August 14, 2020

Essays

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Aug 6, 2020
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One day, Internet Explorer was nearly the only game in town, powering 96% of website visits at its peak in 2002. Then, quickly it turned into the app you only used to download Firefox or Chrome, or so the joke went. And then Internet Explorer died and turned into Chrome.

Empires rise then quickly…

Jul 31, 2020
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300,000 people are on Superhuman’s waitlist, while 95,000 requested a Hey invite before it launched—both in pursuit of a more productive email experience. Enough people paid Roam Research from $15/month to $500 for 5 years that they hit $1 million in ARR only 6 weeks after launching paid plans.

Jul 15, 2020
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The tipping point was May, 2011.

For the first time, the same number of people searched for app as software, ending software’s decades-long reign as the popular term for the stuff we run on computing devices. Program, application, software, applet, all replaced with a three-letter-word.

When Steve…

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…

Jun 18, 2020
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Wake up with a great idea for a new widget. Build it, set up a table in front of your house, and sell it for $10 cash.

You just made $10. Pretty good deal.

So you expand your business, start a Shopify store, and sell online. Shopify charges 2% of your sale price, along with another 2.9% + 30¢…

Jun 11, 2020
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SaaS won. Piracy died.

It’s not that you can’t pirate software today; there are still cracked versions of Office and Photoshop out there.

But today’s best business software can’t be pirated. You can’t torrent Slack, pirate Salesforce, crack Notion to give you more features for free.

“Hardware…

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 19, 2020
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“The human mind does not work that way,” wrote Vannevar Bush of filing cabinets and alphabetical organization, in his seminal 1945 essay As we may think. He might have as easily invoked today’s computers, 75 years of progress notwithstanding.

Of all the metaphors computers could have used for data…