The “C” word eats the world
Why the future belongs to Copy
In 2011, I read a now-famous op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled “Software eats the world” by celebrated tech investor Marc Andreesen (early investor in companies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Skype).
In the article, Andreesen goes down a stunning laundry list of ways that, industry-by-industry, software IT companies are eating into the domains of every area of the economy.
From books, to music, video, photography, manufacturing, agriculture, conferencing, logistics and shipping, marketing, airlines, employee recruiting, to retail and beyond, Andreesen gave extremely persuasive evidence that software is taking over the world––with healthcare and education (due to their overwhelming domination by government) being the big outliers.
This morning over coffee, I found myself thinking about that very same article and wondering how well his prediction fared in retrospect.
It seemed self-evident that he was right.
Especially, in the wake of this here pandemic, it seemed like a more relevant question to ask what part of the economy still hasn’t transitioned to being a software-based service!
But I wanted to research and see if someone actually proved Andreesen right or wrong.
What I found, however, was much more interesting.
Enter this article I read for some company called Intercom:
“At a time when SaaS companies represent the vanguard of disruptive innovation, it’s not surprising that an armada of non-software companies are following suit by attempting to replicate the business model in a bid to attract investment. And so we end up with juice companies, meal-kit companies, underwear companies, to select just three, seeking to mimic the “as a service” aspect of SaaS.
As Des Traynor has pointed out in his talk “Customer retention is the new conversion”: “
This is what we’ve ended up in: a world of subscription everything…If there is a thing that you buy regularly, you can have it show up on your doorstep every month for $9 or equivalent. And that changes a lot: how we think about marketing, how we think about what our product is and how we think about what customer success actually is…This shift moves us from brand promiscuity to brand loyalty.” (emphasis mine)
The part really got me thinking.
Everything really IS a subscription...or at least feels like it.
People get everything from groceries to shaving kits, protein powders, pre-cooked meals and meal kits, office supplies, healthy juice mixtures, candles, even kitty litter!
But one thing neither Andreesen nor the Intercom article mentions at all is what sells this software:
Indeed. This new world of direct-to-consumer, “subscription-everything” is going to need tons and tons of great breakthrough copy from talented and hardworking copywriters.
That spells opportunity.
Especially in the philanthropic sectors, I reckon.
Nonprofits are going to need to do more and more in the coming years to recruit and keep happy their donor bases.