Decoding Digital
Decoding Digital
Jun 13, 2023
Decoding Subscription Services: Tien Tzuo on Building Strong Relationships with Subscribers
Play • 27 min

Ever wonder where the term “Subscription Economy” came from? 

In a nutshell, it came from Tien Tzuo, CEO and founder of Zuora. Today, Tien is recognized as one of the thought leaders in the software-as-a-service industry. He founded Zuora in 2007, ultimately building one of the fastest-growing SaaS companies. Over the years, he’s evangelized the shift to subscription-based business models and the complex billing structures they inherit. 

In today’s episode, Tien talks about how his work at SalesForce—he was employee number 11—impacted the work he’s doing today with Zuora, the importance of customer relationships, the evolution of subscription-based services, and what the future of SaaS companies looks like.

How to view customers as subscribers

“We think less of the subscription and more of the subscriber, and our view is that the modern business starts with a customer and envisions a customer as a subscriber.”

Building subscriber relationships

“So it's a re-envisioning start with the relationship, build relationships...There's so many companies out there and so many ways of thinking that says, look, we're just trying to do a deal, versus we're trying to count how many relationships we have, and then find all sorts of ways to monetize those relationships."

The trend of ‘anything as a service’

"This whole SaaS thing that you and I live in and take for granted, it's going to evolve and take over the world. It's not software eats the world, right? It's really 'as a service' eats the world. And this whole idea of anything as a service is probably the biggest trend in the next 10, 20 years."

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