What is a Universal Connector?

A universal connector is an important concept in the growth of the elastic enterprise, so we’d better explain it. Here’s how we introduce the concept in Chapter 2 of the book, with reference to RSS:

Think back to the early days of the World Wide Web. Suddenly a small symbol or acronym began appearing on websites, particularly those that hosted original content. The acronym was RSS and for many people it is still a mystery.

RSS though is one powerful example of anonymized business relationships at work. RSS stands for really simple syndication. It means, with a few mouse clicks, allowing people to access your content in a stream direct from the content host’s servers.

Why was this important? Because it meant content owners could suddenly make a permanent connection with readers. Once a reader clicked RSS, the content creator’s content would automatically be sent to the reader, on publication. This was a new form of syndication, pulled initially by users.

RSS is a universal connector.

It is important not just because it allowed the web, as we know it, to evolve. It also allowed new businesses to scale at low cost. Think of the Huffington Post, built for the most part by aggregating feeds from other blogs. In a relatively short span of time it had 6,000 writers.

Something similar happens with APIs – application programming interfaces, another universal connector. Continue reading