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Soccer, Fail Whales and APIs

I played a good bit of soccer as a kid and even more in college. I mostly played defensive positions. One of the things I most appreciate about the game is that the smallest of errors can have game-changing impact. As a defensive player, an errant pass in the mid-field or a moment out of position in your defensive zone can result in a goal. To borrow a term I don’t really like, solid defensive soccer requires “constant vigilance”. As a defensive player, you have to have your radar up all the time; scanning, marking, closing gaps, nothing can get through. It is as much a mental exercise as a physical one. There is no room for downtime.

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Posted in APIs, Cloud, Platforms

Platforms: Of Governance and Taxes

I like analogies. This week, Brad Burnham of Union Square Ventures wrote a thoughtful post based on an analogy between software powered platforms and governments. Bob Warfield of the SmoothSpan Blog did a follow-up post claiming that application developers should seek platforms that act like Switzerland; something Warfield has apparently been saying since 2007. The government-platform analogy is good, albeit imperfect. The most salient aspects of the analogy are in the area of governance.

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Posted in Platforms

Twitter is No Longer a Platform

Twitter no longer deserves the label “platform”. There, I said it.

Its recent decision to lock out third-party ad networks, combined with its clear move in to the edge application space fundamentally alter what Twitter is. It is no longer a platform for application developers to productize around core stream functionality and monetize the edge of the Twitter network. No, if Twitter wanted to be a platform, it would keep its business focused on inspiring innovation on the edge of its network, managing the infrastructure and monetizing the stream.

Truth is, Twitter never was a platform.

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Posted in Platforms, Uncategorized

When Platforms Collide; Mobile and Payments

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post that covered my areas of investment interest for 2010. Three of the areas I find most interesting are the mobile ecosystem and the payments sector and the theme of “platform” business models. You can find that post here. The natural question I’ve since been asked is:
“What about mobile payments?”
My friends at PYMNTS.com asked me to join in the discussion in their Briefing Room on Mobile Payments. My answers are here.

Posted in Mobile, Payments, Platforms

The most important app on your phone

The last couple of days have seen a flurry of activity in mobile. Apple announced its response to Google’s acquisition of AdMob by acquiring mobile ad network, Quattro. Google announced the much awaited Google phone, the Nexus One.  The bulk of the discussion has been around the mobile application battle between Apple and Google.  Henry Blodgett thinks Apple is poised to repeat mistakes of the past by remaining a largely closed (or at least tightly controlled platform). Bill Gurley thinks the battle between Apple and Google is largely a business model question and that there is room for both, serving different segments of the market with Apple in the high-end of the market and Google in the low-end.

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Posted in Mobile, Platforms
Derek Pilling

About Derek

I'm a Managing Director with Meritage Funds, a growth equity investment firm based in Denver, CO. I've been working with growth stage businesses my entire career. When I'm not working, I ski, spin, coach youth sports and spend time with my beautiful wife and three kids.

I blog because the process helps me crystalize how I frame the world. I want to hear what you think. Please comment.

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