After buying into and being burned by the ambitious platform plays of many software companies (some of whom I’ve even cheered on), I’ve realized that there’s one crucial question any company should ask when they’re buying into a platform of any kind that will be central to their business:
How easy is it to get off of this platform?
Simply put: if it’s easy, it’s good. If it’s hard, it’s bad.
By this measure, lots of the platforms we rely on don’t perform too well. But I think we’ve known that for a long time anyway.