Becoming Indistractable

Updated On: November 26, 2019

Today, we see the publishing industry as a subscription stalwart. Plus, the "Prophet for Habit-Forming Technology" teaches us how to become Indistractable



Your top subscription news

Subscription OG

In an article on Zuora’s blog, our friends over there remind us why the publishing industry is such a fundamental part of the subscription operation. 

Because publishers have long made success out of establishing and developing direct customer relationships. And as one of the first sectors to adopt the subscription business model, they have always empathized with the value of providing engaging experiences to readers. 

The article by Zuora nods to the success of the Financial Times—whose business is so booming that it’s now sharing its subscription learnings with the world via something called “FT Strategies.” 

In the UK alone, eMarketer estimates that adults will spend five hours and 16 minutes daily on digital media consumption by the end of this year, a 13-minute increase from last year.

So how can other industries learn from the way publishers are nailing it?

Putting readers’ preferences and interests first should be the core of any subscription strategy, because simply put: it pays off. Succeeding in subscription also means having business flexibility—try new things and iterate quickly on offerings, as ultimately, needs change.

"Operationally speaking, this could range from offering a new service for mobile readers, creating new pricing models, or offering new payment methods."

Because those who innovate and continually evolve their offerings will be those that win out.


The Prophet for Habit-Forming Technology

And in the same realm of digital media consumption, we’re bringing light back to Nir Eyal, known also as the Prophet for Habit-Forming Technology.

His first book, The New York Times best-seller Hooked, reveals the psychology that builds habit-forming products. And his newly dropped read, Indistractable - How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life,  explores the psychology driving us to distraction, and why solving the problem is not as simple as disowning our devices.

"There is no distraction that we can't overcome through forethought."

But there’s a mental dilemma here, right? A lot of us, with our business model’s core, aim to create products that do just that: require return usage—the ultimate motivator pushing the recurring revenue model. But we’re also aiming to produce products that better our users, not become an outlet for avoiding reality.

Have any of you read Nir’s work? What’s your mindset on creating a product that “hooks” its users? Connect with us. Send a note to with your intel.

We’ve had a lot of good insight come our way lately, and we’re all ears for more.


Scribd + $58 million

We’re seeing yet another example of the subscription model making it happen.

Scribd—a company first launched as a document-sharing service in 2007, which now offers access to a library of ebooks, audiobooks, newspapers, and magazines for that sweet spot price of $8.99 per month—has raised another $58 million.

This year, the company announced it had more than 1 million paying subscribers and was seeing more than 100 million visitors each month (many of them brought in by the freemium model). It’s been profitable since 2017, bringing in $100 million in annual recurring revenue.

[The new funding] "will enable us to continue to operate sustainably and efficiently while accelerating our growth, product innovations, content acquisition and continued investment in our employees.” -Sribd Co-Founder and CEO Trip Adler

Since then, the company has launched an original content initiative focused on works that are longer than a magazine article, but shorter than a traditional book. It’s also started to create localized experiences for international markets like Mexico, a smart move in the customer segmentation realm, which can help uncover growth opps in your subscription business.

With interest for more on the powers of segmentation, check out ProfitWell Segment—so we can help you uncover which customer segments are driving and which are detracting from your growth.


Subscription Sapien: Tien Tzuo

As one of the earliest adopters of the subscription model, Tien Tzuo has a wealth of recurring revenue knowledge, so it’s no surprise that he literally wrote the book on subscription.

With all levels of companies incorporating subscription into their business, the pricing model may seem like a no-brainer, but this was not always the case. And Tien has proven an integral part in showing the big-wigs on Wall Street the subscription way.

And that’s a wrap for your November 26th subscription news. Recruit your teammates into the subscription know: to sign up for episodes on the daily.

If you have news to share, hit me up at and we'll collaborate. That's the beauty in what we're doing.

Tags: Recur Now

Join Over 50k Subscription Operators Getting These Insights Weekly