go to which packages
16:50 – Dan’s thoughts on good, better, best packaging
18:51 – How to decide if a specific feature shall go to good, better, or best packages
21:21 – How you should name your packages if you want to call them other than “good, better, and best” packages
23:24 – Dan’s favorite thing to share people about pricing and packaging
26:08 – Do product managers use the word “value” the same way that pricing people do?
28:27 – Dan’s pricing advice
29:58 – Connect with Dan Balcauski
“When it comes to, especially SaaS pricing, most executives think that what you charge determines your success. In fact, who and how you charge determines your success. And the packaging is a huge element of how you charge. It really helps tell and align your value story so your sales and go-to market teams can really get your message across of the differentiated value that you bring.” – Dan Balcauski
“In general, the principle by which I look at this through, is that your bundles, offer configurations, and packages, in Mark’s terms, should align to a particular customer segment.” – Dan Balcauski
“If we understand at a deep level what our customer segments need, what their constraints are, what they value, then we can make that decision much easier for them, which increases our sales velocity, reduces our customer acquisition costs, et cetera.” – Dan Balcauski
“If we don’t understand the customer we’re going after, the problems they have, the outcomes they want, the constraints that they face upfront, the rest of the conversation gets very muddled.” – Dan Balcauski
“There’s the right price for the right moment in time for your stage of company, for the life cycle of your industry, for your competitive environment. But you’re going to learn, you’re going to get better.” – Dan Balcauski
Connect with Dan Balcauski:
Connect with Mark Stiving:
Full Interview Transcript
(Note: This transcript was created with an AI transcription service. Please forgive any transcription or grammatical errors. We probably sounded better in real life.)
You don’t really have a choice of whether you will have a pricing conversation with your customer. The only decision you get to make is when you’re going to have that conversation. So I recommend having it as soon as possible.
Welcome to Impact Pricing, the podcast where we discuss pricing, value, and the foundational relationship between them. I’m Mark Siving, and today our guest is Dan Balcauski. And here are three things you want to know about Dan before we start. He is the founder and Chief Pricing Officer of Product Tranquility. He was a program leader for Northwestern University, where he also went to school seven years prior. I had the experience of working at a school that I went to as well, but it was way better than Northwest, and I just want to point that out. He has a background in product management, and believe it or not, he spent a year and a half solo backpacking around the world. Welcome, Dan.
Great to be here, Mark. I’m super excited to have this conversation
This is going to be fun. So, first off, I think I know the answer, but I’m going to ask, how do you get the title Chief Pricing Officer?
Well, it’s a fun thing when you found your own business, you can give yourself whatever title you want. I got really excited when I first founded my company, seeing all of the title inflation I saw around LinkedIn. And I thought for a minute of naming myself Master of the Universe and thought that was a bit too far. So instead, I settled Chief Pricing Officer.
Okay, so it’s not what the answer I thought you were going to give, because it’s the reason I’m a Chief Pricing educator. And that is when I first started the company, I called myself CEO and I got so much spam on LinkedIn for people targeting CEOs. It’s like, “No, we’re changing that title”.
It’s a wise move.
So, tell me what Product Tranquility do.
Absolutely. So, Product Tranquility, we help high volume B2B SaaS CEOs define pricing and packaging for new and existing products.
You’ve practiced that. I can tell.
The pricing piece, we talk about a lot. So, let’s talk about packaging, if that’s okay. I think packaging is one of the hardest things to figure out. So let me just, first off, lay you out with the softball and say, what do you think about packaging? And then we’ll go from there.
Well, I think you’re absolutely right. It is incredibly difficult but actually most important. When it comes to, especially SaaS pricing, most executives think that what you charge determines your success. In fact, who and how you charge determines your success. And the packaging is a huge element of the how you charge. It really helps tell and align your value story so your sales and go-to market teams can really get your message across of the differentiated value that you bring.
I think the problem I run into often – there’s many problems with pricing and packaging I run into often, but one of the most common is how much packaging gets discounted. But then, two is the definition around it. And so maybe the most boring way to start a conversation, but I find myself having to do this a lot, is actually agree on terms so we can have a productive conversation. So, I really think about packaging in four components.
