The story of platforms in the digital era is one of bundling and unbundling. Services often spring up to play the role of bundlers. Think of Facebook when it comes to apps. But then, over time, the usurper becomes lazy. That leads to a round of unbundling. Rinse and repeat.
Ben Evans, a consultant at Enders Analysis, notes that Craigslist, once the rebel against newspapers, is now in the process of being unbundled. Think of Airbnb’s role in the short-term rental market. The same fate, Evans predicts, awaits LinkedIn, which has grown from its roots as a repository of resumes into a HuffPo-type publishing platform. The result: It isn’t focused on its core functionality — and it shows.
[T]ech history is full of dead companies that had mediocre product but great lock-ins. Eventually, the lock-in always goes away – we have Blackberry this week to remind us of that. LinkedIn has a great lock-in and product that’s mediocre for the users who enter their CVs, but pretty good for the recruiters who pay the bills. How will that play out?
Read the full post on Evans’ blog.