The original Internet giants were anything but humble. Companies like Amazon, Twitter, and Instagram aimed to aggregate as many users as possible. Online trust was in its adolescence. They provided trusted brands. Their reward was owning the customer.
Shopify and Stripe are Humble. They take a step back and sit behind those they are enabling. Ironically, Aggregators made Humble Giants possible. Aggregators brought audiences to individuals. Humble Giants let individuals take those audiences.
Over the next decade Aggregators and Humble Giants will fight for position in the internet economy. Suppliers in all categories will be faced with a set of tradeoffs:
Both categories will produce large companies. But the fight will be complicated. Each side understands that competing head-on with the other will definitionally weaken its stregnth. One note for a future essay: Those caught in the middle of this duality will struggle to win.