The Age of the Platform: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Have Redefined Business by Phil Simon Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

The Age of the Platform: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Have Redefined Business

Buoyed by the success of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, thousands of companies of all sizes are creating vibrant ecosystems and, in the process, reaping big rewards. In the tradition of The Long Tail, The Age of the Platform demonstrates how the world of business today is vastly different from that of even 10 years ago.


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    Anita Campbell

    Oct 26, 2011

    rated it
    it was amazing

    Phil Simon’s newest book, 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.

    The subtitle “How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Have Redefined Business” gives further clues of what this book is about. Simon refers to these four companies as the “Gang of Four.” It’s a term first used by Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, to describe four tech companies tha

    The subtitle “How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Have Redefined Business” gives further clues of what this book is about. Simon refers to these four companies as the “Gang of Four.” It’s a term first used by Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, to describe four tech companies that are growing at “unprecedented rates.”

    What is a Platform?

    The premise of the book is that these four companies have created not just companies, not just technology. They’ve created platforms — and platforms are something that YOU can leverage with a small business. Or you can create your own smaller platform.

    What’s a platform? It’s a valuable and powerful technology ecosystem. It scales and grows quickly. It serves customers, yes. But it also serves vendors and partners, who use it for their own business purposes. A platform embraces third-party collaboration. The platform, he says, is “becoming one of the most important business models of the new millennium” and “new companies are hitching their wagons on the platform.”

    Platforms have benefits and they have their downsides. Benefits for you include a place to sell and distribute your content (Amazon or Apple’s iTunes) or promote your business (Google or Facebook). To understand the benefits of a platform, you have to understand consumer behavior. Simon says that consumers “want one-stop shopping, even at the expense of missing out on ‘the best’ app or service. They like platforms; they don’t want to manage 100 different devices, sites, and services.”

    Of course, the downsides include the fact that a platform may end up becoming your competitor. Or it may just go out of fashion (think MySpace), leaving you to have to re-establish a foothold on another platform. Therefore, you must be fluid and nimble, and able to change as circumstances change.

    A Lot to Like About This Book

    If you love to read about Google and Amazon — or are amazed at the growth of Facebook or how Apple can keep churning out new products that continue to delight — then you will love this book for that reason alone. These are history-making companies. We are seeing in real time how they change consumers’ lives. And, as the book points out, we are seeing how they are changing the Internet since roughly 2005.

    I know I can hardly resist reading a good article about these companies and how they are changing the Web. I’m fascinated. But reading an article here and there gives you a fragmented view. Reading a book gives you a broader view of the landscape, and puts more in context. You capture more of the nuances. You get a better understanding when you read a book.

    Another thing to like about this book is the way it gets you thinking about how to use the platforms of the Gang of Four (and other smaller platforms) to benefit your own business. It’s a book that raises more questions to think about, than perhaps it answers. That’s actually a good thing. After all, to build our businesses using the Internet we have to first open our minds and understand enough to know the possibilities.

    Who Should Read This Book

    This is a book for anyone with a business that is using the Internet to generate revenues — or wants to. If you produce content and want to promote or sell it online, read this book. If you create apps and need to get those apps to the populace, read this book. If you have developed technology or a product and need to market it, read this book.

    If you are struggling with your online business model, or finding that your business model has to evolve due to circumstances outside your control, read this book.

    It is NOT a how-to book in the true sense of the term. You will not be presented with chapter after chapter of detailed steps to take to create your own platform or learn to use the platforms of other companies. Yes, there is a chapter of about 30 pages called “The How: Tips for Building a Platform.” But you will have to do the thinking and heavy lifting to build your platform and learn to leverage others.

    Still, not every book needs to be a how-to. It’s an important book in the sense of understanding the big picture and how your business can fit in. We liked it so much that our Book Editors added it to our list of Top Technology Books. If you want to learn more you can read the foreword and listen to the Introduction in audio, on the book’s website.

    I recommend you read The Age of The Platform to start sparking ideas for where to take your business in the future.

    This review is adapted from the full review originally published on my site, Small Business Trends: http://smallbiztrends.com/2011/11/age…
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    Terri Griffith

    Jan 17, 2012

    rated it
    it was amazing

    I’m feeling guilty. I like Phil Simon’s new book, The Age of the Platform: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Have Redefined Business, because I agree with almost everything he says. The guilt comes from feeling like I should be looking for ideas that challenge my own, but with Phil Simon I think I’ve found an futurist/analyst who uses many of the same lenses I do. He shows how “each piece interacts with other parts of its ecosystem and the world at large” (Introduction). I feel less guilty

    Simon defines a platform as (p. 22):

    ..an extremely valuable and powerful ecosystem that quickly and easily scales, morphs, and incorporates new features (called planks in this book), users, customers, vendors, and partners….The most vibrant platforms embrace third-party collaboration. The companies behind these platforms seek to foster symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationships with users, customers, vendors, developers, and the community at large.

