My first professional experience with subscriptions was in the summer of 2000 when I was working at Microsoft as a Product Manager. In my role, I was responsible for business strategy, planning, licensing, pricing and related areas within the nearly $1 billion SQL Server database and business intelligence product unit.
One of my first projects was to help determine the monthly price for SQL Server when it was resold by service providers, with a vehicle known as the SPLA (Service Provider License Agreement).
We needed to determine:
- How much to charge per month relative to our standard non-subscription pricing
- Whether to bundle in updates, upgrades and support or not
- How not to upset the pricing of multi-product enterprise agreements (EAs)
We did our best selecting the price points (and did bundle in updates, upgrades and support), but we ended up doing so too conservatively at numbers that were far too high. This led to some negative customer and partner feedback that caused us to quickly bring the price down to get to the right place. It is definitely easier to lower price than it is to raise it, so it was definitely better to have started too high than too low.
I found this experience and the overall subscription topic really interesting.
After leaving Microsoft in 2004, I was able to gain additional experience with subscriptions and subscription pricing at three additional software companies: Parallels, Worklight and MongoDB.
When I learned about the opportunity to join Ubersmith four years ago, I was really excited because I understood from personal experience the value our subscription billing and business management software offers. Currently, as an active current user of Ubersmith, I deeply understand the product and can help better shape its future as a result.
Over the past 18 years, from Microsoft to Ubersmith, I’ve appreciated being part of the subscription movement, and I couldn’t be more excited about our future related to subscriptions.
I’d love to hear about any of your early experiences with subscription billing if you are willing to share with me here or otherwise.