This is a review of Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets are Transforming the Economy–and How to Make Them Work for You
by Alstyne, Parker and Choudary

There is no doubt that a seismic shift is taking place in business models, with virtually no area of commerce being left untouched.  In seemingly unrelated areas, businesses are shifting from pipeline to platform models, and this study explains why and how.

There is a good balance in this book, between the economic theory of how platforms work to anecdotes from a wide range of experience.  As the authors describe the journey that Uber, Amazon, Alibaba and many more have taken to become the dominating companies in their field.

Platform Revolution provides an excellent primer to what makes a good platform and how great companies create and harness the network effects that help them grow at astonishing speeds.

The shift to platform models has created a new breed of companies that derive value from resources they neither own or create. The most successful of these companies will provide some sort of curation or quality control to harness the power of the network effects they utilise.

Each chapter focuses on different aspects of what makes a successful platform business, and explains each on in clear and concise terms, with examples and rationales to support.

Towards the end of the book, the authors take a future looking lens and describe where the greatest opportunities for disruption by platform businesses are.  With startups in almost all of these areas, it’s clear that the behemoths of the future will be exploiting some of these.

From a personal perspective, I’ve been involved in creating customer experiences in a number of platform-based businesses, and this book gave some good insight into how customers engaging with this new model need to be supported and serviced.

If you are involved or engaged in any platform related business, or startup, then I’d highly recommend Platform Revolution as essential reading for you and your team.