Discussion: Open vs. Closed Models Danny Rimer , Jeff Barr, Toni Schneider
Tim: what do you actually own?
Jeff from Amazon: we own customer db and namespace of products (Tim's summary).
Toni from Yahoo!: different answer for each product; but Y! owns "user's trust".
Tim asks Toni whether Y! lets people export data?
Toni: community of people connected via the data, so value of the data is in that. [RM: as far as I know, a user still can't export their data from Yahoo My Web 2.0. With del.icio.us, users can export as XML - which is the more open thing to do]
Tim asks about metadata.
Toni: several ways Y! can add value to data - layer services on top, mix data, etc.
Amazon guy gives same answer as Y! - value of data is the community and so taking it away/exporting [from Amazon] will devalue it.
Danny (a VC on board of Skype): can easily interoperate with other services (no real details though)
video guy (sorry don't have his name currently): other services can innovate on top of them
Tim: intelligence of masses vs centralized control
Toni: believes in open model, but when you open things up "don't just throw it out there". Talk with developers, where does it make sense to open up, learn from them.
Tim: where to draw the line about where the services are located? eg putting data on Y!, or syndicating it out / inbound-outbound.
Toni: openness goes both ways. some developers don't want to host it, so Y! has to keep options open.
Danny: innovation not just happening in Silicon Valley. Don't need to be here to experience the "ecosystem effect". So their bet: not just focusing on this geography. Companies they're backing have services offered to free to users.
Tim: services with no idea about business model / exit is to be acquired. what's the rationale?
Toni: Big part of Y!'s strategy - easier to bring platforms in. Last year the ideas emerged, this year products are emerging, next year businesses will have to emerge [RM: great observation]. e.g. he thinks Amazon affiliate programs built on Amazon WS are "not that interesting".
Danny: a few blessed brands will try to scoop up as much talent as they can. Acquisitions are a cheap way to lock in some innovative developers, rather than face potential competitors down the road. [RM: good point, which I've heard from others too. I suppose the measure of this is how many of these acquisitions get developed and backed further once they're in the bigco]
Tim asks Danny: why eBay (as buyer of Skype)
Danny: Skype creators want to continue to be revolutionary; so ebay locking in that innovation.
Tim: do ebay want to be bigger platform player?
Danny: yes he thinks so.
qst: thinks there are a lot of opportunities in affiliate businesses - e.g. Amazon and eBay.
Toni: yes, but those programs primarily designed to support developer platform. For true innovation to happen, need to open things up and create new things on the platform.
And that's the end of the discussion.