Squirrel Notes Issue #38

This issue was published on Friday, November 22, 2019.

Forrester CMS Investment Analysis: Mark Grannan from Forrester has written an analysis of all the recent investment activity in the CMS sector. He has a nice recap of all the deals at the top:

Does Unicorn-Level Funding Signal That The New Era Of CMS Has Arrived?

The opportunity for market consolidation is coming. SaaS economics predict a “winner take all” outcome. While that theory is not without flaws, as we knock on the door of true-enterprise SaaS CMS, with all the benefits of multitenancy [...], the concentration of recent investments does support this thesis.

I agree there's a shakeout coming for the headless market, in particular. Some vendor will start rolling up smaller players, and others will just cease operations.

Grannan also reprints an interesting graph which highlights that that the lion's share of the funding has gone to companies with open-source platforms (Automattic, Acquia, WP Engine).


Are Stories a New Channel?: Squarespace made an interesting acquisition that might imply something about publishing.

Squarespace Buys Unfold To Bring Digital Storytelling Into Its Mix

Unfold is an app to help people create stories for Instagram. If you want to know more about Unfold, here's a YouTube video (fast-forward to 2:45).

What's interesting is that “stories” (Facebook and Snapchat have similar concepts) are might be developing enough to rate some generalized CMS functionality. At what point do we accept a “story” as a another channel a CMS needs to account for?

Creative integrators could make any CMS publish to a story, of course, but now we might have a vendor looking to build that in. Will the social and content industries develop enough conventions around stories for them to be generalized? I await the inevitable specification.

Wikipedia doesn't have a page, but this is in the disambiguation page for “story”:

Story, in social media, refers to a collection of ephemeral auto-playing vertical videos, in which each video typically has a lifespan of 24 hours


What Slack's New WYSIYWG Editor Really Means: Slack unveiled a new WYSIWYG editor after using Markdown for years. You might wonder what this has to do with CMS, but this article from Vice sums it up in the headline:

Slack's New Rich Text Editor Shows That Markdown Still Scares People

[...] we're in a world where Markdown doesn't look mainstream, despite the fact it's in so many contexts that it’s already everywhere. Good luck selling that to the boss, though.

The article mentions Microsoft Teams, which supports Markdown but combines it with rich text (when you're done with a Markdown sequence, the editor makes it appear like rich text).

As a CMS integrator, we tried to get customers to accept Markdown early on, but WYSIWYG won out. Fair or not, Markdown suggests open-source, and people spending six figures on a CMS don't want that association.


Episerver Acquires Idio: Episerver and Insight Partners made a major acquisition in Idio, a London-based content recommendation company.

Episerver Acquires Idio

There was a strong emphasis on content personalization at [Episerver's conference], and that's Idio's strong suit, although it's main market has been in B2B. Episerver has a broader base of commerce customers, and one question is whether there's enough digital maturity in that segment to leverage Idio's 1:1 solution.

Idio uses AI/ML to recommend content based on a user's past consumption and other users' journey's through content. The goal is clearly increased conversions, but also the surfacing of poorly-utilized content in large repositories.


OK Boomer: Chrissy Teigen posted a video of her making her first CMS update.

just did my first site update all by myself ohhhh the pride!!!

Spoiler: she uses WordPress.