Post-Platforms Initiative

Going beyond platforms
Our mission
Reshape platforms
Platforms – like facebook, youtube, booking.com – have changed our life dramatically by powering social, governmental, and business transformations of the past two decades. But the more we move into a world enabled by platforms, the more we see that market monopolisation turns successful businesses into monsters. Platfroms  literally start to own us, the users, who create and upload our content to their services. Most platforms are free for users but in fact it means that we ourselves have become the product.
Still, we believe that platforms are an integral part of our shared future and that the world needs their services. However, we need to reshape the business environment they operate in to let people keep and control their own data and let all platforms access the user data unilaterally.
Hereby, we announce the Post-Platforms Initiative – the 3rd generation of the good old World Wide Web. Just like it was with Web 1.0, the major issue is not the technology itself but the way how to persuade people to use it.
Our team is planning to succeed in resolving this issue by launching commercial projects in different industries, from science publishing to the Internet of Things.
Background Story

Many people and organizations have developed the same idea independently

Our team has developed the Post-Platforms concept from deep experience of the world of platforms

Ten years ago, our team launched a platform of our own – izi.TRAVEL. It is the leading platform in location-based stories. It behaves like YouTube: everyone can upload stories, and anyone can listen to these stories in the right place and in the desired language, in streets, in cars, in museums, in parks.
Being a platform we know that the world of content platforms IS tough: only the best can succeed and enjoy the "natural monopoly" effect. Our platform is open and free, allowing us to lead the competition: izi.TRAVEL is the best at the global market of cultural storytelling.
We also know that after the triumph of success most winning platform become the monopolists, which eventually leads to stagnation and "ownership of user data". Every successful platform experiences that effect and eventually suffers from it. Therefore, our team has started to think about how to enjoy all the benefits of platforms while avoiding unwanted side-effects of monopolies.
This resulted in the Post-Platforms concept.
Tim Berners-Lee has developed SOLID based on the Linked Data technology
Most people know Sir Tim Berners-Lee as the inventor of the Web technology. But not many people know that he is also the inventor of the so-called Linked Data. Common web users do not see it in their everyday lives, but behind the stage Linked Data revolutionized the sphere of Big Data. For example, when you Google "why linked data is important?" you get the correct answer immediately, without a need to scroll through a typically endless list of search results. This is possible thanks to Linked Data technologies, underlying every search query. Linked Data allows computers to literally understand your question!

During the development process of Linked Data technology Tim inevitably concluded that we all need some kind of "Original Storage of our data", which everyone can refer to, avoiding the confusion of using multiple sources. He named such Original Storage SOLID servers, or "Pods". Although he arrived at the idea of Post-Platforms from a completely different world of Linked Data, the whole architecture of SOLID is almost identical to the architecture of Post-Platforms.

Politicians developed the idea of Gaia-X to dilute the power of platforms

Some platforms have grown to be larger than some governments, but governments are elected by citizens, while nobody elected Mr. Bezos or Mr. Zuckerberg to rule our world.

Platforms continue to grow both in size and power. Politicians have been discussing all kinds of legal and operational frameworks to mitigate the influence enjoyed by platforms, e.g.:

  • GDPR - questionable legislation, which created more issues for all of us and put an extra burden on thousands of businesses
  • Gaia-X project, an endeavour of the European Union concerned with the technological inferiority of European platforms

The Gaia-X is essentially a Post-Platform type of solution: it redistributes data ownership rights from platforms back to common users.

The Post-Platforms Initiative

Reshaping the world of platforms: leveraging all their benefits while introducing the competition, thus putting an end to their monopoly

Imagine a world where you write a post to your social network and your friends can read it in the app of their choice. Likewise, when you switch from Facebook to LinkedIn, you still see all your friends, connections, posts, likes, and groups. In this new world, you can send a message to a colleague without even thinking which messenger he or she would use to read it. In the Post-Platform world, you keep your employment history at your own computer, so when you mark it as "active", all HR platforms immediately publish it. As platforms do not "own" people anymore, intense competition between platforms forces them to respect our content and develop the most advanced technologies to aggregate and present it. Strong cryptography will make it safe and free us from remembering hundreds of passwords, receiving spam, etc.
We named this new concept Post-Platforms. It is not just another aggregator of platforms – it is a new way of organizing the Internet based on a set of free and open Web 3.0 protocols and standards that will enable the technology.

