Book talks about platform economy in post-COVID world

Book talks about platform economy in post-COVID world
Image source: Google

New Delhi: Entrepreneur-author Sangeet Paul Choudary explains the importance of platform business models, the forces that power their rapid scale and the factors that will cement their dominance in a post-pandemic world in his new book.

"Platform Scale: For a Post-Pandemic World" explains the inner workings of platform business models and their ability to scale rapidly.

The book tells how the decade leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic witnessed the rise of platform business models as they drove stock market gains and extended their influence across economic and political activity.

The pandemic has accelerated these platforms further, it says, adding Apple, Google, Alibaba and Amazon have made strong inroads into the health-care industry.

The book, published by Penguin Random House India, serves as a maker's manual, helping executives design and build platforms, and provides a lens to analyse the shifts currently underway and their implications for future platform-scale businesses.

The first edition of "Platform Scale" was published in 2015 and it was an outcome of this growing fascination to unpack the inner workings of business models in a networked world. This new edition significantly updates the original text and thesis to help executives understand the ever-increasing importance of platform scale in a post-pandemic world.

According to Choudary, author of "Platform Revolution" and founder of Platformation Labs, as we move towards a post-pandemic world, digital platforms are increasingly mediating economic and social interactions.

"Their growing influence - in terms of wealth creation for their shareholders, but more importantly in terms of the positive and negative impact they have on all of their other stakeholders - is one of the defining shifts of our time," he writes.

He says as the platform economy grows, there are two simultaneous forces at play.

"Platforms allow greater market participation and democratize market access, empowering many ecosystem actors while doing so. At the same time, platforms concentrate data advantages and leverage AI and machine learning to harness this data for greater control over their ecosystems, often engaging in practices that may discourage competition and lead to the commoditisation of other players," he says.

Choudary feels the central dilemma in any platform-mediated ecosystem will be tension between openness and control.

"Openness leads to greater participation and scale. However, openness can take control away from the platform. Hence, the platform needs to exercise ownership over key control points in order to orchestrate the ecosystem and gain competitive advantage," he argues.

One of the emerging themes in the post-pandemic platform economy is the rise of digital public goods, which is expected to drive greater openness and inclusion, he says.

"To understand digital public goods, consider Google's open infrastructure - the Android operating system platform (AOSP). Digital public goods play a similar role in the expansion of the platform economy. The provisioning of digital public goods drives expansion of the platform economy, much as availability of the open AOSP enabled the widespread proliferation of smartphones and other smart devices," he writes.

In addition to driving greater inclusion into the platform economy, the creation of digital public goods is critical to the achievement of United Nation's Strategic Development Goals (SDGs), Choudary says.