As a child, I remember having a neighbour come over to ours and start showing me and my brother this new 'game' he'd just created on his computer. He wanted to test it out on our computer as it was a bit faster than his, being a 486 rather than his 386, with a copious 4MB of RAM.

The game he's created was a simple platform game on a program called 'Klik n play.'. Evolving into the game factory, klik n play turned out to be my first introduction to programming, and a really obvious way of showing how complex relationships can be when adding yet another item to your game. knplogo

My brother couldn't get enough of it, even leading to a conversation with Dad about whether he could buy the pro license to get his game released commercially. Unfortunately for him, the sensible decision was made and the license didn't get bought, as it was pretty obvious in the early 90s that games programming was taking off in a big way, and though games factory was good at platform games, the industry had just released doom and our little cottage platform games probably wouldn't cut it commercially.

Moving forward to how I find this relevant today, is when I look at the mobile apps market.  With the wonderful Ionic Framework & Google's places api, I was able to create a simple 'find the nearest pub' app in a couple of hours. Sure its not the highest fidelity app you'll ever see - but thanks to open source and open data - functionally it does what I need it to do.

So here's the rub. A whole eco system of digital agencies have built up around app creation and the central role of individual ownership of these apps.  However, the real value that the holders of the apps can offer the world is not to release the app itself (being a prescribed interface data that said company would want to make public) - but to open up the data via simple APIs in order to realise Tim Berners-Lee's vision of proper LinkedData.

It's not always a simple proposition, as considerations need to be made as to how competitors have the ability to use your data - but seeing whether others develop this data is an indicator of how valuable your data is - and if your business model is to sit on data and not release it - your business probably needs to rethink the model.