I am continuously intrigued by the idea of cutting across the silos we find in our lives, both online and off. A while back Merlin Mann had a twitter feed called @MultipledBy, a place to put random little thoughts and ideas of how to make the things in our lives better. Although he hasn’t updated in quite some time, its still an interesting list of concepts that could potentially earn someone a lot of money if they could figure out a way to implement them in an easy and useful way.
In the past, people who made and/or sold stuff had a tendency to work towards vertical integration, towards trying to control every aspect of Michael Porter’s Value Chain, or at least every aspect that had the potential to make money. Consequently, the desire to maintain competitive advantage led to the inclusion of things that could be controlled and exclusion of those things that couldn’t. Sure, strategic alignments and partnerships provided some amount of cross-service compatibility, but for the most part it was a "my way or the highway" mentality that prevailed.
Now, with the abundance of ready competitors, the lowering of entry barriers to near-triviality, and the desire of the customer to have things their way rather than another’s, its seems like the real value added services are those that figure out how to combine things across seemingly disparate services. In science we call this "Systems Biology." Simply put, Systems Biology looks across different systems and pathways and looks for the obvious and non-obvious linkages between them.
A while back I opined that one thing Facebook really needs is a quick and easy way to turn off all the “app detrius” that comes our way – the notifications, the updates, and the stories about Mobs and Farms and Sheep in our timelines. What I really wanted was *one button* that simply said “Stop.” I then began wondering about my own list of #MultipliedBy. I don’t have any entries on that list just yet, but I’m going to start paying attention to those little things and will report back soon.
What’s your list of things that should work effortlessly together but don’t?