Over the last five years, four companies have ascended to absolutely astounding heights. They are Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, aka the Gang of Four. Yes, these companies excel via their superior use of technology. They have built incredible ecosystems. And they’ve embraced partnerships and external innovation.
Beyond all of this, the Gang of Four has embraced an entirely new way of doing business: the platform.
A platform is simply a set of integrated planks. The most powerful platforms today have two things in common:
While platforms inhere a great deal of potential commercial appeal and applications, they do not exist simply as a means for companies to hawk their wares.
At their core, platforms today are primarily about consumer utility and communications. Finally, because consumer tastes change much faster than business’ tastes, platforms today must adapt very quickly—or face obsolescence.
A Different Business Model
In the 1990s, platforms and ecosystems were not nearly as powerful, robust, and vibrant as they are today:
As I demonstrate in the book, it’s these connections between and among platforms and planks that allow Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google to do such amazing things. Platforms enable them to innovate so quickly and profoundly, deploy new features so rapidly, and create and dominate new markets.
Welcome to the Age of the Platform.
My previous book, The New Small, covered small businesses that could do things that many larger companies cannot. After the publication of that text, I started asking myself the following questions:
Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google quickly came to mind. They don’t let their size inhibit their innovation. Plus, everyone was talking about “platforms”, to this day one of the most bastardized business terms in the vernacular.
As I researched each company, I discovered that they follow very similar business models (read: a platform). The book examines the importance of the platform.
Over the course of two painful days in May of 2011, I churned out over 8,000 words of the manuscript in a hotel in Las Vegas. I was looking at homes when food poisoning felled me late one night. Those next two days were hell. Stubborn and afraid to venture outside of my room, I decided to make the situation work for me.
This book took my career to a new level. As of early 2014, sales have exceeded 12,000 units–not an easy thing to do these days. In 2012, it won an Axiom business technology book award. It was translated into Korean in 2013 and the Indonesian version is coming in 2014.
This was the second book from Motion Publishing.
Listen to the introduction of the book by clicking below. If you like, you can download it here.
Thoughts on platforms and an interesting way of manifesting the Wild Wild West that is Android.
Looking at two of the most important concepts in business today.
Essential reading on the state of business today–and where it is going. Ignore this book at your own peril.–Adrian C. Ott, award-winning author, The 24-Hour Customer ”
As someone who pores over countless business books each year, The Age of the Platform was a joy to read. Frankly, I can’t stand the overly long, formulaic books that have only a couple of new ideas in the first two chapters and then fill the rest of the book with ponderous examples that barely advance the thinking. The Age of the Platform is different. It makes valuable points throughout. A joy to read.–Brian Sommer ZDNet blogger and founder of TechVentive ”
The Age of the Platform is the kind of book to read if you want to better understand the Internet and how your company can fit into it and create a business model to profit from it.–Anita Campbell, co-author of Visual Marketing ”
Remarkably insightful. A must-read for anyone interested in creating change-tolerant organizations.–Robert Charette, President, ITABHI Corp ”
Nothing short of a 21st-century business survival guide.–Mike Faith, CEO & President, Headsets.com ”
Exceptionally researched and written. A landmark book.
Profound. Important. A groundbreaking text.–Jay Miletsky, Founder and CEO, MyPod Studios and author of Perspectives on Marketing ”