I think we need both. Protocols AND platforms. Not an either or.
But I am not a fan of having advertising as a business-model.
Prefer a subscription-based revenue model. No games, no gimmicks.
Good article. But a bit too much mind, and not enough heart.
"That approach: build protocols, not platforms. To be clear, this is an approach that would bring us back to the way the internet used to be."
Sorry, but how is this "progressive" thinking? Restoring something to how it "used to be" 40 years ago? Where is the novelty? Where is the imagination?
Everyone wants to somehow restore everything to some place in the past "how things used to be". But how it used to be brought us all to where we are. So how will restoring things "back to the way they used to be" make the future any better than the present or the past?
That's short-term thinking pertaining to the creation of thin value. Not long-term thinking towards thick value creation through a commitment towards a deeply humanistic form of capitalism.
Perhaps the tech industry shot itself in the foot by thinking only about "technology" all day and not thinking deeply enough about the historical and inherent nature of human organization behind any society, culture and capitalism (poverty, exploitation, slavery, supremacy, fascism, imperialism, colonialism, genocide, war).
"Indeed, some of the platforms today are leveraging existing open protocols but have built up walls around them, locking users in, rather than merely providing an interface."
In short: colonialism, exploitation, slavery, supremacy, war. So what's new?
What's so surprising? Hasn't "capitalism" always been like this since the dawn of time? How else did America, England or Western Europe even get so wealthy otherwise? Or even ancient India during its "Golden Age" of prosperity? Or ancient Rome? Or ancient Greece?
As long as I am better off, I couldn't give a flying fuck about you!
How else did any empire build its empire?
Some more questions we might ask then:
15% of the world is rich and 85% of the world is poor. So how did the rich world get rich and what's keeping the poor world poor? And what about all the people in the "rich world" that have become increasingly poorer and poorer over the past 40 years? Despite all those centuries of colonialism, imperialism and slavery to amass all that wealth, why are you all still so damn poor? If not quite rich, shouldn't you all, at a minimum, not be poor?
How have rich people gotten rich and poor people remained poor in every country around the world?
How have empires / wealth been typically always created?
At your deepest core, do you think business is war or a means to create beauty, meaning and peace? And how do you make your money? How do you spend it?
Can empires be built and wealth created without mass manipulation, exploitation and slavery? Do you believe manipulation and exploitation are absolutely essential to succeeding in business?
Why only ask "politicians" to show their tax returns?
Can you open up about your own finances and your business model? Can you show your customers, users and the whole world your entire breakdown of your revenue-model: costs and margins?
Can we ever quite have a civilized democratic society that doesn't decay into stagnation, inequality, chaos, instability and war without also having a tiny group of highly incompetent, unrefined and unsophisticated "accident-of-birth" out-of-touch zero-skin-in-the-game "elites" who are the so-called guardians of its democratic ideals, values and aspirations?
"In short, it would push the power and decision making out to the ends of the network, rather than keeping it centralized among a small group of very powerful companies."
Do you feel we can successfully organize a society without a hierarchy of elites (better / best at something) and masses (worse off at something)? Personally, I don't think so. Irrespective of your value proposition across any industry, it will eventually create a tiny powerful group of elites, with (ideally) the largest majority in the middle and (again, ideally) a tiny few that will remain stuck at the very bottom.
As such, can we ever escape the resentment trap? I don't think so.
So is it possible then to create a better group of elites and a better and more sophisticated breed of masses through institutional innovation centered on humanistic capitalism?
How then can we create a better system of developing this certain better breed of over-refined and enlightened elite connoisseurs that are more competent, caring, sophisticated, nuanced, transparent and accountable towards creating and building rock-solid institutions that support a highly functional democracy? And how can we create a society centered on broad-based prosperity that empowers its masses with the best quality and most humanistic resources and tools so they could potentially rise and challenge its elites should they stagnate into a state of cunty decay?
As such, can a fully "decentralized" solution ever work? Can "technology" really just go ahead and solve some of humanity's biggest problems since the dawn of time without the active soul of genius that is inherent in the power of human imagination?
Perhaps it will be more like a centralized decentralization or a decentralized centralization?
Mostly, can you build a real luxury brand without a centralized focus on politics, economics, culture, capitalism, governance, spirituality, aesthetics, ethics, morality, values, ideals, tastes and standards on what is civilized, sophisticated and deeply humanistic behaviour of its elites and the masses?