Here is a simple but critically important thought for anyone thinking about building web-based services: Web sites aren’t nearly as important as they used to be.
Some of the most interesting services online these days have learned to move beyond the web by making easily embeddable code. This allows site functionality to spread well beyond the boundaries of the site itself and makes every user a potential distributor.
For example, here’s a widget that tells you all about my Twittering:
This one offers you the top artists I’ve played on my Mac as tracked by Last.fm:
And maybe most interestingly, here is a 45 song set of stuff I used to play when I was a club DJ in the early 80s courtesy of Finetune:
Widgets, feeds, embeddable code, badges – all of these trends make it far easier for sites to extend their reach. If you’re not thinking about this, how will you compete with sites that do?