Book Review: Thoughts on Business of Platforms

Ever since I got to know about the library app – Libby. I have been reading and also listening more. One of the audiobook that I listen recently is The Business of Platforms. If you are hoping for any magic tricks that will help you build a platform, there are none in this audiobook but there are many case studies for you to learn.

Here are a few of my learnings

There 3 types of platforms. They are innovation, transactional and hybrid (which is a mix of both)

An example of innovation platforms is like Google Cloud, AWS etc. The barrier to entry is high. On the other hand, transactional platforms have lower barrier of entry. Example of such is like Carousell, Taobao etc. They bring in the supply and demand together.

Years ago, Togoparts is where people go to list their bicycle and parts to sell. Carousell came making it easier to list it on mobile and now you can find more bicycles listing on Carousell. The barrier of entry is low if you are able to provide convenience and become a utility.

The survival time of innovation platforms are also longer. Think Windows, they are still surviving even thou they missed the mobile boom.

One of the most ask question is which side of the platform should you build up first? In the case study shared, Airbnb build up supply side first. I start to think about it. Let say if I’m building a wedding planner marketplace. It could be easier to list the supply side first because maybe small businesses are more inclined to bring listed since there are no cost to them yet. The same took place for Taobao, they had sellers up on the platform first.

Sometimes at the start, you might even have to make your own demand and supply. Reddit founder mentioned he created fake accounts and ask questions on the platform too to trigger engagement.

I think this is quite an interesting book. I would give it 3 ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ if you are into case studies you will like it a lot.