I completely get your points, but I like to run my startup as lean as possible. I plan for the future but I address the needs I have now. The software landscape changes rapidly, no company is sure they'll use the same vendors even 3 years from now. So why should I think about all the diverse integrations and advanced features I may need sometime in the future, if all goes well? As I always say, "it's always a good sign when you have those types of problems".
But for a startup, every dollar matters. Time matters for sure, but money matters probably even more (because, let's be honest, we don't necessarily use our time very efficiently anyways - the 80/20 rule applies here too).
Furthermore, I've never ran into a situation when a client or partner didn't want to e-sign a document because it was hosted on SignNow. The reality is that I (and probably most people) use signed documents only for legal reasons (basically to protect my company). In most cases, how those documents were signed rarely matters, because most startups can't afford going to court and will find a way to settle out of court. It's much more commonly used to say "look, it's written in this document and you signed it" when there's an argument, and that's usually enough to make the problem go away (at least, from a legal perspective).
Mike, to answer your last question: I typically do a feature-by-feature comparison of the solutions at hand, and focus on the ones that really matter to me.
One specific vendor might provide some really cool and advanced features that justify a certain price point, but if I know I'm not going to use them, what's the point for me to go with that vendor vs. another vendor that provides the value I expect at a lower price point? I don't know if DocuSign has a "Compare" page similar to what Clicky has (http://clicky.com/compare/) in the Web Analytics (crowded) space, but although I always take those claims with a grain of salt (and yes, I know, it's not just about features, it's also about user experience, reliability, etc..), it does help a bit when you're not an expert in that market (which is my case for the e-signature market).
Does that make sense?
Jane, thanks for chiming in, I'll definitely take a look at Signority.
Mike, I also appreciate your feedback. I had no idea there was a DocuSign offer to BizSpark members, which my company is part of. You're correct that there is a $10 plan, but it's limited to 5 docs/month and most importantly, it doesn't look like it includes templates (unless "Shared Templates" is something different - there's no mention of just "templates" at https://www.docusign.com/products-and-pricing ).
Regarding docracy: the issue is not about editing documents, it's about being to add mandatory and optional fields, as well as being able to re-use templates. In my case, I have 2 templates: a partner/reseller agreement and a support agreement (for clients). All of those documents contain information I don't necessarily know firsthand and don't want to gather through a manual process. That's why templates and fields are important to me (I guess I should have made that clearer upfront).
Thanks again for the help!