So, that would include your price metric, the unit of value you charge customers for. So that would be seats or API transactions or amount of data transferred or stored, your monetization or price model. This is how or and when payments flow through the system. So it’d be subscription, pay as you go, auction based pricing like Google and Facebook, half of their ad inventory. Offer configurations or bundles, these are how our sets of features group together to create offers for each targeted customer segment that you serve. And then finally, price fences or price structures. This is how you charge two different customers, different prices for essentially the same product. And those are usually based in time, identity, or volume.
So, those are all the elements that make up packaging. And I go through that because I tend to find that when folks think of packaging, they probably mean what in my mind, I usually term as offer configurations, which is just which features go in and maybe which tier or which bundle, or which features or add-ons. So, that helps to clarify, but I’ll stop there and see where else you want to go with that conversation.
So my first question, the first two I have a hard time differentiating. So when you say pricing metrics – which, by the way, I love the fact that you use the word pricing metrics instead of value metrics, thank you – and the pricing model, oftentimes I think of those as the exact same thing. So, can you give me an example of when they would be different?
Yeah, this is a great question. I’ve thought a lot about this, and this really gets under my skin quite a bit when I see the concept of usage-based pricing being discussed. I think when most people in our industry or outside our industry talk about usage-based pricing, they’re really conflating these two separate things of price metric and price model. When most people talk about usage based pricing, they will say, “Well, that includes pay as you go.” But you could think of, “I have a price metric”, say it’s API transactions, and “I could create a subscription out of that, where you are extended the ability to have, let’s say, a thousand transactions per day or per month, whatever the time period might be. And I could charge you a recurring subscription for that. And you’d get an annual or a monthly term length for that. Or I could charge you for the same transaction on a pay as you go basis.”
So, the same price metric in two different pricing models, and I could do the same thing the other direction as well. So, I find that if we don’t differentiate those, then this whole concept of usage-based pricing gets very confusing. And you’re not really sure what people are talking about when they say the concept of usage-based pricing.
Okay, rarely does someone say something that I have to say, “I’m going to walk away and think about that one more deeply”.
So, what I usually do when I think of usage-based pricing is, I usually think of it as – we’re going to talk about API calls or transactions. That’s totally fine, and that’s the usage. – And then I think of it as, “Do I want to charge you per use, or do I want to put it into buckets?” Which is still a decision that we have to make, right?
And so, I think that’s what you’re calling pricing models as opposed to the pricing metric.
Well, I think this is also where price fences or price structures come in. Actually, I was just reading this morning, Steven Forth has a good article he wrote on how price and volume change and how you divide those up. So, you can have, within a usage-based pricing or hybrid pricing model, the ability to charge on a stepped or a linear basis. But that would be more in terms of “How does that price change with the volume that you purchase?” The first seat you buy of, say, any product that charges by seats, is probably going to be a different price than the thousand seats you buy.
So, there’s three interacting components in this conversation. There’s “What am I charging by?”, the unit of value. There’s “Am I charging you on a recurring subscription basis or a utility billing model?” And then finally, “How are those entitlements actually bucketed?” So, that goes to the price structures or price fences aspect of it.
Yes. Now we’re confusing fences because I would have used fences in a very different way as well. This is a fabulous conversation, very fascinating.
So, first off, I want to share with you the way I think about packaging, if I may. And then we’re going to try to combine the two and see if we can make it make sense together.
So, first off, value. We have three different value levers that companies have to control, and that is “We have to define our market segments”, “We have to define our packaging”, and “We have to define our pricing metrics”. And those three are very tightly related to each other, but they’re extremely different decisions. Every company makes every one of those decisions. Some do it consciously and thoughtfully, and some just do it because, hey, that’s the way we are, right? That seemed like the right answer.
But I think the more interesting part, if I were to try to say, “How do we do packaging?”, I like to think of “How do I create different packages for different market segments?” Because I have different market segments who are trying to solve different problems, who have very different willingness to pay. And then once I get inside a market segment, so, let’s pretend like we’re talking about LinkedIn and we’re talking about the sales channel and LinkedIn. So, I would create a different product for salespeople than I would for recruiters. And then once I’m in the sales world, then I would create more packaging decisions. And so typically, I think of good, better, best, and what features am I going to put in what package in order to capture more of that.
