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EP83:… @JamesCridland interviews @mignano about RSS and The Standards Innovation Paradox? @adamcurry called Spotify the shitcoin of podcasting! @samsethi interviews @m_downey from @Podverse about the <Live Item Tag> and new video support. #podcasting
12 replies and sub-replies as of Aug 22 2022

Finally got a chance to listen to the @mignano interview today. Michael: you said that "at scale, all products that adopt standards will eventually look roughly the same." Is this really true? It seems there's been a ton of product innovation on top of a standard like HTTP...
HTTP is a great example actually. Chrome, Safari, & Firefox all deliver the same core functionality. There's some innovation on the margins, but mostly through proprietary systems that aren't compatible with other browsers (e.g. Chrome Plugins, secure password storage, etc).
The reason Chrome and Safari have far superior adoption (over FF and others) is for the exact reason I highlight in the essay: they have built in distribution via other products (Safari via MacOS and Chrome via Android, Chromebooks, etc).
Check out the long tail here. It's a similar dynamic to podcast players. Products based on standards eventually exist in highly fragmented markets because the cost of entry for a new player is low (because of the benefits of the standard).
Think about the reasons you use whichever browser you use. It's not really for the standards-based features. It's for the proprietary stuff (e.g. your bookmarks sync across all devices because of your Google account).
HTTP is so much more than web browsers though! Most apps these days use http as the protocol for their API (this drives a ton of innovation). Feels like you’re artificially narrowing the scope of how most open standards work. (TCP/IP has also driven a ton of innovation)
Sure but these APIs happen on top of the standard; they don’t change the standard. Therefore the innovation is proprietary, not standard.
The HTTP standard has continued to evolve since its 1.0 introduction in 1992. HTTP/3 was just published in 2022! That feels like pretty recent innovation. The protocol itself can stay boring as long as it continues to create the environment where other innovation can emerge.
I upgraded all Podnews servers to HTTP/3 the other day. No Standards Innovation Paradox there. Also, Blubrry has just added transcripts using the open podcast namespace. No Standards Innovation Paradox there. Imagine if Spotify had actually played nice with the outside world.
To be super-clear: "the need to keep backwards compatibility" does not mean "we cannot innovate at all". It means we can work on enhanced standards for all, just retaining backwards compatibility. HTTP/1.0, /1.1, /2 and /3 are excellent examples.
Yep, that tracks with the essay, too! Innovation in standards at scale can happen, it just takes a really long time because of the number of large stakeholders (e.g. 30 years to adopt 3 major versions)
I’m still not clear why the standard itself needs to innovate at a rapid pace if all the stuff being built on top of the standard (private and open source) is innovating. I’d argue you need a reliable standard in order to innovate.