    This is an extension of traditional platform thinking which he notes includes: physical and infrastructure platforms; technology platforms like landlines, cellphones and the Internet; and media platforms that spread information. In my world of technology and innovation management we’d also include product platforms like the chassis that serves for multiple models of a car, the particular platform for a family of computer chips, and the material that Swiffer uses in its broad set of cleaning tools. Simon’s view is an extension that I’ll be adding to the platform discussions in my classes.

    The take away I hope my students will appreciate is that as platforms are built of “planks”:

    Platforms comprise individual components, features, products, and services—collectively referred to in this book as planks. Put simply, without planks, there are no platforms (p. 24).

    Planks create degrees of freedom that allow organizations to evolve in more logical ways than if they were monolithic (p. 133).

    The writing is accessible. Simon manages to keep the descriptions of things like the Facebook “Like” button basic enough for non-users while also giving enough unique perspectives for experts to gain value as well. Connections to pop-culture, like the game of Risk, make for an engaging read about companies we all watch and business strategies we all should be considering.

    If you’re in a rush and feel you understand how Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are building and leveraging their platforms, read Part I and then move to Part III. You’ll miss some great insights, but you’ll jump to models you can consider for your own business.
    …more

    David

    Dec 05, 2011

    rated it
    liked it

     · 
    review of another edition

    Shelves:
    read-computers

    This book is a parade example of the next big literary trend, Casual Reading. You saw it here first.

    POP QUIZ: “Casual Reading” is:

    a) laying around, smelly and unshaven, on a rainy Sunday afternoon with a good hardcover;
    b) sneaking a read on your mobile device, sitting in your fabric-walled cubical on Friday afternoon in pink Oxford shirt, chinos, and a open collar;
    c) an important new and highly trademarked-by-me concept which will support me in my rapidly-approaching old age, much as Elvis Coste

    POP QUIZ: “Casual Reading” is:

    a) laying around, smelly and unshaven, on a rainy Sunday afternoon with a good hardcover;
    b) sneaking a read on your mobile device, sitting in your fabric-walled cubical on Friday afternoon in pink Oxford shirt, chinos, and a open collar;
    c) an important new and highly trademarked-by-me concept which will support me in my rapidly-approaching old age, much as Elvis Costello gets a nickel every time they play “Pump It Up” at a hockey game.

    Just as Casual Gaming targets those with five free minutes while waiting for the bus or dropping off the dry cleaning, so does the Casual Read hang around undemandingly on your smartphone, waiting for you to long for a distraction from your distractions.

    OK, so the above is a little glib, but I am serious that this is a book that you can keep on your smartphone’s ebook app and consume as time allows without serious loss of comprehension. There’s a lot of “In the last chapter we saw…” and “In this chapter we will learn about…” to help you remember where you were, and where you were headed. Similarly, important paragraphs are often set off in bold type, so you know that they are especially important.

    I got the impression that the book was written at a simple reading level, as is appropriate for a text that will largely be experienced while waiting for your half-decaf skinny soy latté to evidence itself. In a highly uncharacteristic moment, I decided to check if my impression could be corroborated independently. I found a portion of this book on the web. Through the miracle of cut-and-paste, an online calculator of reading ease informed me that this portion was written at a ninth-grade reading level, according to the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease test. This is roughly at the same reading level of Reader’s Digest. (Source: Wikipedia entry on Flesch-Kincaid, available here.)

    Please don’t let me be misunderstood: I am NOT attempting to say “This book is written for illiterates”. I am saying that the book has been written simply and clearly. It has many short simple declarative sentences. This is necessary if you are going to try to read it with comprehension on a tiny screen, largely while hanging onto a subway strap for dear life. Anyone who has tried writing in this manner knows that it is much more difficult to do than it is to produce, for example, the gaseous verbiage that often winds up in academic journals. The inexplicable prestige and proliferation of academic journals with this type of writing is proof, as if any were necessary, that Satan is alive and walks this Earth.

    I seem to have wandered away from my point.

    The usefulness of the book’s ideas are more difficult for me to comment on, since I am not an enthusiastic early adopter nor an entrepreneurial spirit. But, like the little old ladies of yore who warned the young generation off that demon rock-n-roll, I now shake my rolled-up umbrella at you and say: “Put down that damn Angry Birds already and get yourself a Casual Read on that smartphone.” I know it’s a waste of time to tell you to give up your smartphone entirely: just because I’m a crank doesn’t mean I’m completely devoid of sense.


    …more