So, that’s my thinking around it. Now, I rarely say the word “fences”, but fences are really important.
Yeah, well, and I think you and I are totally aligned. When you talk about packages, I just say “offer configurations” or “bundles”, but we have the same definition as it pertains to that particular concept. I just have packaging as a broader concept. And the problem I found is that, you mentioned this, actually, where you’re like, “I’m glad you said price metric and not value metric”. I think we’re running into the same problem, which is people say usage-based pricing, or price metric versus value metric, this is definitely an area where the pricing world and the surrounding world is not using consistent terms. I think it just confuses a lot of people. At least I try to be consistent the way I use it, but I’m not saying that my definitions were handed down on stone tablets from the mountaintop.
I promise you they weren’t. It was just me trying to make sense and trying to find the best way to categorize these things.
So, I’m not going to die on this hill. We’ve got to call it packaging in this conversation for offer configurations, bundles, I’m all for it.
No worries. It is definitional. But on the whole pricing metric conversation, I just want you to know that Steven Forth and I agree, and so we’re just going to change the world and say, “This is the language.”
Now, the thing that I read from Steven once, which I’d never thought of, is there’s a third one. So, there’s a pricing metric, what do we charge for. There’s a value metric, how do our customers measure the value they’re getting from our product. And the third one that I had not heard until I read it from him, was a usage metric. And doesn’t that just make all the sense in the world, right? What is it that a customer is using? Or what are we measuring in terms of usage? And so, maybe we charge for it, maybe we don’t charge for it, but we can measure usage. So, I thought that was pretty good.
Got it. Alright, where do we want to go?
How do you decide – you can use any definition you want, I don’t care – How do you decide which feature goes in which package?
This is the million dollar, maybe it’s the 100-million-dollar question, isn’t it?
It is. This is the hardest one to answer.
You really lobbed me a softball here, Mark. I appreciate it.
It is incredibly difficult. I think in general, the principle by which I look at this through, is that your bundles, offer configurations, and packages in Mark’s terms should align to a particular customer segment. And this might bring in a broader conversation of “How do we define customer segments?” Because I find that that’s done quite improperly or loosely, depending upon the position that you’re in. But if we think about the core function of having different offers, it’s to allow our go-to market team to reinforce our value story, to help customers into the right offering for them, reduce the complexity for customers in the sales cycle so that they don’t have to choose from a Chinese menu of a thousand separate features. And so, if we understand at a deep level what our customer segments need, what their constraints are, what they value, then we can make that decision much easier for them, which increases our sales velocity, reduces our customer acquisition costs, et cetera.
I think that’s the foundational principle. Now, on a brass tax, this feature A versus feature B versus feature C, does it go in package one, two, or three? There are many nuanced debates we could have around the edges, because oftentimes there’s many other characteristics we may want to consider, but that’s the foundational principle that I use.
Okay, so I think foundationally, it makes all the sense in the world. I don’t think it gave me any insight as to how to actually go do it, though. And so, let me toss out a couple of ideas, and you can tell me if this makes sense if you’re doing this.
So, the first one I find that’s the easiest one to understand, and that is “If we’re creating different versions of our products for different market segments, then it feels pretty easy to know, ‘does this feature solve any problem for that market segment or not?’”
So, we go back to the LinkedIn example. “Am I creating a product for salespeople, or for recruiters? So if I want job placement functionality, guess what? I don’t care about salespeople getting that. I care about recruiters getting that.” “If I want prospecting capability, I probably don’t don’t care about recruiters getting that. I care about salespeople getting that.” And so, there’s a different set of problems for different market segments, even though the underlying technology is the same.
I think that one feels easy. I’m going to let you pontificate on that, if anything.
I think we sort of jumped into the middle of a conversation that usually starts at a much higher level. So, I think you’re absolutely correct. I think one of the parts that we missed is that I never start by talking about individual elements of pricing or packaging. I always start by having customers understand or clients understanding their customer segments, because this is where the pricing conversation – again, pricing and packaging. I would say pricing for brevity – but this is where the pricing conversation can go off the rails. If we don’t understand the customer we’re going after, the problems they have, the outcomes they want, the constraints that they face upfront, the rest of the conversation gets very muddled.
