While hardly part of the Gang of Four, Zynga is an excellent example of platforms. Consider what CEO Mark Pincus discussed at the recent “Zynga Unleashed” conference:
…Pincus began the conference by discussing the Zynga “platform” and infrastructure, rather than the new games that typically lead off similar events. There were a lot of numbers thrown around: number of logins, number of inbox clicks, even the number of bubbles popped in Bubble Safari. The upshot was that while Zynga’s games may be small and simple, the infrastructure behind them is big, scalable and sophisticated.
Why is that important? While the details are still pending, Zynga Chief Engineer Kostadis Roussos announced that Zynga will be opening its application programming interface (API) to third-party developers, giving them access to that infrastructure.
Pincus is no idiot. He understands the importance of being a cross-platform company, as I talk about in The Age of the Platform. Being wedded to Facebook alone is quite dangerous. He gets this and this realization is driving many of the company’s moves.
More often than not, tying your company’s fortunes to one platform is a recipe for disaster.
What say you?