I am looking forward to soon reading, digesting, and offering any thoughts I might have on what seems like a very timely and topical book, The Age of the Platform, by Phil Simon. There has not been a “business book” on “platform businesses” published for a while, even as this phenomenon has become one of the most visible and significant developments in how we interact economically and socially.
Books by what have been to date the two major scholars in the field appeared a couple of years ago. Annabelle Gawer’s Platforms, Markets, and Innovations (2009) collects a range of contemporary research articles/papers by academic experts in the field of platform study (the articles/papers cover a broad range of dimensions of the subject, and in very great depth; it is priced as a scholarly book, so will put a bit more of a dent in your research budget, though it should be worth it for the highly interested). Michael Cusumano’s Staying Power (2010) looks at how “platforms” and “services” can transform businesses, markets, and industries (it is a good, accessible business book that covers a lot of ground, draws on good examples, and describes some typical behaviors of platform businesses; the book is priced in the typical business book range). Both books are excellent, and leave a reader with many insights and questions of a very complex, emerging phenomenon.
The Age of the Platform comes at an opportune time when platform businesses have become visible and powerful forces in the economy and society AND interest on the part of business people and the general public is perking-up (to say nothing of the fact the platforms are now integrating economic and social interactions in unprecedented ways). The book’s author, Phil Simon is a top-notch, thorough and insightful business writer, and judging by the book descriptions and excerpts and the outline table of contents, the book seems to treat the subject of “modern platform businesses” in a very clear and thoughtful way (in contrast to the often scrambled treatments of this subject in the popular business press). The book is also a very reasonably priced business book.
I can’t wait to dig in.