5by5 | The Critical Path #14: The Super-platform ecosystem

The Critical Path show switches format for this week’s episode. I interview a guest.

5by5 | The Critical Path #14: The Super-platform ecosystem.

The idea is that rather than just telling stories and interpreting the world from my point of view, I should also ask others to teach from their experience.

In this case I discuss the disruptive potential of cloud computing with Randy Bias. Randy is the CTO of Cloudscaling, a designer of infrastructure cloud systems and a vast knowledge of the challenges and value of what we now call cloud systems. I’ve consulted for Randy in the past and I thought he could add a lot to the understanding of super-platforms. Super-platforms, you may recall, is a term I used to describe the coupling of Web Services and Devices in a mutually inter-dependent business model. I introduced the concept as a way to think about Siri and iCloud and potentially the Kindle and Amazon in general.

In this show I ask Randy to comment on the thesis that devices and cloud systems as a coupled system are a potential disruption to both the device-only model of computing and the cloud-only model of services. In other words, is the new ecosystem the coupling of devices with backend cloud APIs? We also touch on the scope of Apple’s data centers and the way we can calibrate the investment.

I think this is a ripe area of research and thinking about the future of computing. It will require learning a new way of measuring “performance” of solutions and the businesses built around it. It will take a multi-disciplinary approach to ferret out the key value propositions.