Don’t be a SaaShole
Yesterday I had an idea for a mock LinkedIn influencer. He’d be a tech bro dubbed the SaaShole, who would serve as a blueprint for how not to do tech marketing.
Or, if someone wanted to take a more sincere approach, they could call the program Don’t Be a SaaShole and share examples of how not to be a SaaShole.
Unfortunately, a quick Google search killed my ambitions, as I discovered the SaaSholes podcast3.
What is a SaaShole anyway—and why shouldn’t I be one?
I would define a SaaShole as a tech bro (or sis) who talks only in tech jargon to make him-or-herself sound smart rather than focus on solving a customer’s problems.
The SaaShole wants to sell his solution to make a quick buck, not to make anyone else’s life easier. Whatever your industry, you’re in business to serve your customers or clients. If you’re not doing that, then why the hell should you expect to stay in business? Why should anyone continue to give you their money if they’re not really getting anything back in return?
The SaaShole is a mindset. Despite its specific name, the SaaShole mindset doesn’t apply only to those in SaaS. It applies to tech all the way up and down the industry.
Often, tech companies are selling tech solutions to non-tech people—people who don’t identify as working in the tech industry. So tech bros (and sisses) are often better off assuming their customers know little about tech beyond how to check their email on their smartphone, because these customers aren’t concerned about the tech—they’re concerned about solving an issue and completing a task that they don’t view through the lens of technology. If tech can help them, great—they’re all for the help.
But for them, tech is a means to an end, not the end itself. (The good news is that if you’re wrong in assuming that your customers know next to nothing about tech, you can always deepen the technical explanations to meet them where they are. Starting with the default assumption your customers don’t know much about tech and then ramping up seems a better strategy than bombarding them with more they can handle and then trying to bring it down to their level.)
I’ve previously written about how I think tech suffers from a lack of philosophy beyond ‘Move fast and break things’4. Consider this post an addendum.
And lastly, if you work in tech, please don't be a SaaShole. Actually help people.
Jake LaCaze often has great ideas that other people have already had.