Foster Ecologies

So here was this tweet today


If you want to go fast, go alone. To go far, go together – African proverb

Out on Twitter over the last week, I dropped a tweet or two about product ecologies after watching a YouTube on the human biome. Actually, there were several human biomes that we migrate across and live within or under over out lifetime. Products do a similar thing.

Your whole product vendors have third-party developer programs that operate for the vendor’s benefit. These programs are multisided markets, so the third-party developers get something as well. Multisided markets can serve the carrier vendors with their API expanding the original vendor’s functionality, the carried vendors with their models, and another carried vendors data–layers, many layers all on the same roadmap, all moving at different speeds, all moving in different directions–going together. Everyone in this tech ecology gets functionality at some level, but they also get prospects. They get channel. Channel is hard.

Channel is hard because channel participants are there for their own reasons. They have their own motivations. They have to be led just like your matrix team members. They serve and monetize around a population. You’re participation in their channel might demonstrate objectivity to the population they serve. Sales in that case might be accidental.

So we have lots of interests to serve beyond prospects, economic buyers, and users, beyond our monetizations, and beyond the interests of our internal interest groups. Oh, the messiness of going together.

Alone, we will not create a category. I know. Most of us are not trying to create a category. Most of us are not trying to build a business around a discontinuous innovation. We have far to go, so we have to go together. If you tried to go it alone, you’d be facing antitrust issues. Competitors help overcome these issues. No negation tends to go a long way to keeping competition respectful. You can’t have more than 74% of the market, and you would be lucky to get that 74% from a market power allocation. These days it’s market share as an outcome of ones promo spend and VC funding, which doesn’t get anywhere near 74% and isn’t lasting like that 74%. Early and late tech adoption businesses and economics are vastly different.

Going together reminded me of when my employer got a supercomputer gratis. That hardware vendor wanted us to support their machines. Our application generated code. Compiles took a while, so now we could support a new value proposition, compiling our customer’s code for them using that supercomputer. Long ago, I know.

In a later company, the computations moved, so we could move them to machines that were faster, or slower. You could play with an algorithmic ecology. You could run several heuristics to get there ahead of the more accurate algorithms with the algorithm with the best accuracy coming in last, at last. The sort of thing we do with Monte Carlo simulations running in our edges of the unknown later substituting knowns as we capture them.  Running fast, but going far together.

Fostering ecologies gets us down the road together. Foster an ecology today.



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