And so I think you absolutely nailed it by understanding what are the unique problems, the context that they are in, the outcomes they’re trying to achieve. And I know I think you and I actually talked about this in another venue before, but I know you’re a big fan of the feature-benefit value mapping exercise. If we understand what our features, the value they provide, we could do that mapping back to those individual customer segments. That is assuming we’re doing a value-based customer segmentation, not just firmware graphics identity, demographics-based customer segmentation to start. Is that clear?
Spot on. What’s funny is I feel like I’m talking to myself, just in a different language. Because in all honesty, every time I start an engagement with a client, it always starts with value. It always starts with, “Let’s list ten different customers. Let’s talk about how much do you think each one would be willing to pay. What are the things they value? Why are these similar to those?” And then we start going through features, right? Which customers care about, which features, and why, and how do we do that? And so, through that exercise, we work our way into understanding “What really are your market segments?” And I only ever think of market segments in terms of – I learned this from pragmatic marketing – Market segments are groups of companies or individuals with common sets of problems.
I have the pragmatic marketing rules sitting not 5ft from me on my bulletin board over here. They’ve been sitting in the same place for the last twelve years. It is one of my favorite list of rules in any marketing system. So, really on the same page. You might be talking to yourself at this point. I’m not sure.
But I actually find what I just described to you the easy part. So, what I find as the really hard part is, first off, do you do good, better, best? Do you recommend good, better, best? Is that a go-to strategy for you?
I think good, better, best is well supported by pricing and marketing theory. Give customers options. It makes a lot of sense, right? In terms of a buildup. It is not the only way. You already use LinkedIn in this conversation. I think LinkedIn is a wonderful counterpoint. LinkedIn Sales navigator is not necessarily better than LinkedIn recruiter, it’s different. It’s not that you graduate from being a salesperson to a recruiter. They’re just the different things. So, I avoid using the term “tiers” when I talk about offer configurations or bundles, because “tiers” implies good, better, best. But as a starting point, generally, good, better, best is a fine place to be.
So, the way I tend to think about it is – and by the way, you used to be able to see this on LinkedIn, they’ve changed their pricing page, so you can’t see this anymore, but they used to offer good, better, best pricing inside the sales navigator world. Or good, better, best pricing inside the recruiter world. And so, I think that makes a ton of sense, right?
So, once you’ve picked a market segment, then you can say, “How do I create a set of products where the people who get the most value from it are going to pay me more, and the people who get the least value from it are going to pay me less?” And we can often do that with our good, better, best packaging.
Docusign does something similar where they have good, better, best for the general Docusign use case. And I think they have something specific for real estate, because real estate has if you ever bought a house, but you’ve got a mountain of documents to sign, and there’s a lot more paperwork involved there, there’s a different, probably workflows and value proposition for that environment. So, LinkedIn is not the only one, but I agree.
By the way, here’s another one I found the other day. I was on zoom’s pricing page, and it turns out that Zoom has a whole pricing offer or for medical, right? And if you think about HIPAA requirements and privacy issues, it’s like, “Okay, got it. That makes sense.”
Okay, so now the hardest thing that I find to do in everything that I do is give me a feature, and how do I know if that feature goes in good or better or best? That is just a ridiculously hard decision. I’m teeing it up for you, go ahead give me some great advice.
So, there’s a couple of different lenses that you might apply, and all of these are going to vary specific on context. But there’s going to be, first assume good, better, best also maps to customer segments, does this make sense for the value proposition we’re putting forward for the constraints, for the context that customer is in? There’s also the idea of affinity to other features. Sometimes, it’s like bacon and eggs. They go well together. I don’t want to have my bacon in a different tier than my eggs because now I’ve just caused a whole bunch of friction and pain. And this is something that I highly recommend that companies keep an ear out for when they’re releasing new packaging because they’ll start to hear these type of things from support, from customer success, from sales, of like “Hey, the only reason I’m going to the mid tier or to the best tier is for this one extra feature.” And now it tips the whole balance of the value-price ratio and that can be a lot of churn down the road. Definitely ill-will, if not, it’s not going to end up in a delightful user experience. We’ll put that as a minimum bar, not going to be delightful, then we’ll see the after effects of that.
