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Amazon.com and the Next Generation of Computing

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These are the slides from the talk I gave at Amazon's All Hands meeting on May 20, 2003. I'm uploading it now because I'm referencing it in my forthcoming book, WTF: What's the Future and Why It's Up To Us, due from Harper Business in October 2017, and want people to be able to take a look at it. This is of historical interest only.

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Amazon.com and the Next Generation of Computing

  1. Amazon.com and the Next Generation of Computing Tim O'Reilly www.oreilly.com May 20, 2003
  2. What We Do At O'Reilly • Books • Conferences
  3. What We Do At O'Reilly • Online Publishing
  4. What We Really Do • "Big Hairy Audacious Goal": Changing the world by capturing the knowledge of innovators • That is: Find interesting people and technologies and amplify their effectiveness by spreading the information needed for others to follow them. • Keep finding new, transformative technologies that we can catalyze.
  5. Watching the "Alpha Geeks" "The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet." -William Gibson
  6. Watching Amazon • 1997: A friend tells me she's buying a computer to use Amazon. That was the original definition of a "killer app." • But people were still thinking of the web browser as the application, and so they didn't think of Amazon and its peers as applications.
  7. Paradigm Shift: A Change in World View That Calls Everything You Know Into Question
  8. Killer Apps of the Internet
  9. Not Just Software: "Infoware" • Editorial content as part of the user interface • Users help to build the product • The product changes every day • The Internet, not the PC, is the platform
  10. Software as Service Von Kempelen's Mechanical Turk
  11. A History Lesson • Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect, the killer apps of the personal computer era, are displaced by Microsoft Excel and Word • Netscape Navigator, the killer app of the first Internet era, is displaced by Microsoft Internet Explorer • A platform strategy beats an application strategy every time!
  12. Technology Evolution • Hackers push the envelope. • Entrepreneurs make things easier for ordinary users. • Dominant players integrate into a platform, raising barriers to entry. Progress stagnates, as hackers and entrepreneurs move on, looking for new frontiers. Or (sometimes) • The industry builds a healthy ecosystem, in which hackers, entrepreneurs and platform players play a creative game of "leapfrog". No one gets complete lock in, and everyone has to improve in order to stay competitive.
  13. AmaBooks
  14. Amazon Web Services • An explosion of creativity as Amazon opens its data for reuse by others. • A business model that creates a virtuous circle of increasing sales. • Amazon becomes even more definitively the source for product information and ecommerce.
  15. Web Services Demos • Rob Frederick • Jeff Barr
  16. Coming Soon: Proof that Amazon is Now a Technology Platform
  17. Two Types of Platform • One Ring to Rule Them All • Small Pieces Loosely Joined
  18. Small Pieces Loosely Joined • An architecture of participation means that your users help to extend your platform. • Low barriers to experimentation mean that the system is "hacker friendly" for maximum innovation. • Interoperability means that one component or service can be swapped out if a better one comes along. • "Lock-in" comes because others depend on the benefit from your services, not because you're completely in control.
  19. Questions? • Need not just be about the talk • For more information: http://www.oreilly.com http://tim.oreilly.com http://conferences.oreilly.com http://www.oreillynet.com

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