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commit 5a5634f921a325c1277b45bef0e0285e969b2418
parent a779dc56b5ead8585653a85dcc41221019ab65a7
Author: FIGBERT <>
Date:   Mon, 27 Jun 2022 23:35:59 -0700

Add Aggregation Theory post

Acontent/posts/ | 63+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
1 file changed, 63 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)

diff --git a/content/posts/ b/content/posts/ @@ -0,0 +1,63 @@ ++++ +title = "Aggregation Theory, Virtuous Cycles, and Nitter" +date = 2022-06-27 ++++ + +In 2015, Ben Thompson first proposed [Aggregation Theory] in an article +by the same name. He argues, in short, that the internet "has +fundamentally changed the plane of competition," in that in our era, +"the most important factor determining success is the user experience." +Why is it then, that YouTube and [Reddit] and [Twitter] all... suck? + +<!-- more --> + +The answer, I believe, lies just a sentence later in the article: + +> ... the best distributors/aggregators/market-makers win by providing +> the best experience, which earns them the most consumers/users, which +> attracts the most suppliers, which enhances the user experience in a +> virtuous cycle. + +When YouTube first launched in 2005, it provided users with a vastly +better experience than anything else available at the time. No longer +did you have to download videos via `BitTorrent` or `ftp` (or however +else one procured [elephant videos] back in the day): now you could +stream them on the web. + +17 years have passed since then, and the world is a much different +place. YouTube is the king of video on the internet. And yet, your +browser's default `<video>` tag provides a way better experience than +the slow and clunky YouTube player. + +The story is much the same for similar giants. Reddit was founded +alongside YouTube in 2005, Twitter a year later. Both websites are +slow, practically unusable on mobile, and heavily limited for those +without an account. + +One would think that if success was truly predicated on a better user +experience, such glaring flaws would lead to other platforms "winning" +by simply providing a better UX. We can see glimpses of what this might +look like with alternative front-ends, like [teddit] and [Nitter], which +wrap around the existing platforms while massively cutting down on bloat +– providing an objectively better UX. Nevertheless, YouTube and friends +remain on top. + +The pivotal realization here lies in the second half of Thompson's +paragraph quoted above: the idea that having a better UX grows the +initial userbase of an aggregator, and that *having those users* +enhances the experience for future users (who further improve the +experience, attracting more users, and so on and so on). + +YouTube and Reddit and Twitter had a better UX than their competitors in +the early 2000s, and attracted millions of users in the ensuing decades. + +Now the moat is too big for alternative platforms to overcome – no new +startups have yet built a user experience more attractive than YouTube's +2.5 billion users. + +[Aggregation Theory]: +[Reddit]: +[Twitter]: +[elephant videos]: +[teddit]: +[Nitter]: