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)

ofo: is bike-sharing really part of the sharing economy?
Last modified on March 5, 2018 at 4:37 pm
Ofo was founded in 2014 and is the first station-free bike sharing platform in the world. It is operated through a smartphone application, connecting users and bike manufacturers. Since founding, Ofo has grown exponentially both in terms of its customer [...]
Toutiao, an AI-powered News Platform
Last modified on March 5, 2018 at 12:21 am
Jinri Toutiao (means today’s headlines), a tech unicorn in China, is a news and information content platform powered by Artificial Intelligence. The company is China’s largest mobile platform of content creation, aggregation and distribution, with 120 million daily active users [...]
Stack Overflow: Quality through Community Control
Last modified on March 5, 2018 at 8:23 pm
Stack Overflow has created a community with very high-quality standards by ceding control to community members with strong reputations
MercadoLibre: Leading Latin America’s E-commerce Revolution
Last modified on March 4, 2018 at 6:01 pm
Will homefield advantage allow LatAm’s largest e-commerce platform to survive competition from Amazon?
Mastercard: The Best Kept Platform Secret
Posted on March 5, 2018 at 3:03 pm
Mastercard survived through many financial technology disruptions because of the strengths in its core business model, but will it finally be tested by cryptocurrencies?
0x: A Development Platform for Decentralized Exchanges
Last modified on March 7, 2018 at 7:51 am
How do you capture value with an open cryptographic protocol? The 0x project may be onto something.
Homejoy: A Silicon Valley darling’s path to the grave
Last modified on March 5, 2018 at 9:52 pm
Homejoy was one of the first platform companies to disrupt the $400 billion home cleaning market. The company aimed to create value by using algorithms to connect homeowners with cleaners and by scheduling cleanings, all of which could be done [...]
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?
How Open is Too Open?
Posted on March 6, 2018 at 11:07 pm
How Google had to adjust the openness of its Android platform, just as Apple had done before them
Trust eats network effects at Airbed & Breakfast
Last modified on March 5, 2018 at 5:23 pm
Airbnb builds trust to maximize networks effects and minimize disintermediation
Venmo: The Leader (?) in Peer to Peer Payments
Posted on March 5, 2018 at 11:45 pm
How Venmo founders created a leading platform in the mobile payment space.
Etsy – Maintaining a Competitive Marketplace
Posted on March 7, 2018 at 12:27 pm
How will Etsy maintain and grow its marketplace in light of competition from Amazon Handmade and Ebay?
The Black List: The Online Script Marketplace
Posted on March 5, 2018 at 5:33 pm
Revolutionalizing the film development process through an online platform where filmmakers and writers meet
Shopping is innocent, and so is sharing – How XiaoHongShu (Little Red Book) succeeds in China
Call Me By Your Name
Posted on March 4, 2018 at 11:59 pm
XiaoHongShu (小红书), which can be literally translated as “little red book” in Chinese, is a social e-commerce shopping app based in Shanghai, China. Targeting 18-to-35-year-old Chinese urban female, the platform helps users discover and buy luxury, fashion and beauty products [...], Activision’s Answer to the Age of Platforms
Last modified on May 1, 2018 at 2:08 pm
Activision Blizzard attracts hundreds of millions of gamers every month and has engagement levels that rival those of Facebook. As platform's continue to dominate the global economy, it is important ATVI leverages this amazing fan support to thrive in this [...]
SweepSouth: The Uber for domestic cleaning
Last modified on March 6, 2018 at 1:44 am
In a market where households make frequent use of domestic cleaning services, SweepSouth has simplified the process of identifying reliable domestic workers. While the story has been positive thus far, can this business model scale?
The Modalist – Getting Paid for Retail Therapy
Last modified on March 5, 2018 at 8:03 am
Combining the world's top fashion brands and retailers, a robust search engine, and a compelling cash back loyalty program, The Modalist aims to elevate the online shopping experience.
Abs from an Audio App? Aaptiv Seeks to Engage Your Muscles Through Your Ears
Ross Galloway
Posted on March 6, 2018 at 7:42 am
In order to defeat Nike in digital workouts, Aaptiv must evolve from Service to Platform