OK, not the whole world, of course, but the world of digital media and document production — I think they are. Anyone who watched their recent CANVA Create 2022 could feel the change, and as announcements piled one after the other, it became clear (to me, at least): These guys are going to rule this domain. Sadly enough, they are not public, and I cannot buy their shares. If I could, I would throw at them a pile of money, for sure!
The recent investment from some leading VCs, one that seemed a bit exaggerated at the time of the announcement, is clearly a smart move, and all I can do is envy these VCs…
CANVA’s team captured the true need of the market while its competition is stuck in an endless, meaningless feature war: The bulk part of the markets want to accomplish their media and document generation needs fast, easy, and still get impressive results. And that is precisely what the CANVA tool set (it is a set, not a single app anymore) achieves. You go to your CANVA account, start from a close enough template, adapt to your needs by picking media from within the app, no need for an external source, apply some simple polishing touches — and you have what you need. That’s all.
As a ‘heavy’ Word and Powerpoint user, perfecting my skills at these apps for over 20 years, CANVA seemed amateurish as they started. But not anymore. As months go by, the tools become more powerful, results are more astonishing, and here is the CANVA magic — it does not become more complicated. The talented Product Owners and UX designers of CANVA manage to keep things simple and bring the latest digital capabilities to the busiest teacher, salesman, or student. No guides are needed.
So why do I claim they are about to conquer this domain? My claim is based on the simple business fact that the company owning the pyramid’s base is the king of the hill, while the sophisticated guys creating tools for the top part remain niche players. The numerous sites created to serve digital media creation, such as VistaCreate, EpicPixels, Glorify, and many others, are already dead (at least as unicorn candidates). There is no reason to move from CANVA to any of those, and the reasons not to abandon your CANVA account accumulate daily.
But what about the (still) behemoth of the domain — Microsoft and, to some degree, Google docs? The number of attempts to take this huge revenue generation market, such as Apple’s office apps, multiple Open Source versions and the recent ‘scratching the wall’ Google Docs, all failed. So why is CANVA a real threat? The answer lies in the dynamics of the bulk part of the market — those who use just a small fraction of the features included in the current generation of these tools: Once they find an environment that saves time and produces impressive results, they will start looking for ways to stay there. And as they find that their need is beginning to be covered by this single environment, they eventually abandon the old one.
Want an example? I am a ‘heavy’ PowerPoint user, still the number one tool for my customers’ business presentations. But photos are becoming an inherent part of any modern presentation, and removing the background serve many presentation needs. For years I struggled with PowerPoint’s background remover. Still one of the worst in the market. Then I tried CANVA’s. It works like magic — one keystroke, and you are done. So now I go to CANVA to do the photo editing and go back to PowerPoint to complete the presentation. How long will it take until I stop going back and complete the process in CANVA?
Want another example? Animation adds flavor to many marketing presentations. The added ‘flare’ makes things less dull. Powerpoints version: Config each element, set triggers and timing, and repeat till you get a suitable combination. Exhausting. CANVA’s idea? One setting — animation style — and you are done! Sure, certain animation types cannot be achieved this way, but who needs those? (except PowerPoint YouTubers…).
So digital media creation market is moving to CANVA’s hands. But what about documents? Word still rules the world. This is correct (also on my desk), but I suggest you watch the CANVA Create 2022 video till the end, see the announcement and start preparing for the next stage: the same talented UX designers will create CANVA’s version. Microsoft — wtachout!.
(And I even forgot to mention the Landing Page creator and the Print services — Wix and Printful, I wouldn’t sleep so well if I were you…).