I’ve come to love Andy Raskin’s framework around “undeniable shifts.” Here’s a quick deck I presented at UW about it. It’s a great tool for positioning, but also has utility in the ideation process.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I’m looking for a CTO/co-founder.
In parallel, I’m starting to ask: What shifts am I interested in following?
I thought I’d share some of my rough thinking in this newsletter, but reserve the right to update my beliefs. At this point I’m focused on the neat little world of B2B software (staying in my circle of competence).
Right now 3 trends have my interest…
SaaS proliferation. SaaS markets are starting to look like a grocery store aisle. More categories. More players in every category. More buyer confusion. And with all the VC funding in 2021 I think there’s way more to come. That means new problems for both buyers and marketers. Gartner and Forrester are totally broken in this new paradigm. Things like Okta and Vendr become more important. And I think we’ll see a next level of innovation around positioning, category design, brand building, and community building as vendors fight to rise above the noise.
Behavior changes from remote work. This might be a slightly negative view, but as companies shift to remote and hybrid models, I expect people to have a more mercenary attitude about their jobs. It will be easier to optimize for compensation without having to worry about moving. You won’t have to take a sick day to attending interviews — you’ll just jump between Zooms. And you will never have to worry about packing up your desk in front of your work friends. This shift along with the talent war means that the balance of power is shifting more to employees. I don’t know what specific problems fall out of this one, but I’m interested to see how it takes shape.
Product-led growth. Tell an investor “I’ve got this freemium thing going” and you’ll get crickets. Tell them “I’m building a product-led growth business” and you’ll have a blank check. The companies who have nailed product-led growth are very exciting to watch. So everyone wants to transform their go-to-market into a PLG-like motion. I expect a whole new set of problems and opportunities to surface as companies try to make this pivot. It might be that the existing sales and marketing stack mostly works for PLG, but there are some gaps to fill. Or it could drive a bigger overhaul. Either way I think there will be some interesting companies built on the back of this shift.
Spending a little time exploring these now, but also keeping my mind open to many other possibilities.
What trends are you watching?
Thanks for sharing! I’m curious as to why you say Gartner/Forrester are totally broken in this new paradigm? Is it bc they are playing catchup to the SaaS business model transformation like many B2B co’s. Are you referring to the quality of their research/data, how they monetize it… both/neither?
I don't think there is anything negative about a more mercenary approach to work. It feels like a positive– a shift towards viewing your job as what you do to get paid. Not who you are. It's a transaction, and pretending otherwise has been damaging to collective mental health.