I see three main differences. products themselves aside:
- The markets are so, so, so much bigger. They were much bigger in ’12 than they were in ’08, and much bigger in ’08 than ’05. And they are at least 3-10x bigger today than ’12. See Slack vs. Yammer, or Slack vs. Hipchat, or Slack vs. Campfire, or whatever. So if you hit it — you can grow faster than ever.
- Sales and marketing technologies and processes are much more understood. So if you do achieve product-market fit … you scale more predictably, using more technology, and more repeated, proven processes … than ever before.
- But — product-market fit is harder than before. Because there are so, so many more apps. So many more. Not just in direct competition with each other, but in overall competition for budgets. “Breaking out” is harder than ever. It’s much harder today for a great team to just will a paid SaaS product into existence.
These are the core structural differences I see.