Owning your platform

Published on 31 January, 2021

Whether Donald Trump’s Facebook ban and subsequent bans by Twitter, Reddit, Twitch, Shopify, and Snapchat were the right decision, they certainly opened a precedent that puts a free and open internet at risk. Following the crisis at the Capitol, Parler, an app used by far-right extremists was suspended by both Google and Apple’s app stores and Amazon even stopped providing Parler with their cloud services.

This reminds me we don’t own the platforms where we spend so much of our time sharing content and building an audience. We don’t control what happens to them. They can go away over night and our leverage along with it. — That’s what happened with Vine. And what could happen with TikTok or Snapchat.

And the widely publicised ban on the President of the United States sheds light on what many makers go through every day. Apps are taken away, channels are demonetised. Sometimes legitimately, other times by mistakes caused by algorithms.

If you are a maker. If you produce and distribute any kind of content online, the lesson is clear. Have direct access to your audience. Own your platform [1]. — And that is why I’m building my own [2].

[1] - Newsletters are the easiest way to keep our audience. Unlike most platforms where our content lives, they give you data ownership. And email is a standard that won’t be going away anytime soon.

[2] - This blog is powered by Moon. A trivial app built on Flask that acts as a static site generator. There are literally hundreds of tools and frameworks, and a million static site generators out there. The reason I’m building my own is because I want to learn and I think this experience might make me better as a product manager. I’m particularly excited because Moon can be expanded as I acquire more experience and knowledge. To eventually become a fully fledged blogging platform or content management system like Wordpress or Blogspot (naturally, way less sophisticated).

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