On Thursday, I was fortunate to be at the Facebook F8 Keynote and Hackathon. It was an amazing event, where Zuck gave a keynote with a Jobs-esque flair for pacing and drama.
He announced the launch of Facebook Platform. As it has been covered in detail elsewhere, I won't give a detailed explanation; suffice to say, it allows developers to build new applications (music players, dating services, etc.) within the Facebook environment, giving Facebook users quick and easy access to these new services. An important element of Facebook platform is that developers get to keep all of the ad revenue from the Facebook applications.
I found this interesting, because in Silicon Valley you are constantly exposed to entrepreneurs who have great ideas that aren't sustainable businesses by themselves. The question venture capitalists often ask is, "is that a product or a company?". More recently, with the emergence of web 2.0, the problem has gotten worse. For example, I might have an idea for a much better, simpler way for online invitations to work. VCs have been asking "is that even a product? or is it a feature?" A great idea isn't such a great idea if nobody knows about it and nobody is signed up.
Until now. Facebook's platform will allow many of these cool product ideas to actually become businesses in their own right by leveraging Facebook's platform of users. Facebook users won't have to learn a new interface, visit a new web page or change their current behavior.
Pretty cool, I think. Look for my Facebook apps to be launching soon ;)