Your startup is not a platform

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No, seriously. This is a public service announcment to all MBAs who want to do startups: ‘platform’ does not mean ‘web site.’

I know that ‘platform’ is a hot thing right now. But seriously, the term has become basically useless. It’s almost to the point that I just pretend you don’t even say it.

A platform is primarily a B2B play. It can be B2C too, maybe, but largely, to have a platform, you need to enable other people to build something. Usually, that’s another business. But if your website does not enable others to build something, or you’re not white labeling it in some way, you’re not a platform.

A platform basically needs an API. APIs are the primary way that two pieces of software connect to one another. If your web service doesn’t have an API, it’s not a platform. White labeling being an exception.

I’d make this rant longer, but I really need a good platform that addresses my market segment. Ideally, it’ll enable some win-win synergies with other channel partners and grow the pie for both of us. Until then, I really won’t find a good solution for this real pain I feel as a content producer.