TL;DR: Platform Wars

by March 30, 2012

At the TL;DR Conference in San Francisco CA, Pascal Finette outlined why relying on platforms for new digital businesses might not be the best bet for the future. Here’s my notes from his talk:

  • When you look at platforms today, you get a sense they are broken. But how and why?
  • Andale was a company that provided tools for eBay sellers to list on eBay. They were very successful at capturing small and medium sized businesses.
  • eBay saw this success and created a TurboLister product that they gave away for free, after a few months Andale went bankrupt.
  • Putting your eggs in one basket is a dangerous business decision. You can get taken out in a few months just like Andale.
  • Free markets in technology today means HTML. It is an open technology that can’t be locked up by any particular vendor.
  • The browser is transitional technology that will be with us for a long time but it’s not where the future is going.
  • Mozilla’s Boot to Gecko project a mobile operating system entirely built in HTML (the OS, the apps, etc.). You can customize, modify, and build on top of it as much as you want.
  • Adobe recently decided to charge for Flash but haven’t done anything new to justify these charges. All developers making a certain amount of money now need to pay for something they were told was free before.
  • There are 600 hundred sensors inside a typical car and some of them are now being programmed with Javascript. They can find developers to build this way and can integrate into the rest of the network more easily.
  • HTML is the lingua franca that connects things in the future. Example: Nike Fuelband is opening up a Web API in their next release.
  • If you have a short term need, build on an existing platform. Otherwise plan for the future by building on open standards.