Platforms Are All Around Us
But, how do they work? 1
Platforms are about leverage. When done well they increase value superlinear rate compared to the amount of resources available. They are also hard to define, hard to see, and hard to build.
Today, I've got a one two punch. First an article from Frank Chimero, “Platforms as Tables, Tables as Platforms” 2. In it Chimero finds that Design and Jazz are both platforms, but also:
Platforms are a funny thing. Maybe it’s my disposition, or the influence of when we live, but I see everything important as a platform now. They are rules to operate by that you yourself can influence. It’s not a destination, it’s an environment; less a sandcastle, and more a sandbox. Design is a platform. Jazz is a platform. App Stores and APIs are platforms. Religion is a platform. So is democracy.
Platforms are everywhere.
But! This is a big one, you might not always build the right platform. When platforms are done right they have a positive impact, when done wrong they have an equally negative impact.
It's not easy, and some of the largest companies in the world struggle with this, which brings me to my second article.
“Stevey's Google Platforms Rant”, by Steve Yegge 3
Steve Yegge has worked at both Amazon and Google as a high-level IC. He wrote this while at Google. It was mean't to be an internal only blog post, but he forgot to click a button when he published it.
Thankfully for us, it escaped. It gives you a glimpse into the inner workings of these two companies, and there attempts to delivery value. All be it, in two very different ways.