Review: Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy–and How to Make Them Work for You

Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy--and How to Make Them Work for You
Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy–and How to Make Them Work for You by Geoffrey G. Parker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rating: 3.7

Fairly interesting read focused on the idea of the “platform” in the commercial space. Not to be confused with the Michael Hyatt style individual platform (which is basically your professional/personal/social presence on the internet which you use to forward your ideas and showcase your talents). This book is more focused on what I would describe as “integrated commercial platforms.”

For example, the Android ecosystem is a platform. It includes a standard set of apps and APIs which are commonly used in phones and tablets. Google also has their larger web based platform that includes Chrome, Google docs, their cloud services, Maps/Earth, Youtube, G+, etc. Apple has it’s platform with iOS/MacOS (you can include those together or keep them separate) which includes the OS, mail app, safari, iTunes, iMovie, Quicktime, and all the rest.

Basically these are tightly integrated applications (+/- hardware) that work together to make certain things easier for the end user and at the same time serve to keep that user tied to the platform. A long-term Mac user isn’t very likely to switch to Windows (or Linux) because they likely have a large investment in software, hardware and peripherals that work a certain way together. Not to mention the years of experience using the interface that helps in productivity.

Those are commonly understood platforms. But there are others. Amazon has it’s platform. Facebook is a platform (so was MySpace). Uber is a platform. B2B and more.

All of this movement to socially-integrated platform businesses is producing a 4th wave of change. This book talks about that change and the effects it has on legacy industries and governmental regulation. There is a fair amount of discussion regarding governmental involvement, but I found it to be either balanced or directionless (maybe the author hasn’t made up his mind on the issues – at times he seems liberal and at other times libertarian). Overall, the political discussion isn’t preachy or burdensome.

If you’re looking for a roadmap on how to best direct your efforts to ride the wave of the Platform Revolution, I don’t know that this book delivers on that promise. But if you’re firmly rooted in a legacy industry and want to better understand these changes and therefore get some insights that you might use to get your company out of the muck of the past, this is a good overview that should give you an idea of what is going on and why.

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