Essays

Sep 21, 2021
klapicheza's avatar

Think of NoteApps.info as an “encyclopedia of note-taking apps.” Associated with Amplenote, NoteApps.info has a repository of everything you’d want to know about across hundreds of features on top apps. The site aims to make note-taking apps more discoverable, plus, users can compare apps so…

Dec 7, 2020
maguay's avatar

Listen to an audio take on this story on Capiche's SaaS Radio Hour.

“Software is dead,” declared Salesforce’s original marketing at the turn of the century. It was “the end of software,” software as we knew it anyhow, as the hopes and dreams of a generation went up in dot com bubble smoke. Maybe…

Nov 6, 2020
maguay's avatar

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
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…

Aug 27, 2020
maguay's avatar

It almost felt like common knowledge that software was increasingly expensive. Yet was it, really? Had the move from boxed software and one-time licenses to subscriptions and SaaS had actually resulted in higher prices, we wondered?

So last year we picked 100 popular business software, dug through…

Jul 2, 2020
maguay's avatar

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
maguay's avatar

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 11, 2020
maguay's avatar

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…

Mar 17, 2020
maguay's avatar

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.

For those who have worked remotely for years—decades, even—it often started as a gradual process. We worked freelance first and figured out collaboration remotely on individual projects. That’s easy enough: One task, one set of deliverables, a deadline and a…

Mar 6, 2020
maguay's avatar

It wasn’t the next big thing we were expecting when Slack came into the world in late 2013. Team chat was already everywhere if you wanted it. HipChat had built a growing business around team chat, as had the Basecamp team’s Campfire. There were chat apps galore on mobile, thanks to Apple’s…

Feb 7, 2020
maguay's avatar
“The future is already here—it’s just not evenly distributed.”
~ William Gibson

It’s hard enough to convince people to pay for software, much less unfinished software quits working merely 9 months after purchase. Not Apple. When the first beta of Mac OS X came out in 2000, fans paid $29.95 for the…

Jan 6, 2020
awwstn's avatar

Last week there was a trend on Twitter where people offer one prediction/hot take for each Like their tweet gets. Since we come across so many interesting nuggets on SaaS pricing, I decided to try it out:

https://twitter.com/awwstn/status/1213215748979445761

The response blew me away -- according…

Nov 26, 2019
maguay's avatar

When your car has an odd noise at a specific speed in inclement weather, it’s frustrating yet forgettable. When the car won’t start in the morning, though—or, perhaps worse, when it randomly won’t start even after repairs for seemingly no reason—it’s maddening. Something that used to work doesn’t…

Nov 13, 2019
maguay's avatar

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
maguay's avatar

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 30, 2019
maguay's avatar

Software’s not all that expensive when you buy one app for one person. It saves time and makes you money, and all’s well.

Then your team grows, and by the time you pay for G Suite, Slack, GitHub, and all your other work tools, software’s not such an innocent expense anymore. Pay $75 per person for…

Oct 24, 2019
maguay's avatar

Slack took over modern office communications partly because it's free to start. Any team can sign up for Slack and use all of its core features for free. That's how it slowly got adopted in companies from the bottom up, as smaller teams joined Slack, then got their wider division to start using it…

Sep 23, 2019
maguay's avatar

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…