Adobe should refocus their iPhone-deployment goal on the future of Flash:
Establish Flash (the tool) as the premier tool for creating rich HTML5 content, the same way Photoshop is the premier tool for image manipulation and Illustrator is the premier tool for vector drawing. Adobe is in the tools business, first and foremost.
Of course, I expect this to happen right after Apple allows iPhones to install apps from outside of the App Store. So… never. But it’s nice to wish.
Better to be your own disruptor than someone else, but agreed: it’s wishful thinking to assume Adobe would do this.
Of course, that leaves room for startups to tackle this in some way.
It should go without saying these days, but tech companies wishing to take insurance against decelerating internal innovation and growing competition ought to be producing robust APIs against their core offerrings / value.
APIs fundamentally alter the dynamic of innovation by increasing the ‘surface area of opportunity’ from the size of your R&D operations to anyone aware of your value. It also provides the ability for outsiders to recast the core value, free of the burden from escalating features indicative of serving higher up the value chain.
These opportunites can be capitalized in one of two ways:
Monetizing the API
Duplicating or buying the outside innovator
(Be careful, opportunity-type #2 is a mine field of ill-will. Received warmly: Twitter’s acquisition of Summize. Received less warmly: Twitter’s acquisition of Tweetie)
What better defense against the future than a well leveraged API exploring it on your behalf?
Great companies provide their value two-fold; directly via primary channels, and through unbounded secondary channels by way of their API. Some companies do this fanatically well:
Amazon sells products via computing intelligence, and owns the API for computing
Twitter gathers the latest news, and owns the API for distributing it wider still.
Facebook dominates providing social communication, and will dominate with their API for the ‘ontology of things (& people)’.
Apple produces the best devices for consuming media, and is gaining with their API for distribution & payment thereof. (But lets not forget their sister-capacity to produce great media either; Disney/Pixar/Marvel)
Google is the king portal to the web, and king with the API for web traffic.
I’d bet heavily against large organizations not opening up their primary value, or with existing APIs that are not being developed against.
Facebook's Domination of the World Wide Everything
Facebook’s chance at success over MySpace felt obvious ‘back in the day’. The difference was hardly aesthetics, MySpace was truly an information-ghetto, and Facebook very cleanly defined the properties & relations of a person, a social ontology.
So which startups & large companies is Facebook about to steam roll now that it is single-handedly rolling out the semantic web with a total-ontology ?
I couldn’t be more excited to see how this evolves.
Enjoy this weekend, because when you come back to work on Monday morning, some of us will have had our first taste of the future. And what you’re working on today might not seem so interesting anymore.