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Ask HN: what would you pay a 50$/m subscription for?
40 points by petervandijck 1726 days ago | hide | past | web | 60 comments | favorite
Could be personal, or (perhaps more likely) work related. What tool, app, service would you pay $50/m for?

* Digital concierge health care. No crap booking an appointment with a GP two weeks from now to ask him about something that could be nothing.

* A full-program fitness regimen with tailored diet/nutrition/recipes and work-out regimens. I keep keep them up-to-date on the progress using my wirelessly synching Withings weight.

* Great, fresh fruit and vegetables sent to me every one or two weeks.

* Maybe a service where I can text legal questions (with a quota) to someone who can answer them - or find someone who does - for me.

* A decent internet connection where I can talk to support staff who can actually tell their ass from their elbow.

* Not for me, but I think there is a great business plan lying around for the person who has a big backlog of recipes. Recipes As a Service could be pretty interesting where all recipes and information are in the cloud.

* A gym that actually cares about my activity and commitment. Normally, the ideal customer to gyms is the January guy whose new year's resolution is never going to happen. A gym that actually nudges you and cares about your activity would be interesting. They can send me a poke, if I haven't visited the gym in a while, or if my weight hasn't changed for the better. Since a lot of this can be automated, it might not even take that much effort.

There's a gym like what you described near my house. You have a membership card you swipe to get in, and also swipe on a machine when you begin to use it. When you start out, you're given a health assessment and some exercises to determine your base level, then screens on the machines tell you what to do for your fitness goal. You get personal notes from your trainer. The machines tell you how many reps/how long to work, as well as pacing. Go too fast, and it yells at you. It tracks your progress on their machines, showing your progress to keep you motivated.

While I don't go to that gym anymore (it's expensive, more than double $50/mo), it really was a great service for what is an otherwise average experience (going to the gym).

> A decent internet connection where I can talk to support staff who can actually tell their ass from their elbow

I've occasionally wished for some kind of certification program that works as follows:

1. I take a test that proves I'm not an idiot on the subject of consumer product category X, and that I know how to do basic troubleshooting on problems in category X. I've given a certification in this.

2. When I call support for a problem in category X, I can tell them I'm a certified X consumer, give then my certification #, and they can verify it.

3. They then skip past all the "is the device plugged in?" and "have you tried rebooting?" and so on crap, and forward the call to a higher level tech who knows how to work with customers who know what they are doing.

You can get this from most places now:

'Hi, I was just running through the troubleshooting steps with one of your colleagues and I got cut off. He said he was just going to put me on hold to [order new router|arrange engineer|whatever you think is needed after your own troubleshooting]'

This works for me 95% of the time.

Slightly sleazier version: use a similar trick to get a discount when ordering new service, e.g. "I heard I could get a discount/fee waiver for plan X."

I don't consider this particularly sleazy because you can usually get the discount anyway if you haggle, but it saves a lot of time.

This works even better if you know what the deals are ahead of time, either from searching online or by knowing someone that works there.

> Digital concierge health care.

Check out ConsultingMD, consultingmd.com. It's a great perk startups can provide their employees.

I don't live in the US but Europe. Which, depending on how you look at it, can be a good thing or a bad one.

> * Great, fresh fruit and vegetables sent to me every one or two weeks.

Like a CSA?

Go join a crossfit gym near you. You'll get this.


I think it's worth listing the things people already pay $50 (or more) for:

-TV / Internet / Phone bundle



-Car insurance

-Gym memberships (?)



-Interest (home mortgages / loans etc.)


Almost all of the suggestions in this thread are effectively replacements for one of the existing services in one of the categories above. That means you'd have to beat the incumbents (challenges: investment, infrastructure, partnerships, etc.), or create a new market demand. I love the idea though, keep thinking. "If it were obvious, everyone would be doing it".

Things that come to mind: a personal trainer that is delivered through the internet and scalable? Some kind of 'make my grocery list and just have me pick it up' service? Financial engineering that decreases the interest on a large pool of loans (ha!)?

1. For timesavers. If it saves me 1 hour of my working time per month (and reliably), I would buy it.

2. For tools which create the opportunity to earn more or stabilize my income, like bidsketch. E.g., a tool which makes project proposals a bullet-proof thing (using a best-practice process framework or sthg), increasing my freelancing client conversion rate.

3. Networking with experts or professionals from areas to which I have no access to (like dentists or steel industry). Because this might lead to projects.

I'm with you big time on #3. One of the coolest things to do with software is building systems that solve industrial problems you didn't evev know about.

A service that let me watch any TV show, documentary or film on demand.

Current solutions don't seem to have enough coverage, selection nor are they often up to date. I easily watch enough to justify $50 pm

+1, with the addition (maybe it was implicit in ANY TV show) of live domestic sporting events.

Best analog for $50/mo. subscription is HD/DVR cable or satellite service.

With Newzbin and Usenet hosting it comes to nearly that anyway.

This is my service of choice. People assume it's getting free stuff, when in fact it's far more expensive than Netflix. But the choice is way better. I can watch nearly anything, in a variety of formats (SD, 720p, 1080p, DD5.1)

If a service existed that was as good, I'd pay more than $50 monthly. I pay more than that for my terrible cable packages.

