Unless I joined the box at the end of 2012, the “consumerization of enterprise” movement was going well. The playbook was clear: lessons and tactics from the rise of consumer apps – viral loops, social referrals, frictionless onboarding – can be distilled, packaged and ported to the enterprise.
And the promise was subversive – great products can inspire a loyal user base and unleash the fate of multimillion-dollar contracts from suitable salespersons selling unusable software behind closed doors.
While the consumerization of SaaS has taught us how to get in front of users more effectively, this next decade will be about how to properly encourage them to do the work necessary for the right product experience.
A decade later, this promise has come true to a large extent. The Consumer Playbook contributed to the meteoric rise of Slack, Zoom, Airtable and others, particularly around user acquisition and onboarding. They are beautiful products that are discovered from bottom to top, serve themselves, are free to start and pay as you grow.
But while it may seem like one of the best times to form a SaaS company, a look at Product Hunt can present a different story. For every success story like Airtable, there are a dozen lookalikes employing the same consumer-inspired playbook that continues to sink.
And for any first-mover startup in a new category, a dozen imitators waiting around the corner at YC, thinking they are reaching the migration velocity, with their beautifully designed apps, and A promise to be “super fast and delightfully simple”. “
Conventional wisdom suggests that many of these newcomer apps will fall short because they do not clearly convey their differentiation, or their signup process is not streamlined enough, or they have poor documentation and tutorial videos, or they have corrected Not to attract influencers on Twitter, or just plain poor execution.
While some (or all) of these may be true at the individual app level, something bigger is happening at the aggregate level, and it comes back to an insidious assumption taken from the consumer playbook: the myth of frictionless onboarding.
The reality is that onboarding is never frictionless. In fact, it is exactly the opposite – it demands that users remove their old habits and switch to this new way of being or doing. Just like a new fitness program, the participants feel good After the Completing a workout, but it takes a lot of active energy and hard work to get there. Similarly, to get results, work has to be done on the user’s part, and most apps expect users to do this work for free.
But in a crowded market with infinite options, the only way to grab and hold user attention is to directly encourage them. Experience Product, not just exposure to it. Today’s Growth Playbook overindicates Google, Facebook or Product Hunt to spend advertising dollars (with low returns) to get premium placements and eyeballs, but very few people have tried to make those dollars work so that it Make sure that users are getting exactly what they expect.
To do this, SaaS needs to extract a page from the crypto playbook. So while the last decade of consumerisation of SaaS has taught us how to get in front of users more effectively, this next decade will be about SaaS cryptification and the right ways for users to do the work necessary to get the right experience Would be about encouraging from. Your product.