2020 W15: Exploring something new, Tool(s) du jour, and interesting links

Moving some posts from Wordpress to Substack

COVID-19’s impact has changed so much. There’s millions of people or the 10’s of thousands of small businesses across the world who’s trajectories are now changed forever – mostly negatively. I remain hopeful that this will make us stronger in the long-run even though it’ll come at a tremendous cost. 

Exploring, differently 

While the above is true, I also don’t want to only think and talk about COVID-19. Since the middle-of-March it’s taken up almost all of my brain space but in a non-constructive way. 

My plan for 2020 was to explore new places, meet people who’ve lived very different lives, and learning about business that don’t depend on being at the forefront of technology adoption. This year was suppose to be an opportunity for me to explore where I wanted to live, take a lot of pictures, and nail down which kind of businesses would give me the most energy. With travel now out of the window and no forseeable path towards freedom of movement worldwide, I’ve decided to start exploring working on some new things to work much ahead than planned. Over the next 6-9 months, with a few others, I’m hoping to put together initial version of products that could become very exciting. 

The first idea on the agenda is bringing message boards into the future and how we work today (think Google Groups re-imagined). If you’re interested in collaborating in any way: expressing your frustrations with google groups in your org, giving feedback, wanting to build together, etc. please do reach out: me@varadhja.in. 

P.S If anyone wants to pair on Figma with a complete noob, I’m available. 

Tool(s) du jour

I tweeted a few weeks ago about how status on twitter drives a lot of productivity app adoption in its earliest days. Your latest to float to the top is: Roam Research, Hey.com, Pitch, and Linear.

While turnover of tools for something better, in general, has been true since the spear days, but I’m surprised at how quickly things are moving in some parts of the stack of personal productivity. This has me pretty excited tbh both as a user and as an investor very interested in tools that make how we work. 

One thing though to think about is that while it’s been easier than ever to build new tools, the bar for customer experience (design) and feature parity remain higher than every. This often means that what we’re seeing getting distribution now has taken about 2-3 years at least to build if not more. 

One implication of this to me: While NYT wrote about the “fat startup” being relevant for full-stack startups when talking about Opendoor, I think its going to become more of an option for productivity software as well. A few data points of companies building for a few years + raising $10mm pre-launch: Coda, Superhuman, Pitch

Interesting links