Disclaimer: Anything in the "Opinions" category is not representative of the opinions of the student journalism organization that I currently represent unless explicitly otherwise stated.
Yes, I haven't posted in a month. No, there won't be a follow up to my last post for a very, very long time.
I'm sure everyone here is aware that almost every big tech company is currently laying off up to six percent of their workforce. This is showing up as said companies are realizing they screwed up by hiring so many people during the heights of the pandemic.
A lot of those companies believed the enormous increase in users that happened during the first months of the pandemic would be here to stay. Then, when they realized they had to downsize, they just started cutting people left and right to save costs. Real people lost jobs, and are now looking for work during one of the hardest times in recent memory for tech workers.
One thing all of these companies have in common is that they are Software As A Service companies. Often abbreviated in the business world to SAAS, they are companies that provide a service in the form of access to resources on their servers. For example, Google is a SAAS company because they offer access to Google Search as their product. Their product is not a Google executable that crawls the web, nor is it a CD with horrible 90s' branding. Their product isn't even the search box at google.com. It is the result and the potential to find data using their servers.
When someone signs up for a service like Squarespace or Wix, the product they're paying for isn't the website itself, it is the privilege of using tools built by these corporations to build whatever they want. Same way a construction company's product is not a bulldozer or a building, but rather the effort, tools and thought involved in creating said building using said bulldozer. "Not everyone can use a bulldozer, but we can!" is kind of what they're saying. "Not everyone can run web servers or design websites, so we'll take care of the hard stuff." is the SAAS equivalent.
The only SAAS products this website uses are Cloudflare, a networking tool that both makes my website faster and prevents people who don't like me from DDOSing me, and Mailgun, an email delivery system that works with Ghost. If both of these companies go out of business, my website can still exist because I run the server that it's hosted on, using Ghost.
I think that SAAS is an unreliable enough industry and concept that most people shouldn't use it. There could be horrifyingly bad terms of service. They could just go out of business, like like half of the services Google runs. I can't imagine not owning my content.
But it's also probably the only way the tech industry can move forward at this point. Not everyone wants to run their own servers, not everyone needs to have full control over everything. I don't run my own email servers, because I don't need to and I don't feel like maintaining and being responsible for my communication stack.
And that's the mentality that a lot of people have. People shouldn't need to learn how to use Linux to run a website. I wanted to, but not everyone does. It's honestly a barrier for a lot of people, so tools like Google Sites and WordPress.com really help people find their corner of the internet.
SAAS is fundamentally flawed, but it's the way forward.
If I feel like it, I'll write a sequel to this.