Decentralising Facebook with Blockchains and Userfeeds.
Maciej Olpinski

Sorry for the long comment, but there is a lot to say. Well, where to start? Your post addresses many issues. Some of these are important: (a) content ownership, (b) unlocking “your” content from the big platform, (c) content monetization, and (d) joint content creation. Some not important: your economic theory of the firm and its consequences.

Two observations. First, your thrust is working from the wrong direction; you seem to be going from the solution back to the problem. “How can we use the Ethereum stack and blockchain to create something?” Rather than finding a “customer” problem and solving it (possibly with blockchain). Is unlocking your content really a “paying customer” problem? Yea, it sounds nice — “It’s my content and I want to control it! Those guys shouldn’t take my stuff and make money from it”. But I don’t yet see a business model with Userfeeds. And also, Facebook makes money not directly from your content but from your attention. Because you are there already.

Second, the decentralized technology platform, even if bundled together into new apps and services, we can call “Feedbook”, is unlikely to disrupt Facebook. Facebook is “one stop shopping”. Their real value is to make the experience common, integrated, and simple across the many services, which they put in “one place”. Let’s take an example. Successful shopping malls create an experience not just for shopping (look at Mall of America); they put in one place many things to buy and activities to enjoy. Lots of people come. Facebook is like a huge, successful shopping mall. But you say, “Look: uberized delivery services and on demand shopping is disrupting the mall. We can disrupt Facebook similarly by disaggregating and decentralizing content.” But consumers will get quickly tired of running many interfaces to get delivered food and goods, get taxi service, etc. Thus, paying customers will be driven back to unified services, back to Facebook and WeChat. Will Feedbook be any different as a platform? And, yes, once scale is gained, Facebook AND Feedbook will need to monetize their value chain for the benefit of the firm’s few stakeholders. That’s the way it works.

Maybe an Opensource contribution can come of your blockchain decentralized content proposal. Maybe you can focus on some other market like joint creation of news. Oops, you’ll have to worry about Buzzfeed there. Look, I think you have something with the blockchain infrastructure of joint content creation and sharing profits derived from this. But ultimately, this needs to be driven by a business model. Look closely at one of the greatest platform creators around, Ray Ozzie. His latest company, Talko, just failed for lack of paying customers. But the technology is cool and Microsoft saw a way to put it to use. You probably won’t be so lucky as Ray to find a sugar daddy, if you continue to focus on the solution platform.

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