AOL, Facebook, and iOS are each a walled garden in their own way.

I have never really understood why people flock to walled gardens on the Internet, until something clicked recently and now its clear as day to me, or at least as clear as this snowy day can be to me.

Walled gardens such as the ones listed above provide a few things (of course) but the one that I think is the most important is constraints. While I’d like to think I dont need them (on the Internet) most people definitely do.

AOL provided clarity online when most people didn’t know what to do or where to go as there was no instruction manual. AOL was their manual for the Internet.

Facebook provided a purpose for most people who were looking for a place that made sense to them to communicate with and learn more about their friends. Facebook was their happy place.
iOS provided quality to the cell phone app environment and by setting standards and boundaries, people wanted in. iOS apps were wanted due to the bar set to be allowed in that marketplace.

Good constraints act like a yellow brick road to get you from something you’d like to do to actually getting that thing done.

Constraints provide clarity, purpose, and quality.

Constraints create value.