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Streamlined Angles on Turbulent Technologies

Joel York

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Top Stories by Joel York

Tweet Me! What is SaaS? We seem to need to ask this question every couple of years, because the answer is a bit of a moving target. It was simple enough when SaaS was merely software applications pushed through a Web browser, but now we have to contend with the cloud, mobile and even social. Recently, Scott Maxwell of OpenView partners sparked an interesting debate on the topic on LinkedIn that got me pondering it again. I’ve weighed in on the “What is SaaS?” question before, however, every time I encounter this debate, I can’t help feeling that it skirts the more important issue: Why SaaS? Tweet When trying to create a successful SaaS business model, being SaaS is interesting, but doing SaaS is essential. It’s far less important that your SaaS business model meet the exact definition of SaaS, than it is that your SaaS business model creates sustainable competitive... (more)

What Is SaaS? | Software-as-a-Service Myopia

It seems a little late in the game for me to be asking a question like “What is SaaS?” But, I’ve always harbored a few embarrassing little secrets on the subject and I think it’s time I came clean. There is a classic Harvard Business School case study called Marketing Myopia by Theodore Levitt that is familiar to every MBA student since the 60′s–the moral of which is not to define your business too narrowly lest you become obsolete. Well I don’t think software is going away any time soon and neither is service, but what about software-as-a-service? Between the rise of the cloud ... (more)

Breaking Through the SaaS Ceiling

It’s the dream of every Internet entrepreneur to build a business that goes viral. Yet the sad truth is that most do not. It’s hard to think of any other industry with such a winner-take-all mentality as Internet software. The volatile combination of small market entry costs and big network effects creates wave after wave of disruption and consolidation, and quite a few millionaires along the way. Alas, virality is an elusive goal, particularly in SaaS. For this reason, SaaS Don’t #10 insists that you should not depend on network effects. Instead you should focus first and foremo... (more)

Eleven Secrets of SaaS Product Design

SaaS product management professionals should always remember that there are four P’s in marketing, one being product. Unfortunately, software companies have a bad habit of thinking about product in isolation from the rest of the marketing mix. This is a particularly costly mistake in SaaS and is the root cause of many a SaaS Don’t. Unlike other businesses, SaaS creates a real-time, always-on connection between the customer and the company through the SaaS product. Smart SaaS product managers look to establish this connection as early as possible and to leverage it throughout the ... (more)

Big Data | Thinking Outside the Firewall

A few months back, Gartner placed big data at the peak of its hype cycle for cloud computing, meaning most big data products are solutions looking for a problem. I always find this bad entrepreneurial habit to be one of the most frustrating of our industry. Having recently joined Meltwater as head of marketing and product (BTW Meltwater is hiring marketing and product managers!), I think a lot about big data and how to unleash it’s value to solve important business problems, because that is our business. How does big data go from “so what” to “must have”? The Big Data Challenge ... (more)