Subscriptions in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

June 11, 2010

by Tien Tzuo


VentureBeat recently asked me to provide a C-level briefing on the shift to the Subscription Economy which was just posted today.


It was great working with VentureBeat because they just get it. We had some great creative conversations to challenge some long held conventions at the heart of this transition and just what that means to old-school product businesses that will need to adapt to new subscription models.


While drafting the article, it was truly inspiring to think about just how far we’ve come in such a short period of time. Something big is happening and it’s as big as the “no software” vision we evangelized at Just look at what’s happening:


  • ZipCar’s market is expected to grow to $3.3 billion by 2016, leading the company to file for an IPO.
  • Cloud computing’s pay-for-what-you-use model is disrupting the 1.4 trillion technology industry.
  • Newspapers and magazines are rejecting the doom-sayers and moving to online subscription and billing models.
  • Software-as-a-Service is beginning to dominate the entire software industry.
  • Consumers are shifting to “membership” models of music and entertainment such as Pandora and Netflix.
  • Emerging telco’s such as Vonage and Open Range are changing the face of home phone services.


At, we had a saying that people overestimate how much change can happen in a year, and underestimate the change that can happen in ten years. The subscription economy is upon us, and before you know it, everything will have changed, again.