Over on Seeking Alpha, Jeff Jarvis (hi, Jeff!) writes Yahoo Edges Away From Portal Towards Platform, Finally, in which he wonders (in a skeptical tone of voice) whether Yahoo is really serious about going from a portal to a platform.
I think what we witnessed Tuesday night was the debate the company is having within: portal or platform? Even if platform has won at the top, we need to hear stronger confirmation of that and see strong action and the question remains whether itís possible to change Yahooís culture to make the shift. Itís already big and old. But itís not too late to change, and I think I finally saw the seeds of that change.
Well, Jeff... I have a few answers for you.
First of all, I think you're making a false dichotomy. Portals and platforms are not somehow mutually exclusive, though the tone of your article makes it seem like you think they are. There's nothing about being a portal (a starting point for millions and millions of people) that precludes also letting outside developers build content, services, modules, widgets, or media that the user could choose as part of their starting point. My Yahoo! has been doing some of this for years now.
But more importantly, I'm seeing movement on this (not just PowerPoint festivities) stuff becoming a reality at all levels in the company. I've been part of the planning and brainstorming around this work and have both seen and heard some of the reactions all the way up the chain of command. The company is quite serious about this. It's not just an experiment or a fad. It's part of our evolution. It is our future.
The seeds of change have, indeed, been planted. They won't sprout all at once. And they will require some extra watering and attention for a while. But once things start to grow, I think a lot of folks will start to understand what we're doing.
Oh, and about that "at a very early stage" comment. Do you not agree? Do you actually think the Internet is close to reaching maturity? I, for one, hope not. There's so much runway ahead of this technology yet.
Posted by jzawodn at October 31, 2007 01:52 PM