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So much ROOM for activities

Abby Sullivan Nov 13 2019

Today, we’re talking: mental health, physical health, and... phone booths?

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A bit more ROOM for productivity

Today, I’m intrigued by health—first in the mental realm, with the latest episode of This Week In Startups, a podcast of “the most interesting, outrageous, and illuminating stories from the world of entrepreneurship,” during which host Jason Calacanis interviews Brian Chen, Co-Founder and CEO at ROOM

Brian is building phone booths for the modern office, sharing insights on maximizing open floor plans, partnering with the Calm app to reduce stress at work, and maintaining capital efficiency as a hardware startup.

I was keen to hear more about ROOM, and the benefits of this hardware for small companies, because there is beauty in an open-office layout, sure. But there are also some dangers to be wary of.

There are rules you can implement, like the “headphone rule” we follow at ProfitWell: essentially meaning, if you have your headphones in, “don’t talk to me.”

But that doesn’t always work, right? 

So that’s where ROOM comes in. I’m super into this concept, because I know a little quiet time can be key to productivity in my day. But for some, it may seem outrageous to spend almost $3,500 on a booth.

We’re all searching for the sense of mega-productivity, but where do you find the balance in your workspace? Let me know at and I’ll be sure to ask our own Patrick Campbell to consider.


The future of fitness: streaming, everything

In a similar health realm, Zuora Co-Founder and CEO Tien Tzuo highlights the future of fitness, because recently there are signs that the fitness vertical is starting to crack wide open.

"Take Fitbit’s headline-generating announcement of a new subscription program, which, according to CNN, will include thousands of workouts and a health report you can give your doctor at your annual physical.”

We are seeing so many more options, Tien can attest, from wearables and clothing to supplements and workouts—all of which are delivered over streaming media. 

"So how do you handicap a market like this?” Tien considers. The big hint: usage. With all the choices out there, the services that come out on top are the ones that keep users engaged.

Tien points to Peloton, which started as a Kickstarter in 2014, and today has over 500k members, with a reportedly impressive retention rate (although their reporting is up for debate).

And Tien also points out that this space is about to look dramatically different in five years, as gyms evolve from physical locales to mobile fitness services. But, again, the key to it all: usage.

“That’s where the real gold lies."

In today's episode, we have a deeper spotlight on Tien Tzuo, so you can get to know the subscription master at his finest.


We need more light on mental health in entrepreneurship

In David Cancel’s (DC) latest newsletter edition of The One Thing, he highlights the idea of mental health in entrepreneurship—something I know is often overlooked, but so incredibly crucial to consider.

He writes: Almost a year ago, I pinned this tweet to my feed. The tweet reads:unnamed (1)

And thereafter he lists “a few things that have helped [him] deal with the emotional rollercoaster”:

  1. Talking to others (outside your organization) who have gone through or are going through the same challenges, or reading about companies and people who have gone through this period too. Context is important and what Drift's DC learns every time is that this pain is normal, and that’s helpful to hear.
  2. Practicing gratitude every day. There’s an app he uses every morning called “Day One,” where he writes what he’s grateful for, what he will do to make that day great, and daily affirmations. 
  3. Acceptance. If you’ve ever heard of the Serenity Prayer, it says this: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” DC says he tries to keep this in mind and practice acceptance on the daily.

We couldn’t agree more with these sentiments, and I have to ask: If you're a CEO, or a newbie hire, how do you deal with the turmoil of the everyday?

Confide in me directly at I am all ears (and zero judgement). Let’s help each other and those in our space get better, because this conversation should be ongoing.


Subscription Sapien: Tien Tzuo

Today’s Subscription Sapien is Tien Tzuo—who, as the founder of Zuora, has provided hundreds of fellow entrepreneurs with the tools to manage their own subscription-based businesses. He's a pundit in the space, and knows that understanding your users is crucial to building a successful operation.

That is a wrap for your November 13 subscription news. Send your teammates to to sign up for episodes on the daily.

If you have news to share, hit me up at and let's collaborate. We want to feature you—our neighbors in the space.

By Abby Sullivan

Content Marketer

Subscription market insights you won't find anywhere else.