After reading hundreds of business books, you start to get a sense of what makes a good title.
What makes a good book
Some books describe “what is”, some books describe “what to do” and some books make you think. I prefer the “make you think” and the hard-nosed versions of “to do” books. Like “blood on the wall marketing” or “stoicism as your operating system”. I do not like the “what is” books. What is the point of stating the obvious?
“Platform revolution; how networks are transforming the economy, and how to make them work for you” is a “what is” book. Because I am involved in building platforms such as www.smallbusinesscan.com and bigconnections.org, I felt obliged to read it.
Platforms are the future, nothing new
The book tells you that platforms are the future, annihilating barriers of time, space and gatekeepers. Nothing new there. Platforms lower transactions cost. Nothing new there. Platforms invert firms. Innovation is now crowdsourced. Nothing new there. Frictionless entry must be balanced through effective curation. Platforms eat pipelines. Some pipelines become platforms (Nike as an example). All nothing new.
Here is something interesting
Network creators have a price earnings ratio of 8.2. Technology creators have a 4.8 ratio and service providers a 2.6 ratio. I didn’t know that, but I am sure that the valuations of Facebook and LinkedIn have skewed that statistic.
Chicken and egg
With the creation of platforms, there is always a chicken and egg dilemma and in fairness to the book, it gives eights strategies to tackle that. From “producer evangelism”, “big bang adoption” to what I think is the most sensible approach for mortals like us, which is the micro market strategy. Target a small niche first.
It gives some tips on how to monetise, tips on how to create viral effects, tips on community management and openness, some things to think about regarding governance and what metrics to use. LTV is a prominent metric. And again there is nothing new there.
They finish with predicting where platforms are going to have the most impact. You won’t be surprised that the hotspots in their view are education, health care, finance, logistics, regulation, government and the internet of things. However, if you are in those industries, you could take note.
Ignore at you peril
Just because it is a boring book, it doesn’t mean you should ignore platforms. They will fundamentally transform these sectors and others. At micro and macro level. It is the ultimate consequence of marketing, technology and social media. After all the relationship with a client is the most valuable asset of a company (how long before that appears as a value on a balance sheet?). The time of dictating a market is gone. It is now only about persuasion through eco (ego) systems