The New Kingmakers | Stephen O’Grady

Summary of: The New Kingmakers: How Developers Conquered the World
By: Stephen O’Grady


Embark on an enlightening journey through ‘The New Kingmakers: How Developers Conquered the World’ by Stephen O’Grady, as we explore how swiftly evolving technology has shifted power dynamics within the industry. In this captivating summary, you’ll understand how developers have become pivotal decision-makers in the realm of technology and why keeping them happy is tantamount to the success of enterprises. Discover the four trends that have transformed the technology landscape in recent decades, and learn how hiring developers globally, embracing APIs, and reducing barriers are essential for businesses to flourish in this era of rapid innovation.

The Power Shift in Technology

As technology rapidly changes and becomes democratized, organizations struggle to maintain control. The rise of instant messaging and the power of individual developers have disrupted the traditional top-down approach in the technology industry. While business software companies typically sell to a single buyer, Apple’s success with user-friendly devices has led to a shift in power towards the end-user. In turn, the importance of pleasing individual developers has increased, as they are now the real decision-makers in technology. These “new kingmakers” determine which software is used, and savvy software companies must learn to court them to succeed. The book highlights how open-source software has disrupted the commercial software market and emphasizes the importance of adapting to this new reality in technology.

The Rise of Developer Power

In the technology industry, developers have become a powerful force that can make or break businesses. They are in high demand, and many companies are engaging in “acqhiring” – acquiring startups for the sole purpose of hiring talented developers. This mindset contrasts with traditional corporate acquisitions, where technology was the primary focus. Developers are worth more than the products they produce. The scarcity of developers has even led to lawsuits by the US Department of Justice. In this new era, software code has become “a means to an end,” not an end in itself.

Reshaping Technology Trends

This passage discusses four major technology trend changes in the late 1990s that led to a significant shift in the tech industry. The first trend is the advent of open-source technology, followed by the growth of cloud computing, the internet, and seed-stage funding options. These trends democratized the tech industry, empowering developers and leveling the playing field by creating lean cost structures, cheap software, and affordable server space. As a result, it led to an increase in start-ups, expanded markets for developers, and innovative products we see today, like YouTube.

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