Book Review: Platform Revolution

Full title: Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You, by Geoffrey G. Parker, Marshall W. Van Alstyne, and Sangeet Paul Choudary

3 out of 5 stars | Read the summary on Goodreads

If you're at all interested in how companies like Amazon, Google, Airbnb, Uber, and Facebook have come to dominate the business world, this is the book for you. It's a little dense and very textbook-y, but an essential analysis of how business is shifting, and what everyone—business folks or not—needs to know.

Platform businesses work through matching consumers with producers more efficiently than previous industries. This means matching open cars to commuters looking for a ride directly, instead of hoping a cab will come by; it also means maximizing space in someone's  home by pairing extra rooms with people looking to stay.

As they say in Silicon Valley, "disrupt or be disrupted." This book explains why everything has become the "Uber for X" and why platform businesses are the wave of the future.

If you want to understand how to start and run a platform business, or why they're taking over our lives, this is a great book for foundational knowledge, covering security, regulation, consumer trust, and which markets will be next to be disrupted.

Platforms beat pipelines because platforms scale more efficiently by eliminating gatekeepers. Until recently, most businesses were built around products, which were designed and made at one end of the pipeline and delivered to consumers at the other end. Today, plenty of pipeline-based businesses still exist—but when platform-based businesses enter the same marketplace, the platforms virtually always win.

Though I gave it a 3, that's really only because it reads a little dry. The information is sound, the examples fabulous (and current, so read it now) and it's definitely worth a read for anyone looking to do business in tomorrow's world.

Find your next to-read business book with the rest of my book reviews.