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Great development platforms make it cheaper to be a startup

PayPal Inc.

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I just got out of a meeting with Paypal where we were talking about their new platform (which will make it cheaper and easier for startups to build payments systems and take money.  High on the list of new features is split payments which allows developers who sell third party products to make a single charge to a consumer and take their cut before passing the rest of the payment on.

By the end of the meeting I was reflecting on the number of powerful platforms now at our disposal.  In addition to Paypal over the last week I have been talking with startups working on top of Salesforce’s Force.com, Facebooks app Platform, Facebook Connect, Reuter’s OpenCalais, and Google’s App Engine, and there are many more platforms beyond that.

None of these platforms are new news on their own, but taken together I think they are game changing, or at least have the potential to be so.  It is early days, but once these services are all working effectively (or their successors are) many if not most web startups will be able to focus the lions share of their efforts on front end development.  That is a luxury compared with the situation as recently as a couple of years ago when building the backend was an equal if not more resource consuming task.

It’s Friday afternoon and maybe I’m feeling good because the weekend is near but I’m hopeful that this will have a major impact on the pace of innovation and the economy overall.  I’m regularly surprised with stories of how quickly some cool apps get built and once this starts to happen at enterprise scale it could unleash a major surge in productivity.

Moreover at the startup level building on top of these platforms leverages the massive investment that has gone into them and allows you to leverage their continued investment going forward, meaning you get new features popping up for zero extra effort.

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  • http://www.gamesbrief.com Nicholas Lovell

    Nic, I agree entirely.

    At a basic level, my blog (http://www.gamesbrief.com) which I use as a business in its own right and as a marketing tool for my consultancy is entirely built on other people's technology. I use WordPress, Feedburner, OpenX, AdSense, Google Search, Twitter, Disqus and Facebook Fan Pages. All of which are free and all of which enable me to run a niche content site around all of my other commitments.

    Just imagine what I could do if I did nothing else but innovate on the website…

  • zippy_insurance

    I agree with Ncholas.
    Technology publishing platforms have reduced the costs for start-ups.
    I also think tools like Salesforce.com or even sugarCRM have made a big difference.

  • zippy_insurance

    I agree with Ncholas.
    Technology publishing platforms have reduced the costs for start-ups.
    I also think tools like Salesforce.com or even sugarCRM have made a big difference.

    We;ve used all of these with great success at zippy