Growing Businesses in the Age of Platforms

February 26, 2017

Read The Full Prompt

One consequence of the digital transformation is that platforms are becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s economy.

For this module please pick ONE company/organization and discuss how it creates and captures value in platform markets:

Issues you may want to address (feel free to consider other related issues not listed below):

  • How to scale up platform businesses?
  • How do various factors such as local/global network effects and multihoming affect competitive dynamics in platform markets?
  • When can an entrant take over market leadership when competing with an incumbent in a platform market?
  • How can product/service-centric firms grow into platform-centric firms?
  • How do firms cooperate and compete with powerful platforms when they serve as complementors and partners of these platforms?

Create an approximately 500-750 word post to make your contribution on digital.hbs.edu/platform-digit by 6pm on Feb 26. Please create appropriate tags for your post. Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per module. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Please prepare a 2-3 min summary of your blog post before class.

Note: Since our third module is on crowd-based business models (business models that leverage collective intelligence from a large number of users), please do not pick crowd-based companies such as Kickstarter and Threadless for this OK blog post.

Submitted (94)

Amazon Music – Is Value Capture Enough?
Alexander Clamor
Last modified on February 26, 2017 at 7:17 am
Amazon Prime Music I’m often surprised at how many individuals are Amazon Prime members but are not aware that included in their membership is access to Amazon’s digital music streaming service, Prime Music. With over a million songs and a [...]
Etsy: How One ‘Crafty’ Company Carved Out a Niche
Felix J
Posted on February 25, 2017 at 12:53 pm
Etsy has a current 1.5 billion dollar market capitalization. From its birth in the mid-2000s e-commerce has exploded in almost every product category imaginable. How has Etsy managed to stay afloat among titans like eBay and Amazon?
Coursera: The Past and Future of Online Learning Platforms
KylaW
Last modified on February 26, 2017 at 4:16 pm
Introduction The New York Times proclaimed 2012 the year of the MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). MOOCS, online courses aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web, made the audacious claim that they would “democratize access to education [...]
Has a Winner-Take-All Strategy Failed Instacart?
James
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 2:14 pm
With $220M in VC funding, Instacart was poised to become the premium grocery delivery platform. As it's model shows cracks two years later, I wonder if a Winner Take All strategy was appropriate to its business.
ParkWise
So Many Cranberries
Last modified on February 25, 2017 at 4:28 pm
ParkWise helps drivers find parking spots without agitating local officials.
WeChat – The One App That Rules Them All
Mohit Mittal
Last modified on March 28, 2017 at 12:10 pm
Introduced as a messaging app in 2011 by Tencent, WeChat has evolved into lifestyle platform for users in China. With ~850 million monthly active users, it now offers to its users what Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, Venmo, Grubhub, Amazon, Uber, Apple [...]
TopTal.com: Growing a new marketplace platform in a competitive space.
AC
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 2:49 pm
Toptal is a two-sided marketplace that matches freelancers who are looking for work on one side, with companies looking to hire temporary workers on the other side. Even though it competed with established large platforms, the company managed to grow [...]
GXB: a blockchain-based decentralized data exchange platform
Jing
Last modified on February 26, 2017 at 1:02 pm
Gongxinbao (GXB), a start-up in China, provides a trustworthy and consumer-centric marketplace for data exchange by building a blockchain-based decentralized platform. Will this adoption of new technology allow GXB defeat other incumbents in the platform market? Can GXB’s business model [...]
Zillow: The Platform for Homes
Posted on February 24, 2017 at 8:58 pm
The Zillow recipe for platform success: Give away data and tools, sell ads and services, buy up competitors and platform-enhancing technologies.