So generally, affinity, this is also where you can use survey data to make this decision easier based upon affinity of preferences, problems within your survey information. From usage behavior, you could do behavioral segmentation based upon product analytics data. They can help inform these concepts. So, those are a few of the different things I would look at, so hopefully that helps.
I think those are great. I really like the usage data, and I don’t think enough companies are collecting usage of features. And so, if we’re watching what individuals or what companies use what features and how much they use what features, you can start to get a feature feel for what would be an MVP type product that has to be on everybody’s list. And then “What are the things that only the people who get the most value out of our product end up using?” And those would go in the best category. I think usage gives us a lot of really good information there.
But the other thing I’ll say is everything you talked about made sense to me, but I like to test it in the end to say, “Can I give each of those packages a name?” So, instead of calling it “good, better, best”, can I give it a name that essentially says, “Here’s the base product, and now here’s the extra problems you solve with this one, and now here’s the extra problems you solve with this one?” And I think if you can name the packages, it says that you’ve done a good job putting the right features into the right packages.
Yeah, and I would generally agree with that sentiment. One of the things that you want to try and do is if you’re doing market research survey, especially quantitative type research for the survey, you’re going to try to find what are the most important features, right? Because often, software, you might have 150, 200, 250 features that you’re trying to map in these packages. And so, if we think about the design of a good pricing page, at a high level, the sort of above the fold, they’re not talking about every single feature that’s in every single tier. They’re saying, “These are the ones that are differentiated.” And I think this is where your advice applies. I think where the more nuanced, difficult decisions get made is feature 151, 152, and 153, and where do they go. And so, we’re well past the naming, like this is a clean use case here. So, I think that’s where it can get difficult in some of these more mature products and doing that type of packaging exercise.
I absolutely agree.
Dan, I never asked this question I’m going to ask you. Is there a question that you wish I would have asked you? I never give someone like, a free for all. Is there a question you wish I would have asked you?
I think that’s such an interesting question.
I’m going to ask it differently. How’s this? What’s your favorite thing to share with people about pricing and or packaging?
Pricing is a process. I feel like a lot of people get very uptight and concerned that a price has to be – again, I use price and package together – as absolutely optimal. And it has to be optimal for now and for the next ten years.
I spent a lot of my career in the value creation side, both as a software developer, product manager, and you never think about the value you’re creating, the product you’re creating in those terms. Your value is always creating, and pricing is an adaptive system where we have competitive environment. We’ve got the Fed changing interest rates. Your value, the features you’re developing are always changing, and customers have different needs in different contexts. And the search space is just gigantic, right? We’ve only sort of scratched the surface here, and the kind of decisions we’ve made around packaging and price level. So, this idea that “We’re going to absolutely in one shot going to nail it, and it’s going to be the best thing for all time”, there’s definitely ways to get better, and so that’s one thing I encourage people to think through: There’s the right price for the right moment in time for your stage of company, for the life cycle of your industry, for your competitive environment. But you’re going to learn, you’re going to get better. And that’s really about understanding and building in those capabilities inside of a company is really the direction you want to go versus getting all wrapped up in “Is this absolutely the perfect thing to do?” And “There’s not a better option”, because then, you end up in this paralysis, or the conversation gets emotionally heated and everyone yells at each other and no one wants to touch it again, and that’s not the place you want to be.
That was actually a fabulous answer. It turns out that it is impossible to get the perfect price because you can’t read your customers mind. You have no idea how much they’re truly willing to pay. So, you just make the best decisions you can, and you have to constantly get better. That’s pretty cool. I just thought of this question while you were answering that because of the fact that you were in product management and in product development, and I used to teach product management quite a bit, but I’ve always taught pricing.
Now that you’re in pricing, do you think that product managers actually think about the value of their product and use the word “value” in the way that we would as a pricing person? Do product managers actually think about the value of the product when they’re defining it and deciding what we should build?
