I entered the picture during the II days when the question was still “What’s a computer good for?” We knew we had a platform, but what for to use it for. Point being that in a platform you have to learn.
There are early New York Times articles to the extent of “They’re still trying to find uses for it” and even one declaring that the personal computer was “over”.
“You remember when the iPhone was introduced, Apple forgot to make it a development platform. It was only when customers jail broke it and forced them into it that it became a platform again. That’s a real lesson to us.”
Here is an example of the city as a platform idea from San Francisco. Something as mundane as a streetlight. We had an RFP to replace the streetlights of San Francisco. We realized that we were not replacing streetlights with LEDs, but in face we have thousands of terminals that could provide any service. It was general purpose, it was programmable and the question was how could we solve it?
“The key thing is when you get citizens involved; you want a range of talent; hardware hackers, software coders, journalists, designers, urban activists, candidates, city bureaucrats, non-profits, and of course artists. There’s something amazing that happens if a city bureaucrat shows up with a journalist and a designer, and in 48 hours come up with an idea.”