On Yahoo!, Platforms, and Publishing

Is the company still relevant?

I rejected an offer from a sort of “established” publisher for this book, a move that some would consider to be pretty foolish.

Why?

One of the primary reasons is that I wanted The Age of the Platform to be the most authentic representation of my thinking as possible. While not impossible, a traditional publisher is mostly concerned about commercial viability, not preserving the integrity of the author’s voice.

(If you doubt this, go and get a book published by a big publisher. You’ll see what I mean.)

Being critical of a company risks compromising that viability, so many business books tend to pull punches when calling out other companies for errors in judgment and execution.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the new book does not court controversy. At the same time, though, I am not afraid to call a spade a spade. I cite specific mistakes and mis-steps made by companies who, ten years ago, were well on their way to building the great platforms of today.

Look at Yahoo! for a moment. Still relevant? Sure, but no one is mistaking it for Amazon or Google these days, a fact reinforced by this article on the value of the once-vaunted portal stock.

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