Back in 2010, in the heyday of new startups springing up on top of the large social platforms, I wrote about why entrepreneurs shouldn’t build their businesses on top of other platforms.
Time and again, that sentiment has been proven correct. Startups have been getting harmed — and worse — left and right by tech companies changing their platform permissions whenever they want to. Many businesses have gone from making millions per year to getting the rug pulled out from under them.
Well, it’s happened yet again with Twitter shutting down all third party tools on January 19th, 2023.
I don’t blame Twitter for this move.
It’s a terrible situation for Twitterific — who is openly begging people not to request refunds — and other third party clients, but Twitter should’ve closed their platform a lot sooner, forcing its users to its own app and website, driving up its enterprise value.
It’s really surprising that any tech company would ever allow third party companies to build apps around the very same experience the official apps offer. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and any social network apps that I can think of don’t allow third party apps of this flavor, so why did Twitter do it for so long?
It was a mistake, and now that they’re correcting it, dozens of businesses are being destroyed.
While building your startup on another’s platform may not be an immediate concern when you’re just starting out, you really should take a look at your dependencies. History will continue to repeat itself.
The internet is getting more closed off, not more open, and as long the value of your product is beholden to another platform, you will eventually feel the pain.
This is a reminder to all entrepreneurs, startups, and even creators, that:
- You must own your data
- You must own your customers
- You must own your billing data
- You must not be beholden to others
I’ve never wavered from my position on this and it’s a huge driver for why I built Podia and continue to advocate for creators to take hold of their businesses and diversify away from social networks and ad revenue.
I hope you take a close look at your business and become more independent before it’s too late.