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Keep an eye on Bug Labs

I always have my eye on Fred Wilson's blog Ask A VC .  Fred is betting on Bug Labs , a hardware platform designed to have others through a combination of imagination/software/hardware and marketing insight (with a sprinkle of luck), craft to make it their own.  As described by Dave Winer, Bug Labs is an architecture for pluggable gadget components.

From a marketing perspective platforms like Bug Labs has multiple precedents in both B to B and software markets, although Bug is taking things a step further.  In terms of B to B platforms, Salesforce.com is the best analog.  Users of Salesforce.com see it as a platform that they can adapt through the features offered through the base offering or through the App Exchange, a platform that allows developers to add functionality to Salesforce that better meets the needs of specific vertical industries/users.  I see our Mimeo.com platform behaving the same way one day as vertical industries tailor or document creation/management solution to the needs of their industry through third party integration into LMS and MRM systems (learning management, marketing resource management).

On the consumer side game systems come to mind such as buying an add on through Belkin that enhances the performance of an XBox or Playstation system or when software/hardware is added to a PC such as GPS. 

The consumer side of Bug Labs will definitely have its challenges since they tend to prefer simple solutions that are knitted together vs. choice. From a product development perspective I get why the Bug makes sense.  From a consumer perspective I need to do more thinking on how to make a hardware based platform work.   My gut is split in two on this one, which is a good thing.   I'm going to spend the next week thinking about customer/consumer pain points and where the Bug Labs solution might fit.

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