Working in Online Video, I am enlightened daily by the amount of innovation going on in this space, and how much inter-company collaboration is going on. In the video industry, co-innovation is ingrained.
Consider how much technology is involved in taking the output of your HD cam and streaming it to your iPad:
- content must be uploaded (quickly!)
- Transcoding takes place to retrofit the source to any device (2048-by-1536 iPad/480-by-320 Palm Pre/1920-by-1080 HDTV) and format (no flash on iOS..)
- Content tagging, via speech to text, for example, can take place in order to index it and make it searchable.
- Recommendations based on the content are made to link other content items together.
- Distribution to multiple platforms (youtube, hulu, itunes) or social sharing (Facebook, twitter, gigya, addThis)
- Content delivery in high quality around the globe is also a profitable business.
- Stay humble – you cannot top a category where your competitor has a laser focus on the solution. Instead, partner and provide a joint solution where each side brings the best technology. Yes, this will require some sort of revenue sharing/referral fee. It is always worth it, as both sides will grow. Carefully consider whether or not you need a base solution developed in-house, as opposed to a core integration of the best-in-breed.
Of course, if it is your core-competency - fight to the death!
- Make a public commitment to a stable API – no developer likes to work hard on an integration and later hear: “yeah.. we deprecated that API” – if you make the decision to move to a new API – don’t make it lightly, and make sure there is ample documentation and the “old” API is supported for a long, long time.
- Documentation – have loads of it. It is very hard to make developers sit down and write documents, so try to find a middle ground – documented working examples. It is much more fun creating and documenting a simple demo page than a piece of code. Demo pages are more useful and practical, and they will get used by your QA as well.
- Foster a community – gather your partners, nurture them by providing free education about your capabilities, take part in joint events, even host meetups and events. Contribute often to a common pool of knowledge, be responsive to criticism and adoptive of good suggestions.