Platform Thinking

Uber: The feedback loop disrupting transportation

Uber: The feedback loop disrupting transportation

| September 1, 2014 | 0 Comments

When Uber was valued at tens of billions of dollars, there was significant criticism from valuation experts (Aswawth Damodaran, no less) and an equally compelling response from one of Uber’s earliest investors, Bill Gurley. One of the best things that emerged from these discussions (in conjunction with a back-of-the-napkin sketch tweeted by David Sacks, founder [...]

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From Social Media to the Sharing Economy: The Three Drivers of Business Disruption

From Social Media to the Sharing Economy: The Three Drivers of Business Disruption

First we went wild about social media disrupting the world of business communications and media. Then the Sharing Economy sprang up and we talked about how the traditional ownership model was getting disrupted. We’re looking at the 3D printer as the democratization of manufacturing much like Twitter and blogging democratized publishing and YouTube democratized broadcast. [...]

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A SCALING FRAMEWORK FOR NETWORK EFFECT PLATFORMS

A SCALING FRAMEWORK FOR NETWORK EFFECT PLATFORMS

One of the most common misconceptions about running a platform business is that it’s all straight and easy once the initial chicken and egg problem of getting both producers and consumers is solved. Ironically, in an age where kicking off new platforms isn’t quite as difficult as it used to be, the most important platform [...]

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Platform Metrics: The core metric for platforms, networks and marketplaces

Platform Metrics: The core metric for platforms, networks and marketplaces

| April 17, 2014 | 14 Comments

You become what you measure. From my experience working with clients across enterprises and startups, the most common reason for failure and inefficiency is the focus on convenient, but inappropriate, metrics. Your technology doesn’t determine the business you build. Neither does your organizational capability. The metric you optimize for is the single biggest factor that [...]

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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 small ideas like Twitter, WhatsApp and Airbnb create large value through network effects

How small ideas like Twitter, WhatsApp and Airbnb create large value through network effects

| February 26, 2014 | 12 Comments

This is post #5 in the ongoing series on Platform Design, and is probably the most foundational post for all the work on this blog.     Twitter: You can use this to type 140 characters WhatsApp: Just like SMS but doesn’t cost much Airbnb: Rent out your spare mattress Uber: Just another taxi company [...]

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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 | 12 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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