Design

The Core Interaction: What Platforms and Marketplaces can learn from Super Mario Bros.

The Core Interaction: What Platforms and Marketplaces can learn from Super Mario Bros.

| March 27, 2014 | 17 Comments

This essay is part of the ongoing series on The Fundamentals of Platform Thinking. A good part of my childhood was spent glued to the Telly playing Super Mario Bros. A generation that never swiped screens spent its childhood wielding joysticks and clicking on handheld controls. Try as she might, my aunt never understood what [...]

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How to design the Airbnb for X, the Uber for Y and the Twitter for Z

How to design the Airbnb for X, the Uber for Y and the Twitter for Z

| March 12, 2014 | 25 Comments

This is post #6 in the ongoing series on Platform Design Principles.  Are you building the Airbnb for X, the Uber for Y or the Quora for Z?  Well, then this article might just be for you. I work a lot with startups/enterprises building marketplaces and platforms to solve diverse problems. But these startups often [...]

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How Google’s crawlers, Uber’s drivers and Instagram’s selfies power the platform economy

How Google’s crawlers, Uber’s drivers and Instagram’s selfies power the platform economy

| February 5, 2014 | 19 Comments

This article is #4 in an ongoing series on the design of platform business models.  What do Google’s crawlers, Uber’s drivers and Instagram’s selfie-clickers have in common? Or for that matter Elance’s freelancers, Dribbble’s designers and Twitter’s tweeters.  In a world of platforms, they create the fuel needed to facilitate economic and social exchanges that [...]

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Uber, Etsy and the internet of everybody: A visual guide to networked businesses

Uber, Etsy and the internet of everybody: A visual guide to networked businesses

| January 23, 2014 | 14 Comments

This post is part of an ongoing series on the fundamentals of Platform Thinking.    The natural purpose of a network is to connect. Fax machines, telephone networks, stock exchanges and credit card networks have done exactly that . With the internet, we now have a universal network that connects everyone with everyone (well, almost). [...]

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The Three Design Elements for Designing Platforms

The Three Design Elements for Designing Platforms

| January 17, 2014 | 14 Comments

This article is #2 in an ongoing series on Platform Thinking.  What does the traditional world of manufacturing have in common with the way networked platforms work? How can a basic understanding of factory design help us change the way we think about designing internet platforms, marketplaces and social networks? I’ve written previously about the distinction [...]

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The Creator Web: The Dribbblisation of work platforms

The Creator Web: The Dribbblisation of work platforms

| November 26, 2013 | 9 Comments

Note: This article first appeared in Fast Company. I am pleased to have co-authored with TED Books Author Damon Brown.  The Internet has powered the rise of a new creative class. Global reach, real-time feedback, and reputation building have redefined the creator. Today, the Instagram-wielding teen is as much a member of this burgeoning creative class [...]

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The Waze-ification of the Physical World

The Waze-ification of the Physical World

| October 29, 2013 | 3 Comments

This article first appeared on Harvard Business Review. I’m delighted to have co-authored this with Mark Bonchek.  We are moving from a world in which physical products are separate to one in which they are connected.  Computers were just the beginning.  Appliances and engines now send alerts when they need to be serviced.  Cameras upload [...]

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How startups compete with friction in product design

How startups compete with friction in product design

| August 14, 2013 | 10 Comments

Startups need Traction. A startup which doesn’t get discovered doesn’t go anywhere. This is all the more critical for platform businesses which rely on their users to create value and network effects. In the specific case of platform businesses, Traction dictates the value that is created. A social network without enough users or a marketplace [...]

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The One Feature That Changed Social Networking Forever

The One Feature That Changed Social Networking Forever

| August 4, 2013 | 17 Comments

What is the single most important innovation that Facebook ever came up with? Before I answer that, let’s think of the real value for users on a social network. Social networks are a classic example of the platform business model where users create all the value and there is very little value until users come [...]

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