The Platform vs. “Walled Gardens”

I am grateful to be in this day and age where everyone can read everyone, can talk to anyone, and be seen by anyone.

I have always been an avid follower of great men and have always wondered what is going on in their minds. Just a few years back, you can relish their thoughts and opinion by getting a book or by reading it through some newspaper or magazine articles. If it isn’t an autobiography, then you get someone spilling the guts out of the person in question for you.

With today’s technology, you can get these luminaries’ thoughts straight from their mouth… or pen… or keyboard… whatever…

I first read about Marc Andreessen, the founder of Netscape, in a book called “Architects of the Web” (a dull and rather uninspiring account of the history of the World Wide Web). I caught a “glimpse” of what he did with Netscape in that book. But I never heard him “talk”.

Through the help of BlogRovr, a Firefox Plug-in that lets you subscribe to your favorite blog and surf the net in the process, I managed to stumble upon Marc Andreessen’s newly created blog. Finally, the words of a Pioneer delivered right to my laptop’s monitor.

I was hoping to blog about the title of this post. But, hey! Let us hear it from the expert.

In a recently posted entry, Marc Andreessen writes about his take on the Facebook Platform. While reading, I felt relief to find out, in not so many words, the gist of what I was going to write about. Here is the salient nut-shell (lifted from his blog, of course):

The web, after all, vanquished proprietary online services like America Online, Prodigy, and Compuserve — the so-called “walled gardens” — in large part because the web is a platform and the walled gardens were not. No single closed service, no matter how good, and no matter how big, could compete with the diversity of thousands and then millions of web sites that were customized to every conceivable user interest and need. (Marc Andreessen, “Analyzing the Facebook Platform, three weeks in”)

On the money.

This is a portent. A hint of things to come in commerce.

Time to tear the walls down.


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