Weekend Reading: Neutrinos and Math, Waymo Progress, and Freemium in SaaS

December 14, 2019 • #

🧮 Neutrinos Lead to Unexpected Discovery in Basic Math

As long as you consider linear algebra and eigenvectors “basic math”:

They’d noticed that hard-to-compute terms called “eigenvectors,” describing, in this case, the ways that neutrinos propagate through matter, were equal to combinations of terms called “eigenvalues,” which are far easier to compute. Moreover, they realized that the relationship between eigenvectors and eigenvalues — ubiquitous objects in math, physics and engineering that have been studied since the 18th century — seemed to hold more generally.

🚙 Waymo celebrates first year of self-driving taxi service

Progress here seems positive:

The Google-backed service has delivered more than 100,000 trips to more than 1,500 monthly riders in the Phoenix area, according to a blog post. The number of weekly rides has tripled since its first full month of service in January 2019.

🆓 The Three Rules of Freemium

I’ve been reading more lately about freemium models in SaaS, where they work, where they don’t, risks vs. upsides. This is a good one from Christoph Janz on the basics.

Unlike most other enterprise software, which traditionally used to be chosen by the IT department, Dropbox is typically adopted by individual employees from various departments, who then lobby management into switching. As I noted in my piece, Dropbox was one of the early champions of the ‘consumerization of enterprise software’ movement, which was one of the strongest drivers of SaaS success in the last ten years.

But not every SaaS company can be a Dropbox or a Typeform. Done wrong, freemium can end up cannibalizing your paid user base while also draining your company’s precious engineering and customer support resources. So how do you know if launching a freemium product is the right move for your company?

IT consumerization is one of those secular shifts that’s changing many factors in the software space. The key to getting freemium right (assuming your product and market are conducive to it in the first place) seems to be a willingness to experiment with where the boundaries should be between what’s free and what isn’t.