Platforms and Payments

One of the things I particularly enjoy about the position of Platform Evangelist is the requirement to keep abreast of industry trends and conversations. One of the simplest, and most compelling, ways* is via monitoring multiple blogs. At present, I monitor 155 feeds daily** and attempt to draw conclusions from the wealth of content they represent.

Of particular interest, to me, are items related to payments and platforms.

Of note today is a post by Derek Pilling, an investor in IP Commerce, entitled Areas I’m most likely to invest in during 2010. In it, Derek lays out his investment thesis for 2010 and then says something that I find extremely important.

I’ve copied and pasted from his investment section entitled “Payments”…but please read the entirety of the post to understand the full context.

I have an inkling that innovation is finally coming to payments. There have been some big exits in recent months, including BillMeLater and Revolution Money. Neither is particularly reflective of the type of innovation I think is coming in payment, but both show the size/scale of businesses that can be built given the massive size of the payments sector. With PayPal opening up its platform to third-party developers, there is going to be a rash of new payment application development in the coming years. As an investor in IP Commerce, I have a special perch from which to watch this trend. I’m staggered by the diversity of payment applications being developed on top of the IP Commerce platform. Several have already caught my eye as potential new investments and I believe more will do the same in 2010. I’m also tracking some big last cash markets, which I think are finally opening up to electronic payment providers.

I have written, sometimes at length, about the concept of a platform…about multi-sided markets, about creating value for an ecosystem, about open vs. closed, about hardware moving to software.

I talk about platforms.
I debate platform deployment concepts.
I even encourage the non-profit board of directors I sit on to talk about their organization using terms like “catalyst” and to review their messaging to ensure the benefits are targeted to the constituent audiences that they serve.

But this single line:

I’m staggered by the diversity of payment applications being developed on top of the IP Commerce platform.

Is indicative of what is truly exciting about working for a platform company. Providing tools that enable business ideas to become reality is, and will always remain, compelling. Enabling the innovation, and success, of business through your own efforts (and innovations) is wildly gratifying.

So, for the platform definition of the day.

What is a platform?

A platform enables innovation…thereby creating value for all platform partners.

What’s your perspective? Agree? Disagree? Anything to add? Critiques? The comment form is below…

* Short of physical conversation which is always useful…
** For those of you interested, you can see the list on my :blogroll: page (which will be updated to the most recent list tomorrow or I can provide the .opml if you contact and express interest).

January 4, 2010

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