Yahoo! is concentrating on their Open Strategy; the focus is good, if they don’t abandon the particles that form a platform.
My metaphor: the Hall of Valhalla and the billboards
Imagine you’re a college student. You’re going to the library. On your way, a billboard is hung just around the corner before you reach the library.You stop for a few seconds to skim around the messages. The billboard is typically normal as in every school and at first it looks somewhat messy; however it is messy in its own order and as you figure through, you’ll know what you need.
Basically there are 2 things:
- It is convenient: on people’s way of achieving something (going to the library)
- It has its own order
There are various billboards like that across the campus. All good ones have the 2 characteristics above.
Now, the authority decides to build a hall where all the billboard is going to reside. The hall is separated from other buildings (library, computer labs, class rooms, sport grounds, common rooms…) for it to be easily managed.
How often will you drop by the hall of billboards? To what extent will the hall add values to your benefits? To what extent will the hall add values to the posters?
The hall will desert. People will scarcely visit. The values will drop.
Now, let’s go back to Yahoo!’s case.
Yahoo!’s Hall of Valhalla Yahoolla
Users are billboard viewers. Developers are billboard posters.
Yahoo! 360 which will be closed was a billboard of contents. Yahoo! Mash which had been closed was a billboard of relationships. Yahoo!’s Open Platform in which Yahoo! Profile centers is the Hall!
Image from Neal Sample & Cody Simms’ presentation
Without particles, how can an open but blank platform attract users and developers? How will Y!OSP add values to users?
Now, extending the boundary a bit further to other services that Y!OSP supports: Twitter, Tumblr, slideshare, StumbleUpon…
Yahoo! is leveraging its greatest user base: Yahoo! Mail. The prospect is that Yahoo! Mail users can manage different services from their Inbox! Additionally, users have their Yahoo! Profiles.
However, how willing are users going to stay in one place to get updated of all these services? If they do, they miss out the most, name it interaction or content, from going directly to the other services.
The Hall that Yahoo! is building will be a grand, titanic, ordered silo. The biggest question is: what will users find in there?