With the help of a private investor, we started this project in August 2021 and we are serious about changing the environment of platforms permanently.

Curious?

We are too. Currently our team is in the research phase of the project, and we are not sure we know how to confront all the challenges. Yet. But we already know enough to surprise you.

Where can I learn more?
We have a YouTube channel with extra materials.
And, please, also read our whitepaper and subscribe to our newsletter (below).
Or get in contact with us.
Where can it be applied?

Essentially, considering platforms to be the 2nd one, the Post-Platforms is just the 3rd generation of the Web technology. And, just like the Web or Platforms, the benefits of Post-Platforms may be leveraged in any industry. We plan to start with hotels, banks, mobile operators, real estate, scientific publishers, hospitality markets, IoT, ERP. Not only people may have SOLID servers, but also organizations (and departments) and things (e.g. a car, and its motor, or a house).

Is it a proprietary technology?
No, Post-Platforms are open, just like the Web. Under the name SOLID this technology is a part of W3C open standards.

Can you run a business on an open standard?

Oh yes, you can. We are starting with several sectors: accommodation, banks, mobile operators, IoT. you can watch this video on how we introduce Post-Platforms in the banking sector, and how we use the power of banks to deploy the system among millions of their clients.

What will it change for people?
A lot.
  • Using Post-Platforms services you will not "publish on a platform", you will just "publish", and you will not care how many platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) deliver your content to their users.
  • You will own all your data. If you update your data at your SOLID server, it will be updated on all platforms. If you delete it, it will be deleted on all platforms.
  • You will get back all your personal ratings from platforms (which they collect anyway) and these ratings will be stored in your SOLID server. This cumulative rating will help you sell your skills, your products, and your services. You will not be able to change it, but you will be able to hide it. It's up to you to decide. We call it e-Karma. You will get used to the idea that with your personal e-Karma it will be much easier for you to build your reputation in any new business or community.
  • It will be easier to find a job, sell stuff or your extra skills. No need to search for a relevant platform every time you want to earn an extra dollar with translation, for example. It will accelerate our transition from consumers to prosumers.
  • You will not depend on platforms anymore. If you hear that some Facebook-Alike provides an amusing voice-based assistant, you will try this Facebook-Alike, and still find everything you are used to - your friends, your previous posts, likes, groups, etc.
  • You will have highly secured e-passports and you will forget the nightmare of managing hundreds of logins/passwords.
  • E-elections will be easy to organize.
  • You will send e-money to your friends or pay in shops avoiding banks (see the video here)
  • You will keep all your files on your personal e-cloud, and you will decide which App to use for editing – Google Docs or MS Office, or anything in between.
What will it change for platforms?

Everything. Although their business models will remain mostly the same, the Post-Platform approach will turn them from owners of your digital stuff into non-exclusive aggregators, which means:

  • No monopoly on users, as they will be able to switch platforms easily.
  • Platforms will face tougher competition as it will be much easier for new platforms to enter any markets.
  • As a result, platforms will tend to broaden their scope and become more universal.
  • In general, the middleman's role of platforms will become much less crucial within the global economy.
Will standard structure of SOLID servers limit our creativity?
SOLID servers will provide quite a standardized outline for any information you present there, no matter if it is your personal resume or a company’s product description.
Some people say this approach restricts users too much.
In reality, some businesses already do not keep their websites at all, as they are quite okay with the representation they get on Facebook or LinkedIn. And this is a really confined representation!
The good news is that the SOLID technology will provide rather flexible structures for your data, thanks to the (underlying) Linked Data technology. And Post-Platforms will support so-called Dynamic Ontology which will align languages and terminologies among SOLID servers around the globe and through the time.
Therefore the answer is “No, we will not be confined by standard data structures”

Is Post-Platforms something totally new to us?

