Standing on the shoulders of others

Having a play with the nicely-put-together little service that is Jauntful which once again our man Jamie introduced to the studio [Update: No he didn’t! He introduced Telescope which is also lovely and similar. No idea for now where I saw Jauntful then]. It’s a simple way to create guides for places, that can be easily shared online or just as easily printed. It’s nice. Well done team Jauntful.

It’s another odd case though of building a product on the back of another service / API, the culture of which is feeling increasingly unsustainable to me. At it’s core, Jauntful is powered by Foursquare data but it goes deeper still:

Jauntful uses GeoNames to help you find the cities you love and Foursquare to make adding places to your guides quick and easy. We designed beautiful maps thanks to MapBox using data provided by ©OpenStreetMap contributors.

I’m not saying their team should have built their own versions of each of those four services before building Jauntful. And I understand that this is pretty much how everything is built in some way or another. Open soruce, APIs etc I get all these ideas, but of late I’ve seen a few examples of things falling apart, when the things they’re built on fall down, change, end or are revoked in part. 

Par to the course. Opportunity cost. Accepted risk. Known unknowns.  

If you understand this is the nature then of course it’s fine. Carry on. Make amazing things. My worry perhaps is for people (clients and users) that don’t realise these facts. The people that see a company and product as ‘the’ responsible party. To them, when something stops working and the team that built if says ‘it’s not my fault’ and points at the bigger kid, it smacks as a little childish.

Again though, that is if you don’t know that’s the deal. When you do understand that’s the nature of these amazing things, having those customers whine and whinge seems equally as childish.