And you'd avoid all the cams, virii etc that people upload.

Thats £30ish... Something that pays all of my bills on time, and checks through my accounts and flags things that are unusual. It should probably be researching to see who the best service providers are and switching accordingly.

An article from the Economist [1] covers some of the latter idea:

A leader in this field is Cardlytics, a private American company founded in 2008. It has developed technology to analyse transaction data held by banks and to use this information to sell targeted advertisements to retailers and others. A supermarket might, for example, be interested in customers who spend $100 or more a month at rival grocers but who have not entered its own stores for six months. It might then offer these people a 20% discount on their next shopping trip at its stores.

Cardlytics would insert an advertisement to this effect into these customers’ online-bank statements, ideally under a relevant transaction such as a payment to a rival retailer. Customers can accept the discount online by clicking a box. This connects the discount coupon to their debit card, so that the discount is automatically rebated to their account when they meet the conditions (by, for instance, shopping at the store within a certain period of time).

[1] http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21565223...

A streaming Netflix+HBO+Spotify like service, but with a much better selection and with a minimal delay between cinema/tv premier and showing up on the service would make me seriously consider it. Throw in an NFL Game pass and you've got yourself a deal.

On the more physical plane, I'd probably also seriously consider it for some of laundry+ironing service that picks up and delivers to my apartment.

> laundry+ironing service that picks up and delivers to my apartment

I'd pay $50 a week for a high quality pick up/drop off laundry + ironing service. Or probably more.

I wouldn't go so far to say laundry is the bane of my life but it's up there and I'd pay a good sum to just make the whole problem disappear.

Get a housecleaner.

I'm serious. If you live in California, there are lots of women who will come and clean your house for something like $10/hour. They would be glad to do your laundry for you as part of that service. In the time that you describe, one could go to the laundromat, wash your clothing, come back, fold and iron it.

Of course if you dislike the idea of illegal immigration, or the idea of taking advantage of its reality, don't do this. It will also make you ineligible for higher political office.

Unfortunately I don't live in a country where this kind of low wage underclass exists. But still, I'm definitely thinking of getting a cleaner. I was just thinking that a proper laundry with a clothes press could do a better job.

50 bucks it is, so..


- If IMDB offered service with HD quality click-to-stream for every title they have listed

- Drop&collect laundry service for basic clothing

- Home delivered grocery subscription for relatively cheap basic stuff which don't rot quickly like pasta, rice, flour, cheese, butter, sugar, coffee, spices, canned tomatoes, etc.

Work related:

- Beefy enough VPS

- Book-keeping for small business

- Leased laptop

- Seat in open floor co-working space with electricity and network connectivity

What about purchasing/vendors management for small businesses? With low bid auctions and request for proposal support?

That would seem good, but I don't personally need it at the moment. But I can see it as a very helpful service for someone else!

Personal: - a rented cooking robot (I'd pay extra for ingredients) that prepared 2 decent meals/day based on my needs, allergies ...


- a remote service that checks all our systems immediately when issues such as http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Vulnerability-in-Yaho... arise and notifies us if we're affected

- a well-maintained weekly digest of optimization/tuning suggestions for 3 technologies of our choice (e.g. PostgreSQL, Redis, Tomcat) where the source of information is mailiing lists and the digest contains well-written, brief articles instead of just a few e-mail threads

- a decent virus filter for Linux/Unix that doesn't have licensing costs depending on number of users, e-mail addresses, CPUs, servers (and consequently doesn't waste resources for accounting)

On the personal front its pretty hard to think of anything besides stuff that defies the laws of economics or current tech that I'd pay $50/m for.

If you asked me 5 years ago Id answer differently. Due to mostly internet powered services a number of my monthly costs have dropped dramatically... My home phone used to be $40/m and now is $4/m, Cable used to be $80 and is now about $17 with Netflix/Hulu, Music used to cost me about $40/m for CDs/iTunes and is now about $10 for streaming.

I guess the point is that taking those price points into consideration its really difficult to think of something that would seem rationally priced at $50.

Although if you streamed all new releases currently in the movie theater to my TV I might bite.

Housecleaning! I don't know if it's possible to disrupt this industry right now, but there are a lot of middlemen there. Although I know that people who actually do the cleaning would agree to get $50 directly for cleaning 1br apartment once a month.

Actually saw someone trying to disrupt this on Dragon's Den.

It's a notoriously competitive space (nearly anyone can do the job) and labour intensive, so it's hard to work out a model where you can get a cut and still employ the workers. There are also liability issues; you are sending people to work inside other people's homes.

That said, unless you are out in some village somewhere, it's very likely you can find someone locally for that rate.

I was discussing the issues with cleaning companies here:


And I live in a village. Shops outside newsagents are the fallback position for finding cleaners.

There was an interesting reddit thread about a guy who set up a housecleaning service: maids in black i think it was called. People started cloning it and a subreddit was formed


HD television channels easily streamed on my TV, iPhone, iPad, and computer.

