I do think we are seeing a lot of fatigue in the trends that fueled the last few ways of innovation:

  • The cloud version of big “on-prem” categories. This created Salesforce, Workday, ServiceNow, etc. That’s pretty much played out, with a few laggard exceptions. All the traditional big categories have been reinvented in the cloud. This worked well:

  • The 2.0 version of the early cloud stuff. Ariba, Successfactors, Concur, Fleetmatics, etc. are all still around are going strong. But the next generation players are well established now. See WebEx, Citrix -> Zoom, for example. Or Ariba -> Coupa. Or LivePerson, etc. -> Zendesk.
  • The “do it on the web instead of on paper/Excel/Windows/DOS/etc.” trend. This is still ongoing, but most business processes that SMBs and vertical markets and niche markets have done offline now have strong cloud vendors, even if they are at just tens of millions in ARR. See e.g., QuickBooks -> Xero. Email files -> DropBox.

All three of these trends are still well in play. It’s just there is fatigue here. 100s and 1000s of vendors have popped up since ‘13-’14 to further flush out these Old Stuff-to-the-Cloud segments.

Now innovation is in the post-API, post-mobile age. Slack is a poster child here. “B2D” is hot. B2B in recruiting, CRM, HR, etc? Rather less hot than a few years ago.

We’re now in the post-Slack age.

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