Do You Own Your Platform?

Posted on Friday, Jan 7, 2022
In this episode we describe what a platform is and the importance of owning it.

Show Notes

Available on your favorite podcast platform.

Show notes:

  • difference between a product and platform
  • platform is a collection of modules and tools
  • a platform is extensible, programmable, consists of reusable pieces and components
  • desirable qualities in a platform and various considerations
    • a platform is a living being to some extent
    • availability
    • stability
    • performance
    • how easy is it to fix when things break
    • adaptability
  • the iceberg analogy – most of your product is invisible, but this can cause problems
  • how do you select the right technology for your platform?
    • important not have bias
    • products are short-lived, where platforms last a long time, so important to make the right choices in your platform.
    • it is good to depend on standards to avoid lock-in to one tool/technology
    • the wrong solutions do not scale
    • have a network of experts you can reach out to and get the information you need
    • knowing who to ask is the superpower in this age
  • why you need some level of control over your platform
    • damage control: solve problems when they arise
    • moving things forward: can it be modified as new requirements come up
  • building platforms for reuse
    • build systems are important
    • automation
    • continuous integration
  • The Yoe Distribution and the Simple IoT project are examples of platforms that are re-usable and flexible, and applicable for a wide range of projects
  • recomposable platforms scale not just vertically, but horizontally, which is the real power of them
  • a lot of up-front discipline goes into this
  • you create a platform not only for others, but yourself
    • you respect the APIs in the same way you expect others to respect them
    • APIs as a contract become very important
  • Most people can track product costs very well. Platform costs are harder to track and are an investment in the future
    • example of an embedded Linux platform that goes into a product that lives for many years. A lot of work is required upfront to get the base system running, but then you can build on it for years.
    • A more constrained platform like a MCU + RTOS tends to be not as extensible and more limited to a product.
  • Two kinds of platforms
    • Transaction platforms: facebook, twitter, etc
    • Innovation platforms: what we’ve been talking about
  • personal platform
    • write things down
    • when helping someone, instead of emailing or messaging the solution, I write down the solution in some type of long lived documentation, and then share that documentation with them.
  • do you own your platform?
    • owning your platform is more of a mindset rather than an rigid absolute
      • are you willing to learn and own the details of your platform
    • with OSS we not only use it, but we also have the option to be part of it

Discuss this episode at our community site.


Cliff Brake

Cliff Brake

Cliff has been developing products for a long time. See BEC and Github for more information.

Khem Raj

Khem Raj

Khem is an OpenEmbedded maintainer.