2020 was a crazy year, for every single person around the world.
Through all the adversary, we’ve made it to 2021; but it’s time to look at what we left behind. Alongside publishing numerous articles last year at UserGuiding Blog, here at UserGuiding we’ve read and passed around many articles.
In this post, I’ve compiled a list of the top articles on SaaS, Product, and Marketing in 2020. Some of these are from my reading list, and some are just the most popular articles on their respective platforms.
Hope you enjoy!
1- The virus that shut down the world: 2020, a year like no other
Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room.
At the start of 2020, many of us heard about the appearance of COVID-19 in China but couldn’t understand how it would affect us. After a while, we were restricted to our homes to prevent the virus from spreading further; lighting the fuse of remote-work all around the world.
Way we work, way education functioned, our social lives, everything transformed into something we’ve never experienced.
This UN article successfully sums up the timeline of the pandemic, which we’ve all went through. Photos from around the world makes it more interesting in my opinion.
2- Why COVID-19 Won’t Stop SaaS
“Here’s why software-as-a-service will keep growing even as the economy shifts.”
Cloud services, and a number of online products were affected differently by the pandemic, when compared to the industries that profited from physical products and services.
Especially Websites of popular products such as Netflix, Facebook, and Youtube saw at least 15% increase in usage. This increase in usage and the dependency on online products for work purposes made the majority of SaaS product experience accelerations in their growth rates.
In this article, Phil Greenwood, the CEO of RedTech explains why SaaS products are here to stay despite the pandemic.
3- Slack’s earnings detail how COVID-19 is both a help and a hindrance to cloud growth
This article reveals another perspective to the SaaS and Pandemic relations, exploring how the initial increases in SaaS growth rates might not be here to stay.
Alex Willhelm explores the state of Slack and various startups, discussing what to await in the future with VCs.
4- Zoom Booms as Teleconferencing Company Profits from Coronavirus Crisis
“The surge has left Zoom with a market value of about $59bn greater than the combined market values of the four largest US airlines, which have seen their businesses hammered by the coronavirus outbreak that has dramatically curtailed travel.”
Teleconferencing is the latest goldmine of the Silicon Valley, says the Guardian.
And I’ll agree, plane tickets out, Zoom Meeting links in.
I can’t even count how many Zoom meetings I’ve been to over the last year. This article displays their jaw-dropping growth over the last year, despite all the issues company faced.
5- INBOUND Goes Virtual: 2020 Recap
INBOUND is a 3-day annual event hosted by HubSpot. Initially being planned as a physical event in Boston, due to the pandemic, Hubspot has made it virtual for the first time.
As the Growth team, we’ve attended the online event to catch up with the latest trends, and honestly, great insights from experienced SaaS leaders.
Our opinion aside, this article sums up the overall opinion of the attendees about the virtual event.
6- Building Success: Insights from 7 Leading SaaS Companies
“SaaS businesses feature all sorts of advantages and unique hurdles. What separates the winners form the losers?”
Did you know that Google has 137 different SaaS products?
This 2020 story by Thomas Smale, founder of FE International was a great read for us here at UserGuiding, giving up-to-date examples and insights from SaaS goliaths. Thomas does a great job deducting crucial points from the success of others.
7- We built a new design system in Voog. And made it free to everyone.
“Giving back to the community of product people.”
Voog is an easy platform for creating websites and online stores, and in this article on UXPlanet, they describe their journey on giving their design system for free to the product community.
I think it is a great read that summarizes a complex journey, with a heart-warming result.
8- Ready for Desktop as a Service?
“DaaS is one of the surprising cloud computing trends for this year and is expected to explode in 2021. Here are six signs that DaaS might be a good fit for your organization.“
Cloud computing is taking it’s next step forward, by offering actual computers on cloud.
It’s no surprise that DaaS is getting popular, after the successful debut of Google Stadia and GeforceNow, cloud gaming platforms that let you access virtual computers designed for gaming. We only hope to see more cloud computers, enabling us to work and game from anywhere without causing us inconvenience.
