The future of platform capitalism

Posted in business, digital by thenextwavefutures on 26 August, 2017

I have been meaning to write about Nick Srnicek’s book Platform Capitalism for a few months now. As you’d expect from his book Inventing the Future, co-written with Alex Williams, he tries to place the phenomenon of platform capitalism in the overall context of 21st century capitalism. This is a good thing, since there has been a lot of breathless over-excited stuff written in the past months on platforms, and indeed their place in the future of capitalism, for example by McKinsey. Or Wharton. Or Forbes.

The short book falls into three parts. There is a context-setting chapter on ‘The long downturn,’ which will surprise no-one who has read, for example, Wolfgang Streeck’s book and articles on the end of capitalism. The second chapter analyses different types of platforms and their strengths and weaknesses. A final chapter, ‘Great platform wars’, looks at the prospects.



Passion’s new business models

Posted in consumers, retail, technology by thenextwavefutures on 7 January, 2013

20130106-231050.jpgI have an article in the latest edition of Blink, which was published just before Christmas. Here’s a slightly fuller version of that article.

It used to be the case that businesses which followed people’s passions were niche businesses. Some were not businesses at all, in the conventional sense, but groups of fans and hobbyists doing some trading on the side.

The internet has changed all this. In the past, businesses used to have to choose between reach (mass market, tending towards commoditisation) and richness (niche market, with depth and sometimes knowledge rolled into the service). The internet allows businesses to break out of this trade-off. Passion has mass market potential.