Though it’s certainly possible to build a consumer oriented service from scratch, relying on existing platforms to deliver your content or service can reduce development time and give you a valuable boost during startup. What’s more, integrating your offerings into existing major platforms enables you to take advantage of their existing user bases. Basically there are I think 3 kinds of platforms you can rely on, which are Service, People and Technology. The service platform is a set of services like maps, e-mail and user ID commonly mashupped across bunch of applications. As for the people platform it’s the conceptual place in the cloud where vast majority of users live. The technology platform is the most used technology such as devices and/or applications at user’s hand.
Although the service and technology platform are easy to understand what it means, I think I need to explain a bit more about people platform here.
From the consumer’s perspective, participating in online communities and communicating with friends are key motivations for going online in the first place. It’s appropriate, therefore, to consider these communities as an appropriate platform for your services. Today end users increasingly perceive them as their entry points to the Internet “cloud,” either literally (set as the browser’s home page, for example) or conceptually as the place or places they feel most at home while online. Providers should therefore properly consider these social spaces to be venues through which they can reach users via services that can be easily “plugged in” to service-aware communities. By federating contents and/or functionality from other service providers, you can maximize flexibility and usefulness to meet users’ requirements. Even if you already have your own user community, you should consider leveraging other communities as well. Some large SNS sites have as many as 50 million users and are still growing at a good pace. Facebook is the perfect example of people platform. Setting a privacy issue aside, it’s heading in the right direction by hosting social Ads as well as applications. As local/vertical social networks become more popular, there will be a good opportunity for service providers to serve them in a manner appropriate to user’s interests.