Surprisingly, it is not. There are many systems and developments which remind Post-Platforms.

E-mail story

Could you imagine a world where you can send a message to your friend John without thinking about which messenger to use? For example, you send it to John from Skype, and he reads it on Facebook.
Most likely you’d think that’s " not possible".
Yet, it is possible. Such a system does exist, and it is called e-mail. When you send an email to John, you do not care whether he will use OutLook or BlueMail or any other app to read it.
That is because e-mail was invented before the era when corporations started to shape the internet in their favour.

The Post-Platforms will not destroy Skype or WhatsApp. Post-Platforms will ensure that you can send a message from Skype (if you prefer Skype) to your friend, and he will receive it with WhatsApp, if he prefers it.

Amadeus system
Both hotels and airlines want to sell their products.
Hotels can do it only via platforms, which charge a significant fee, executing their quasi-monopolistic power.
But Airlines do not pay big fees to all platforms which sell their tickets. The reason is that back in 1980 (before the emergence of Internet) airlines united their efforts to create systems like Amadeus. So, when corporate platforms came to the market in the 21st century, Amadeus was already in place and platforms had to get airplane tickets from Amadeus.
In fact, Amadeus represents the SOLID Server concept from Post-Platforms, where airlines own their data and store it at their side while many platforms (OTA) use it. However, they do not let platforms own this data.

Airlines were lucky because there were only ~100 of them. But there were ~100000 hotels in the world, so they missed the point when they could unite and develop something similar to Amadeus.

The hotel industry is "SOLID-ready" now
Five years ago hotels started to suffer from the monopoly of booking.com and similar platforms. Eventually the market reacted: so-called "Channel Managers" (CM) came to the market and suggested that hotels should delegate their products to CM so that the CM would publish hotel products on all possible platforms. Next, the CMs suggested platforms come and pick up the product content themselves. From this point, CM started to remind SOLID servers, but with the only difference: every CM has its own API, and platforms have to learn dozens of APIs. To make things even worse, every CM has to certify every platform, and such certification is a pain. The current state of affairs - hotels are almost happy (they publish once), but the platforms suffer. Both have to pay fees to CMs.

It is not economically efficient, but the whole industry has already demonstrated the Post-Platform-like strategic outline, which just requires an open SOLID standard to make it effective.

Who We Are
We are the team from izi.TRAVEL Storytelling platform
Alex Tourski
Founder

Based in Amsterdam. Alex has a vast experience in different industries:

  • culture & tourism (founded izi.TRAVEL)
  • high-speed trains (managed HSR-1)
  • road safety/standards (NGO)
  • car navigation (the company was sold to TomTom)
  • cryptography and internet security
  • business consulting and education
  • space research programs

Alex has degrees in computer science (Moscow PhysTech) and an MBA from Open University (UK)

Egor Yakovlev
Co-founder
Based in Moscow. Egor has been involved in innovative IT businesses for almost twenty years. He was involved in projects like 3D cartography (before Google Earth), mobile car navigation (before smartphones emerged), and many other projects related to location-based services. In izi.TRAVEL Egor has brought the biggest content providers, world-famous museums and publishing houses as well as partners, like Samsung, Panasonic, etc to the company. Egor has an advanced degree in physics, mathematics, and business management

Arjaan Kunst
Operational Director
Based in Amsterdam. Arjaan has broad experience in both corporate and start-up publishing companies. He manages international acquisition and core operational processes, administration, and finance. Arjaan is a law school graduate and has a Business Master's Degree in Information Management.

Dmitry Chernyshev
Creative director
Based in Moscow. Popular blogger , writer, and author of the books "How People Think" and "How People See". He developed a course on creative thinking for the Higher School of Economics (Moscow). He taught at the HSE and the Institute of Business and Design. Lecturer on the "Direct speech" platform. Dmitry has received dozens of prizes and awards at various international competitions

Projects of such magnitude require creative power.

We are open to new ideas, partners, team members, and investors.
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