Intel’s Platform Evolution
Perhaps the very best book written that crypto-founders can read is Michael McGrath’s Product Strategy for High Technology Companies (2001). Although somewhat dated, the text is today’s only book on product strategy written specifically for high-tech companies. And it’s quite thorough, explaining how a company might pursue product strategy, competitive strategy, and various growth strategies.
Among the many company examples given in McGrath’s book, the story of Intel reveals how a company’s core technology can trump platform strategy. I’m including this story to remind investors that even crypto platforms with exciting products and remarkable developers will be hampered if they’re a bitcoin clone.
Although Intel began producing microprocessors in the ‘70s, these were single-product platforms. It wasn’t until the early 80s that the company recognized the benefits that derived from a multiple-product platform strategy. Beginning with its 80286 microprocessor platform, it released a new and powerful platform every few years (ie the 80386, the 80486, the Pentium platform, and the Pentium Pro platform).
However, this strategy of designing ever more powerful processors gave way to a new strategy, one that “used one core technology as the foundation for developing several platforms tailored to meet the needs of multiple markets and multiple products”. So with voluminous growth occurring in various market segments, Intel was able to tailor a specific platform to each market. Rather than being cost-prohibitive, this strategy simply leveraged the one core technology mentioned above.
Likewise, crypto-platforms should take heed that their underlying core technology may make or break them. On that point, XTRABYTES is fortunate to have its core technology be both truly innovative and robust. The platform’s superior scalability, speed, and security make these tech concerns obsolete. At least for the foreseeable future.
About Platform Benefits
For this particular post, I revisited the text to review its many assertions about platform strategy (as well as the real-world examples that follow). The text doesn’t disappoint, with headings such as Platform Strategy, Product Platform Examples, and Platform Strategy in Action. Pretty dry-sounding to some, but fascinating if you’re involved in tech marketing. And for those that are not, the readings provides crypto-platform investors with greater confidence about XTRABYTES as a financial investment.
Particularly Benefits of a Platform Strategy. This section reveals how a crypto-platform company like XTRABYTES might pursue product strategy after its launch. For instance, the text explains how having a platform strategy “helps management focus on key decisions at the right time”. Having such a strategy “leads senior management to focus on important platform level decisions instead of diluting attention across numerous products.” (p.63). One can imagine how this might even be the case with Ethereum, where attention to Raiden (a sidechain designed to speed Ethereum up) appears to be gaining ground – as opposed to the many third-party dapps being developed.
Another benefit derived from having a platform strategy is the capability to “deploy products rapidly and consistently”. This is particularly true if a company can leverage the cost of developing products by introducing a commonality factor. For XTRATBYES, that factor would be its DICOM API, a programing interface that enables module development in any language (and unlike a dapp, these module serves as extensions of the core). By being code-agnostic, the XTRABYTES platform is better able to outsource its product development to the market. While platforms limited to specific languages (ie Ethereum with Solidity) can “deploy products rapidly and consistently” as well, their product options are far more limited.
Finally, having a platform also encourages crypto-development teams “to take a longer view of product strategy”. In other words, a crypto platform’s strengths and limitations will drive whatever future product plans the leadership team might have for it. Again, the Ethereum platform provides a prime example of how platform limitations can squeeze out future product possibilities. Consider, for instance, if Cryptokitties (a third-party Ethereum dapp that severely congested its network) was in actuality a problem-solving platform component being considered by the platform team. Would they take their chances and go with it?