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The Age of the Platform

There aren’t many days where I see repeated references to the Gang of Four.  But today was such a day.

(I’m reading  The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell which mentions the Gang of Four (Jiang Qing, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and Wang Hongwen), Chinese Communists Party members who were charged with treason following Mao’s death.)

In an excerpt for his soon to be published The Age of The Platform*, author Phil Simon is talking about a different Gang of Four – namely Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.

Speaking personally, I use Apple, Facebook and Google platforms every day, multiple times a day.  I rely on them for my personal connections and Apple and Google, in particular, are critical to my business.  I am also an Amazon recidivist – I’d be using it daily were I independently wealthy – as it is, I’m ordering from Amazon at the very least twice a month.  And not just books, CDs and DVDs.  I order everything from printer cartridges to vacuum cleaner bags from Amazon.

Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google continue to grow explosively.  Why don’t they fall victim to the same soul-crushing characteristics of other big companies such as contribution margins trumping innovation, bureaucracy trumping agility, and generally doing things that are worthy of lampooning in Dilbert cartoons?

Simon suggests “…they are winning…because they are following an entirely new blueprint and business model.  They have spent a great deal of time and money building extremely power and valuable ecosystems, partnerships, and communities.  This new model hinges upon powerful ecosystems that, in turn, fuel astounding levels of innovation, profits, and growth.”

Now, how does a business like Dawn Westerberg Consulting LLC learn from the Gang of Four?  I’ll have to wait for Simon to finish the book – and I’m looking forward to it.  In the meantime…

…I’d like to encourage you to do two things:

  1. Go read the excerpt of The Age of the Platform.  That you can do for free.
  2. If you are intrigued and excited by what Phil is pulling together, consider sponsoring the project.  You can do so for as little as a buck.  It’s fun to support a project like this.

*Full Disclosure – I have financially supported Phil Simon’s efforts through Kickstarter.  

Copyright © 2011 Dawn Westerberg Consulting

4 Responses to The Age of the Platform

  1. Phil Simon says:

    Thanks so much for the post, Dawn!

  2. Joel Ungar says:

    Dawn – this sounds like a fascinating book. Will you blog about it please when it is available? I can’t find it on Amazon even as soon to be published.

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