The Businesses That Platforms Are Actually Disrupting – David S. Evans and Richard Schmalensee

MIT Sloan Professor Richard Schmalensee

MIT Sloan Professor Richard Schmalensee

From Harvard Business Review

Platforms are all the rage these days. Powered by online technologies, they are sweeping across the economic landscape, striking down companies large and small. Uber’s global assault on the taxi industry is well known. Many platforms, some household names and others laboring in obscurity, are doing the same in other sectors.

Surveying these changes, you might conclude that if your business isn’t a platform, you had better worry that one is coming your way. Everyone from automakers to plumbers should count their days as traditional businesses. And maybe you should jump on the platform bandwagon too. If it worked for Airbnb, why not you?

Based on our research into the wave of online platforms that have started in the last two decades, we don’t necessarily disagree. Traditional businesses should worry, and maybe they should think about platform strategies. But we think these conclusions are overwrought — and miss what’s really going on.

Read the full post at Harvard Business Review

David S. Evans is an economist, business adviser, and entrepreneur. He has done pioneering research into the new economics of multisided platforms. He is the co-author of Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms.

Richard Schmalensee is the Howard W. Johnson Professor of Management Emeritus and Professor of Economics Emeritus. 

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