What if platform developers weren’t treated like suckers?

A popular comment [1] in response to any story about how a platform owner (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Spotify, etc) has screwed [2] a platform partner [3] is that the partner should have known this all along if they only considered classic business patterns.

This is of course true, but it doesn’t setup the most fertile environment for making great new things.  The same way that it is advantageous to assume that the government usually won’t extort your business (unlike in say, Russia), we must be able to assume that companies like Facebook won’t pull out the rug when they feel like it.  The difference in such environments at a large scale is dramatic: consider the amount commercial tech innovation in the US vs. Russia (as just one of many data points).

This belief is among the reasons that the web has been so exciting for so many: we can do better than the businesses that are trapped in the traditional constraints. Building a diverse set of things on the shoulders of giant platforms is among the coolest things that we’ve been able to do in recent years. But if you can’t trust the platforms, those talented people will start building elsewhere, leaving us worse off.

That’s why I am excited that Dalton is trying out something different.  There are tons of challenges ahead for what he is creating, but there is just one way to know if something can really work: try it!

At 17:43 EST on August 11th, App.net has raised $424k (85%) from 6100+ backers with just 2 days left.  I can’t wait to see where this takes us after Monday night. Join and see.

[1] Scott Rafer: http://rafer.net/post/28638883246/mark-i-know-for-a-fact-that-my-experience-was-not (Discussion: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4335481)

[2] “Dear Mark Zuckerberg” (2012): http://daltoncaldwell.com/dear-mark-zuckerberg (Discussion: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4325231)

[3] “I was once a Facebook fool” (2011): http://public.numair.com/2011_fbfool.html (Discussion: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3029872)