PRODUCTHEAD: Will platforms conquer the world?
PRODUCTHEAD is a regular newsletter of product management goodness,
curated by Jock Busuttil.
In solving their own internal scaling problem, Amazon inadvertently created the building blocks for the AWS platform
Stripe’s founders didn’t shy away from tackling an unattractively difficult problem
Platforms connect different sides of a market, even if they have dramatically different needs and capabilities
Twilio’s founder prioritised the developers who’d implement his API, not the managers who’d pay for it
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I recently participated in a lively panel discussion for Tafra.io, which posed the question “Will platforms conquer the world?” (I’ll post up the video when it’s available.)
My view? They already have.
Almost every aspect of our lives relies on some kind of software platform, whether it’s the apps on our smartphone, the online marketplaces we buy from, the payments we make, the comments we post on social media, or the television shows and movies we stream.
Even the cars we drive are increasingly built upon hardware platforms shared across marques, such as Hyundai’s Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), so that its various automotive marques — Hyundai, Kia and Genesis — don’t have to reinvent the wheel (pun totally intended).
In preparation for a longer article I’ll publish soon on I Manage Products about the challenges of taking a platform to market, I thought I’d share with you a few of the stories behind some of the more dominant platforms we currently use. Don’t forget to subscribe to be the first to read it.
Speak to you soon,
what to think about this week
What you may not know is that the roots for the idea of AWS go back to the 2000 timeframe when Amazon was a far different company than it is today — simply an e-commerce company struggling with scale problems. Those issues forced the company to build some solid internal systems to deal with the hyper growth it was experiencing — and that laid the foundation for what would become AWS.
[Ron Miller / TechCrunch]
Patrick and John Collison have democratised online payments – and reshaped the digital economy in the process.
[Stephen Armstrong / WIRED]
A Rocket Rides pilot doesn’t have the wherewithal to open a business bank account at Goldman Sachs, and Goldman Sachs doesn’t have the flexibility to offer a banking account to individual entrepreneurs. This, though, is the exact sort of problem platforms solve: they provide an abstraction layer that connects different sides of a market, even if those different sides have dramatically different needs and capabilities.
[Ben Thompson / Stratechery]
“The dirty secret of every startup ever is that when you look at companies with these big, world-changing missions … those are usually retroactively put in place.”
Jeff Lawson took Twilio from an idea that no one had a name for, to an IPO, and now a $63 Billion market cap company. His words echo my experience at Trulia — the story you hear about iconic companies is rarely what actually happened.
This is the insider story of Twilio.
[Pete Flint / NfX]
When your stakeholders each have their own interpretations of the product strategy, this lack of stakeholder alignment will cause you no end of problems. Here’s what you can do about it.
[I Manage Products]
When we become more worried about risk, four unintended things also tend to happen: bottlenecking, erosion of trust, ossification of process, and a risk appetite that tends towards zero. Here’s what you can do about them.
[I Manage Products]
How can product management fit into an agency business model when requirements or specifications are often contractually set in stone by the client up-front? Spoiler alert: not easily
[I Manage Products]
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PRODUCTHEAD is a newsletter for product people of all varieties, and is lovingly crafted from wet, green wood.
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The Practitioner's Guide To Product Management
by Jock Busuttil
“This is a great book for Product Managers or those considering a career in Product Management.”— Lyndsay Denton