You cannot be the cake and eat it, too

Beloved Twitter finds itself currently in a very awkward position. Twitter always acted as some kind of a weird, but successful crossbreed of for profit company and something resembling an open Internet protocol. A massive, cloud based, proprietary communications channel with a set of open APIs any developer could connect to.

While Twitter was struggling with its success, throwing all resources after keeping the service up and running, a plentitude of developers started to create a multitude of clients. This was great. A/B-testing a user experience is helpful. But Twitter managed something like an A/n-testing: With A being Twitter’s own dusty old web interface, and n all those other ways to work and interact with the platform.

But now, after 5 years of growth (and countless A/n-tests), the corporate part of Twitter had to step on the brakes. The artful balance of internal and external developments had to be shaken up. Buy why kill a very successful continuous development process, which externalized most of the cost and risk? After raking in funds like Scrooge McDuck into his money bin, Twitter finally needs a business model, which delivers the Dollar per user Twitter-co-founder Biz Stone promoted once.

In the meantime, the original post declaring war on the mainstream interface developers has disappeared (and resurrected). But I don’t think the core problem can be solved that easily. The high wire act of being Mozilla and Microsoft at the same time is becoming tricky. Or, to twist the old adage on cake ownership and nutrition: You cannot be the cake and eat it, too

The price of cotton, the cost of jeans, the value of digital media

Please strike the one word which does not fit here:

  • cotton
  • jeans
  • digital media

Right. Jeans is the wrong one. Because cotton and digital media are commodities, but the jeans a value added product.

Exhibit 1

As Joe Weisenthal insightful question in Business Insider: Guess What Surging Cotton Prices Do To The Cost Of Blue Jeans. In the last year, cotton prices almost doubled. As jeans are (or: should be) mostly cotton, what would be the effect on the retail prices of let’s say a Levi’s Ex-Girlfriend Jean (no kiddin’).

The effect is actually: zilch.
Levi’s bill of material rose from $1.41 to $2.53 – the final product cost $65.

Exhibit 2

Remember this infographic?

It tell’s you one thing: musician’s are cultural cotton pickers. Under current conditions, the (monetary) value is created elsewhere. And there’s not even a commodity bubble for music in sight.