Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy--and How to Make Them Work for Youby Geoffrey G. Parker, Marshall W. Van Alstyne, Sangeet Paul Choudary
A practical guide to the new economy that is transforming the way we live, work, and play.Uber. Airbnb. Amazon. Apple. PayPal. All of these companies disrupted their markets when they launched. Today they are industry leaders. What’s the secret to their success?These cutting-edge businesses are built on platforms: two-sided markets that are revolutionizing the way we do business. Written by three of the most sought-after experts on platform businesses, Platform Revolution is the first authoritative, fact-based book on platform models. Whether platforms are connecting sellers and buyers, hosts and visitors, or drivers with people who need a ride, Geoffrey G. Parker, Marshall W. Van Alstyne, and Sangeet Paul Choudary reveal the what, how, and why of this revolution and provide the first “owner’s manual” for creating a successful platform business.Platform Revolution teaches newcomers how to start and run a successful platform business, explaining ways to identify prime markets and monetize networks. Addressing current business leaders, the authors reveal strategies behind some of today’s up-and-coming platforms, such as Tinder and SkillShare, and explain how traditional companies can adapt in a changing marketplace. The authors also cover essential issues concerning security, regulation, and consumer trust, while examining markets that may be ripe for a platform revolution, including healthcare, education, and energy.As digital networks increase in ubiquity, businesses that do a better job of harnessing the power of the platform will win. An indispensable guide, Platform Revolution charts out the brilliant future of platforms and reveals how they will irrevocably alter the lives and careers of millions.
Platform businesses match producers of goods or services with consumers by providing online infrastructure and rules-based conditions. This book by Parker (business, Tulane Univ.), Marshall W. Van Alstyne (business, Boston Univ.), and industry analyst Sangeet Paul Choudary is a rather deep and systematic analysis of such companies and how successful management of them is both similar to, and different from, that of nonplatform firms. Despite offering practical options on how to monetize the value created by a platform (a sometimes difficult thing to do), this is no simplistic cookbook; the authors recognize the complexities involved and that often very different approaches can be successful. They provide specific suggestions and a fresh way of thinking about platforms. This analysis is clarified by the authors' drawing upon real-world examples of successes and failures, thus grounding what might otherwise be a highly theoretical exercise. VERDICT A solid choice for anyone with a serious interest in starting or managing a platform business.—Shmuel Ben-Gad, Gelman Lib., George Washington Univ., Washington, DC
An exploration of "a simple-sounding yet transformative concept that is radically changing business, the economy, and society at large." A platform, by the definition of business professors Parker (Tulane Univ.) and Van Alstyne (Boston Univ.) and Singapore-based analyst Choudary, is "a new business model that uses technology to connect people, organizations, and resources in an interactive ecosystem in which amazing amounts of value can be created and exchanged." So value is created—not goods, not cures for cancer, but value, and most often in such a way that the people who own the platform leverage what other people own, be it a car (Uber) or knowledge (Wikipedia). In a mixed metaphor, the authors argue that platforms "beat pipelines because platforms scale more efficiently by eliminating gatekeepers." Pipelines have shutoff valves and not gates, but never mind: the idea is that old-school regulatory agencies, editors, tax authorities, and other middlemen get out of the way of the transaction. The "positive network effects" thus achieved create the value, if they can be monetized properly—and how they're monetizing out there, whether evading city hotel taxes in the case of Airbnb or using reputation ratings to vet babysitters in the case of Sittercity. The authors take their arguments on platforms beyond the business level to advocate delivering government services in similar form, as Singapore—authoritarian, ultracapitalist, and the authors' seeming ideal—has done to some extent (though, they note, San Francisco, less authoritarian and less capitalist, has done even more). At the same time, they note the regulatory headaches the platform model induces, offering ideas for a "regulation 2.0" regime that encourages transparency while reducing inertia. In all this, it helps to have some background in the language and concepts of finance, economics, and business ("short-term micro-patent"), though that is not a barrier to entry. Sometimes dry, sometimes undercooked, but a useful snapshot of the rising new service economy—of considerable interest to students of business.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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Meet the Author
Geoffrey Parker is a professor of engineering at Dartmouth College and a visiting scholar and research fellow at the MIT Initiative for the Digital Economy. Before joining academia, he held positions in engineering and finance at General Electric. He has made significant contributions to the economics of network effects as co-developer of the theory of two-sided networks. Parker's work has been supported by the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and numerous corporations. Parker advises senior leaders in government and business and is a frequent speaker at conferences and industry events. He received his BS from Princeton and his MS and PhD from MIT.
Marshall W. Van Alstyne is a professor at Boston University and a visiting scholar and research fellow at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy. Van Alstyne is a world expert on information economics and has made fundamental contributions to IT productivity and to theories of network effects. His coauthored work on two-sided networks is taught in business schools worldwide. In addition, he holds patents in information privacy protection and on spam prevention methods. Van Alstyne has been honored with six best paper awards and National Science Foundation IOC, SGER, iCORPS, SBIR and Career Awards. He is an adviser to leading executives, a frequent keynote speaker, a former entrepreneur, and a consultant to startups and to Global 100 companies. He received his BA from Yale and his MS and PhD from MIT.
Sangeet Paul Choudary is a C-level advisor to executives globally on platform business models. He is an Entrepeneur-in-Residence at the INSEAD Business School and a Fellow at the Centre for Global Enterprise. He has been ranked among the top 30 emerging business thinkers globally by Thinkers 50. Sangeet writes the popular blog Platformed (platformed.info), and his work has been featured on leading journals and media, including the Harvard Business Review, MIT Technology Review, Sloan Management Review, the Wall Street Journal and The Economist. He is a frequent keynote speaker at leading conferences, including the G20 World Summit 2014 and the World Economic Forum events.
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