Bill Gates has a famous quote about external platforms:
“When that 15B happened a few months after Facebook Platform and Gates said something along the lines of, “That’s a crock of shit. This isn’t a platform. A platform is when the economic value of everybody that uses it, exceeds the value of the company that creates it. Then it’s a platform.” (Strachery, The Bill Gates Line)
Do you want to know how long it took Shopify to hit that spot? 10 years according to Tobi. I like the lessons Tobi draws from his success. Platforms are hard to build. You’ll have to leave all the money on the table in order to grow the platform further and further and further. Leave the money for the users of the platform.
You’ll also have to start with not building a platform, with building the part that is easy to build, the 80%, or in the data world more like the 50%, that everyone needs and that is easy to build. The mix-and-match of the simplest choices like the most popular transformation tool, the most popular 2 databases, the most popular reporting tool, the most popular 2-3 ingestion tools, etc.
But that will not make a platform, only after building out this part will you be able to get to work on building a platform to satisfy the other 50%.
Maybe this explains why there are no external data platforms out there. Or maybe I haven’t looked close enough. If you have more insights, please share them with me! I’d love to discuss this more!
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