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 d3.harvard.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)

Zillow: Who Gets the Value?
Noorin D
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 4:12 pm
Zillow, the property-sale platform, exists in between an online and physical world.
Shopify – the Emerging Platform for Global Commerce
changeme_26
Last modified on April 26, 2017 at 11:36 pm
How a Toronto startup - originally unloved by VC's - beat Amazon, IPO'd and changed global commerce
Tinder’s Growth Strategy: Swiping to Success
Techie
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 2:16 pm
Tinder has re-written the online dating playbook through clever marketing and a targeted launch campaign.
Farfetch.com: an E-commerce platform valued at $1 billion that is helping boutiques “globalizing” local shopping
Caroline Brody
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 12:59 pm
Though they will have to be wary of competitors in the market in the coming years, Farfetch seems to have found the recipe for success as a platform in the e-commerce fashion space.
OfferUp: Tackling Craigslist, Head On
Will Newell
Posted on February 25, 2017 at 12:24 pm
OfferUp is a fast-growing new entrant seeking to build a C2C marketplace, but can it compete against eBay and Craigslist?
eBay – A tale of creating, capturing…and losing value in platform markets
meghana
Last modified on February 26, 2017 at 6:30 pm
What it takes to create and sustain in a platform market
Snapchat, a “camera” for Gen Y and Z?
Cathy
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 5:42 pm
Snapchat is a social messaging app that features self-deleting image and video taking. It has proven success among younger users of Gen Y and Z and has taken increasing wallet share from advertisers who like to target this group. However [...]
TURO – The collision of AirBNB and Automobiles
Andrew Banovic
Posted on February 25, 2017 at 12:41 pm
TURO - Can AirBNB and Uber combine to eliminate the need to own a vehicle all together?
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.
eBay – can an e-commerce giant reinvent itself?
dturenshine
Last modified on February 26, 2017 at 2:51 pm
eBay was the original goliath in the e-commerce marketplace. How did Amazon overcome such a powerful incumbent and how can eBay compete going forward?
Slack: B2B’s Home Base, the Everything Enterprise Platform
Ellen DaSilva
Last modified on February 17, 2017 at 10:43 pm
Slack's humble beginnings as a feature within a game soon became a product with a cult-like following. Is its rapid growth a result of its platform for 3rd party enterprise SaaS integrations, and does that raise switching costs as the [...]
LiquidSpace and the Platformization of Office Rentals
dk_22
Last modified on February 26, 2017 at 6:59 pm
A door down from WeWork, there is LiquidSpace. Both companies are pursuing a modern approach to the office space marketplace, but LiquidSpace has stayed truer to the rules of platform strategy.
DraftKings – Making Fantasy Sports a Daily Activity
Andrew
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 4:28 pm
DraftKings is the market leader in the DFS arena because of their product breadth and their user interface and experience.
Github: The home for Open Source
David
Posted on February 25, 2017 at 6:16 pm
Github has come to dominate the software source code hosting market. Despite limited network effects and ease of multi-homing, Github has managed to tip the market in its favor using clever strategies and an open embrace of open source software.
HERE’s digital mapping data to rule autonomous cars
Carolin_Oldenbuettel
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 6:23 pm
HERE's mapping platform has already 90% automotive market share and aspires to be the industry standard for autonomous cars
Box: Defending its Business through a Platform
Ravneet Uberoi
Last modified on February 26, 2017 at 9:41 pm
Why Box's journey from product to platform is a matter of life or death.
TaskRabbit- More of a tortoise than a rabbit
changeme_47
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 7:19 pm
Leveraging International scaling to radically change a platform pricing strategy
Amazon.com – the Winner Takes It All
DmitryDIGIT
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 4:18 pm
Amazon.com - an icon in the world of platforms
Verbling: Using Platform Technology to Transform Language Learning
Tyler
Posted on February 25, 2017 at 10:19 pm
Can an online platform for language learning convince 97% of the current market that prefers in-person, offline courses to switch? If so, how can it become the dominant platform in this space?
Alexa: From Smart Assistant to Smart Platform
shsenior
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm
In the last few years smart assistants have been getting a lot of attention as the tech giants compete for share of voice. Apple was one of the first to market with Siri, but they kept their AI platform closed and [...]
A Bumpy Ride for Beepi
AC
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 10:48 am
Peer-to-peer used car marketplace Beepi has gone from a successful $149MM capital raise to a desperate fire sale in less than four years. What led the company to take a turn for the worse?
Facebook Advertising Platform: The money making engine behind Facebook’s growth
Bipul Sinha
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 10:49 am
Facebook Ad platform is the engine that is subsidizing the rapid growth of Facebook. Revenues from its ad platform has grown at a CAGR of 55% for the last 5 years and contributes 97% of Facebook revenue