Essays

Oct 30, 2020
maguay's avatar

Listen to an audio take on this essay on the SaaS Radio Hour’s podcast.

Flat-pack Ikea furniture can hardly rival the permanence of an oversized mahogany desk. But the mind’s a fickle thing, and you might value a desk you spent an afternoon assembling more than it’s worth.

That’s what a Harvard…

Sep 24, 2020
AndrewJDavison's avatar

It used to be that automation was limited to factory floors and robot product lines. Now, automating business tasks is sweeping across every market — and fast!

In 2020, just about everyone has used — or at least heard of — apps like Zapier, IFTTT, and Integromat, or at least used built-in…

Jul 2, 2020
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When Jiro dreams of sushi, you’d hardly imagine him slicing sashimi with an ordinary, dull knife. Nor would you expect Usain Bolt to cross the finish line in shoes you could pick up at an outlet, the London Symphony Orchestra to grab the cheapest violins at the local music store, or Ford to take on…

Jun 26, 2020
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The problems with email were there from the beginning.

You’d be reading documentation, see something to improve, and wish you could tell the author.

For MIT’s programming staff in 1965, that idea led to the invention of email. “A new command should be written to allow a user to send a private…

May 29, 2020
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Remember Google Wave?

Gmail had quickly become the most popular email service, enough that invites to the free service were bid up on eBay. Google Docs made modern collaboration possible, spooked Microsoft enough to build free, web-based versions of its Office tools. Google itself had become a…

May 11, 2020
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When the team that built Wunderlist set out to build something new, its whimsically designed landing page got all the attention.

Wunderlist itself was a final hurrah to the skeuomorphic design that the early iPhone popularized, launched only a couple years before iOS 7 decreed flat design was the…

Apr 22, 2020
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Write the first draft on your computer at a desk. Add a few random extra ideas while in line for lunch. See the changes a colleague made among your phone’s other notifications when you first wake up tomorrow. Rediscover the document years later, go back in time and see the first sentences you edited…

Nov 13, 2019
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A cardboard sign and chartered plane doesn’t make an airlines, nor a video and signup form an app. But neither does a full-fledged airlines—complete with check-in counters, planes, pilots, and safety videos—guarantee success, nor the most polished app in the App Store.

“Ideas are worth nothing…

Nov 5, 2019
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When Google launched their online office suite with Docs and Sheets in 2006, feature parity with Microsoft Office wasn't the focus. Neither was a price tag of free, or cross-platform support by virtue of being a web app. Instead, Google focused on the pain of emailing documents back and forth to…

Oct 3, 2019
maguay's avatar

The best time to get software discounts is when you first start your business—and to get those discounts, you need to sign up with the best deal. $1,000 off AWS or 30% off HubSpot might sound great, until you realize you could get $100,000 in AWS credit or 90% off your first year of HubSpot with the…