The mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) platform Parse is shutting down. I started tracking on Parse as part of my BaaS research a couple years back, something that resulted in having all of the BaaS providers, including Ilya Sukhar (@) of Parse, on stage at @APIStrat NYC in early 2013--this conversation was just a couple months before Parse was acquired by Facebook.
Parse was widely considered to be the top BaaS platform, which resulted in wide adoption, something that I'm sure grew exponentially after the purchase by Facebook. Parse is giving everyone a year to migrate, providing a database migration tool, as well as open sourcing a version of the platform. Which I think is a pretty fair deprecation strategy for customers, even with the unexpected news.
Despite that the tech highway is littered with these types of acquisitions, and deprecations, the tech blogosphere, and social bookmarkosphere (is that a word?), loves to squawk when these happen. Competitors like AWS, Google, and others love to invite you to come use their platform, and the technorati love to point out how you cannot depend on any platform--which is the truth.
Personally, I enjoy taking these moments to explore why the space thinks technology is such an absolute, where these ways of thought rarely exist in other sectors. I think there are a couple distinct things at play:
- Promises Of Tech Providers - In an effort to get new users, tech solution providers make some pretty wild promises of how they'll make your life easier, do all the hard work for you, all you have to do is just believe in them. Never mentioning you aren't really their true target customer, an acquisition by big tech company is their true customer.
- Religious Belief In Technology - Like the marketing of providers, developers, and other folks who drink the Silicon Valley Kool-Aid, really, really, really belive that technology is the answer, it will save us, and all of this is inevitable. Thus, we believe the tech will always be there to save us, and are so willing to ignore the actual business and politics of all of this.
As I've stated in earlier posts, there are no guarantees your vendors will always be there in other business sectors, what the hell makes us think our tech vendors will always be there? There is no basis for believing a platform or API will ALWAYS be there, no matter what you are promised. Companies go out of business, get acquired, and in this fast-paced tech climate, companies are always looking to deliver the latest product, and features. Everything in the space points to disruption, change, and evolution, where the hell did we get the idea these services shouldn't go away?
I think the tech blogosphere, social bookmarkosphere, and startup elite and believers should lower our expectations of technology just a little bit. Internet outages, acquisitions, and roadmap shifts will always happen--seems to me, these are the only constants! As a small business operator (I am not a startup), I am constantly evaluating what my Plan B, C, D, E, and even F is. While I may not always be prepared for changes in the landscape, rarely you will catch me squawking too loudly, as I'm business executing on the next stage of my evolution.
However, you will hear me exploring, and understanding these topics, as they occur--because that is fun and educational!