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Marketers love subscriptions.

We love knowing that, whether you use our product twice a day or twice a year, we’ll collect our monthly rent.

We love knowing that you’ll probably forget you’re even paying it.

And we love knowing that when one day you do remember… well, is figuring out how to cancel even worth the bother?

We’re sure you’d understand — we really have no choice. We need to keep raising that customer lifetime value because, you see, customer acquisition cost keeps going up. So believe us when we say: This is what you want.

We invited you over for a couple drinks a few decades ago — a newspaper subscription, maybe a magazine or two. But the drinks turned into a bit of a party, and we kept handing you solo cups. Xbox Live, Netflix by mail, Office Online. Now it’s well past midnight, and your liver is being assaulted by Hulu, Prime, Washington Post, Birchbox, BarkBox (really?), sixteen shots of SaaS, Hinge, The New York Times, Bumble, the HBO you split with your friend, Spotify, Quip, Blue Apron or whatever meal kit is still in business today, Huel, Harry’s, plus four hardware devices that will stop functioning if you stop paying their makers every single month. Yeah, you don’t look too great, you keep mumbling that you should probably stop — and maybe we think twice about putting another beer in your hand. But then we look around and see that, hey, everyone else at this party is still drinking more. And who cares, anyway? …

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David (right) and me on a recent visit to our manufacturing plant

The best decision I ever made was choosing to work with my cofounder.

It was a late, damp hour in uptown New Orleans when David pitched the idea of Carpe to me. “It’s a brilliant concept, man — we’ll be selling three versions of this by fall. We’ll have one for men, then one for women, and one for the athletes!”

It was a terrible concept, I thought to myself, but I listened to him. The lights were out in our apartment, the flat we were sharing with 9 other Robertson Scholars across three bedrooms. …

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The startup “pitch” has become a trope — like marriage proposals, diaper changes, and employee firings, almost all of us think we know how to do one… until we actually need to.

That’s when we realize that no matter how many times we thought we’ve seen them before, we have no idea how to make them great when it’s our turn. …

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