How platforms really work: A reading list

A curated list of articles, videos and a podcast

N S Ramnath

[Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay]

Note: In the last week of November, we organised a week of learning for our community on the Future of Platforms. This list is part of that.

The often swinging and always polarising debates around platforms underline the fact that many business leaders, technologists, politicians, policymakers and activists are still in the process of understanding the intended and unintended, near-term and long-term consequences of platforms. This list, which also includes some videos and a podcast, is curated to give a sense of how the story of platforms has panned out in the real world. Dig in.

The basics

Pipelines, Platforms, and the New Rules of Strategy | HBR | Marshall W. Van Alstyne, Geoffrey G. Parker & Sangeet Paul Choudary

Firms that fail to create platforms and don’t learn the new rules of strategy will be unable to compete for long.

Platform Revolution | Social Business Forum, 2016 | Sangeet Paul Choudary  

The change

Zomato Gold: A crisis that was waiting to happen | Founding Fuel | Harsh Vardhan

The Zomato Gold membership programme was a runaway success, but the inherent conflict at the heart of the scheme has sparked off a huge battle between the aggregator and restaurants.

The gig economy | Founding Fuel | Charles Assisi

From the ingenious and the enterprising to the borderline weird, people are clambering on to platforms like Fiverr to live a life of their choosing

The Tech Battles | A two-part series by Haresh Chawla on how tech is changing the rules of the game

The fix

Will technology destroy democracy? | Founding Fuel | Arun Maira

Job destruction, fake news, polarisation. Rapid advances in technology are blamed for these. Is that claim justified? Are other factors at play? Who will regulate technology?

Why Silicon Valley can’t fix itself | The Guardian |  Ben Tarnoff and Moira Weigel

Tech insiders have finally started admitting their mistakes – but the solutions they are offering could just help the big players get even more powerful

The domination of Big Tech | Sangeet Paul Chaudary

Beyond business

Country-as-a-Platform: Why Singapore's future needs a platform strategy | Pipes to Platforms | Sangeet Paul Chaudary

When a tech idea goes into a government office | Founding Fuel | NS Ramnath

Aadhaar was designed as an enabler, a utility. That is its strength and its weakness

Societal Platforms | GCD | Nandan Nilekani

The future of platforms

Investing in disruptive innovation | Azeem Azhar interviews Cathie Wood, CEO and CIO of ArkInvest [Podcast]

More on this

Special content as part of our week of learning on the Future of Platforms for the Founding Fuel community.

Making sense of the New Capitalists | Founding Fuel | Haresh Chawla

Your smartphone is the gateway for platform businesses to drive their hooks deep into your psyche and pockets, edge out traditional businesses, and reset markets. In doing so, they are becoming monopolies, the likes of which we’ve never seen before. What is fair play in this new world?

The difficulty of cross-selling | Founding Fuel | NS Ramnath

How far can businesses push the power of platforms to sell new types of products? 

Understanding platform power—disruption or destruction? | Founding Fuel Masterclass

Platforms, data, analytics are not going to go away. The good news for incumbents: they do have strengths they can play to. The bad news: They will need a different mindset and rethink customer experience.

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About the author

N S Ramnath
N S Ramnath

Senior Editor

Founding Fuel

NS Ramnath is a member of the founding team & Lead - Newsroom Innovation at Founding Fuel, and co-author of the book, The Aadhaar Effect. His main interests lie in technology, business, society, and how they interact and influence each other. He writes a regular column on disruptive technologies, and takes regular stock of key news and perspectives from across the world. 

Ram, as everybody calls him, experiments with newer story-telling formats, tailored for the smartphone and social media as well, the outcomes of which he shares with everybody on the team. It then becomes part of a knowledge repository at Founding Fuel and is continuously used to implement and experiment with content formats across all platforms. 

He is also involved with data analysis and visualisation at a startup, How India Lives.

Prior to Founding Fuel, Ramnath was with Forbes India and Economic Times as a business journalist. He has also written for The Hindu, Quartz and Scroll. He has degrees in economics and financial management from Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning.

He tweets at @rmnth and spends his spare time reading on philosophy.

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