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Ghost Joined about 9 years ago
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Another +1 for Toggl. Simple, straight to the point. Desktop and mobile clients work as expected.
Shrink Horizontal and Move-up Horizontal are my favorites.
Even though I was making a joke, this is actually something that came up on a client project; FiveFour is a clothing company that offers clothing subscriptions — every month you receive "surprise" shoes, shirts and pants based on your style preferences declared at sign up.
Our lead developer put together a subscription manager for them, and we talked about packaging it as a distributed subscription manager for businesses.
We got to talking, and I proposed we turn it into a service, and build out a customer facing portion to the product as well.
A simple model broken down would look like:
The business service could be powered by Stripe, and the customer service would essentially be powered by 3rd party APIs (Netflix, Amazon, etc.)
In other words, the entire service is just a convenience wrapper for a bunch of APIs. I haven’t done much competitive analysis, for all I know there could be multiple services out there already doing this.
It can easily add up — Netflix, Basecamp, Spotify, Evernote, GitHub, web server, etc.
Also, a company that’s been around that long, would likely have the data to know the average customer lifetime. If you’re paying $15/mo. for 5 years, that’s $900.
If the average customer lifetime is 3 years, they could charge ~$600 flat to (generally speaking) hit the same revenue. What’s interesting is that in this scenario, they’re actually penalizing their most loyal customers — but perhaps, you pay more because you like it more. It’s all perspective.
Andy, how about we team up and make a subscription based "Subscription Manager" service?
Well congrats on the new job, and changing careers! That’s exciting.
I’d say, don’t worry too much how it’ll pan out. You can’t control the outcome.
This is more my personal approach to things, but I prefer to put things out on the table — there’s not enough time to be overly polite and beat around the bush, especially when it comes to your happiness and effectiveness at work.
As mentioned, this doesn’t mean you have to be rude. But if you don’t feel something is your job, I would outright say that.
"I joined to do X. I keep getting requests to do Y, which I wasn’t expecting to be responsible for. Do you have a minute to talk about this?"
I’m still refining my business acumen, but Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is an important aspect of business development. Credit card holders for example are known to have incredibly high CLV to banks and credit companies, because customers rarely change credit cards.
If your pricing model leverages a one-time cost for your product (or service), as one might guess, you will likely charge more. That higher cost up front (relative to the first month of a subscription) could increase the barrier to entry for new customers.
Adobe is a great example. Take Photoshop®, which used to cost approximately $1,000. Plus, a couple hundred dollars every few months upgrading to the latest version.
However presently, you can purchase Photoshop CC for $10/mo. The barrier to entry is so much lower, and in this case, the longterm cost to the customer is less. I could never have the latest version of Photoshop for $120/yr. before.
Software is moving into the cloud, and we’re seeing the proliferation of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). I don’t think subscriptions are going anywhere any time soon:
Companies are building relationships with their customers, accommodating a wider range of customers, and increasing CLV.
I ran a web agency for 5 years, and one thing I picked up from my managing partner was that business is about service, not one-off sales/jobs. All hail the mighty retainer.
To touch on your preference for one-time cost purchases, I think with enough customer data, a business could identify an appropriate one-time cost option to compliment their subscriptions.
Set the precedent early, and get clear with your team.
The key is to bluntly and politely tell your team and/or manager(s) what you can do, how you work best and nip these deviant requests in the bud; the more you do tasks "outside your job description", the more you cement them as a part of your role at the company.
If they don’t respect that, or aren’t willing to accommodate you — maybe consider looking for a better fit at a different company.
I’ve also found that teaching team mates how I handled requests "outside of my job description" effectively communicates: "hey, don’t count on me for this."
I’m going to make a bold and very opinionated statement here: Everything looks the same.
In fact, everyone sounds the same too! The "friendly" overly-casual language (set in 100-weight Proxima Nova) isn’t refreshing anymore.
I think the tech industry desperately needs a renaissance, a revival of art and authenticity in design; a resurgence of utilitarian values and human — not user or profit — focused business.
As I see it, the problem is far more deep seated than cheesy and over-used marketese. There’s so much money moving in this industry, and so many bets being made, the signal-to-noise ratio is going to hell.
This reminds me of something from Nir Eyal’s blog and book, Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products.
It’s called the Manipulation Matrix
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Similarly, my iPhone 5S has great battery life compared to my Galaxy S3.