Google started a shift to real-time, online collaboration with their apps suite. Microsoft quickly chased. Both were primarily replicating a desktop environment on the web. This had many benefits: no forgetting to save, easier collaboration, a chance to drop unused features, better version control, and easier sharing. For many customers, this was an obvious improvement, and so the Shift to Cloud has continued.
Piece by piece, however, a new wave of products are entering the market that re-think the form factor of these productivity tools. From my Google-centric perspective:
- Docs → Notion
- Sheets → Airtable
- Gmail → Superhuman
- Forms → Typeform
- Meetings → Zoom
- Slides → slides, Pitch
These products may not be able to sell well to enterprises against the industry goliaths (though, Zoom's doing just fine), but that's where G Suite started as well. They're extending far beyond "desktop on the web".
It's not hard to notice that Calendar is wide open. Several people have tried. Much beloved Sunrise was closed. Kin's gone. Calendar-tangential services have grown, like Calendly and x.ai, but no one's successfully made a better product.
For people who live out of their calendar, a more productive calendar experience is most certainly worth Superhuman pricing. Is the market large enough? We'll see — the market is open for someone to try again.
Areas to explore:
- Speed and UX. This is first: Superhuman the experience. Google Calendar got a facelift a couple years ago, but it's just the material version of the old calendar. Ctrl/⌘ + K should let me easily manage and view things.
- Scheduling. Calendly is great, but doesn't let me manage my calendar. There's a ton to do here. Allow multiple people to schedule single events (I send a link, everyone can give their availability or sync their calendar).
- Exports. I should be able to share many variants of my calendar with people. Google Calendar only supports "busy" or full access.
- Support multiple calendars elegantly. I have a personal, family, and multiple company calendars (for me, team vacations, etc) — and even one that's hidden that I use only to block my availability on Calendly without appearing to everyone else. There's a better solution here. It should be possible to make "lens" or "view" calendars that combine and synthesize multiple sources.
- Improve the meeting experience. Automated followups and shared notes.
Update October 2019: Couple people mentioned Woven as a company trying. Their core features are suggested times and automatically allocating travel time. Neat, but my hunch is there's a lot more we can do. Best of luck to them!
Update September 2022: I've been using Cron for several months, and it's a near perfect fit. The only risk is that they were acquired by Notion, so it's not clear what the future of the product may be.
$30/month with no trial period. They're not messing around: they're for professionals. ↩︎