Figma for X is Overblown
My friend Jeff posted the following a couple days ago:
Figma is an amazing tool, but what makes it so disruptive is it included a long-ignored part of the design process — collaboration — into design software.
By the time Figma came on the scene, the design tool space had been bursting at the seams for years specifically because of this problem. Entire companies were built (Invision, Flint) essentially to solve this one problem. Sketch kicked off a rethinking of what was possible in a post adobe world, but it left collaboration woefully unaddressed. You needn’t have looked any further for opportunity than to observe the myriad ways design teams had invented to share and collaborate on design files.
Real-time collaboration was Figma’s initial wedge into the market, and now having invested heavily in their real-time infrastructure, it’s their moat.
But for many businesses, real-time collaboration just isn't a core part of their function; it’s a fun feature, a nice to have. SaaS business focused on inherently non-collaborative functions won't magically discover a biding need for collaboration.
Will a payroll manager develop a need to collaborate with other colleagues in real-time in order to do their job? A data scientist? Business analyst? A sales rep? Sure, the ability for multiple people to make edits to the same lead in real-time would be cool, but these functions aren’t suffering without it.
Which means, if you’re building software for one of these non-collaborative functions, whether or not your product has real-time collaboration just doesn't matter, on the margins. It won't set you apart in any meaningful way from your competitors. It won’t win you customers.
If one CRM vendor has real-time collaboration features and the other doesn't, is that likely to create a category winner for one company and not the other? Probably not.
There are plenty of product functions where real-time collaboration is core to the experience: document editing (Google Docs, Quip, Notion, Airtable), project management (notion, trello). The problem is, many of them already have category winners.