Essential must-reads to understand the inner workings of today’s digital startups
2014’s been a great year for platforms. Cutting straight to the chase, here are the must-reads on Platform Thinking from the year as we come to a close.
Platforms are eating entire industries and this opinion piece – originally published in Forbes – helps us understand exactly how. YouTube, Airbnb, Upwork, Wikipedia and many other platforms have all taken the same route from ridicule and criticism to success. This piece unpacks this repeatable pattern in the disruption of industries.
How do startups grow so rapidly today? How do they reach hundreds of millions of users within a few years? Turns out, all startups that have been successful understood the ability to leverage existing networks to build new network effects for themselves. This article lays out three strategies for building rapid network effects.
Everyone’s building the Uber for X, even if it doesn’t make sense. But how does one go about designing such businesses? Simply copying features or even studying strategies won’t do. This essay looks at the theoretical underpinnings of a business model like Uber, Airbnb or Twitter and creates a framework to think through while building a new platform business.
We hear these terms thrown around all the time. But what’s common to the rise of social media, wearable, the internet of things, the sharing economy, 3D printing, the app economy and everything else that we see today? Why are all these happening right now and how are they different, yet related? This essay journeys through changes over the last 5-8 years that have yielded entirely new business models and helps us imagine what’s next.
Clay Shirky announced “Here Comes Everybody” but he was only talking about social media. However, a diverse range of new peer-to-peer businesses has come up over the last 5-8 years. This article explains how networked P2P businesses work.
How does the platform economy work? What do Google’s crawlers, Uber’s drivers and Instagram’s selfies have in common? How can that help you think through the next platform that you launch? This piece lays out a foundation for understanding how platforms work.
What’s the deal with simple ‘apps’ getting billion dollar valuations? Clearly, the technology isn’t worth that much, an average developer could code something similar in a few days. What gives?
This essay uses several different metaphors to explain how valuations work for platform businesses.
When is launching at tech conferences a bad idea? What makes a good event launch? How can an event launch help one build a thriving community? This article explores all this and more while tracing through the launches of Twitter, Foursquare, Airbnb and Tinder.
If you’d like to get a quick overview of Platform Thinking in 8 quick minutes, check out the studio interview below that lays out the fundamental concepts of Platform Thinking.
For a deeper dive into Platform Thinking, here is a talk that I gave at the MIT Media Labs last year. Many of the concepts have evolved since then, but this should still provide a good overview.
2014’s been good, and Platform Thinking has been getting a lot of mainstream traction. I was invited to speak about platforms at the G20 Summit in Brisbane in November and worked on several key platform implementations in industries that are surprisingly trying to move forward like startups. Wrapping up this year with a redesign of the blog, I plan to launch several new projects in the coming year, including a book, a visual framework to design for network effects and a Platform Thinking canvas to build platforms ground up.
The annual roundup of the best articles for the year.
The unlikely determiner of platform success may be the design of your curation model.