Growing Businesses in the Age of Platforms

March 05, 2018

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 multi-homing 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 by 6pm on March 5. 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.

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 (81)

Who’s Eating OpenTable’s Lunch?
Last modified on March 5, 2018 at 12:32 am
Providing restaurants with an integrated electronic booking and table management system is no longer enough. In order for OpenTable to maintain its market leader position, the Company needs to increase its value proposition for both its online users and restaurant [...]
GROW(ing) a platform to improve job placement in Japan (and then the world?)
Last modified on March 2, 2018 at 8:54 pm
GROW has quickly grown its platform to match recruiters and job applicants using sophisticated AI tools in Japan. A no-fee-to-applicants model has allowed for quick expansion and increased the quality of the platform (by providing vast amounts of training data [...]
Etsy – Can You Scale Heart?
Posted on March 5, 2018 at 10:38 am
Can Etsy maintain its identity as a handcrafted artisan platform with the presence of large manufacturers and sellers?
Apple’s App Store Strategy: Quality over Quantity
Laura Barnes
Last modified on March 5, 2018 at 4:17 pm
Apple's high quality app marketplace effectively creates and captures value for themselves, developers, and users alike.
Can Strava grow beyond just “outdoor sport enthusiasts?”
Posted on March 4, 2018 at 11:35 pm
Since it’s founding in 2009, Strava has attempted to brand itself as the “social network for athletes.” While the app has grown to be one of the go-to apps for serious runner, cyclists, and other outdoor athletes, can Strava make [...]
Netzun: a start-up competing in the job search market
Posted on March 5, 2018 at 5:50 pm
The digital transformation have changed the way professionals and companies network and connect to find jobs. In this industry, LinkedIn has emerged as a winner, with more than 546 million users in more than 200 countries [1]. In Peru, despite [...]
Alcohol Delivery? Yes, Please.
Mike M
Posted on March 5, 2018 at 4:34 pm
What's so special about this Boston-based alcohol delivery company?
Instagram – The Unstoppable Value-Creation Machine
Last modified on March 5, 2018 at 6:04 pm
Instagram has emerged as #Value-Creation #Value-Capture #Product-Platform #Social-Media
MoviePass: A Platform for Burning Cash
Last modified on March 5, 2018 at 10:59 pm
MoviePass skyrocketed to over 2 million users with a revolutionary $7.95 subscription price for seeing movies. But without a clear path to profit on even a single transaction, is it a platform for anything more than burning cash?
A.J. Steinlage
Posted on March 5, 2018 at 2:35 pm
You can thank this platform when you own your first home.
Roku: The little player dominating Apple and Amazon
Posted on March 5, 2018 at 3:35 pm
Can you think of a market in which Apple and Amazon compete but aren’t the market leaders? There’s actually one industry where that’s the case. It turns out that when it comes to TV streaming platforms, it’s Roku that’s the [...]
Grubhub: Delivering a Valuable Platform
Posted on March 5, 2018 at 5:42 pm
Grubhub is attempting to increase network effects and increase barriers to multi-homing for customers on both sides of their platform
Remind: creating and monetizing an edtech platform
Posted on March 3, 2018 at 12:21 pm
Remind provided a free communications platform for teachers and parents that amassed scale of 35M teachers. But, they've struggled with figuring out how to monetize - and have large tech companies entering as competition in the edtech space.
Meet Thumbtack: Your Local Handyperson Reimagined
Posted on March 5, 2018 at 2:26 pm
From guitar lessons to bed bug extermination to dunk tank rentals, Thumbtack offers services from over 250,000 providers to millions of customers via its online marketplace platform.
Tile: Dude, where are my keys?
Last modified on March 6, 2018 at 11:53 pm
Tile is creating the Internet of Things for those things that we often lose, namely our wallets and our keys.  The company has created Bluetooth trackers which pair with a mobile application.  While the original trackers were intended for keys, [...]
Amazon Handmade: Not All Networks Can Be Stitched Together
Posted on March 1, 2018 at 3:44 pm
In late 2015, experts declared Etsy dead as Amazon launched Handmade, it’s peer-to-peer marketplace for handmade products. And yet with all the factors in place to favor explosive growth, Handmade’s performance has been underwhelming at best. Where did Amazon miss [...]
Is #FakeNews disrupting Social Media platforms?
Jean Grey
Last modified on March 5, 2018 at 4:01 am
Do you believe in what you read in Facebook and Twitter? As new challenges emerge for current leader platforms in social media – challenges such as Fake News – opportunities open for incumbents to compete, for platforms to cooperate, and [...]
Via – “OMG another ride-sharing app?!?!” or “an Innovative one”?
Posted on March 4, 2018 at 11:45 pm
Via - “OMG another ride-sharing app?!?!” or “an Innovative one”? I describe the Via ride-sharing startup that is trying to differentiate its value proposition to riders and drivers, and has also been making some strategic platform moves.
Yelp: Re-accelerating Growth
Posted on March 5, 2018 at 5:49 pm
Although we likely still agree that Yelp remains a top choice for restaurant search and reviews, the company is facing slowing growth due to increased competition and less success in expanding its platform into other categories
Valve: Turning the Spigot on Product to Platform Transformation
Last modified on March 5, 2018 at 4:14 pm
How did Valve evolve their company from an Indie video game developer into the dominant platform for distributing PC games, becoming the most profitable US company per employee in the process?
HotelTonight – a Marketplace for the Spontaneous Traveler
Posted on March 4, 2018 at 7:57 pm
Can HotelTonight - a pioneer in last-minute booking - sustain high risks of multi-homing and the fierce competition from OTA's and grow its platform beyond the spontaneous travel market?
The rise of a digital agriculture platform
Posted on March 1, 2018 at 8:12 pm
The climate corporation, a subsidiary of agriculture giant Monsato is on its journey towards building the “Amazon of farmers". Will they be able to achieve this goal? Breaking Through the Social Media Clutter
Last modified on March 5, 2018 at 11:13 pm
Just when you think the social media space is crowed enough as it is, a music video platform,, breaks through the clutter and became a big hit.
Examining Stanford as a platform
Last modified on March 5, 2018 at 3:37 pm
Do non-digital platforms follow the same rules as digital ones?