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Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You

Most people have heard of Uber, Airbnb, Amazon and PayPal. The growth and success of these companies and others stem from a technology-based business model that connects people and resources in an interactive ecosystem that creates and exchanges value while disrupting traditional businesses. That model is a platform and successful companies that utilize its power are transforming business, the economy and society.

Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future

In Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future, Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab, and Jeff Howe, assistant professor and founding director of the Media Innovation program at Northeastern University, accurately describe the state-of-the-art in technology through nine organizing principles whereby adaptive individuals and organizations can respond to ever-accelerating technology advancements.  In the introduction, the authors write, “our technologies have outpaced our ability as a society to understand them [and] now we need to catch up.”

The Content Trap, Part III: Context – Functional Connections

Dr. Bharat Anand compares the success of media company Schibsted’s digital transformation (from text-heavy to picture-intensive, from careful editing to rapid publishing, and from daily publishing to real-time updating) to that of The Economist. The latter doubled its print circulation from 2000-2015 while integrating its digital and print content, without changing the speed and manner in which digital offerings were updated. 

The Content Trap, Part II: Concerts – Product Connections

Dr. Bharat Anand writes about Mark McCormack, the legendary founder of International Management Group (IMG), who recognized that athletes could earn as much or more off the playing field, as on it. In signing Arnold Palmer as its first client, IMG grew to become the largest talent agency in golf and from there expanded to tennis, motor sports racing, track and field, baseball, football, fashion models, authors and musicians.  The reason for IMG’s success was its ability to manage connections across products.

The Content Trap, Part I: Classifieds – User Connections

Harvard’s Graduate School of Business Administration is known for its case study methodology. In the Content Trap, Dr. Bharat Anand describes several corporate users, their industries, and the ways in which these companies improved their connections to enhance their growth and success.

We have witnessed declining newspaper readership over the past few decades, and many believe that the culprit is digital alternatives. Dr. Anand notes that this decline has been underway for more than 60 years, caused by multiple technologies from radio and TV networks to cable TV and 24/7 news channels.  The impact of the Internet is no greater on readership than the technologies that preceded it.  The other two sources of newspaper revenues are classified and retail ads.  Classified ad revenues declined precipitously during the past decade (2000-2010) and the reason is that sellers and buyers favor products with more connections.

The Content Trap: A Strategist’s Guide to Digital Change

Bharat Anand, Henry R. Byers professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and author of The Content Trap, states in his afterword, “I knew that many things around us would change by the time I had finished it [and they did].”  He recognizes, in an era of massive digital content generation, that content has not changed as much as the art of managing it, thanks to technology and the way in which connections are created.  He sets the stage by explaining how content is valued and consumed by billions of people daily.  As a result, businesses try to produce the best and most relevant content.  The proliferation of content -- five exabytes (five billion billion bytes) are generated every two days -- creates “the problem of getting noticed.”  The extremely low cost of digital content distribution, in turn, creates “the problem of getting paid.”  The combination of the two problems is deadly.  

Down and Out in Silicon Valley

Oakland has been chosen as a pilot for the concept of UBI (universal basic income). Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley incubator and early-stage funder of Airbnb and Dropbox, announced a pilot in May to provide 100 individuals a monthly stipend for up to a year. The purpose is not just to test whether the UBI theory will succeed, but to also test the logistics of how to manage such a program. Matt Krisiloff, the manager of the pilot, noted that he was inspired to conduct the experiment based on his work with Artificial Intelligence.

Revolution in Higher Education: How a Small Band of Innovators Will Make College Accessible and Affordable

In Revolution, Dr. DeMillo continues where he left off with Abelard, noting that “most American colleges and universities are locked in a system that is anything but excellent.” The “Middle” represents the 4,000 colleges and universities just below the elite level, the ones that are “in trouble.” The Middle schools enroll 80 percent of all students, are in financial disrepair and their historical inability to control costs has reduced public confidence in the value of a college degree. Without innovation, cost increases at institutions will continue to repel prospective students.

There Is Life after College

Jeff Selingo, author of College (Un)bound, recently released his latest book, a primer for parents of college-aged children. He maintains that today’s teenagers and young adults have many challenges ahead of them after college graduation and that it’s appropriate to start thinking about how to manage your career as soon as you finish high school. Selingo notes that the education system is out of sync with the economy and that college is a platform for lifelong learning that we will leave and return to whenever we need further education and training to get ahead in our existing job or to switch careers.