In my thinking about how web technologies are evolving I think attempting to conceptualize or invent the next Facebook is nearly impossible. Massively disruptive startups “just are.” IMO it’s not possible to know what will be the next Twitter or Facebook because these types of platforms/applications are outgrowths of the current state of human interaction. Such technology arrives just at the right time to grow in tandem with new manners, social gesture and desires. I believe with we have moved past the brute force of functionality being the deciding factor of what we will use next. Instead, we find new technologies that suit a particular direction the world is shifting and that technology co-evolves with this shift.
So, my thought is to focus on what I think of as the “lowest common denominator”. What do all these platforms and applications have in common? Are there attributes so common, or so core to the platform, that any next-generation platform is also likely to use them?
In my mind, discovering and iterating on least common denominators create excellent positioning for startups. Such an approach would be largely platform agnostic, highly defensible and probably simple enough to grow rapidly and at tremendous scale.