The SaaStr Annual 2017 conference last week in San Francisco was an amazing event. Not having been to the Bay Area before I was not expecting the billboards to be packed with technology companies promoting services most people have never heard of. Neither was I prepared for the size of the event. With over 10,000 attendees from 41 countries the event was large enough they closed off the street between the Bill Graham center and City Hall. There were balloons, bands and all sorts of interesting aspects to the week.
Seeing hundreds of the most progressive business software people at one event had a significant impact on me. The focus on customer experience, product market fit and execution from many companies who had scaled their solutions to a large size re-energizes me. It give new hope we can engineer solutions that can solve really big problems for customers if we focus on the right areas.
And then there was the vision and energy from some of these organizations. For example, the CEO of Zoom who came from Webex and has built an online web conferencing product that people love and are paying lots of money to use. Why not just use Skype for free? Organizations are currently spending over $100 Million per year to use Zoom, Skype’s competitor and they are trying hard not to grow TOO fast. Amazing. I also met some Canadian companies by chance and there are people doing some really amazing things from all over Canada. Disruption and value creation can occur from almost any location when enough engineering talent and customer focus combines together. Very inspiring.