How an emerging business model helps startups build large empires
I’ve been working on a couple of books this year. The first one, Platform Scale, launched on Amazon a few days back and is currently an Amazon #1 best-seller. The second one, Platform Revolution, co-authored with my research partners Marshall Van Alstyne and Geoffrey Parker, launches early next year and is being published by WW Norton. More on that soon.
But first… Platform Scale.
Platform Scale is my most comprehensive work yet on the design, execution and growth of platform business models. It brings together years of research and insights gathered from implementation across both startups and large enterprises into one single volume. It lays out a structured approach for designing and growing a platform business model and addresses the key factors leading to the success and failure of these businesses.
Ever since launch, I’ve received quite a few questions from readers. I’m answering them below in FAQ format for others who may have similar questions.
What are the core ideas discussed in Platform Scale?
Platform scale is structured around six core concepts (a section covering each) involved in platform design and execution. Here’s how they stack up.
1. Understanding factors that drive today’s successful platforms
This section explores the underlying shifts underway in the economy that lead to the rise of platform scale businesses. It explores how value creation is shifting from Pipes (linear value movement) to Platforms (two or multi-section value movement) and explores five key factors that every business with platform scale benefits from.
2. Designing the Interaction First Platform
The second section lays out a structured approach to building an interaction-first platform. This section describes the key elements of a platform business model and lays out the platform canvas, a one-pager design tool to plan and design complex platform implementations.
3. Counter-intuitive execution factors
The third section is all about execution. It focuses on execution factors that are counter-intuitive to traditional business logic. How can you fail despite being user-focused? When is friction a good idea in design and when is it a bad idea? How do you move users from usage to participation in business? What can the designers of online ecosystems learn from the designers of offline social spaces? How can a business lock-in users in a world of opt-in, open platforms?
4. Solving the Chicken or the Egg Problem
The fourth section explores the age-old problem of sparking interactions and offers a framework for choosing certain methods over others.
5. Virality – Scale in a Networked World
Analyzing the spread of diseases and ideas, this section lays out a framework for baking virality into the core use case of an offering.
Section 6 – Reverse Network Effects
This section rounds off with a discussion of some of the problems associated with platform scale business and how to best approach them.
Platform Scale ends with a framework for applying this thinking in large enterprises, while accounting for the unique challenges such enterprises face. I leverage my experience of having advised several large enterprises on their platform strategy to contrast how platform implementation at a large firm is very different from such implementation at a startup.
I read your ebook Platform Power. Is this the same thing or is it different?
No, this is an entirely different product covering very different material. Platform Power was a collection of introductory articles on this topic. Platform Scale is the first comprehensive coverage of my work on platforms looking particularly deeply at design and growth issues for platform businesses.
Thanks for bringing this out. How can I help?
Thanks for your interest. You could help by supporting the Thunderclap campaign as book promotion goes live next week when the book will be available for free for a limited time period. Click here to support the campaign.
Once you’ve read the book, you could also help by sharing a review for the book on Amazon.
Finally, if you believe you could help this message reach a larger audience within your network, please feel free to reach out and discuss.
Are there other content launches planned going forward?
Platform Scale is the first of many content launches planned in the days ahead.
Hope you enjoy reading the book. I’d love to hear your feedback.
A unifying framework for digital business models