July 9, 2019

Platform vs product

A platform - for a Super App

I first read the Steve Yagg rant in 2011, but I paid too much attention to the "why is Google better" part. Thats just to set the scene. What Steve is really driving towards, even years later when he moved to Grab, and again a year later, is what is a Platform business, and why Google don't get it, but Amazon and a few others did.

But a Product is just a Product. It will only serve its intended audience, for the time it can. You build many products on a platform. Many others can build their products on your platform. A Platform is the gift that carries on giving. And APIs are hugely part of that.


Platform is one of the most misunderstood ideas in the world of the Responsive OS. Platforms can be accidental or intentional. In this model, a platform is a foundational product that moves beyond product status by encouraging others to build, play, and/or iterate on top of it. In a platform, the value and utility of the system is continually being discovered and expanded not just by the organization, but by its users and customers. Put simply, Platforms are shared innovation engines that outsource the costly and uncertain discovery process. For example, when Twitter notices a startup doing something innovative with its API, it has three choices: buy them, compete with them, or shut them down. With hundreds of developers exploring possible applications for Twitter’s users and data, they greatly accelerate their exploration of future value. Many platforms today are 100% software, but they don’t have to be. Both AirBnB and Uber turned the physical world (cars and housing) into a platform for millions (at least, for now). In those networks, the users are building businesses on the back of the platform, and in some cases changing how they operate in order to better serve the platform.

This is an awesome read on Platforms and Ecosystems, and how Platform Ecosystems all Developers to Invert the Firm

The Sacred Myths Of The Platform Economy

I get it now. Thanks Steve.

PS. Check out the rest of Steve's blogs on Medium and blogspot