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Boston University

Platform Strategy for Business

Boston University via edX


Firms such as Apple, Alibaba, Facebook, SalesForce, Uber and Yelp operate platform ecosystems that match buyers and sellers, gain value and market share from network effects, and harness their users to innovate.

This course teaches you how to convert products to platforms and how to innovate in a platform environment. You will learn how to negotiate platform startup, convert existing products to platforms, and make vital decisions on issues of openness, cannibalization, and competition.

Learners in this course will solve real-life problems using concepts from two sided networks, information asymmetry, pricing, intellectual property, and game theory.

The instructor for this course literally wrote the book on the topic: " Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy --and How to Make Them Work for You. "

This course is part of both the Digital Leadership and Product Management MicroMasters programs.


Week 1: Foundations
What's happening in the economy. Why platform firms are fundamentally different than product firms.

Week 2: Architecture
Components of and design principles of successful platforms.

Week 3: Launch
Strategies for solving the chicken-or-egg problem and how to gain critical mass.

Week 4: Monetization
Why pricing is different in platform markets and how to choose price.

Week 5: Open vs Closed
How Steve Jobs got it wrong the 1st time. How to choose what to give away and what to keep.

Week 6: Strategy
Why product strategies fail for platforms and how to compete in a network market.

Taught by

Marshall Van Alstyne


5.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

4.2 rating at edX based on 16 ratings

Start your review of Platform Strategy for Business

  • Great class on changes in business models, org structure, and competitive strategy. Differences in how to run a platform company really do represent a departure from how to run a product company. Instructor really knows the material. Monetization section has a nice simulation exercise. First run of the class had challenges administering the final. Overall highly recommended.

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