Much like what Tivly is doing. The ability to record x amount of shows to go back and watch anytime from anywhere on any device. It worked wonderfully on the Harvard campus.

Better questions:

What services do successful SAS companies charge at least $50 per month for?

What makes their value proposition work at that price point?

What opportunities are there to offer competing services?

What opportunities are there to offer services with a similar value proposition?

Right now: something that materially saves me at least 10 hours per month, whether business or personal.

Soon: something that materially saves me at least 5 hours per month.

Ideally: something that materially saves me at least 2 hours per month.

This reflects how I currently value my time (I'm bootstrapping a finance data service) and how I see that time value appreciating in the coming months

Edit: I realise this isn't particularly helpful, just seems relevant and it's been on my mind :o)

"Right now: something that materially saves me at least 10 hours per month, whether business or personal."

This sort of response seems logical, but I think it is a mistake to use it as an underlying assumption for a startup.

For some people, one hour of tediously managing the software in exchange for eleven hours (ten hours net) of productivity might be worth it. For many people, I suspect that the pain would be worse than the inefficiency.

It's not that some people wouldn't be attracted to a service based on this idea. But rather that what saves you ten hours a month probably isn't the same as what would save another entrepreneur 10 hours (let alone being something that would scale).

In short the problem with the business model your comment suggests is that it devolves into personal services, not SAS.

On a personal level I would pay $50 for a dating web site that guaranteed me a date once a month.

It would automatically match me to someone it thinks I would be compatible with. Assign me a date (day) and ideal venue for the dinner.

If the system is accurate in matching potential then worse case would be that I make a new friend every month that has similar interest as me. Best case I meet someone that is awesome.

A home automation system with a mobile and desktop view that combined HVAC, security (including door locking/unlocking), utility monitoring and billpay for all those services (assuming they’re different vendors).

e.g. I’d love to defragment all those areas that make up “home”... some kind of Nest + (non-ugly) Lockitron + Mint.com for utilities

I would pay $50 for a Apple version of Netflix, including all iTunes Store catalog.

But generally speaking, I would pay $50 for a high quality entertainment service, or for something that highly improves my productivity at work.

If something provide me a big stream of fun or money, it will have $50 from me, or even more.

I find $50/m too much for single services unless they add revenue to the bottom line.

On that note, I submitted another thread shamelessly based on this one.

"Ask HN: Would you pay a 20$/m subscription for...?" http://hackerne.ws/item?id=4727420

HBO with Go, on demand, PC, and on my Apple TV + Showtime Anytime, on demand, PC, and on my Apple TV.

Something like FIOS or faster U-Verse (I currently have the 24 down / 3 up service from U-Verse).

On demand handy man to help me get stuff done around the house.

Personal: Internet connection, which for 2 cable modems into the house is about EUR100 a month Dedicated Server, which is EUR60 a month for me My Mobile Phone provider includes Office365 for EUR55 a month

Any of the linode/heroku/aws services that would be hosted in Canada and follow Canadian data laws/protections.

Some services do exist; They just do not have the quality, ease of use and price points to be competitive.

Are you looking for services we wish existed and would pay $50/m for or looking to find out the type of services that are important enough to pay $50/m for? or both?

I might be willing to spend that for renting a device like an ipad. And maybe without a contract so I can use it for a few months and then try different devices.

An ebook system where I can read as much of I want of as many books as I want from an Amazon-scale catalog as long as I keep paying the subscription.

A tutorial series or magazine subscription targeted at programmers wanting to learn more design skills.

Have you seen http://www.netmagazine.com - it's a UK magazine but has a lot of great stuff (tutorials/design)


All of it, available like music is on Spotify.

In a phrase: Netflix for computer games. Basically a better version of onlive.

Similar: Bundle subscription or freemium (e.g., include X credits at every month for the game store) MMO games from (at least) the major players under one account. Keep the individual game accounts active across all games that I've started, unless I explicitly choose to delete the specific game account. Allow access from multiple computers -- don't lock it in to only one "activated device". I'm only likely to be logged in to one game at a time. There could be a premium tier that would allow being logged into multiple (different) games at the same time from any of my computers.

You might be interested in GameTap (http://www.gametap.com/). Lowering the bar of entry meant that I tried out a bunch of games I otherwise would never have tried, but when I was using it there were constant problems. Downloads completed and installed successfully maybe one in three times. Mod support is iffy.

Car washing service that is done while I'm at the office.

Check out http://cherry.com

Hulu clone that actually has all the shows I want.

something that made me way more than $50/m

To pay $600 per year for something "virtual" I would need a real career benefit out of it.

Continuing career support tailored to high-talent individuals. Not tied to one firm, not a recruiter trying to fill positions getting paid by the other side. An industry expert who actually knew the ins and outs of each firm, how to find the best projects, and who could make introductions to very high level people-- including VCs and CTOs. Someone who could read the market across domains-- who knew finance and startups at the same time and could compare the markets. (Most recruiters only know one or the other.)

High-talent is a tiny market (< 1%) and this service probably doesn't scale. And you'd probably have to charge a lot more-- maybe $250 per month. But people would pay and it could become a lifestyle business.

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