Mind Like Water

On being small and innovative

This post from Dave Winer has stuck in my head ever since I read it.

Why do small, open companies tend to turn into large, slow moving, paranoid corporations? Because they make decisions every day that give them more security that they will continue to make money, in the same way that they're currently making money, for longer and longer periods of time.

Twitter has gone through this process with their content. As it becomes more desireable, they are locking it down so they can profit off it.

I completely understand their motivations. If they opened their API, what's to stop someone from sucking up all the content and stealing the market?

As small companies, we need to act in a counterintuitive way. Rather than focusing on what directly makes us money, we should focus on doing things we enjoy and making a difference. An open API might mean someone else can do what we do, but that also means people are reliant on you for what your API brings them. It means your name is out there, being spread around by happy developers. It may not directly bring you money, but that's ok.

I find profit-driven mentalites often comes from the best intentions. The world is changing, though, and we need a different framework.