Book Review: The Automatic Customer by John Warrillow

The Automatic Customer - Creating a subscription business in any industry - John Warrillow - Book review

Still there are many books and business scholars who consider the subscription as a revenue model and not a business model, although John Warrillow’s book is not one of them.

Considering subscription as a revenue model means you can design your core product and even most of the internal functions of your business without taking the effect of subscription model to your core idea.

John Warrillow is one of the rare cases who considers the subscription as a core component of the identity of a business. He even coined his own term for the subscription-based business models: Businesses with Automatic Customers!

The first part of his book has an exciting title: Subscribers are better than customers.

The title has an implicit yet clear message: subscribers are not a type of customer, they are something different and even better.

Although most of the books, consider subscription business model as a pure and non-dividable business model, Warrillow divides the subscription business model into nine distinct categories:

  • The Membership Website Model
  • The All-You-Can-Eat Library Model
  • The Private Club Model
  • The Front-of-the-Line Model
  • The Consumables Model
  • The Surprise Box Model
  • The Simplifier Model
  • The Network Model
  • The Peace-of-Mind Model

It’s not so easy to find any other text visualizing the structure of the subscription economy better than The Automatic Customer.

A highly recommended book for any startup and should be filed under No Excuse for anyone who is thinking about starting an online business.