9- 4 Takeaways from the 2020 SaaS Benchmark Reports
“This year’s SaaS Benchmarks report from OpenView and a number of partners, including High Alpha, is a window into the SaaS industry during a year like no other. The majority of the people surveyed for the report were CEO or founder level and fell into the $2.5-5 million ARR range, but the report garnered participation from all employee levels, all company sizes, and all revenue ranges.”
This article offers great value for me, giving quick insights and key points by analyzing the SaaS Benchmarks 2020 report. Must-read!
10- How to approach pricing and packaging a new SaaS app, by example.
This isn’t much of a news story, but I think it’s the greatest guide to SaaS pricing and packaging ever written, which was published in 2020.
No hesitations in putting this article on this list!
11- The Cadence: How to Operate a SaaS Startup
“You think you need a COO. What you really need is an operating philosophy.”
In this article, David Sacks, an experienced founder and former COO of PayPal, explains why most startups are managed poorly because the mindset of the executives is poor(a bit harsh, I know!).
“The Cadence is an operating philosophy that I first learned as COO of PayPal (during the so-called “PayPal Mafia” founding era) and then adapted for SaaS as founder/CEO of Yammer, which Microsoft acquired in 2012 for $1.2 billion. To this day, Yammer is still the fastest unicorn exit among SaaS startups, and a lot of that success is due to the Cadence.”
He gives you a better way to operate your SaaS, the Cadence.
12- Recurring Revenue: The Rise of an Asset Class
“Albert Einstein reportedly once said, ‘Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it earns it. He who doesn’t pay it.’ While there’s healthy debate as to whether or not this quote is actually attributable to Einstein, if he were alive today we think he would refer to recurring revenue in a similar vein.”
In this article, by John Street Capital, the idea of Recurring Revenue and its significance is discussed. Must read for any SaaS founder!
13- From 0 to $1m ARR in less than 2 years and without any fundings
This is a great success story that depicts innovative ideas of growth and entrepreneurship.
14- Evernote Is Dead, Long Live Notion
Unfortunately, that is true.
No matter how much I love Evernote, it’s design, it’s onboarding process; Evernote was successfully defeated by Notion.
This Hackit article compares Notion to Evernote and explains its superiority to the outdated platform as a 7+ years Evernote subscriber.
15- Shopify: A Sustained Success Story
This is a well-structured case study of Shopify, one of the fastest growing companies of our day.
If you’re into success stories, you need to read this one.
16- The Worst Rebrand in the History of Orange Juice
“They paid $35 million to then lose $20m in sales”
After the case study of a success, here’s the case study of a failure; though it is not a SaaS-exclusive story.
17- Apple Is Killing a Billion-Dollar Ad Industry With One Popup
What is one-thing that only the largest tech company could do?
To confront a billion-dollar industry to become more transparent to your users. Apple, with the new iOS 14, will enable users to opt-out of personalized advertisements, a billion-dollar business backed by Google and Facebook.
This article explores possible outcomes and the timeline of this development.
18- True Product Market Fit is a Minimum Viable Company
“Most successful entrepreneurs and VCs agree that product-market fit is the defining moment of an early-stage startup. Getting to product-market fit allows you to succeed even if you are not optimized on other fronts.”
In this article, experienced investor Ann Miura-Ko discusses why Product Market Fit is crucial from an investment standpoint, and gives crucial tips to entrepreneurs looking to get invested in faster.
19- The new landing page is to have no landing page at all
“Quicker to value means quicker to pay.”
As greedy as this might sound, it’s not, in contrast this article is aimed to improve user experience for better journeys.
20- AWS Launches Amazon Appflow, its new SaaS integration service
I didn’t put this article here to praise the debut of Appflow, but to appreciate the attention the SaaS industry is getting.
As more and more companies realize that the future is in SaaS, as it is a better business model, at least in my opinion; more investments to this industry will follow.
The future of SaaS, Product, and Growth looks bright. It’s best to keep in touch with the latest industry news; to follow the trends, learn about the newest concepts, and stay fierce in the competition.