According to founder Mike McCauley, Amazon’s Locker program poses the greatest threat competitively, but he actually sees it as an advantage. “They opened up a whole new market for us because they have 30 percent of the commerce volume,” McCauley said. “The other scattered 70 percent don’t have the order volume to justify building a network of kiosks.” “In that way, we’re kind of like an open platform.”
Interesting new YC startup.
Post a photo of a Shake Shack burger to Instagram, Path, Google , Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foodspotting and now Medium, plus perhaps I still use Flickr or a service like Picturelife. The restaurant might collect those photos via Chute or Olapic. I can mix the burger photos to make a photo collage on Mixel. I can get into my opinion about the restaurant on Foursquare or Yelp or debate the best burger in the city with only smart people I let in on Branch…and also Twitter, and maybe Quora. Someone else will consume that content on any of the above sites, or Flipboard, Pulse, Bloglovin or whatever I cross post to Twitter or Facebook which have both become firehoses of everything, uncurated. Am I leaving anything out?
There is a differentiation going on.
We’ve only said this 9,000 times, but market share numbers do not mean that Android users are buying apps. Until Android users buy more apps (and Android isn’t a cesspool of malware and piracy and fragmentation), developers will continue to ship for iOS first and maybe Android later if they’re bored and there’s nothing good on TV.
There are more parameters to the attractivity of a platform than just market share. This is neither new nor hard to understand.
I think an even better solution would be to remove the password completely, allowing users to login with only an email address. Each time a user needs to login, they enter their email address and receive a login link via email.
Clever idea. Proprietary identity hubs like Facebook, Google and Twitter will always stay relevant because of the benefits they provide through their systems (social graph, traffic via newsfeed entries, etc.). But Browns email idea could become plan b for startups that want to go completely password free for their logins.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo in an interview on WSJ.com:
In its events push, Mr. Costolo said Twitter is vying to “more closely tie the shared experience on Twitter to the actual event that is happening.” As Twitter burnishes its platform, Mr. Costolo added that Twitter also wants to move away from companies that “build off of Twitter, to a world where people build into Twitter.”
There you have it. Because of the chosen ad based business model Twitter is moving from an offsite integration to onsite integration. If they go cracking down on clients from third parties and other apps they will almost certainly lose their prime position in the web ecosystem. Good for everyone else as Twitter had for a long time the almost sole attention of indie web developers looking for a web platform to build off on.
That is bad for Twitters long term outlook but the investors, who at this point almost certainly are the driving force behind the companys moves, are probably eyeing an IPO that comes right after the first big ad successes in numbers and before the probable meltdown of Twitters usage.
Interestingly Twitters biggest competitor Facebook is earning most of its revenues with advertisement but doesn’t seem to have a problem with offsite integration from Open Graph to clients.
Iceland could at least for the west become the main place for data centers. Dan Frommer for ReadWriteWeb:
The biggest costs of running data centers are electricity and electricity. Running the servers and keeping them from overheating consumes a lot of power.
Lucky for Iceland, it has tons of electricity: inexpensive, practically 100%-green power generated by hydroelectric and geothermal plants around the country. Iceland generates more renewable energy per capita than any other country in Europe by far, the power company boasts.
As for cooling, well, it’s almost as simple as leaving the window open.
In the past the biggest hurdle was bandwidth: Iceland didn’t have the right underseas cables to support high-speed, low-latency data centers. Now it does, and new cables may eventually connect it with Canada, New York and Ireland, adding more capacity and quicker speeds.
Because of the small size of the country even middle sized data centers could have a siginificant impact on Icelands economy. This in turn can easily lead to a friendly regulatory climate for interested companies making the country even more attractive.
Fred Wilson (with Union Square Ventures investor in Twitter, Delicious before its sale to Yahoo, Tumblr, Zynga, Etsy and others) on free main components in business models:
Wikipedia, Craigslist, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress, etc, etc. There is no value to any of these platforms if the users don’t create the content. The users create the service, curate it, and make it what it is. I do not believe it makes sense to charge users to create the value. We’ve seen folks try this model. Typepad (where this blog is hosted) charges to host a blog. How well did they do? Phanfare charged to host photos. How well did they do? The list could go on and on but I don’t want to focus on failed services.
When scale matters, when network effects matter, when your users are creating the content and the value, free is the business model of choice. And I don’t think anything has changed to make that less true today. If anything, it is more true.
And Luke Chamberlin in a comment on that posting:
The “free” model could also be called the “marginal cost of distribution” model and it’s been with us for a long time.
The difference today is that through the internet, the marginal cost of distribution is essentially zero, so they don’t have to sell subscriptions anymore to offset the distribution cost. The other difference is that they have better information about who you are, because they track your behavior online through browser cookies.
People are entitled to the opinion that free, and therefor ad-based, media is bad, but they need to be reminded that it’s not a new model, and has in fact been the dominant model all along.
What is a web platform? The term that is being used by lots of people to describe web services new and old is actually not understood by many. A portal like Yahoo is not a platform. eBay is a platform. Amazons core business as an online retailer doesn’t fall under the term ‘platform’. Amazons marketplace however is one.
Online marketplaces are platforms. Etsy, Amazon Marketplace, eBay.
You got an API? You got yourself a platform. From Facebook to Twitter, every web service with an API is a platform. And there are lots of them.
Now how you define platform?
A platform is infrastructure.
A platform is also a promise like Horace Dediu once said.
A platform is the basis for, and here we finally come to the definition, a two-sided market.
In a two-sided market two (or more) distinct groups of users come together. They both are subject to cross-side network effects meaning one group extracts more value out of the platform the more members of the other group are using it and vice versa.
In two-sided networks, users on each side typically require very different functionality from their common platform. In credit card networks, for example, consumers require a unique account, a plastic card, access to phone-based customer service, a monthly bill, etc. Merchants require terminals for authorizing transactions, procedures for submitting charges and receiving payment, “signage” (decals that show the card is accepted), etc. Given these different requirements, platform providers may specialize in serving users on just one side of a two-sided network. A key feature of two-sided markets is the novel pricing strategies and business models they employ. In order to attract one group of users, the network sponsor may subsidize the other group of users. Historically, for example, Adobe’s portable document format (PDF) did not succeed until Adobe priced the PDF reader at zero, substantially increasing sales of PDF writers. Relative to Apple computer’s initial pricing, Microsoft also steeply discounted systems developer toolkits (SDKs) leading to more rapid development of applications for MS Windows.
Cross-side network effects and differing price sensitivities between the distinct groups are the basis for every decision by platform providers.
If you want to understand the world of web platforms you have to understand the dynamics of two-sided markets.
The goal of this blog is to explore this emerging world which is dominated by these network economics and starts to touch every sector of the economy.