Question

What software categories are the hardest to imagine not existing?

Imagine a world without social media. Seems easy if you try—and yet. Somehow it fills some need where it’s hard to imagine a connected world not having a way to publish your thoughts.

Spreadsheets and word processors feel similar. Decades of updates later, anyone who'd used the original VisiCalc or WordPerfect would still recognize their modern descendants.

What else? What are the most foundational software categories, the software that was most likely to be invented? And what categories are next, the newest apps or things you wish existed that in the future, we'll find hard to imagine living without?

Mentioned
#Airtable #Calendly
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namtrok's avatar
5 months ago

Project Management, Email, CRM, Email Marketing

I think Slack/Team Communication is a newer category that we cannot live without. Same with Automation Tools (API Connectors)

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @namtrok )
5 months ago

Email's absolutely a critical category; hard to imagine modern tech without it. It's one of the last few internet services that's full cross-platform too, where an email from any service can show up on any other.

Chat's absolutely becoming a core category—though seems like it may continue morphing, as it has over the past decade.

Agreed on automation tools!

1 point
ScottFedonchik's avatar
5 months ago

Digital Asset Management. The creative hub for visually minded marketing teams.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @ScottFedonchik )
5 months ago

Interesting—DAM isn't a category I would have thought of here at first. What makes it so crucial to you—and what are some of the best products in that category today?

1 point
iCanAutomate's avatar
5 months ago

Today - Password managers, Knowledge Management (notes/wikis), Communication (Slack).

In the future - Professional Relationship Management tools (PRMs).

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @iCanAutomate )
5 months ago

Password managers is a great one. They're increasingly critical when we use so many apps for work every day.

What in your opinion separates PRMs from CRMs—and what are some of your favorite tools in that space today?

1 point
iCanAutomate's avatar
@iCanAutomate (replying to @maguay )
5 months ago

I have come across something in the past but don't really know of something that is purpose-built for PRMs.

Professional Relationships are unlike Customer relationships and don't need a tool with a host of features. An ideal tool would allow me to capture every interaction I have with people by plugging into my calendar and creating a timeline for each relationship. Additionally, I would like to add meeting notes and action items.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @iCanAutomate )
5 months ago

Interesting—basically a personal CRM built around time. That would be very interesting.

There’s your startup idea when you’re ready to venture out!

2 points
iCanAutomate's avatar
@iCanAutomate (replying to @maguay )
5 months ago

Haha let's put it out in the universe and see if someone takes a crack at it!

2 points
Avi's avatar
@Avi (replying to @iCanAutomate )
2 months ago

I have recently seen something like this. See Monica from here:
https://capiche.com/q/how-do-you-manage-your-contacts

1 point
maguay's avatar
5 months ago

Automation + integration tools—what is often now called iPaaS or Integration Platform as a Service—feel like a core category to me. Yahoo Pipes was one of the first options in this space, but today they're common enough that even iOS includes a built-in workflow automation tool, and either integrations with Zapier/IFTTT/and competitors or at least some level of built-in workflows is increasingly a standard feature for business SaaS.

1 point
ericdodds's avatar
5 months ago

Databases traditionally and warehouses today (i.e. Snowflake), are absolutely foundational. Seems obvious, but worth mentioning, especially because they have been historically important, but are only going to become more foundational in the future.

One I didn't see mentioned, which is, again, "old and new," would be calendar apps, both for individuals and businesses. Perhaps less important than email was early on, but becoming more foundational.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @ericdodds )
5 months ago

Great point. It’s actually incredible how many SaaS apps are, at some level, a form to enter data, a database to store data, and views to display data. That’s why Access back in the day and Airtable (and its growing number of competitors including Google’s new Tables database builder) are enough to let people build a wide variety of custom business apps on their own and replace CRMs, project management apps, and more.

And then, Snowflake’s IPO surge points to the value of data warehouses.

Calendars are a very good call. Traditional calendars like Google Calendar and the one built into Outlook are a core part of the computing experience, right up there with email. They’re another cross-platform standard, where an invite from one calendar service will likely display fine in whatever calendar service you use. New calendar scheduling tools like Calendly have quickly become essential tools. And calendars are being used to expand into new industries, such as Google’s inclusion of Meet video call links in new events.

1 point
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