Dave’s Blog: Periscope vs. Meerkat: Why A Platform Matters

Several month’s ago, I heard one of my favorite authors/bloggers/social media guys, Gary Vaynerchuck (that’s VAY-NER-CHUCK) gone on and on about a new app called Meerkat. It allowed for live streaming of video through the app to the social-sphere via twitter.

The idea was simple, yet powerful. We even used the app to broadcast live at a trade show for some of our BIZ Magazine followers.

Surely an idea and app such as Meerkat could dominate the social live video market, right? Like Lee Corso says, “Not so fast my friend!”

Enter Periscope.

Owned by Twitter, Periscope does many of the same things as Meerkat, and perhaps even more. And, it is taking the world by storm. Periscope is number 59 on the Apple App Store Top Charts, while Meerkat isn’t in the top 144.

Another of my favorite authors/bloggers/social media guys, Michael Hyatt, just posted a blog about the awesomeness of Periscope.

So, what gives? Isn’t the first to market the one who usually wins? Nope.

The difference between the two apps have little to do with features. The difference is the platform — not the iOS vs. Android — but the platform of influence.

Twitter already had a platform. Meerkat, while creating a buzz, simply couldn’t compete with Twitter once it launched Periscope.

[Tweet “The size of the platform matters more than you think – David Specht”]

Another example of a platform overshadowing an outsider’s good idea took place about five years ago. An app called Foursquare was all the rage. People would “check in” to various locations on foursquare. They would receive offers, or even be named that location’s “Mayor.” The app was wildly popular. But, Facebook was having none of it.

The social network added a “check in” feature and dominated. Now, very few people even remember Foursquare.

The lesson from both examples is simple — without a strong platform, someone else’s platform will trump your good idea.

Build your platform. Expand your influence. It is all part of the game these days.

See you on Periscope.