What's in your software stack — Product, Design, Analytics, DS, Research, and more
👋 Hello, I’m Lenny, and welcome to a 🔒 subscriber-only edition 🔒 of my weekly newsletter. Each week I tackle reader questions about product, growth, working with humans, and anything else that’s stressing you out at the office. Send me your questions and in return I’ll humbly offer actionable real-talk advice.
Q: What software do startups find most essential? What should I check out as I’m building my company?
With so many products launching each and every day, it’s tough to know what to pay attention to, and what you can safely ignore. Especially at a nascent startup, where you can’t afford to waste time (and money) on unnecessary products.
To answer this question, over the past few months I’ve been methodically polling Twitter, to find out what software product teams use to do their job. Below, you’ll find (non-scientific but illuminating) answers to the following questions:
What’s in your analytics stack?
What’s in your product management stack?
What’s in your design stack?
What’s in your user research stack?
What’s in your data science stack?
What software did you buy or set-up in your first couple of months of starting a company?
What software do you spend the most money on each month?
As you read through the results below, focus on two things: what’s today’s go-to product (i.e. the safe bet), and who are the up-and-comers that are worth checking out (i.e. the early-adopter bet). If you’re reading this and feel like anything is obviously missing or off, please leave a comment 👇
Disclaimer: Obviously since these results are based on informal Twitter polls, they are not necessarily representative of the broader startup ecosystem. Caveat emptor. Also, if your startup didn’t get a lot of mentions and that makes you sad, just remember this is a random Twitter poll and doesn’t mean anything in the scheme of things 🙏
Most common: Google Analytics, Segment, Amplitude, Mixpanel, BigQuery
Up-and-comers: Avo, Plausible
A typical stack: Segment + GA/Amplitude/Mixpanel + BigQuery/Snowflake + dbt + Fivetran
Surprises: Google having four products on this list
Most common: Slack, Jira, Notion, Figma, Google Docs/Sheets, Miro, Confluence
Up-and-comers: Productboard, Whimsical, Roam, Linear, ClickUp
A typical stack: Slack/Teams + Jira/Trello/Productboard/Asana + Notion/GDocs + Google Sheets + Figma
Surprises: Slack being the most mentioned, Miro/Notion/Confluence placing so high, Google having seven products in the list, and Microsoft five
Most common: Figma, Notion, Sketch, Adobe XD, Webflow, Whimsical
Up-and-comers: Miro, Origami, Excalidraw
Typical stack: Figma/Sketch/Adobe XD + Notion + Whimsical/Miro
Surprises: How far ahead Figma is at this point, that Whimsical got more mentions than Miro, that Webflow had so many mentions, and that Notion continues to come up in these stacks
Most common: Zoom, Calendly, Miro, G-Suite, Typeform
Up-and-comers: Dovetail, EnjoyHQ
Typical stack: Zoom + Calendly + Airtable + Typeform/SurveyMonkey/Qualtrics + Notion + Dovetail/EnjoyHQ + GA/Fullstory/Hotjar + Lookback/UserTesting
Surprises: How often Miro/Airtable/Notion were mentioned, that Zoom and Calendly were the top two (but it makes sense when you consider the logistical element of doing user research), and the sheer number of tools available
Most common: Jupyter, Pandas, Google Cloud, Python, Rstudio, Visual Studio Code
Up-and-comers: None as far as I can tell
Typical stack and Surprises: I’m not familiar enough with this stack, judge for yourself!