Walled Gardens = Damaged Communities

wallThere is a lot of noise out there from the fallout of Google’s rejected iPhone apps, Latitude and Voice, for the app store.  I absolutely agree with Gizmodo that Apple’s inconsistent method of app approval process is by far the greatest injustice that can be handed down to both developer and consumer. How long can Apple continue this confusing process?  Apple can smartly say as long as they like, the public has spoken through the sale numbers of their latest iPhone.  Developers are going to support where the consumers are but how long can that stay true for Apple?  Like the biblical Walls of Jericho, the death march has started and the voice of discontent reverberates.  So much so that the FCC is now involved.  This is why closed communities fail.

There are two types of communities, passionate and sterile.  One is a ‘want to’ of imaginative and empowering energy, the other is a ‘have to’ of a lifeless narrow focus.  It is not as if the sterile community wanted such mind-numbing forced interactions, their intentions were righteous when conceived.  Closed communities want to make those not part of it feel like they are missing out on a killer party, which in reality was not actually happening, like you know, that vacant city in North Korea.  The problem with closed communities is that after awhile, people not only stop showing up, those who do become bitter.  What defines a successful community? It is as simple as this, a community that can police itself.  A passionate community is one that is born from a framework that encourages innovation and welcomes criticism in hopes to make a stellar idea into a enlighten base.

So is Apple developer’s community passionate or sterile?  Well the developers are definitely are passionate at how much Apple sterilizes their voice, sorry I had to.  Apple is in an interesting situation.  They created a walled community in hopes to drive development through branding and controlled marketing.  The end result is a fractured community of developers and consumers that interestingly are coming together with a common desire, the need to free their voice.  Apple may have created a closed community but is struggling to contain it.  It is only a matter of time before  sterility gives way to the demands of an open community.  If Apple continues to resist, there are plenty of others out there that are more than willing to step in.  I am sure Google would love to be seen as the digital version of our beloved Statue of Liberty:

Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor, your wretched masses yearning to be free, – The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus

As passionate creatures, you would think that walled communities would be failures on multiple levels, but sadly that is not true.  There are many successful closed communities like gym memberships, MSDN, and Apple.  Wait, how can I put Apple as a successful closed community when I bash it a paragraph above? Well simply put, Apple’s brand is undeniable and regardless of the outcome of the FCC investigation, the public will continue to gravitate to the brand.  Things are going to change and Apple will bend but will not open completely.  Apple loves it’s gardens, even if weeds are starting to grow rampant.

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