BUS 78 — Building and Scaling Subscription Businesses
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Sep 28—Nov 16
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Drop Deadline: Sep 30
Instructor(s): Ajay Arora
Once upon a time, the only subscription services were newspapers and public utilities. Today, our world has been transformed by the subscription economy. Across commerce, digital media, and software, subscription services are thriving and businesses everywhere are contemplating the shift from transactional to subscription-based models. This course dives into starting and optimizing a subscription business. We will begin by examining the elements that set subscription businesses apart for providers and consumers (hint: it’s the power of membership). Next, we will explore subscription economics—the role of acquisition (paid versus earned), trials (freemium versus discounted), and the most important metrics—retention and lifetime value. Students will build pitch decks for hypothetical subscription businesses with their classmates, working to improve the concept based on both professional experience and knowledge gained in the course. We also will study business cases and discuss companies that have flourished and those that have floundered in the subscription economy. Each class session will start with a short lecture, then move into thought-provoking discussions based on the readings and case studies, along with guest speakers from subscription leaders.