This idea of platforms has been talked about for years now, new start-ups are popping up everywhere, many are trying to convert and become a useful platform. Why a platform? The business of the future needs to become a destination and useful, a place where people can come together and do something useful. People always return to things and places that are useful to them.
The best example of a platform to date is Google, they provide an environment where you can run your entire business. That in itself is very useful. Crisis mappers wasted no time responding: In under 2.5 hours Google launched its person finder application, which was also used when New Zealand’s 6.3 quake. A platform can be built upon and used, think of all the things you can do at Google, problems you can solve, and dare I say it, the time you can save. Today you can view your street via Google Maps, you can get images, videos, news, books, you can use Gmail for your primary email service, you can use Blogger to put your content on the NET, you can translate the language of a site. Google provides all these tools at no charge to you, an open & free business model to the extreme, it’s what the cloud is meant to be.
If you have a platform, you will need developers and other entrepreneurs to build on it, creating more functionality which brings more users. FaceBook did that. Networks are built upon platforms, the Internet is a platform, services like Flickr, WordPress, PayPal, self-publishing company LuLu.com, and business software Salesforce.com.
Google as I mentioned above is not just one platform but multiple platforms, multiple ways of using Google, multiple ways to build upon what Google has built and provides to you for free. What is a platform, platforms help users create products, businesses, communities, and networks of thier own. If it’s open and collaborative, those users may add value to platforms.
Questions to ask yourself: How can you or your business act as a platform? What can others build on top of it? How can you add value? How little value can you extract? How big can the network grow atop your platform? How can the platform get better learning from it’s users? How can you create an open standard so competitors will use and even contribute to the network and you get a share of thier value? It’s time to make your business a platform. It’s time to make your business mobile.
As you can see by the list of questions there is much to consider, pull together a team to begin the process of building you platform. If you are looking for help in creating ideas to adopt the future of business, stay here, I will be continually be posting concepts and ideas for you to build upon, or, just e-mail me.