Skip to main content

Building vs using the web

2 min read

One thing that becomes clear when you move outside of open web groups and a certain kind of tech company is the difference between trying to build the web as a platform and trying to use the web as a platform.

In the former mental model, you’re experimenting to try and figure out how to push the envelope on a common platform. What doesn’t exist yet on the web that would be cool or useful? How can we preserve its openness and decentralization? How can the commons be richer for everyone? It’s ultimately an ideological endeavor: the web is great and we should keep building it in everyone’s interest, whether through protocols and extensions or through amazing public interest sites.

In the latter, you’re taking what exists and figuring out how to get the most use out of it. How can we harness this? Which web capabilities allow us to meet our goals more easily? Where are the opportunities? It’s not in any way an ideological endeavor: instead, it’s a pragmatic one. It’s business. You’re taking a resource and getting the most use out of it that you can.

Of course, it happens to be the case that the public resource continues to exist and is vibrant because of the first group of people I described. But it’s also okay to just use the web. The web is for everyone.

· Asides · Share this post