In an update on "we create our tools and then our tools create us", I wonder how the collaboration software we have is going to leave fingerprints on the types of organizations we build and how effective they are.
You know how you can *basically* tell when a SaaS app is built on Rails because of design patterns which are very common in the community and things it makes rather easy? I think we'll start to see that, but for companies.
The most people you can have in a meeting productively is defined by Zoom, the maximum size of an organization's working memory by Google Docs, the interoperability of engineering teams by Jira / Github, the social dynamics of suborgs by emergent behaviors of first-gen Slackers.
I am reminded of someone, and I can't remember who it was, observing that a Japanese company made a feature request to Zoom "Can we set the amount of real estate speakers get onscreen in group view to reflect the hierarchy?"

Which might be a "too perfect to factcheck" anecdote.
I also think that some people are going to be "good at Zoom" or "good at Slack" in the same way that people say "good at Twitter", and I very much don't mean the traditional sense of software education "knows all the shortcuts and how to debug common issues."
Sooner or later executive performance reviews are going to start saying "Areas for improvement: relative to other executives at your level, your Zoom presence does not project confidence and vision. Work on transitions, unforced humor, microexpressions, and your lighting setup."
And eventually that review will not mention "Zoom presence" at all, in a same way that email ability has receded into the background as "things you assume somebody just has on total lock by a certain point or they'd never get anything done."

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More from @patio11

18 Sep
An underappreciated and underpracticed-in-tech part of the hiring loop: candidates should come away from it, regardless of the outcome, willing to talk you up to their friends/coworkers/etc.
Every engineer you talk to will talk to somewhere between 20 and 100 engineers in the next year. What do you want them to say about you? "Oh yeah, I interviewed there once. My interviewer showed up twenty minutes late, butchered my first name, and then ghosted me."
There's a lot of nuance and complexity into how to deliver an amazing experience, much like there is in product-land, but so, so much of the industry would benefit from just repeatedly showing baseline competence on logistics and professional demeanor.
Read 4 tweets
15 Sep
TinySeed (the first fund I ever invested in) is raising Fund 2. They describe the goal as making an index of early stage B2B SaaS companies.

The memo is here, and it makes for interesting reading:
3 things I think are true:

B2B SaaS is, like enterprise software before it, increasingly a playbook. Unlike enterprise software, the minimum business required to have a saleable product is achievable in single digit founder months.

These companies are getting better over time.
Money is flooding into B2B SaaS both from the traditional LP to VC fund pipeline and from, increasingly, “software money going to software people.”

I think the second should crowd out the first, especially where raw $ isn’t the deciding factor. It is smarter and more helpful.
Read 7 tweets
10 Sep
We've been hard at work on improving the Checkout experience.

Try it out at ; it will create a mockup for your use case (e.g. typical SaaS plan) and let you see what the UX looks like a typical user in several countries.
Checkout (and for SaaS companies our customer portal:… ) tries to move as much of the silly cruft of getting the business running to us, so that you can focus on talking to users, building product, and delighting people.
Back during my consulting career I fought like heck to get companies on a cycle of testing and refreshing their checkout flow quarterly. Almost nobody managed to do this. When we looked at git logs, most people hadn't touched it in years.
Read 13 tweets
8 Sep
I think people in the tech community tend to undervalue large portions of the marketing skillset, and e.g. building a narrative for a decisionmaker persona then solving backwards to the artifacts that would create it is useful.

But in many phases of the business, this works:
A good portion of some advice in the community, like "write for yourself", is a shortcut on having to do the whole decisionmaker thing, because you're overwhelmingly likely to yourself have problems that at least some other people do and to speak in a way some of them will like.
A semi-considered guiding light I had when writing for many years is "Just write about things you would have found surprising 5~10 years ago in a way that you of 5~10 years ago would have found maximally compelling."
Read 5 tweets
5 Sep
I have nuanced thoughts on this, but broadly, I think it is healthier to approach work with the mindset that the reason you’re there is it provides you things you couldn’t do yourself and that you always have a BATNA of doing it yourself.
One nuanced thought which exercising the BATNA will demonstrate in a level of detail we socially attempt to protect people from: some people are adequately valued or overvalued by the formal labor market, insofar as they would not be higher producing outside current firm/role.
Two interesting consequences of increasingly liquid labor markets:

“Work at someone else’s business or run your own business” are not lifelong commitments or even very restrictive career paths these days. I have many colleagues who did a business before; many likely will after.
Read 5 tweets
5 Sep
I should really write about banking some time, as I have weird hobbies which are not as well-known among tech people.

Here's a weird hobby bit of information: why the US doesn't have "basic bank accounts" like many countries, which are fee-free accounts meant to increase access.
The answer is complicated, but this is a multi-constituency game:

1) The check payment method inevitably exposes banks to credit risk and this makes free a tough anchor *but it is doable* and banks do do it in certain markets where it is de rigeur.

2) Community banks.
Community banks are your friendly beloved local financial institution which treats you like a human rather than a database entry. They're *much* smaller than banks whose names everyone knows.

The continued existence of community banks is a policy goal of the United States.
Read 16 tweets

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