LEWIS: the incumbents lock down that user data to build nigh-impenetrable moats around their walled gardens through powerful network effects ...
Nevertheless, I realize that this will be an uphill battle for sure, because services compelling enough by their own merit to break through the deep-seated network effects of incumbents will have to come first, before this data-access model can begin to reach critical mass and foster a network-effect of its own. And that is starting to seem like an impossible battle to win, because even newcomers today have huge profit-minded incentives to build up their own silos of user data from day one, in hopes of building up network effects and securing a comfortable moat of their own one day.
I still have hope that we can arrive at this new data-access model organically one day through purely technological innovation, and have been working on a framework for building applications like this that aims to improve the developer ergonomics of this data access model through modern tooling (integrating a client-centric query & caching mechanism like GraphQL and Apollo)
DUSTIN GETZ: You say "network effect" like it's a bad thing. The internet is valuable because it lets anyone talk to anyone. The distributed web is not valuable (today) because it lets nobody talk to nobody.
"Metcalfe's law states that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system (n^2)."
It's not about profit incentive, it's about "making something people want." Networks are valuable because they're winner takes all. One winner-takes-all dweb is superlinearly more valuable than 50 competing dwebs. That's why messaging networks end up federated.