Inventing the Future

Making a Living in Languages (Redux) part 9: How Do You Make Money?

Last time: “Killer Apps,” in which I claimed that it was possible to engineer an application that had good characteristics for success within its chosen market, rather than just having to count on “built it and they will come.”
Now: What are the ways that revenue can be produced from a Killer App on an open-source platform?

[This is an excerpt from a Lisp conference talk I gave in 2002.]

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Inventing the Future

Making a Living in Languages (Redux) part 8: Killer Apps

Last time: “Give ‘Em What They Want,” in which I said that having a desirable application “from the beginning” is necessary to promote a platform.
Now: Sounds good, but how do we go about creating such a scenario? We engineer it!

[This is an excerpt from a Lisp conference talk I gave in 2002.]

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Inventing the Future

Making a Living in Languages (Redux) part 7: Give ‘Em What They Want

Last time: “Can’t Make a Killing From Platforms Without Killing the Community,” in which I said that those who develop a platform rarely recoup their cost directly, and so they might look to reduce their cost through open-source efforts.
Now: How do you create demand for a platform?

[This is an excerpt from a Lisp conference talk I gave in 2002.]

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Inventing the Future

Making a Living in Languages (Redux) part 6: Can’t Make a Killing From Platforms Without Killing the Community

Last time: “Platforms – The New Application-Centric Product Positioning,” in which I encouraged thinking about platforms communities rather than language technologies or standards.
Now: How does a single vendor create a platform community?

[This is an excerpt from a Lisp conference talk I gave in 2002.]

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Inventing the Future

Making a Living in Languages (Redux) part 5: Platforms – The New Application-Centric Product Positioning

Last time: “The Old Language-Centric Products Categories,” in which I said that the old model for vendors was to specialize in one of either language engine, libraries, or developer’s tools.
Now: What would happen if we generalized this approach?

[This is an excerpt from a Lisp conference talk I gave in 2002.]

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Inventing the Future

Making a Living in Languages (Redux) part 4: The Old Language-Centric Products Categories

Last time: “Hidden Special Purpose Languages,” in which we said that cool languages can be a secret sauce embedded within useful products.
Now: What about having each product share a common language?

[This is an excerpt from a Lisp conference talk I gave in 2002.]

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Inventing the Future

Making a Living in Languages (Redux) part 3: Hidden Special Purpose Languages

Last time: “Every Application Architecture Has Plenty of Languages,” in which we said that IT was full of enough languages to keep any language lawyer busy.
Now: Well clearly there’s room for languages work, but where are the language products hiding?

[This is an excerpt from a Lisp conference talk I gave in 2002.]

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Inventing the Future

Making a Living in Languages (Redux) part 2: Every Application Architecture Has Plenty of Languages

Last time: “What Do Buyers Want?,” in which I said that employers want specialists in technologies, which doesn’t really help the employers solve problems.
Now: Where does that leave us? Where’s the language vendor in this picture? Where does the language guru go?

[This is an excerpt from a Lisp conference talk I gave in 2002.]

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Inventing the Future

Making a Living in Languages (Redux) part 1: What Do Buyers Want?

In 2002 I gave an invited talk at a Lisp conference in San Francisco. I was scheduled while I was Technical Strategist at a hotshot Lisp-like company founded by Tim Berners-Lee. I gave the talk right after the strategy department was disolved and I was fired with it. (John was in the same department.)

As I remember, it wasn’t well received. (But I was pretty grumpy at the time and considered myself to be not well received by the world in general.) The writing and speaking wasn’t great, and some of the ideas were marginal. But I think a lot of the ideas have stood up pretty well, and I still believe them. I’m going to serialize it here, so that I can reference it in future blogs.

Abstract

The last few years have seen a lot of new language development, but commercial success has eluded many good language companies. A framework for success is presented, in which language systems are recast as open platforms for some class of application. Multi-tier marketing is examined, in which a free or low cost application enlarges the platform’s community, while revenues are produced on an upper-tier product or service. The presentation will be followed by a fishbowl discussion, in which everyone is encouraged to join the conversation.

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