Here’s what we’ve been reading this week.
1. Capitalism, Meet Cooperative Capitalism http://goo.gl/1k7eFV
The founder of Zipcar talks about how the Connected Revolution has changed what works for businesses. She makes the case that platforms (what she calls “Peers Inc.”) are the business model of the future. She argues that this new business model is more efficient, more sustainable and creates more value:
The Internet, smart phones, electronic payments, GPS, online ratings, and social media have transformed the way we can build businesses, the way we can use assets, and who we can collaborate with. Uber and Airbnb, along with Skype, oDesk, elance, TaskRabbit, Blablacar, GetAround, Lyft, Skype, WhatsApp, MeetUp, Etsy, YouTube, Facebook, DuoLingo, Quirky, TopCoder, Enigma.io -— this list could go on for paragraphs — are building companies very efficiently, and differently, than in the past. …This new way of sourcing, by using assets efficiently, is more sustainable. The new way of working provides greater agency to individuals, values their creativity, has the potential to offer the protection of diversified income streams.
2. Uber’s Real Challenge: Leveraging the Network Effect http://goo.gl/9ml1BU
The New York Times examines Uber’s platform business model and how it leverages network effects to create value. But the author also questions whether Uber’s network effects will provide an effective moat against future competition in a highly competitive industry:
The task facing Uber is not just to overcome the hurdles and make ride-sharing a multibillion dollar industry. It’s to try to entrench the advantages it has from being first: continually refining its offerings to have the best possible user experience, the best data analytics to ensure that people can get a car when they need one, and not to be greedy with regard to its commission, lest it be all the more inviting a target for rivals. It’s no easy job, but nobody said building a company worth $18 billion is.
3. Why Priceline paid so much for Open Table http://goo.gl/gqW8EY
A quick look at why Priceline was willing to pay so much for OpenTable that includes a good overview of OpenTable’s platform business model and pricing strategy.
4. Facebook’s Slingshot Challenges Snapchat With ‘Reply To Unlock’ http://goo.gl/ynxERz
Facebook released it’s latest Snapchat clone/competitor this week: Slingshot. The app does differ from Snapchat in that it requires users to send their own photo or message in order to view one they’ve been sent. Will Facebook prevail, or is Slingshot doomed to be another Poke?
5. An Inside Interview with VP of Elance-oDesk http://goo.gl/zeW2gh
Kjetil J. Olsen is a VP at Elance-oDesk, one of the world’s leading platforms for online freelance work. He talks about how the nature of work is changing and how platforms deliver greater flexibility to workers.
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