Platform lesson #9: Be careful to open up to third parties

Every platform company I’ve worked with would love to open up their platform to third parties and get ‘free’ functionality extensions. Especially the idea of a multi-sided platform where different parties exchange value with each other and you collect a nice slice of each transaction comes across as a highly desirable state of being where … Read more

Platform lesson #8: Instrument your platform for data-driven decisions

William Edwards Demming, the American who helped Japan rebuild itself after World War II, famously said: “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” This is still a lesson most companies haven’t fully incorporated. Once a platform gets a certain amount of traction, the opportunity to make data-driven decisions presents itself. This is incredibly … Read more

Platform lesson #7: Constantly optimize commodity for TCO

In earlier posts, I’ve introduced the Three Layer Product Model (3LPM). Similar to all other software, platforms have three layers of functionality: innovative and experimental, differentiating and commodity. Functionality typically starts as innovative and, when it resonates with customers, becomes differentiating. The differentiating functionality drives sales and market share, causing competitors to develop similar functionality … Read more

Platform lesson #6: Control platform variability

Software platforms by their very nature support multiple products. Typically, these products are used in different contexts and configurations. As a consequence, the platform has to offer variation points that allow each product and customer to use the platform in the way that best suits their purposes. Each variation point then has two or more … Read more