The End of SaaS Is Closer Than You Think

Users don’t want another screen

Joe Procopio

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As more and more companies hop on the A.I. train in what seems like a panicked game of musical chairs, the implication is that they’re all investing in the future. It’s a future where the machines do most of the work, if not all of it, and the executives sit back and reap the rewards, patting themselves on the back for having such keen foresight.

That might not be what’s happening. In fact, it just might be actual panic driving the decisions in those executive boardrooms right now.

Think about it for a minute. Artificial intelligence isn’t really new, by any stretch of the imagination. A.I. has been scaring the job prospects out of blue-collar and white-collar workers alike for decades now. And machine learning, robotics, driverless cars, and cashierless checkouts — all of these have been pretty commonplace for a while.

So why now? And why ChatGPT, or Generative A.I.? What’s got everyone falling all over themselves to be the prime mover in this somewhat innocuous leg of the A.I. race?

Is the future really going to be about slightly better chatbots and deepfake porn?

That got me thinking. Maybe it’s not a bet on the future. Maybe it’s a not-so-distant early warning.

Maybe it’s the end of SaaS.

Remember Compaq?

Probably not. And that’s my point.

Compaq is maybe the best example of the most successful desktop PC maker, and one of the first “laptop” makers, to completely miss the onset of mobile computing. Apple, Dell, even HP all got the message that an immobile computing box was no longer going to cut it. Compaq was dead before the iPhone arrived, absorbed by HP, and known from them on for budget laptops.

Did Compaq miss a shift in form factor? Not really. What it missed was the onset of the home broadband connection via WiFi, which would not be in full swing until some years later. Dial-up was still a thing, so software designers started “sacrificing” UX and UI to fit the smaller screen, the thinner client, and the narrower UI pipe.

So why do I bring this up?

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Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com