Platform Variety

March 02, 2021

Read The Full Prompt

Digital technologies give rise to a variety of platforms. Think about how iTunes makes apps available for iPhone users or helps those seeking partners.

For this assignment, please pick ONE of the following two options:

1) Identify a platform firm, describe how it creates and capture value, and evaluate its scalability and sustainability.  To make it interesting, please stay away from well-known platforms such as those owned by Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft.

2) Identify a firm that tried to work with a platform (e.g., Australian banks or X-Fire) or tried to become a platform (e.g., Lexoo). Describe the opportunities and challenges in its journey.

In both cases, stress the strategy for value creation, but feel free to make observations about aspects of value capture.

Create an approximately 750-word post. Make your contribution by 6pm on March 2.

Please also respond to and comment on three other posts by 8am on March 3. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos, and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Selected posts will be discussed in class and also featured on the HBS Digital Initiative website.

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

Submitted (30)

Exploitive Platforms: How Tinder Exploits Lonely Men to Make MASSIVE Profits
Omar Aboulezz
Last modified on February 28, 2021 at 10:52 pm
Tinder is a matching platform that helps strangers within a reasonable geographic radius to meet and to converse if both users express interest. The platform makes gigantic profits by exploiting lonely men who pay outrageous asymmetric prices for premium features/services [...]
Bumble: Monetizing Empowerment
Vikram Singh
Last modified on March 3, 2021 at 12:22 pm
A look at how bumble creates value while sticking to its mission of providing women more agency over their online dating experience.
OnlyFans: Revolutionizing the Online Sex Industry?
Karl Njeim
Last modified on March 2, 2021 at 9:57 am
OnlyFans is a platform that connects consumers with content creators (typically erotic content creators). Recently, the website has seen a flux of celebrities and influencers creating accounts to share exclusive content with their fans. Is this success here to stay?
Clubhouse – The Audio-Only Platform
Pranav Gupta
Posted on March 1, 2021 at 2:17 pm
Clubhouse is an interactive audio-only social platform. Users can join audio-only conversations like joining a group of people chit-chatting around an actual clubhouse. Once you leave, so does any record of the conversation. This makes for some interesting conversations, but [...]
Adding Value Through Sweat…The Fitness App That Keeps You Working Out
Tiffany Banfield
Posted on March 2, 2021 at 4:27 pm
Sweat is a fitness app that has leveraged a mobile app platform to deliver tough and effective workouts for 1 million active users.
DoorDash: Winning the restaurant food delivery war?
Posted on March 2, 2021 at 12:26 pm
Amongst all the food delivery platforms benefitting from the COVID-19 induced growth spurt, DoorDash seems to be winning basis its strong platform strategy.
Zeel: Massage on Demand
Max Pakapol
Last modified on March 1, 2021 at 9:25 pm
Massages have long held the benefits of improved blood circulation, reduced stress, and heightened mental alertness. Now you can enjoy these benefits at the comfort of your own home. Zeel, launched in 2012, is the first company to offer same-day, [...]
BetterHelp: Democratizing Access to Mental Health Services
Last modified on March 1, 2021 at 6:56 pm
BetterHelp is the world’s largest mental health platform, connecting over 16 thousand therapists to nearly two million patients. The company was founded in 2013 by Alon Matas and aims to reinvent the way behavioral and mental health services are delivered.
When Athletes meet Coaches and Coaches meet Athletes
Tim Meulemeester
Last modified on March 2, 2021 at 9:35 pm
CoachUp: Find your personal trainer the way you find your Uber driver.
Zola: Your New Favorite “All Things Wedding” Platform is Free.. Mostly!
Shekeyla Caldwell Sandore
Last modified on March 2, 2021 at 2:59 pm
This breakthrough platform decided to offer a broad selection of free services to funnel customers to their registry store. Look into how Zola created an engaging platform for the engaged and newlywed by offering exciting commitment free membership.
Mogul – How an HBS alumna founded a platform that empower women and bridge the gender leadership gap
Giulia Zaratti
Last modified on March 2, 2021 at 5:35 pm
Mogul is a community platform and a B2B software company created in 2014 by an HBS alumna, Tiffany Pham, to increase women empowerment and connecting top talent with opportunities.
Kickstarter: Bringing creative projects to life
Kanako Sakai
Last modified on March 1, 2021 at 12:49 pm
Kickstarter connects creators and backers to bring creative projects to life.
Pampers Clubs: Turning Baby’s Dirty Diapers Into Cash Rewards
Juan Carlos
Posted on March 2, 2021 at 5:40 pm
Diapers are a critical element of a new baby’s upbringing.  According to a USDA report, child-related expenses total up to $15,000 per year.  For newborns, the cost can be as high as $50,000 depending on location and household income.  Within [...]
Esty: A one stop shop to shop small online
Julia Kalanik
Posted on February 23, 2021 at 11:23 pm
Etsy connects craftsmen with seeking buyers in a sustainable execution of a platform, but potentially lacks scale.
SoundCloud – Pay me what you owe!
John V.
Posted on March 2, 2021 at 6:01 pm
SoundCloud is a different kind of streaming disruptor where fans are in control
Poshmark: Turning Rags Into Riches?
Posted on February 28, 2021 at 10:38 pm
Poshmark provides a platform for secondhand retail that has captured the heart of investors, but will its success last?
Twitch: a leader of gaming live-streaming eyes the entire live-streaming market
Vartan Pahalyants
Last modified on March 2, 2021 at 10:29 pm
Twitch: a live-streaming company shifts its focus to grow non-gaming content on its platform
Patreon: The Platform for the New Age of Creators (for Now?)
Daniel Campos
Last modified on March 2, 2021 at 11:58 am
Can Patreon fulfill its mission to get artists and creators paid, but do so sustainably so the company also gets paid?
MindBody: the playbook for SaaS-enabled platforms
Bruno Novarini
Posted on March 1, 2021 at 11:54 am
Many of you may think of MindBody as the platform you use to book fitness classes. It turns out that this platform play was only introduced almost a decade later by MindBody. Since its inception, MindBody understood the power of [...]
Intellifluence: Connecting Influencers with Brands
Posted on March 1, 2021 at 6:58 pm
A look at how Intellifluence creates value by connecting influencers and brands through its platform.
Strava: Striding for Kudos and Connection
Julia Loughlin
Posted on March 2, 2021 at 3:54 pm
Strava - a virtual trainer and teammate.
Opendoor: Transforming the Residential Real Estate Market
Posted on March 2, 2021 at 4:25 pm
Residential real estate is one of the largest markets yet to be transformed by digitalization. Opendoor is trying to change that.
Le Bon Coin: The secrets of a local business model
Stéphane V
Last modified on March 2, 2021 at 4:41 pm
This is the story of a company with very strong ambitions of local growth. Outside of France, people rarely heard of the name “Le Bon Coin” (in English “the good corner”), but it would be hard to find a single [...]
Faire: Helping Small Brands and Retailers Succeed Together in the Digital Age
Francisco Cortes
Posted on March 1, 2021 at 7:12 pm
Online marketplace helping retailers find their next big hit by empowering small brands to go into wholesale.