In 2011, Marc Andreessen, co-author of the first widely used web browser (since turned venture capitalist) famously proclaimed that "software
is eating the world," observing that global economies were shifting from being hardware-based to software-based. Fast forward just a few years, and this saying already requires an update: Platforms are eating the world.
What's the distinction? Platform companies are software companies, but with a twist. In traditional supply-side software, the program itself is the product, which is produced internally by the company's employees and shipped to customers in a linear process.
But in a platform company, the product is created externally, connecting producers and consumers (or buyers and sellers) with each other in a digital, demand-side marketplace. The resulting network
itself becomes the backbone of the product.
- The Ultimate Platform
- Travel Intermediaries Defend Their Turf
- The Dilemma of Suppliers in a Platform-First World
- Piecing It All Together