Limit Features, Open APIs, Be a Utility… then Think Profit

Mashable's Steve Schroeder points to Twitter's small feature set and good API as the key to its success and continued media coverage being driven by developers.

In other words, Twitter is harnessing the power of a thousand developers not only in the sense of traffic, or added value, but also as free PR & advertising. By creating a very simple service they’ve opened a much wider door to developers than most other services, and they deservedly receive an equally larger amount of attention. If you’re a developer, this is another compelling reason to build simple services and let others build on your foundation, as opposed to creating a very rich feature set. And as far as Twitter-related news goes, trust me, it’s not going away anytime soon. As for the “profit” part for the title, Twitter is not quite there yet, but I don’t doubt that they’ll be able to turn all that attention into substantial income.


It seems to me that Steve highlights a more general success formula that resonates with many of the guiding principles of Edge strategy  I pulled together.  Things like:


Focus on the User
Open > Closed
Edge > Core
Flow > Data


I would agree with Steve.  Twitter's success formula includes some valuable lessons:

1. Keep feature set simple
2. Open up access through strong APIs
3. Establish yourself as a needed utility
4. …then monetize

BTW, doesn't that sound alot like Google's strategy back in the day?

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