The Inertia Business Model

Nick Hilton
6 min readApr 14, 2022
This can will feature again, later in the story, I promise

Like any physical object moving through space, I am a sucker for inertia. Every day, I basically stagger through several hours of work, stagger through several hours of life, and then stagger into bed. The next morning I get up and repeat the process. Changes frequently happen to me; it’s much rarer that I initiate them.

The genesis of this thought is that I’ve just received my monthly subscription package from a company called Beer52. It is a box that’s delivered (almost always when I’m out) filled with craft beers from around the world. It’s £27 a month for 8 beers (and a few bar snacks) which works out, according to the calculator on my phone, at about £3.40 per beer (the beers are of quite varying sizes, but most are 440ml: the same as a can of Coke here in the UK). This is, by all accounts, not amazing value for beer — especially as every other beer is something that I really don’t want to drink. Oatmeal stouts, coffee porters, raspberry APAs: the number of delicious, normal beers is outweighed by the number of weird, novelty drinks.

So why, you might ask, am I a subscriber to this service? Firstly, they are a major advertiser on podcasts, at least here in the UK. And there are only so many times that I can hear about a product before attritional marketing does its business and I succumb to the purchase. So that’s how I began the subscription, with a free month trial and then — several years later — a tonne of beers that I occasionally throw straight into the bin, like Scrooge McDuck or Donald Trump. One of them had actually been sitting on my counter for so long, gurgling away internally in whatever way a beer does, that last week it exploded. It sounded like a shot had gone off in my kitchen; beer was pasted up the wall. You can see a photograph of it, at the top, in case you don’t believe me.

The reason I haven’t unsubscribed is inertia, pure and simple. I know that, for example, it would be more time efficient for me to unsubscribe than it would be for me to write a several hundred-word blog piece about why I don’t unsubscribe, but one would require a change of course, while the other is just the passive, almost relaxing, smashing of a keyboard that I do both professionally and as a hobby. And I am not alone in my failure to unsubscribe to Beer52. I know at least two people who have a cupboard full of unwanted beer…

Nick Hilton

Writer. Media entrepreneur. London. Interested in technology and the media. Co-founder Email: