Years ago, subscribing to everything sounded like a great idea, whether it was personal or professional. Netflix and Spotify? Sure, I’ll pony up for that, it’s so convenient! Slack and Asana? Great, it’s nice to have the freedom to choose the best software for the task at hand! Salesforce and some AWS instances? I can’t believe people did work before they had this ability to spin stuff up from nowhere!
We all felt so alive, didn’t we, invigorated by not having to buy tech as a thing in a box with a price tag. Everything came with the promise of constant upgrades and lifelong support, and the companies loved it, because recurring revenue is a very good type of revenue indeed.
But that didn't last long. We soon realized that we were paying for five streaming services, didn’t use the same productivity software as two-thirds of the office and had IT departments on the phone about the eye-watering costs of all those software systems that we’d decided to start using on a whim.
It’s not that we’ve fallen out of love with subscriptions so much as we’ve just gotten very, very used to them. It's how we consume content, and on the other side, it’s how many of us make money. But the interesting thing about any practice that becomes normalized is that people do weird things with it, push boundaries and dream up wild new use cases that would have once seemed unimaginable. So, this week, we’re going to study how subscriptions have transformed the tech industry, and what happens next.
We’ll look at bad practices, like the dark patterns that companies use to keep consumers paying up every month and how they’re coming under scrutiny. We’ll find out how people decide which subscriptions to keep and which to ditch. We’ll look at how companies are rethinking the business model, their hand forced by users who are increasingly jumping ship. We’ll explore how cloud providers and SaaS companies are helping customers monitor and control their cloud costs. We’ll take a look at how subscriptions could still change some industries, from the death of car ownership to the rise of subscription gaming services. And a ton more that would just make this paragraph painfully long.
So stay tuned all week to make sense of the future of subscriptions. The bill’s in the mail. (Just kidding.)