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 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)

SoundCloud Tunes Up the Music Ecosystem
Chun Pan
Last modified on February 26, 2017 at 9:55 pm
This post explores how SoundCloud built a successful digital music platform.
Farfetch: Brick and Mortar Luxury Fashion in the Age of Technology
Last modified on February 26, 2017 at 6:32 pm
400+ fashion boutiques from Milan to Tokyo at the click of a button. How this platform is bridging the gap between high-end brick and mortar shopping and technology.
Roku: From Product, to Product Platform, to Software Platform
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 10:23 am
Roku has been able to stay relevant over the years by shifting its business model
Medium: creating a new writing platform for the masses
Daniel C
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 4:31 pm
A new solution to tackle the problem of a struggling journalism industry: a publishing platform that enables everyone to share their stories and ideas.
Is Tapjoy Finding the Key to Mobile App Monetization?
Last modified on February 26, 2017 at 4:48 pm
Tapjoy, founded in 2007, operates a mobile advertising and intelligence platform that connects app publishers (such as mobile game developers) with both advertisers and users. App publishers that integrate Tapjoy’s advertising solution into their apps have access to a comprehensive [...]
Netflix: Attracting Both Subscribers and Content Providers to the Party.
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 5:36 pm
This post discusses Netflix’s reliance on network effects, and risks and benefits of their current model to attract users and content owners to their platform.
Grubhub/Seamless – A Platform for Hungry Diners and Restaurants Hungry for Business
Dan Sawyer
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 4:47 pm
Grubhub and Seamless have transformed the take-out and delivery markets across major metropolitan areas, creating a massive and highly profitable two-sided platform, linking hungry diners with independent restaurants. Though combined as of 2013, both businesses successfully executed the build-out of [...]
The Unreal Platform for Game Developers
Last modified on February 24, 2017 at 7:55 pm
Because where else could I buy an Enchanted Forest for $49.95?
Tinder: Growing the Critical Mass
Megan Wu
Last modified on February 26, 2017 at 5:56 pm
How Tinder created a successful business in an environment of strong network effects and intense multihoming.
WeChat: The End-All Platform?
Kathy Wang
Last modified on February 26, 2017 at 10:35 pm
WeChat...WeBuy, WeBook, WeEat, WeBank, WeDate? A glimpse into life in the People's Republic of WeChat – The Original Tinder
Charu Manglani
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 4:25 pm has been the pioneer of the match-making platform in India much before the people discovered the Tinder way to find a match. Perhaps, it was a decade too early.
Steam – the gaming platform before there were platforms
Yun Yu
Last modified on February 23, 2017 at 11:44 pm
Almost 15 years later, Valve's Steam PC gaming platform continues to dominate
Go-Jek: Lovechild between TaskRabbit and Uber
Last modified on February 26, 2017 at 5:20 pm
This picture taken on January 20, 2015 shows a gridlock in Jakarta’s main road. Jakarta has just won the distinction of having the worlds worst traffic, according to a recent index. (BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images) Jakarta was chosen as the city with [...]
Twitch: Big Dollars in the World of eGaming
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 3:45 pm
Twitch is an online video streaming platform which builds a community for video game lovers from around the world
Upwork: Connecting Freelancers to Gigs On-Demand
Last modified on February 20, 2017 at 11:45 pm
Upwork connects freelancers with remote work on-demand. As a two-sided platform, Upwork built and scaled both its freelancer and employer client base. With indirect network effects, this platform captures value by serving as a connector, facilitating matching, communication, and payment.
How much pie do you get on OpenTable?
Hao Wu
Posted on February 24, 2017 at 5:42 pm
After initial success, OpenTable now confronts competition in multiple segments of the dining information business, and sees diminishing future for growth.
Building an Integrated Digital Travel Platform: TripAdvisor vs. Google
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 12:24 pm
TripAdvisor and Google Trips are battling to help you plan and book your entire travel experience - who will win in this battle between the small-sized incumbent TripAdvisor and the mega-sized disruptor Google.
Glamsquad: Making Over the Beauty Services Industry
Last modified on February 27, 2017 at 5:03 am
Can Glamsquad build a platform of scale in on-demand beauty?
Steam: The iTunes of Video Games
James Baird
Last modified on February 22, 2017 at 11:02 pm
Before Uber, Facebook, Airbnb and the App Store, there was Steam
YC: organizing the seed-funding ecosystem
Last modified on February 26, 2017 at 6:01 pm
Y Combinator (YC) started in early 2005 to create a better seed funding ecosystem. Since then, it has spurred a new category of incubators and accelerators such as TechStars, AngelPad. These accelerators provide short-term intensive coaching and mentorship. Before this [...]
Etsy: Supporting Handmade
Andrew Yoo
Last modified on February 26, 2017 at 4:57 pm
In creating a platform that supports creative entrepreneurs around the world, Etsy hopes to reimagine commerce and build a more sustainable world.
Chunyu Doctor, the largest telemedicine platform in China
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 2:05 pm
Chunyu Doctor (春雨医生) is an online telemedicine platform in China. Among the telemedicine companies in China, it has the largest Internet penetration rate, and it has accumulated more than $100 million in capital. In September 2016, Cycares, the international branch [...]
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?
This Chinese Man is Battling for Women’s Fertile Ground
Bonnie Cao
Last modified on February 26, 2017 at 3:49 pm
Dayima: Chinese period-tracking app’s painful road to profit