Being used

Om Malik ends a post about widget mania and measurement with an astounding quote from Fox boss Peter Chernin that I had not seen:

Peter Chernin, the big cheese at News Corp., while speaking at the All Things D conference said: “We won’t allow people to create for profit platforms on our platform…. the Wall Street Journal doesn’t allow people to sell ads on their platform.”

That’s the essence of the old media architecture: ‘I own the platform (read: distribution) and you don’t and I will get all the benefit from it and you won’t nya nya nya.’

The new media architecture: the more you help others benefit — which includes making money — from your platform, the more they will distribute it for you and develop and extend it for you. YouTube. Google. Openads. See Seth Goldstein on whether Facebook will become the social platform; he says it all depends on whether developers can benefit from building on it.

I am reminded of a meeting probably more than two years ago when I introduced Fred Wilson to Upendra Shardanand and Daylife in its very earliest days. Fred asked: “Can others build profitable businesses on top of your platform?” And without a breath or a moment for us to respond, he said: “The right answer is ‘yes.'”

At the Murdoch newspaper confab in Monterey where I ran a panel with Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, I got him to talk about turning your business into an API so people will use it in more than one sense of the verb. I said that we need to turn news organizations into APIs. Nick Denton, also on the panel, disagreed; I may have been alone in the room thinking that. But I’d say that the more people can use news and build on top of it the better off news organizations will be.