Today we announced the launch of the DoubleDutch Developer Platform, a React Native-based platform and toolkit designed to help developers build features and functionality for event attendees across DoubleDutch’s footprint of thousands and thousands of live events.
In order to explain why we think this is important, I’ll first start with a little personal history, and a little software history.
In May of 2007, I was working out of a coffee shop, running websites and trying to pay the rent. Like many San Francisco-based independent software people, the coffee shop was my office (the real precursor to coworking companies like WeWork and Galvanize). Every day I would roll in, race to find an outlet for my laptop, buy some coffee and a bagel, and try to make my software better.
Along with the release of the iPhone, the most exciting thing that happened in 2007 in software was Mark Zuckerburg’s May 24th announcement of the Facebook Developer Platform at F8.
Here is how Mark described it:
“Until now, social networks have been closed platforms. Today, we’re going to end that. With this evolution of Facebook Platform, any developer worldwide can build full social applications on top of the social graph, inside of Facebook.”
Within days, everybody in my coffee shop was working on Facebook Apps. Here was a chance to tap into Facebook’s massive user base and earn explosive distribution. Big, macro changes to digital distribution patterns were and are exceedingly rare, and to-date you can count them on one hand; Google SEO, Google Adwords / PPC, Social, and iTunes / Google Play are the big ones in my lifetime. So, Facebook’s opening of a new user acquisition channel was a big, big deal for companies and independents alike.
And some companies went all in on the opportunity. Companies like Slide, Zynga, and RockYou rocketed to sky-high valuations, and in some cases revenue, based on their ability to write simple, addictive apps for Facebook users.
Of course it wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine. Some developers pushed the distribution envelope so hard that it resulted in a lousy user experience for Facebook users – anybody remember the accidental Farmville invites being blasted out through the social graph? The end result was a “this is why we can’t have nice things” crackdown by Facebook on the platform.
But, the innovation and ambition of the Facebook Developer Platform was undeniable. In many ways the platform was a sign that Facebook was not just another social network – it was a company willing to take big shots. In one fell swoop, the velocity of new features available to Facebook users went through the roof, and an army of non-Facebook developers went to work on making the platform better.
So let me bring this back to the world of live events.
Before today, the live event experience for attendees and planners has been the work of lots of tiny silos of effort. Competing event tech vendors, often working in concert with experiential agencies or event planners, and all with their own vision and agendas, trying to build features that make sense for the event experience.
It’s time to open things up.
Do you have an idea for a feature that would be cool at an event? Build it. Are you an event planner with an idea for a feature that would save your colleagues time? Spec it out and build it. And if you can’t build it, we’d be happy to put you in touch with a DoubleDutch partner who can.
It is our belief that the launch of the DoubleDutch Developer Platform has the potential to dramatically increase the pace of innovation in our industry. Eventually, we plan to allow developers to earn revenue from the features that they develop for the ecosystem.
Since our inception seven years ago, DoubleDutch has been approached by thousands of customers, individuals, and feature-sized companies asking us to build their feature idea, or integrate with their product. Simply put, we haven’t had the resources to do so.
Now, we have opened things up. Let’s let a thousand flowers bloom.