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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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RSS is Plumbing

Comments (4)

Steve Rubel has a good article up that answers the question “What is enterprise RSS?”  There was a point in time where people talked about this thing called “SMTP.”  Now – it’s just “email.”  Wouldn’t it be fascinating if the same thing happened to the thing called “RSS”?

  • Scott Moody

    I’m reminded of commercials from the 50s and 60s touting the benefits of electricity. Here’s an example (RealMedia):

    http://www.tvparty.com/g2c/electricall00.ram

    I seldom (if ever) use the word “electricity” or “electric power.” Things are either plugged-in or they’re not. I expect the same thing will happen with RSS one day soon. – Scott

  • Dave Jilk

    The only problem with this is that “plumbing” in software is roughly the same as “commodity.” Although Microsoft managed to have its plumbing treated as a utility, anything based on open standards that is plumbing can be developed by anyone, typically has open source alternatives, and eventually just gets “vertically integrated” into other products. So the question arises, “how do you make money from it, when it’s plumbing?”

    Note that no one is making money from selling SMTP software. Sure, people have built services to deliver email using SMTP, but the delivery aspect (as I believe you recall from MESG) is an unprofitable commodity – it’s the service component that makes money. Sure, Microsoft makes money on Outlook, but that’s precisely because Outlook is an integrated package, and is NOT a commodity. THe SMTP part is just a hidden, unremarkable component that you can get for free in any number of Apache-licensed libraries.

    This is why in a comment a while back I pointed out on Seth’s blog that *standards* and *technologies* are very different things. Technologies have proprietary value; standards are very difficult to make money from. RSS is not a technology, and its ubiquity will make it HARDER rather than easier to make money.

  • http://www.siliconverse.com Ruchit Garg

    Its sure to happen. People have started recognising RSS, feed-reader and all….slowly that would be as common as the term ‘email’

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