Coté Memo #046: I don’t like dick-bags either, & more on marketing platforms


Hello again, welcome to #046. Today we have 53 subscribers, so we’re +1. The crazy pills are working! I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at and @cote.



  • See below.

Tech & Work World

More on marketing platforms.

One of you wrote in and asked for more detail on the platform marketing missive. As I replied back, that text was taken from an ongoing conversation I’ve been having with someone so much context was lacking. Here’s another take at the point I was trying to make.

The point I was trying to make was: your platform can probably do 50 things. Market just 1-5 of them. 50 things is too much and you come off being scary or, worse, arrogant. Developers don’t like switching to uber platforms – <gratuitous inside joke targeted at Robert Brook>Marco still uses PHP!</gratuitous inside joke targeted at Robert Brook> SOA/WS-* failed to be sustainable at winning the thought-leadership war because it was too big, did too many things. Developers just said, “uh, I just need a 3 page web application..WTF…?”

To use another metaphor, getting developers to adopt a new platform is like boiling a frog. You can’t let them know you’re doing it until it’s too late, otherwise they hop out. Again, this is where the open source process and culture is key. Unlike commercial products , OSS platforms are rarely planned out in advance. They evolve, often in an ugly fashion. And if they are “planned,” they’re allowed to “pivot.”

Remember Apache Avalon (I could never understand what the fuck was happening there)? Probably not, but I bet you remember Struts (ugly collection of code that coalesced into a platform through much patina’ing) – .do forever! You probably also recall Tomcat (based on a standard which the market had already long ago accepted – Tomcat’s pitch was “it’s free! [and works]”).

All of those were platforms, but each evolved differently. Each were destroyed/replaced by the next iteration of platforms that mostly grew up organically in the same ship-mutate-pivot-ship-mutate-pivote-etc. cycle.

You can’t plan ahead for a platform, you just have to adapt your bucket of parts to how “the market” actually uses it (here, “the market” == “developers,” sometimes “architects,” God help us). Or, have your platform be so damn simple that it does, pretty much just one thing, and then you market the shit out of that. E.g.: rails, early Heroku.

Yet another phrasing: “tech marketers: pick one thing your platform does, just one. What’s that? No! No exceptions: sit down and shut-up. Did you pick one thing yet? Good, now go market that for 30-60 days and see if it works. If it doesn’t, go through the cycle again and again with different features.”

Quick Hits

  • A burger diagrams go, this is a good one:

Fun & IRL

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