Dabble DB

The Dabble Blog

Ecosystems

From a recent post on the JotSpot developer blog titled “JotSpot Customers want to Hire You”:

JotSpot’s customer base is growing so rapidly it’s hard to keep up. This is a good problem to have ;)

One of Jot’s biggest draw is its ability to be customized and extended using our APIs. Increasingly new customers come to the table fired up with a vision for how to use Jot, but want to hire someone else to help them realize it.

We’ve been very very lucky to work with a great group of Solution Partners thus far. However at this point… they’re all booked!

This is also a good problem to have.

Building ecosystems around a product can be attractive, but is the consultant model a self-limiting one? How far can you go when, as Michael Arrington recently wrote about Ning, “99.9% of the Internet population is effectively locked out from creating new stuff” [1]?

It reminds me of Paul Graham talking about his experiences trying to create a similar ecosystem around ViaWeb:

In fact it turned out that Web consultants didn’t like Viaweb.
Consultants, as a general rule, like to use products that are too
hard for their clients to use, because it guarantees them ongoing
employment. Consultants would come to our Web site, which said
all over it that our software was so easy to use that it would let
anyone make an online store in five minutes, and they’d say, there’s
no way we’re using that.

With Dabble DB, we don’t make any claims about building things in 5 minutes (though our users do), but we do hope that it’s easy enough to use that you don’t need to hire anyone to help you do it. And by making “a conscious effort to stay away from anything that smells of source code”, whether PHP, Javascript, or even HTML, we aim to keep it that way. So although we certainly welcome any consultants that want to build Dabble apps for hire, I would feel quite a bit of satisfaction if it turned out they weren’t interested because it was too easy for the end users to do it themselves.

No work for consultants - now that would be a good problem to have.

[1] When I was hanging out with Brian McCallister of Ning and giving him grief for the same thing, he implied that they had a few things up their sleeve to fix this. He’s a very bright guy and really understands this space, so I believe him. I’m curious to see what they come out with.

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