My Subscription Life

Between craft beers, hot dogs, and fireworks, I was able to read a great piece this weekend from Zuora’s Tien Tzuo, “The Climb: How to Build A Billion Dollar Run Rate.” Zuora is probably best known for coining the term, “The Subscription Economy” and this got me to thinking about how many facets of my life include subscription services.

Subscription isn’t a new concept, as newspapers and telecoms have been doing it for ages, but the explosion of smartphones combined with the Internet have created multiple new avenues for subscriptions to permeate my life. Here’s my Subscription Life: services that consistently get money from me — including the old-school ones.


Image via Netflix

Netflix — I cut the cord earlier this year but I still watch way too many talkies on my screens, so Netflix is a must. Was surprised at how much I loved Daredevil. ($8 a month)

HBO Now — Similarly, I need Game of Thrones, Veep, True Detective, and others (not you, The Brink). Because of windowing, there’s also a better selection of movies than on Netflix. ($15 a month)

Sling TV (sometimes) — I need my sports, especially the NBA. This was a godsend during the playoffs because I could watch the Dubs on the train ride home. Even better: Once the playoffs ended, I shut it off and probably won’t start it back up until next season. ($20 a month)

Spotify/Apple Music/Rdio — I’m not a big playlist guy, so I have no real loyalty between the services because they essentially have the same catalogs. I do require mobile access and offline playing though, so there’s no question that I’ll pay for it. ($10 a month)

The Economist — This is the last magazine I subscribe to and if it was the only thing I read all week, I’d still be pretty damn informed. I think I started this many years ago with a Groupon for Print + Digital but recommend it at the full price. (~$13 a month)

Of these services, four are keeping my recurring revenue because of the quality of original content. I find that I spend a bit much on content for entertainment purposes and if I really wanted to budget, could probably cut Netflix for a few months without really missing it.


T-Mobile — What good is all that content if I can’t get it on the computer in my pocket? I’m on the T-Mobile unlimited everything prepaid plan (auto-renewal setup) with up to 5GBs of tethered data … and I make the most of it. ($70 a month)

Xfinity — Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Comcast sucks … but I can’t pull away. There’s always additional, hidden fees that magically go up every year, and the customer service is craptacular. Still, I need fast Internets, and this is by far the fastest option I have in my humble abode, so they continue to get my money. (~$90 a month for just Internet)

PG&E — Not much I can do about this one, as I need running electricity and water. The good/bad thing about San Francisco is that the weather is pretty consistently grey and my place has neither A/C or heat, so I get a dependable power bill. (~$70 a month)

Pretty straightforward with this category of subscription services. I would gladly switch Internet providers but nobody comes close to the speeds that Xfinity offers. I also live in San Francisco, which apparently means I can’t even dream of Google Fiber.


Flickr user
USAG Livorno PAO

Classpass — This has been a recent, and pricey, addition to my monthly Subscription Life but it’s one that’s really moved the needle for me. If you’re not familar, Classpass gives you “unlimited” access to fitness studios for things like Yoga, TRX, and access to gym time. While it’s roughly double the cost of my previous gym, it’s been awesome. It fits into my schedule better and generally includes higher-impact workouts than I was doing by myself. While it’s not perfect, I’d highly recommend Classpass. ($99 a month)

Caltrain — Not necessarily a pleasant experience but a much-needed one now that I commute from San Francisco to Palo Alto five days a week. It took me longer than I’d care to admit to learn when I have to actually tag on and off, but it could be a lot worse. ($179 a month)

Scoot Network — The so-called “Zipcar for scooters” is an integral part of my commute, and one of the services on this list that I use at least 5 days a week. I actually wrote a review of this a few months ago and my thoughts haven’t changed much: Fun, affordable way to get around SF but there are some downsides. In fact, it may have done too good of a job, as I’m thinking for purchasing my own scooter. (~ $99 a month)

Harry’s — I’m not a hairy man. But that makes it even more of an imperative that I shave because then, it just looks weird. Harry’s won my wallet with podcast advertising, but I’m not above switching over to Dollar Shave Club or the others. ($7.50 a month)

If I wanted to, I could easily jam in subscription services for food (Blue Apron), coffee (Craft Coffee), clothes (Trunk Club),and other life essentials, but none of these fit my exact needs.

Online Services

Image via GeekWire

Amazon Prime — This is actually tough to lump into a single category because I do wind up using it for a variety of things. This includes the free two-day shipping for subscribed things like toilet paper and paper towels, free photo storage, and, occassionally, Amazon Video. I recommend giving Catastrophe a watch. (~$8.50 a month)

Evernote — I’ve been a premium member for a few years now and, even though keep trying other note apps, I default back to Evernote. It’s a must in my personal and professional life. ($4 a month)

SquareSpace — I use this for the badly-outdated Worth it just to keep that other Marin Perez further down the front page of Google. (~$8 a month)

I used to pay for Dropbox and a host of other services, but thanks to Amazon Prime, Google Docs, Google Photos, and Facebook, I don’t really see the need. It’s also odd to break these into the “online services” bucket because everything on this list is enabled by the Internet in one way or another.

Now that I’ve given you way too deep a look at my Subscription Life, I suggest you peruse your credit card statements to see just how many subscription services you’ve subscribed to. Let me know at @marinperez.

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