Some do. Most don’t. Value, most in technical teams, and that includes technical founders, CEOs, product managers. Engineers are caught mostly in a feature language model of the world. They talk and think in features. The marketing types who I love and respect can often get them one level up and start thinking about benefits. But very few people go all the way to understanding economic value, economic outcomes, getting to that, “What is it going to do in terms of dollars and cents?”
I would say this with all compassion, because it’s just not taught. I had a weird background, which we didn’t actually really discuss, but I was lucky in my MBA program. I didn’t find this out two years later – very few MBA programs actually have pricing courses. I was doing some file clean up this weekend, and I came across old business school course decks, and I realized that I had seen economic value analysis eleven years ago, and it was just one of those things that just flew over my head and I didn’t remember until about six years ago when I saw it in strategy, taxes and pricing, I was like, “This sounds familiar”. So, it’s just not taught. Again, even in Pragmatic, which I think they do a great job, or any other boot camp, it’s just not really taught at that level to think about that economic impact.
So, that’s one of my hopes, it’s that the work that you and I do eventually promulgate to that world. I speak a lot with product managers. I still teach that product strategy course with Northwestern, and I try to emphasize it as much as I can. But it’s a work in progress, and product management, like pricing, is always growing and adopting, so there’s always hope for our future generations.
Nice. Okay, so we have to ask the final question. What’s the one piece of pricing advice you’d give our listeners that you think could have a big impact on their business?
You don’t really have a choice of whether you will have a pricing conversation with your customer. The only decision you get to make is when you’re going to have that conversation. So, I recommend having it as soon as possible. And going back to my conversation about being in product management, you should probably have that conversation as soon as you’re first thinking of the product and the ideas for the product is having that pricing conversation. Because I think a lot of companies think like, “Oh, well, you can’t ask customers about price. We can’t get good data”, but eventually you’re going to put all that weight on your poor sales guy’s shoulders when he has to have the pricing conversation once the product is built, once you’ve invested tens of millions of dollars. So have it earlier, please.
Yeah. So when you first said the words “pricing conversation”, I was actually thinking of, “When in the sales cycle do we have it?” But you’re actually saying, “When in the product lifecycle, product development cycle do we have it?” And so, let’s have it early. That makes so much sense.
Let’s have it early. Because I get too many clients who come to me and say – at some point, pricing got put in the go-to market launch plan sequence. So, companies are like, “Oh, we’re launching in a month. We got to price this thing.” And then they come to me and say, “Hey, what should we price this thing?” And I said, “No one’s had that conversation yet? So, you guys have spent how many billions of dollars of engineering and no one built a business case? No one has any idea of people actually willing to pay for this thing?”
What’s in the business plan? Did you have something in there?
Hey, Dan, thank you so much for your time today. If anybody wants to contact you, how can they do that?
I am happy to connect with folks on LinkedIn at Dan Balcauski. Just let me know you heard me on the podcast so I can separate it from the rest of the LinkedIn spam. And always trying to document the mistakes I’ve made along this journey. I know we’ve talked about a lot here. I do not want to give the impression that I was handed down the stone tablets from the mountaintop either. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, I try to document that on my blog at https://www.producttranquility.com/. So go and make all new mistakes. Don’t make the same mistakes I did, and then when you go make those, come and tell me what those were so I don’t make them. We’ll make this a virtuous cycle here, but I appreciate the conversation, Mark. I had a blast.
What a great answer. And I got to say, I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. This has been great. Not that I don’t enjoy them all, but this was really great.
So to our listeners, thank you so much for your time. If you enjoyed this, would you please leave us a rating and a review? I say this every week, but I’m going to challenge you. It really is hard to figure out how to leave a review on a podcast, so I want to see if you are smart enough to figure it out. I won’t even give you the secret hint this week, but let’s see how many of you can get a review up. That would be awesome.
And finally, if you have any questions or comments about the podcast or pricing in general, feel free to email me at [email protected]. Now go make an impact.
Tags: Accelerate Your Subscription Business, ask a pricing expert, pricing metrics, pricing strategy