Two sides of the internet

The architecture of the internet is about choice. That’s where the resilience comes from.

Email can take one of a trillion paths to get from me to you. You have millions of pages to choose from when you want to read a blog post or learn a programming concept.

On the other hand, the business of the internet is often about no choice. Investors seek organizations that create natural monopolies, businesses with such significant network effects that they can clear the board and create infinite returns.

These network-effect businesses succeed at first because the benefits to each user are significant. We voluntarily choose to engage because it’s better (cheaper, faster, more fun) than doing it somewhere else.

But then, the implacable desire for ‘more’ kicks in and suddenly, this monopoly isn’t about serving us, it’s about enriching the owners.

And so the tension. The tension between the open resilient world of choice and the rigid and inflexible dominant monopoly.