When are centralised systems bad

27 February 2021

All-In Podcast E19

This example of Amazon developing a centralised poroduct catelog is hailed as a positive. The the podcast they argue the stock market and comms/media platforms like Twitter being centralised are bad. What type of system is it ok/good and when is it bad when centrsalised?

Who are the players? who is it good for and bad for?

Some rough thoughts…

Looking at this through the Insider vs Outsider lens a centralised system is probably good for the insiders. The ones setting up and running the system. They are probably the providers and/or profitters of the system.

The outsiders are the consumers or actors participating in the system. They are probably the product. The outsiders in this context probably volunteer to use/participate in the system because they get some value. But as an individial they do not have much power to control the system. They are powerless unless they get organised.

Concrete examples of centralised systems

  • Internet/web infrastructure - The big three cloud infra providers (Amazon Web Services, Azure, Google Clouf Platform), CDNs (AWS CloudFront, Cloudflare, Fastly etc.)
  • Public comms/media forums - Twitter, Facebook, Discord, Parler etc
  • Private comms - Signal, Whatsapp, Telegram

Personal blog by Janaka Abeywardhana. Thoughts on topics other than Software Engineering and Product Management. All of that is over at [janaka.dev](janaka.dev) by Janaka Abeywardhana. On Github, Twitter, and Instagram

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