The Cloud, SaaS, PaaS, and CaaS: Old Wine, Newish Bottles

June 27, 2019

I read in SaaStr, a blog whose name I have no idea how to pronounce, “SaaS Unicorns vs New Categories.” The information in this post is a list of “100+ public SaaS companies and unicorns.” What’s interesting about the list is that “70 percent” of the entries are recycled software. How is this possible? The obvious answer is that a new name, a strong elevator pitch, and investors looking for a big pay day seems to work magic.

A couple of observations:

  • A rose by any other name is still a rose. What hack said that?
  • The cloud is a version of time sharing; that is, forget the computer on every desk. The network is the computer. Who said that crazy thing?
  • Who cares? What me worry? Who said that?

Net net: Innovation is moving in the direction of cereal. New box, new slogan, and new colors. Same stuff: Pressed genetically modified grain. The staff of life goes digital.

I use three, maybe four applications each day. I have used these same digital tools since I got my hands on my own terminal at Halliburton Nuclear in 1972, maybe 1973. True, I couldn’t carry it around.

The innovations have less to do with the functionality and more to do with convenience, economies of scale, and short attention spans. Just the view from Harrod’s Creek.

Wine now comes in tubes. Great innovation but not much of an improvement over clay jars used thousands of years ago. Just like timesharing.

Stephen E Arnold, June 27, 2019


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