I spent a few days at SxSW last week and had a great time and one key takeaway:
Not big companies. Not big VC dollars. Not anybody else. In today’s world of zero capex and lean startups (see Lenny Rachitsky’s LocalMind for a great example) the best thing you as a big/public/well-funded/successful/entrenched company can do is open up and give developers access to your stuff.
Developers will figure out the next big thing. Twitter, Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook, YouTube, etc. were all started by a few people with a good idea who built with what they had available. These were not started by big/public/well-funded/successful/entrenched companies.
So I’m excited that Sprint has embraced the concept of openness and is making their APIs available through Neustar’s Intelligent Cloud. Make it easy for developers, give them one simple access to your APIs and they’ll build great stuff on your stuff. Don’t and they’ll build greatness on somebody else’s stuff. Real simple.
Full disclosure: I work for Neustar.