A reading club with a view to the future

327 Michael A. Cusumano, Annabelle Gawer, David B. Yoffie: The business of platforms

This book explores the strategies and economics of platform businesses, providing insights for both established companies and aspiring entrepreneurs.



"The Business of Platforms" delves into the world of platform businesses, such as Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, and examines the strategies and economic principles that drive their success. The authors analyze the key elements of platform business models, including the creation of network effects, platform governance, and monetization strategies. They also explore the challenges and opportunities faced by both established companies transitioning into platforms and entrepreneurs seeking to build their own platforms. With real-world examples and case studies, this book offers valuable insights and practical guidance for understanding and thriving in the platform economy.


Title: The Business of Platforms

Authors: Michael A. Cusumano, Annabelle Gawer, David B. Yoffie

Publishing Year: 2019

Publisher: Harper Business

Length: 8 hours and 7 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Platform business models: Learn how platforms create value by connecting users, producers, and consumers in a mutually beneficial ecosystem.
  2. Network effects: Understand the power of network effects in driving platform growth and the strategies to leverage and sustain them.
  3. Platform governance: Explore the challenges of platform governance, including issues of trust, regulation, and managing conflicts among participants.
  4. Monetization strategies: Discover the various ways platforms generate revenue, from advertising and subscription models to transactions and data monetization.
  5. Platform competition: Gain insights into the dynamics of platform competition, including platform wars, tipping points, and the role of platform partnerships.

5 funny quotes

  1. "Platforms are like parties: the more guests, the merrier the atmosphere."
  2. "Building a platform is like baking a cake: you need the right ingredients, the right recipe, and a pinch of magic."
  3. "Platforms turn strangers into friends, and friends into business partners."
  4. "A successful platform is like a well-orchestrated symphony: every player has a role, and the result is harmonious."
  5. "In the platform world, even cats can become celebrities."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "Platforms disrupt industries by transforming the economics of how value is created, delivered, and captured."
  2. "Successful platforms combine technology, business models, and ecosystems to create powerful network effects."
  3. "The battle for platform dominance is often won or lost by the ability to attract and engage users."
  4. "Platforms thrive when they strike the delicate balance between control and openness."
  5. "Platform leaders must navigate complex regulatory environments and address concerns about privacy, security, and fairness."

5 dilemmas

  1. Balancing the need for platform control with the desire for user autonomy and participation.
  2. Navigating the tension between platform openness and the protection of user data and privacy.
  3. Addressing the challenge of maintaining trust and safety in platform ecosystems with diverse participants.
  4. Managing the power dynamics between platform leaders and third-party developers or service providers.
  5. Adapting to changing regulatory landscapes and navigating antitrust concerns in the platform economy.

5 examples

  1. Amazon's platform revolutionized the e-commerce industry, offering a vast marketplace and powerful logistics capabilities.
  2. Uber disrupted the transportation industry by connecting riders and drivers through its platform, transforming the way people travel.
  3. Airbnb created a platform that enables individuals to rent out their homes, challenging traditional hospitality providers.
  4. Apple's App Store transformed the mobile industry by creating a platform for developers to distribute and monetize their apps.
  5. Facebook's social media platform revolutionized how people connect, share, and interact online, shaping the modern social landscape.

Referenced books

  1. "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries
  2. "The Innovator's Dilemma" by Clayton M. Christensen
  3. "Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy—and How to Make Them Work for You" by Geoffrey G. Parker, Marshall W. Van Alstyne, and Sangeet Paul Choudary
  4. "The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More" by Chris Anderson
  5. "The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google" by Scott Galloway

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"In the platform world, even cats can become celebrities."

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