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Why subscribing is the same as buying.

It seems that every business these days is trying to sign you up and subscribe to receive their service, their product, or their software.

For those of us who remember, there was a time that if you wanted something you just went out and paid for it. Once. When you were done with it, you sold it to someone else, you upgraded or discarded it.

There is a side of me that says that life was so much simpler but the reality is life in the new modern world of technology is all about making things faster, more efficient, better value for money and subscriptions are simply a natural fit to this new world that we all need to adapt to.

But are subscriptions any different to buying something?

Who remembers paying $500-600 for a license of Microsoft office? Or $3000 for a CD copy of the Adobe Creative Suite? These market leading pieces of software are both now available for ridiculously cheap prices in comparison. Office 365 for less than $20 per month, and Adobe for around $50.

Now you might hear the argument “Yes, but you have to keep paying every month so it’s not cheaper in the long run!”

This is the biggest misconception about subscriptions. Anyone who has purchased software, a computer or anything technical for that matter knows that in 3 to 5 years that item is essentially so out of date that it becomes useless. So what do we do when it goes out of date? We go out and buy the latest – yes that’s right, we go and pay for the item (albeit new and improved) again.

So, essentially we have already been on subscription model for everything we purchase. The only difference is the cycle!

How often do you need to replace a car? 5-10 years? Every 3 years? Sounds like a subscription.

What about utility bills. Water, electricity and gas? Do you get a bill based on your usage every month or two? Sounds like a subscription.

What about the house you live in? Do you pay rent every week? Do you pay a mortgage? Do you pay taxes? Sounds like a subscription.

The reality is that we have always paid for what we use, as we use it. Ownership of consumable items is just an illusion.

The advent of subscriptions has simply created a regular billing practice with a shorter cycle giving you more flexibility. It allows you to pay as you go, and, once you no longer need it, you can turn it off.

So subscriptions are actually a great way to access products and services. It’s efficient, you only pay as you need it and you consistently have access to the latest and greatest.

The key is to stop paying when you no longer need it.

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