A couple of tech industry vignettes from Jeff Pulver's Social Communications Summit in NY last month.
Fred Wilson asked the question of all startups who purport to be offering a new platform: "Can I grow a company on your platform?" Of course, the right answer has to be yes. This is an interesting test for both Facebook and Twitter. I think the answer for both of them will be yes ... and there are strong indications that others are building companies on top of Facebook (more) and Twitter (less) already, hence answering the question in the affirmative. What startups have you heard about who are planning to create new platforms? Of our recent investments we hope and expect Viximo will meet this test.
Another speaker, whose name I did not write down (sorry), talked about the new transparent world for consumer products (or even all products). She or he said "The product is your ad. The customer is your agency." The takeaway is that all the fancy advertising and creative agency positioning in the world will be swamped by user-generated content on the internet (blogs, facebook, twitter), discussing the product and whether it matches up to its promise. If the product is good, it will be its own advertisement, and the customers will be your agency. Unfortunately the same goes for if the product is no good at all.