On 04/10/2010 11:45 AM, Arnaud Meunier wrote:
> We shouldn’t “fill holes” anymore, Wilson said. The thing is Twitter
> has deliberately kept a lot of holes opened, encouraging us to fill
> them (and lots of applications have been doing it with innovation, by
> the way).

I don't know that it's "deliberate" - a lot of it has to do with the
growth dynamics of the Twitter ecosystem in particular and "social
media" in general. I've been on Twitter since early 2007 - in fact,
@znmeb predates @twitter. ;-) It was an "exclusive club" and something
that relatively few people knew about.

I used Twitter rarely until the "financial crisis" of fall 2008. Maybe
it's a coincidence, but I don't think it is, that the main growth spurt
in Twitter user IDs (http://meb.tw/b6WCzv) began towards the end of 2008
after the election of Barack Obama brought national media attention to
Twitter. That was when I discovered the Portland Twitter community and
began using Twitter "in earnest."

Wilson is a venture capitalist - he takes *calculated* risks. He blogs
to help his investments pay off, so his clients make money, thereby
attracting more money to his firm. He is on the board of *directors* of
Twitter. Directors *direct*. They may also advise, but I'm not privy to
the exact mix of direction and advice he provides. In any event, he is
no doubt keenly aware of the dynamics of the ecosystem. His advice, as
expressed in his blog post, is worth consideration.

> 
> Now we’re supposed to dig, create new holes, and fill them. Okay!
> There are a lot of ideas to have around Twitter, lots of new holes to
> dig.

There are also numerous open positions at Twitter. Some of the holes
Twitter wants to fill appear to be "revealed" in the job descriptions. ;-)

> But the question is still the same: "What will be left up to the
> ecosystem and what will be created on the platform?"

Because of the growth dynamics in social media, I don't think anyone, in
the Twitter ecosystem or outside of it, can answer that. There are some
(fairly) simple models of such things, but human behavior is hard to
predict and bloggers and pundits and VCs can only speculate, collect as
many hard numbers as possible and build models with them.

> I think I'm not the only one here to fear that Twitter itself begins
> to compete with the applications I created (or I plan to create). Yes,
> it's fun to dig holes and to fill them. But it also takes time and
> money, and it's like the game was going to be much more risky than it
> used to be.

Again, that's not necessarily certain as long as there are uncertainties
in Twitter usage patterns and in the competitive landscape of "social
media". Wilson's blog post is, I believe, a pretty good overview of the
current state of the ecosystem, but how it evolves is not independent of
the competition and the consumer. And neither is the allocation of
resources between the Twitter entity and third party developers, large
and small.

-- 
M. Edward (Ed) Borasky
http://borasky-research.net/about-smartznmeb/ @znmeb

"A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems." ~ Paul Erdős


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