authors in Menlo Park

Post image for Author and consultant Robbie Kellman Baxter talks about “the membership economy”

Growing up first in the Allied Arts neighborhood of Menlo Park and then in Atherton, Robbie Kellman Baxter couldn’t envision working here. “I wasn’t technical, so I didn’t see a future for myself,” she recalls thinking. But by the time she graduated from Stanford Business School, that had all changed.

After working for a succession of companies in marketing roles, she set out on her own as a consultant in 2001, founding Peninsula Strategies, LLC. Her third client was Netflix. “I loved their business model and loved working with them,” she says. “They did one thing really well and early on incorporated a professional recommendation engine. At the time, that was a really big deal. Instead of guessing what movie you might want to see, they’d tell you, ‘This is what is missing from your list.'”

That initial experience with a subscription service led to other clients that were also membership based and eventually to Robbie writing a book, The Membership Economy, published in 2015 by McGraw Hill. “I was an English major in college and always liked to write,” she says. “My mentor encouraged me to write the book, viewing it as a one-pound business card demonstrating your point of view, what you know, and how you look at things.”

Robbie cites discovery boxes, where consumers are introduced to various new products, as one of the newer types of subscriptions. “It’s really evolved,” she says. “Initially it was all about digital and service. There was no product.

“Now companies are focusing on the members’ needs as opposed to the product. In effect, the consumer is saying, ‘I’m willing to give you money on an ongoing basis in exchange for your promising to solve a problem for me’.”

Not surprisingly given her area of expertise, all of Robbie’s clients are now membership-based companies. “I think membership has a lot of legs,” she says. “While some organizations haven’t fully embraced the model, consumers want to be known and have their problems solved. That’s why you see gasoline trucks driving around neighborhoods and filling up cars while they sit in their home driveway!”

Photo by Linda Hubbard (c) 2017

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Author Donia Bijan turns to fiction in a novel set in her native Iran

Thumbnail image for Author Donia Bijan turns to fiction in a novel set in her native Iran

As Donia Bijan explains it, she carried around “the story in my head” for years before starting to write her first novel, The Last Days of Café Leila, which will be launched at Kepler’s on April 20. “The main characters came to me almost fully formed,” she says. “They’re lots of people I knew distilled into […]

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Psychologists Lori and Tom Plante co-author book to help college students graduate with honor

Thumbnail image for Psychologists Lori and Tom Plante co-author book to help college students graduate with honor

Menlo Park residents Lori and Tom Plante have enjoyed separate careers in the field of psychology, she as a clinician with a practice downtown and he as a member of the faculty at the Santa Clara University. Now they’ve come together to co-author a book that may prove helpful to parents of college-age or college-bound kids as well as college […]

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In new book, Menlo Park resident Alexander Kugushev ponders why American education lags

Thumbnail image for In new book, Menlo Park resident Alexander Kugushev ponders why American education lags

Editor’s note: Menlo Park resident, author and publisher Alexander Kugushev has written a new book We’re 34th in Education – It’s Our Culture. Here he offers his opinion about what is right and wrong about our educational system. The United States ranks 34th in the world in education (per the Program of International Student Assessment — 2014/2016). […]

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Author Jeanne DuPrau reflects on best-selling Ember series

Thumbnail image for Author Jeanne DuPrau reflects on best-selling Ember series

While author Jeanne DuPrau views herself as “always a writer,” she didn’t write fiction until she was in her 40s and wrote the best-selling The City of Ember. “I was a big reader as a child — C.S. Lewis, The Borrowers, Mary Poppins, that kind of thing,” she said sitting in the garden of the Menlo […]

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Author Kirby Wilkins turns to non-fiction in book Life with Jake

Thumbnail image for Author Kirby Wilkins turns to non-fiction in book Life with Jake

For much of his life, author Kirby Wilkins has lived on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park in the home his mother first moved into in 1947. He’s seen happiness there as well as what he describes as “trauma,” particularly after the birth of his son Jake in 1992 when he was 55 years old. At […]

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Deany Brady pens second memoir, Higher than Yonder Mountain

Thumbnail image for Deany Brady pens second memoir, Higher than Yonder Mountain

To kids and parents at Laurel Elementary School where she volunteers, Deany Brady is Grandma Brady. When she stops in once a week at Whole Foods Market, where she worked for 20 years, that’s what her former colleagues call her as well. But on Saturday, April 16 at 2:00 pm, she’ll be called “author Brady” during an appearance at […]

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Frances Reneau draws on her experience as ranger for MPOSD in her first book, Rangerchick

Thumbnail image for Frances Reneau draws on her experience as ranger for MPOSD in her first book, Rangerchick

When Menlo Park resident Frances Reneau graduated from Stanford with a degree in Germanic Linguistics, she viewed herself as a studious and academic person. That translated into some indoor pursuit, which for her was initially classroom teaching and then teaching ESL. Now after 15 years as a Ranger for the MidPeninsula Open Space District, she looks […]

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Novelist Lalita Tademy pens the story of a once-enslaved man and his granddaughter set in Oklahoma

Thumbnail image for Novelist Lalita Tademy pens the story of a once-enslaved man and his granddaughter set in Oklahoma

Best-selling author Lalita Tademy is the first to admit that she’s not one of those novelists who can churn out a book once a year — or even every other year. The former high tech executive, first profiled on InMenlo in 2010, hit the best seller list first with Cane River in 2001 and then Red River in […]

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