Realtidbits is the model of the new startup. It did not start with the Web site. It started with an API. That's representative of a new trend. You don't launch a Web site anymore. You go straight to the API and create a service.
The API represents what Sam Rami of Apigee compares to the evolution of the 20th century supply chain. In the post-war economy, the supply chain changed our geographies. It transformed how we delivered goods to the market. With the advent of the modern highway, we created hubs that connected transportation systems which converged at central points. Through this we saw the emergence of a new commerce based culture.
Today's transformation is to a digital economy that is loosely joined. It is increasingly connected by central hubs which serve as distribution systems for different services.
These hubs are increasingly APIs, which power new services like Realtidbits. Through this we are starting to see startups that are simply the result of networks that offer infrastructure elements.
In this case, Realtidbits is using the Echo stream server to serve real-time feeds for Web site forums. The idea is actually pretty smart. Forums have been around for ages but most are antiquated. They're static and sit idle but thousands of Web sites still rely on them for discussion groups.
EchoStreamServer is the hub for the service. Over time, the founders at Realtidbit will add more APIs for badges and other social layers. For its part, Echo's Chris Saad says the company seeks to be similar to a utility that provides electricity. Instead, Echo serves data for information products.
RealTidbits is an example of a modern application, All categories, topics, posts and conversation flow into the forum in real-time. It has the features you would expect from a social application, including tags, analytics and a custom CSS.
What's different about it is the Echo API integration. Our question - what kind of intellectual property can be created with an instant API startup? It doesn't seem like much if you all do is glue pieces together to make a loosely joined service. The RealTidbit team says they will do development on top of the API which helps differentiate it to some extent.
Then there's the question of the APIs. If they go down so does part of the service. We see APIs taken down all the time for any number of reasons.
Still, such an infrastructure allows organizations to quickly establish a service. It's like the instant startup. Just add an API.