The Glue That Binds Things

The massive proliferation of web services, their corresponding APIs, and the notion that "the web is the platform" has caused me to spend a lot of time in what I call "horizontal land."  This is a special place where software that nits everything together (sometimes nicely, sometimes not so nicely) lives.  Our RSS theme and corresponding investments (FeedBurner, NewsGator, and Technorati) arose from one aspect of this problem.

Shortly after I started thinking about the implicit web several years ago I hooked up with Eric Norlin.  We bounced a bunch of thoughts around and Eric proposed the idea for what became the Defrag Conference.   We had the first one in 2007 – I thought it was superb as did a bunch of other people.  As a result, we are doing it again in 2008.

As Eric and I were debriefing on the 2007 conference, we realized that there was an interesting layer that we didn’t really address at Defrag.  We started calling this layer Glue – some examples follow:

  • Marketing Glue: the abstraction of the management of ad platforms into a common interface
  • Enterprise Glue: a "rest-ful" service oriented architecture via mashups and RSS
  • Social Network Glue: the movement toward cross-network interoperability and data sharing
  • Interface Glue: cross-platform, cross-browser technologies like Silverlight and Apollo
  • Messaging Glue: tools that are evolving for meta-messaging
  • Identity Glue: reputation, user-centric identity and web single signon

We are now working on how to integrate Glue into our thinking – either as an extension of Defrag or as a second conference.  If you have ideas or want to be involved in helping us think this through, please comment or email