Subscription Stories: True Tales from the Trenches

Jul 27 2020 29 mins 7

Subscription models are crazy powerful. Savvy small companies can easily deploy them to knock huge Goliaths off kilter. We’ve seen it in entertainment, software, hardware, news, retail, hospitality—the list goes on. In her podcast series, Robbie Kellman Baxter interviews the leaders of this revolution about how they’re using subscription pricing and membership models to redefine the biggest industries and generate predictable recurring revenue along the way.





Kurbo’s Joanna Strober on a Digital Program to Make Kids Healthier
Jul 27 2020 42 mins  
“Our goal is to teach forever habits.” Joanna Strober has reimagined the youth weight loss industry through her wellness program, Kurbo. Tune in to hear Joanna talk with Robbie about the role of a human coach in a digital program, how to communicate with both parents and kids, and instilling habits in customers for the long term. Highlights from this episode: 7:00 – Joanna talks about what triggers people to enroll in subscriptions and what motivates people to make subscription a habit 9:52 – Robbie and Joanna talk about the 7 key areas of competence in a subscription business, and about why WW is more passionate about their subscription mission than their subscription product 16:40 – Joanna talks about Kurbo’s FOREVER PROMISE 17:24 – Kurbo’s “reverse freemium” model, and the power of breaking the mold when it comes to adopting a subscription model 19:50 — Robbie and Joanna talk about customer success, its importance, and what it looks like 23:50 – Joanna explains why human connection is essential and hints at Kurbo’s “Secret Sauce” 27:00 – Weathering negative social media storms 34:40 – The challenges of the launch, scale, and lead phases of growing a business 37:00 – Joanna gives advice to entrepreneurs who want to start a business in THE MEMBERSHIP ECONOMY and investors who want to fund a business in THE MEMBERSHIP ECONOMY 39:22 – Joanna gives advice to smaller companies undergoing acquisition by a larger company 40:20 – Robbie’s speed round Joanna’s Bio: Joanna Strober is an entrepreneur and investor who founded Kurbo, the first digital weight loss platform for kids. Joanna grew Kurbo into a subscription business so successful that it caught the interest of WW (Weight Watchers reimagined), one of the biggest names in wellness. She is currently the CEO of Kurbo and a Senior Vice President at WW. Before diving into the weight loss industry, Joanna was Senior Managing Director at Sterling Stamos, and co-authored Getting to 50/50. Joanna earned a Bachelor’s Degree from University of Pennsylvania and a JD from UCLA school of Law. Links: Joanna’s LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/in/joannastrober/ Kurbo : https://kurbo.com/ WW : https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/ Robbie’s Book THE FOREVER TRANSACTION : https://robbiekellmanbaxter.com/the-forever-transaction/ Podcast Website: https://robbiekellmanbaxter.com/podcast


Inspirato’s Brad Handler on Revamping a Thousand-Year-Old Industry
Jul 27 2020 44 mins  
“Life is too short to play vacation roulette”. Brad Handler and his brother Brent are vacation entrepreneurs who incorporate membership and subscription into their luxury travel service, Inspirato. Brad joins Robbie to discuss the importance of “celebrating failure” when innovating, how a strategic approach to real estate and data give Inspirato a unique advantage, and the power of a “people-as-a-service” structure to create strong member relationships. Highlights from this episode: 2:08 – Brad introduces Inspirato’s affordable business model 5: 49 – Brad explains the two travel products and services offered: Inspirato Membership, and Inspirato Pass 10:04 – Hospitality vs. real estate in the vacation business, why Brad chose to focus on hospitality, and the importance of specialization in a company 11:03 – Brad and Robbie discuss subscription vs membership business models 12:25 – Inspirato’s forever promise, and why a membership mindset is so important 14:03 – Brad highlights the importance of planning for success in the entrepreneurial world 16:07 – How Inspirato uses technology to pull ahead of its competitors 16:65 – Brad and Robbie get into the “nitty-gritty” of Inspirato’s business model, and talk about Robbie’s 7 steps for optimizing subscription business models 18:45 – Brad introduces his philosophy of “celebrating failure” to promote innovation 21:03 – Inspirato’s most important metrics, and how data collection can transform and improve customer experience 26:30 – Brad and Robbie discuss Inspirato’s key to lasting members: a personalized onboarding process 31:08 – Why Inspirato has decided not to make any services “free” 32:31 – How Inspirato is structured for profitability 34:12 – Brad and Robbie talk about the importance of customer satisfaction and success 37:01 – Brad and Robbie discuss how human relationships are a part of Inspirato’s success 37:55 – Brad offers advice to aspiring entrepreneurs and explains why passion is an indispensable asset 39:40 – Brad shares his tips for working alongside family, and how he and his brother have grown to be so successful together 41:58 – Robbie puts Brad through a round of rapid-fire questions Brad’s Bio: Brad Handler is an entrepreneur redefining the luxury travel industry. Brad began his career first as an engineer at Apple, then as an attorney at a top Silicon Valley law firm, and then at eBay as their first in-house counsel from 1997 to 2001. But he is best known for his innovation in the world of destination travel clubs. In 2002 Brad founded Exclusive Resorts with his brother Brent and served as the company’s CEO and chairman. They have since gone on to create Inspirato, a vacation service providing personalized, high-end travel experiences. Brad earned a bachelor’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law. Links: Brad’s LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/in/brad-handler-8757a/ Inspirato’s website : https://www.inspirato.com/ Brad’s first company, Exclusive Resorts : https://www.linkedin.com/company/exclusive-resorts/




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