Bezos' Big Mandate - Think platform One of riverrun’s source texts: an excerpt from Steve Yegge’s so-called Google Platforms Rant.

So one day Jeff Bezos issued a mandate. He’s doing that all the time, of course, and people scramble like ants being pounded with a rubber mallet whenever it happens. But on one occasion — back around 2002 I think, plus or minus a year — he issued a mandate that was so out there, so huge and eye-bulgingly ponderous, that it made all of his other mandates look like unsolicited peer bonuses.

His Big Mandate went something along these lines

1) All teams will henceforth expose their data and functionality through service interfaces

2) Teams must communicate with each other through these interfaces.

3) There will be no other form of interprocess communication allowed: no direct linking, no direct reads of another team’s data store, no shared-memory model, no back-doors whatsoever. The only communication allowed is via service interface calls over the network.

4) It doesn’t matter what technology they use. HTTP, Corba, Pubsub, custom protocols — doesn’t matter. Bezos doesn’t care.

5) All service interfaces, without exception, must be designed from the ground up to be externalizable. That is to say, the team must plan and design to be able to expose the interface to developers in the outside world. No exceptions.

6) Anyone who doesn’t do this will be fired.
Bezos’ Big Mandate would ultimately lead to Amazon Web Services and the cloud as we know it. But the idea of a platform as an interface and discovery mechanism where services can be called by outside developers and users is not limited to the information technology industry. Its essence pervades much of the advice we offer to investors, organisations and entrepreneurs in the most diverse sectors of the economy and society as a whole. In our view it is part and parcel of many sustainable strategies for the digital age.

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Karel Volckaert