Essays

Nov 6, 2020
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The craziest app came out a month after the App Store opened to the public, charging $999 for a digital red gem and the text “I am rich.” It sold six copies and shut down the next day.

The next craziest app came out April 1, 2014. You’d tap a button to send your friend a one-word message: “Yo.”…

Oct 30, 2020
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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…

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 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…

Sep 23, 2019
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Free is a hard genie to put back in the bottle.

When Microsoft charged $999 for Office in 1990, little did they dream that 16 years later, their greatest competitor would be a free office suite from Google—along with dozens of small, often free apps that individually did many of the same tasks as…