9 of our least favorite tech trends

The SaaS trends that drive us crazy

If you’re an exercise junkie, you’ve heard of HIIT, crossfit, and barre. If you diet, you’ve seen 5 flavors of keto, intermittent fasting, and paleo. (#bacon 🥓)

Every industry has trends—both good and bad—and SaaS is no exception.

Some SaaS trends, such as starting with no code, shipping fast, listening to your customers, and transparency, create tremendous value for this industry. Other trends...well, they kind of remind us of Crocs. We’re not sure why they’re a thing or how they’ve stuck around so long. 🙈

9 of our least favorite tech trends 👎

1. Assuming you have to look like _____ to be a SaaS founder.

The only word we wouldn’t argue with here is “human.” You don’t have to be white, male, technical, West Coast, young, VC funded, focused (see Andrew’s ADHD post), an extrovert or other qualifiers to be a SaaS founder. Hell, you don’t even have to have your act together. If you did, we wouldn’t know many founders. 😬

Unfortunately, this trend exists because starting startups requires some level of privilege. A lot of times that’s financial privilege, but it could also be privilege in the form of education, network, safety nets, and support. As more free no-code tools become available, and more quality information is distributed, we hope to see this change.

2. Using “non-technical” as a lesser-than word. 😑

It’s a descriptor, not an insult; but it’s been used in such a derogatory manner some founders want to strike it from startup vocabulary. We’re not ready to toss the word in the trash, but we are ready for it to garner more respect. 💪

Non-technical founders are not lesser-than. They’re highly-skilled entrepreneurs who have a different set of roadblocks than technical founders.  🚧

3. Growth hacking 😝

Ugh. This phrase makes our skin crawl. Growth hacks have become poorly packaged silver bullets. They mislead founders into thinking they’ve received validation, product-market fit, etc., when all they’ve done is acquired bot traffic or more Twitter followers. While there are many shortcuts to vanity metrics, there aren’t any shortcuts to meaningful success.

Note: Originally, growth hacking was the process of combining engineering and marketing to unlock new growth potentials. This is still a valid practice, but the term has become so abused that it has lost positive meaning.

4. Catastrophic big launches 💣

Too many startups build something in secret for months, only to have it crash and burn at a big reveal. This is a terrible way to waste time and money, and we’ve seen it happen too many times. Small, iterative steps are a much better way to interact with the market and build something your niche actually wants. 🙌

5. Ignoring “boring” niches  👀

A market doesn’t have to be hot to be valuable. Smaller, “boring” markets can bring in loads of profit. In fact, boring markets are our favorite to work with. Seriously. If you have a boring market, we need to chat. 😄

6. Hustling yourself to death 😵

We’re all for hard work, and it’s no secret startups take a lot of it. But the startup scene has turned hustle into—as others have pointed out—“a badge of honor.” We watch some founders compare who can sleep the least, log the most hours, and check off the most to-dos. It’s painful.

There’s a difference between progress and productivity, business and busyness. From experience, we know you’ll make it further faster if you’re sleeping well, eating right, managing stress, and building a healthy network around you. 🚀

👉Note: The myth, “if you love what you do, it won’t feel like work,” fuels this trend. Don’t fall for this.

7. Buying into cynicism

One of my favorite quotes (I can’t find who said it) goes something like, “in a world that’s obviously broken, cynicism isn’t that profound. Optimism is what takes true courage.” Don’t get me wrong, there’s a load of crap out there. But there’s also a load of good.

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There are plenty of founders dramatically improving their market, city, or neighborhood. We’ve met a few of them, and there are 10x as many doing their work in quiet. 💚

8. Equating success to dollar signs 💰

You need to turn profit to stay alive, grow, and sustain yourself. You need to be able to pay yourself and your employees to stay in business. But you move into dangerous waters when money is the only way you measure success.

If you achieve $1m MRR, but lose your friends, family, or health in the process...did you succeed? 🤔

9. Encouraging founders to start with code 💻

This may seem weird coming from an agency of developers, but we’re convinced the best starting place for most founders is no code. It’s accessible, cheap, and easy to iterate. 💥 It also helps founders avoid those catastrophic big launches in trend #4. There are points where no code won’t cut it. Up until then, it’s an excellent plan of action. 👍

Psst! We’re test-building a no-code app ourselves this month. Keep an eye out for it.

Any other trends driving you crazy? Disagree with one of these? Hit reply and let me know.