Subscription Stories: True Tales from the Trenches

Subscription models are crazy powerful. Savvy small companies can easily deploy them to knock huge ... more

Latest Episodes


February 03, 2021 00:34:53

YPO's Scott Mordell on a Subscription that Makes CEOs into Superusers

Scott Mordell was CEO of the Young Presidents Organization, or YPO, from 2011 through 2020. What is fascinating about YPO is how intensely engaged their community is.  Members will move mountains to make sure they can attend their regular meetings, despite the fact that they’re among the busiest people in the world. Many of them even qualify as “Superusers”—host Robbie Kellman Baxter's word to describe members who go beyond just being good paying members, and actually contribute significant time and money of their own to benefit the organization. In this conversation, Robbie and Scott discuss the processes YPO has developed to attract, engage and retain CEOs around the world, the surprisingly friction-laden process they use to onboard new members, and the reason so many members become superuser. Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share! Here’s How » Join the Subscription Stories Community today: Twitter Facebook ...



January 27, 2021 00:39:10

The Value Of Subscription Businesses And How To Sell Them For More With John Warrillow, Author Of The Art of Selling your Business

Growing a business takes a lot of effort and time investment. So when the time comes to exit, it would be a waste not to harvest the value you’ve created. So how do you get the ultimate reward for selling your business? Today, host Robbie Kellman Baxter sits down with John Warrillow, the founder of The Value Builder System™. John and Robbie first met when John published The Automatic Customer around the same time as Robbie released her bestseller, The Membership Economy. They bonded over a shared belief in the value of businesses that were optimized around recurring revenue and long-term relationships with customers. John is launching a new book, The Art of Selling Your Business. In it, he connects the dots about why subscription businesses are so valuable, how to optimize business processes and dashboards to create more value, and how to determine what your own business is actually worth. Tune into this episode to learn how to maximize the value of your own subscription business.   Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share! Here’s How » Join the Subscription Stories Community today: Twitter Facebook ...



January 12, 2021 00:02:05

Season 2 is Coming Soon!

Get ready for another season of Subscription Stories: True Tales from the Trenches. This season, I've interviewed guests like Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight, about building a customer-centric organization, Steve Cakebread, a serial CFO, who has shepherded IPOs of companies like Salesforce, Autodesk, Yext, and Pandora, and Eric Roza, my business school classmate as well as the new owner and CEO of the fitness and training empire, Crossfit. And that's just the beginning. We'll also have stories from a subscription box entrepreneur, the CEO of a family-based insurance business with a rabid fan base, and the head of the Young President's Organization, or YPO on building a global community of senior leaders.   ...



October 21, 2020 00:38:08

Mighty Network’s Gina Bianchini on How to Create a Community Worth Subscribing to

Gina Bianchini brings her community-building and subscription expertise to this episode. She joins Robbie to discuss the role of community in building a broader Forever Transaction, why some communities go off the rails, and how to use community as a starting point for membership, before layering in other elements of value, like content, digital courses and subscription commerce. Highlights from this episode: 1:57 - Why Gina decided to create another online community platform after leaving Ning 5:40 - The distinction between launching a subscription company, and an ad-based one 8:20 - The Myth of More - why content is not always the answer 11:36 - Subscription Overwhelm and how to avoid it 13:00 - How MightyNetworks defines “community” 15:47 - Knowing when not to build a community 16:39 - How COVID turned a community from social running to career networking 18:12 - The importance of focusing on helping a customer achieve their goal, not consume a product 22:26 - Two common mistakes when building a community 23:25 - The right resources and structure for starting that nascent community 26:26 - MightyNetwork’s extra easy approach to onboarding 31:21 - Story Time: how a group of Cacao Growers built a MightyNetwork of their own 33:10 - Gina’s advice for entrepreneurs and executives who are sitting on the sidelines of community 34:48 - Robbie’s Speed Round Gina's Bio: Gina Bianchini is the Founder & CEO of Mighty Networks, an online platform that serves “creators with a purpose.” Creators can offer experiences, relationships, and expertise to their members via community, content, online courses, and subscription commerce. All of these features are offered in one place, under the creator's brand. In addition to Mighty Networks, Gina serves as a board director of TEGNA, a $3 billion broadcast and digital media ...



October 14, 2020 00:34:54

Vena’s Hunter Madeley on Driving Engagement in a B2B Subscription Business

Vena CEO Hunter Madeley joins Robbie to share best practices learned working at multiple B2B SaaS success stories. They discuss when it does and doesn’t make sense to pull out another company’s playbook, how to onboard for engagement and loyalty in a complex B2B environment, and his concept of “methodology before technology”.   Highlights from this episode:   2:12 - Vena’s Forever Promise and business model 5:00 - The role community plays at Vena 8:29 - - Vena’s hub for community engagement 10:09 - Using a “methodology before technology” mindset to improve the customer’s journey 16:27 - Making sure the software follows through on its Forever Promise to the customer, the buyer, and the user 19:23 - How Vena’s onboarding process begins before the customer makes the purchase 21:50 - Vena’s “time to value” metric 24:00 - Balancing the needs of the salesperson and the customer 25:13 - When focusing on revenue can be counterproductive to creating a Forever Transaction 28:19 - How to analyze data in a productive and unbiased way 31:14 - Robbie’s Speed Round   Hunter's Bio: Since 2019, Hunter Madeley, a serial SaaS entrepreneur, has served as the CEO of Vena. There, he continues his track record of leading transformational growth at some of the cloud’s most important companies. Prior to Vena, he was at HubSpot, where as chief sales officer he led annual revenue growth from $80 million to $600 million in just five years. His 20-year career also includes sales and growth leadership roles at ADP and   Links: Hunter’s LinkedIn: Vena: Robbie’s Book THE FOREVER TRANSACTION: Robbie's website: ...



October 07, 2020 00:40:01

EA’s Mike Blank on Keeping a “Player First” Mindset within a Subscription Business

Electronic Arts’ Mike Blank joins Robbie to talk about his journey bringing subscription to the world of gaming. They discuss the challenges of subscriptions in the gaming industry, how to encourage consumers to discover new content within the subscription, and how EA offers multiple consumer models to support their “player first” promise. Highlights from this episode: 2:15 - EA’s journey to subscription and why subscription models are particularly challenging in the gaming industry 8:00 - How EA used their “player first” mindset to create a subscription that would not cannibalize their business 11:29 - The importance of giving subscribers a taste of the product that leaves them wanting more 12:50 - EA Play’s ideal customer 16:47 - The metrics EA used to measure success, and the key data point for tracking returning customers 18:58 - Why helping a customer discover more content is so critical in a subscription business 21:53 - How EA shares subscription data across the company without distracting from other “player first” projects. 24:45 - How to tackle pricing in the gaming world and how EA chose its pricing model 30:16 - How to create a subscription that is beneficial from both a business and a “player-first” standpoint 33:29 - Mike’s advice for someone tasked with bringing subscription to a transactional or episodic business 35:51 - Mike’s advice for creating something evergreen within a “hits” or season based industry 37:21 - Robbie’s Speed Round   Mike's Bio: Mike Blank is EA’s SVP of Player Network. In this role, he oversees how the company enables players to connect together, discover games and evolve to new distribution models. Mike is responsible for building teams, providing vision, and helping to invent the next generation of EA including the consumer platform and subscription-based products. Before ...