Thursday, September 29, 2011

Single source, not open source!

Over the last couple of years, I’ve canceled unused credit cards and consolidated accounts, to try and simplify life. It’s good to have online banking, bill pay, mortgage and brokerage under one account. I’d like to eventually move various 401ks (multiple jobs) to this account if I can. Multiple bank accounts don't make sense especially when there’s not much to bank :-). I’m gravitating to a single source. Park this thought!

We all know that despite all the great things said about it, open source is not necessarily better, or a de-facto winner. Linux had little success vs. Windows, Facebook is thriving in the walled garden, Blackberry had a berry successful run, and Google and Bing are not looking to open source their search algorithms. Android has had some success wrt. iOS, but iOS is still a formidable force and it is as proprietary as you get. Jedi!!

It appears then, that it is the strength of the ecosystem that drives success. IBM provided the entire banking stack and still milks the banking sector. IBM also provides a one-stop shop for all enterprise needs - databases, servers, biz applications, services. Apple has the whole stack -  OS, applications, app store, music, content, technology, ads. - the only big thing really missing is search. Google has brought together email, documents, spreadsheets with a powerful search platform as the core of your Internet existence and is now socializing these. Yahoo! had it all, until it dropped search on the floor and is now trying to pick itself up. Facebook, via its social platform, ownership of your profile, and communications stack is filling out the pieces of the ecosystem - Bing is temporarily serving its search needs.

The other player that just made a major play today - Amazon.

Today was an interesting day, as it seemed to indicate that the only players left standing at the end of the day will be the ones who can provide a significant bundle of value. Until there’s enough moss on the rolling stone, it will stay a hit single. Twitter is a hit single, being overwhelmed by FaceBook and (maybe) Google+, and may need to find a home soon. eBay will find it harder and harder to provide more value than Amazon. Flickr has been passed by Facebook. Netflix and HP just shot themselves in the foot last week. LinkedIn can be subsumed by Facebook Timeline, and become a one-trick pony - a recruiting tool. Hulu better get acquired quickly.

Today was an interesting day. Amazon may not be challenging the iPad with the Kindle Fire, but it is providing a rich system now - proxy-smart Silk browser, ecommerce, platform, cloud, your credit card, your buying patterns, your books, magazines, and last, but not least, movies. What’s missing? Search and the Phone!

Cable companies own a reasonable bundle, but they’re losing the content game, causing them to start responding to customer requests to provide the right content at the right price. Netflix figured out the distriution to devices, consoles, web-connected TVs and had a headstart on online premium content, but that’s tenuous now, as it loses content deals, and pisses off customers. No browser, no books, no commerce, no search - it could just be a one-trick pony, relegated lower than even Comcast - which now owns my phone, cable and Internet access. If Amazon can provide me a better movie library, I’d be happy to consider ousting Netflix.

I want to simplify - pay fewer bills, worry about less things, make life simpler. It comes from maturing (also called growing older). I no longer use vi and emacs, no longer write shell scripts (I don’t think I can anymore :-)). I’m a consumer now, and prefer to cut-n-paste, drag-n-drop, blog and Like. +1 that!

I am a consumer. I don’t care about open source. I want single source!


Eric said...

Are you saying that you value simplicity at this point in your life?

Are you also noticing that walled gardens like the kindel and iOS can provide a great deal of value in life? Some of that value is in the form of simplicity?

I notice I feel defensively toward open source and want to point out that there is a ton of open source software underneath many of these walled-garden platforms, for example, iOS. This, of course, is silly - most anyone reading this post knows that gcc, etc. are what powers a huge amount of stuff, even inside of Microsoft's world. We get simplicity from open source - you just have to be a software architect to experience that simplicity!

Did I miss your point?

Unknown said...

You did not miss my point.

I meant that consumers, myself included, are looking to simplify and that the differentiator is not open-source or walled-gardens, but value. Some people will find value in a walled-garden and others will find it in other, more open-systems, but they will gravitate towards what provides them more value and more simplicity.