The era of the platform
- Michael Beckerman
I have been obsessed with platforms for years: it’s one of the reasons I decided to leave a successful career running my PR firm full time in 2011 and took the risk of starting all over again. Nowadays, it seems that all anyone is talking about is platforms. There are so many companies building amazing platforms, and many more like me trying to do so. So, this begs the question … What’s driving the trend? I am not smart enough or experienced enough in tech to speak about the broader trends or qualified to take a deep dive into the technology side of things. But, in my case, there were a couple of obvious trends that you could spot several years ago that were signaling the inevitable destruction of the way things had been done for decades upon decades.
Here’s a quick bit of background: my perspective has not been consumer, but business-to-business, and to be even more specific, to targeted verticals. I was someone who spent 25 to 30 years creating and placing content in media. That’s all I knew and still know. What we did in a nutshell was to push content to as many different sources as possible.
Flash forward to today: I’m running a small startup called The News Funnel, which is a vertical-specific news curator that is building the largest content hub in the real estate industry. That’s our first vertical.
As opposed to my goal in the past running my PR firm, today my focus is completely the opposite. At The News Funnel, we try to push as much content as possible into ONE destination, ours! That’s the platform we are trying to build. It is one where all of the information lives in one place and as many different types of users interact with the platform as possible. Some consume content that is specific to them. Others upload to it. And still others distribute from it. To me, that’s where the content and media world is heading. I see Amazon as a platform. LinkedIn is a platform. Facebook obviously is Facebook. They all allow two-way interaction.
To me, that’s a platform. It’s a place where you have the ability to exchange something … to give and take and receive. The site itself is merely the conduit. Here’s a great read on the subject.
Why the growth in platforms? In my humble opinion, it’s because there is just way too much content and choices today, and people want a more efficient way of doing business. And that’s the driver. The marketplace is demanding more efficiency in every aspect of our lives. For instance, my platform at The News Funnel simply makes real estate news more efficient from the perspectives of both the consumer of news as well as the news creators. That’s the overriding goal of our site. Our technology is simply the vehicle for how we do this.
It's not too hard to see that the next explosion of this concept will penetrate every sector of the business landscape. The next question to ask is, where else could it be happening and what are the next platforms that are going to appear?
I, for one, will be watching!
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