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2020 MIT Platform Strategy Summit
July 8, 2020, Cambridge, MA, USA
2020 MIT Platform Strategy Summit
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2020 MIT Platform Strategy Summit - Closing
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  • Description
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About the talk

About speakers

Geoff Parker
Professor at Dartmouth College
Marshall Alstyne
Questrom Professor of Management at Boston University Questrom School of Business
Peter Evans
Managing Partner at Platform Strategy Institute

I am a professor of engineering in the Thayer School at Dartmouth College where I also serve as Director of the Master of Engineering Management Program. In addition, I am a visiting scholar and research fellow at the MIT Sloan School’s Initiative for the Digital Economy where I lead platform industry research studies and co-chair the annual MIT Platform Strategy Summit. I work to understand the economics and strategy of network "platform" industries. I co-developed the theory of “two sided networks” which provides a mechanism to explain pricing in network markets. I work with numerous organizations to help them understand and craft their platform strategies. WW Norton published our book "Platform Revolution" in 2016 - this is our attempt to make the research accessible to a wide audience. It's now in 10 languages and we're gratified to hear that people are using it to help inform their platform strategies.

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Marshall Van Alstyne is coauthor of the international bestseller Platform Revolution. He is one of the world's experts on network business models and is a Questrom Chair Professor at Boston University. He is a frequent speaker, board level advisor, and consultant to startups and global firms. His research has received half a dozen academic awards and appeared in journals such as Science, Nature and Harvard Business Review. Interviews appear regularly across Bloomberg, The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio. He studied computer science at Yale and information technology at MIT. He holds multiple patents; was among the first to measure the dollar value of social networks, and his theories of network businesses are taught worldwide. He is a husband and dad, who loves dogs, exercise, travel, and questions of governance.

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Peter Evans is the Managing Partner at the Platform Strategy Institute, a consultancy dedicated management strategy and application of platform business models across a wide range of sectors. Peter has over 20 years of experience leading teams in identifying, framing, assessing, and communicating high-priority marketplace trends and disruptions that support business planning and investment prioritization. He has specialized in helping companies see around corners, anticipate key market trends and craft seminal thought leadership that framed major multi-year growth initiatives. At KPMG, he was a Principle in the Innovation and Enterprise Solution group responsible market and emerging technology sensing, innovation portfolio management and business development. To support the firm's intelligent automation strategy, he led a major study of how the world's largest enterprises are adopting artificial intelligence. Prior to joining KPMG, Dr. Evans was Vice President at the Center for Global Enterprise a nonprofit established by Sam Palmisano, former Chairman and CEO of IBM. He was instrumental in framing and delivering on the Center’s research, business education, and global CEO engagements. He also worked as an independent consultant for a variety of corporate and government clients, including the US Department of Energy, the OECD and the World Bank. He received his master's degree and PhD degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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So first of all, thank you everyone for for staying with us for what's just going to fantastic day. Taking some notes and I'll just highlight a few things that really resonated with me and then hand it off to to Peter and Marshall to make some of their comments in terms of what they've heard. But first, I'd just like to thank you Cheri, Devin, the entire idd staff, uniform pants in this unusual. I'm kind of in you, but it really allowed us to do some pretty cool things. And then especially live music, that would have been really

difficult to pull off and you from all their living room to ours. So And I think that John halamka and Scott and Ron Bush and and really Connie. And then Jessica, the whole team has has given us a lot to think about one point. Was this notion of the willingness to fail and just how different that is from, kind of traditional and incumbent firms. My alma mater was GE medical, cert heavy Capital Equipment in the, in the healthcare space Marshal was in Lockheed Martin and Peter has a background in the classic corporations. Oh, by the way, that

those companies would go to market and this continues to be true is a very rigorous, stage-gate planning process where you identify a market, you think about a product and conceive it and then you think about every possible, iteration and possibility, you use to grind through a whole ton of pro formas and financials. How to justify these cases and then you launched it. You since you obviously do the plan do check act Cycles to do continuous Improvement. But how does that compare to Johnstone a suggestion that you had to be comfortable with an 80% fail rate

on Square at all and this notion of sort of failing cheaply and then Scott talked about failing without code and sort of achieving product-market fit and understanding that without really seeing a lot of resources is a story that, of course, resonates in entrepreneurial sort of activity in startups, but I think it's kind of one thing that you seemed to resonate again. And again, and I think another one was, we saw a number of questions come in. Done a

lot of research and in BTC markets, you know, where are we in the wrong Bush, take us through, you know, in zenon's a pretty comprehensive. Look at a company that's been in business for a very long time. That is taking this need to be seriously and I think Doug tailed if you look at what John was talking about it and say oh, yes, there's a lot of patient experience but behind the scenes they're interacting with about a thousand different organizations and much of that is going to be be to be and never visible to what's

happening on the patient side. We didn't get a full chance to to explore all of those implications and in fact because but I had a good deal of interaction with him beforehand and then maybe I'll just kind of close with Emphasizing this notion that Scott talked about having to ring-fence and hide or rigorously defend the new Ventures to prevent the natural corporate Addie bodies. And this is coming from the CEO. So you can imagine the challenge that you face in an organization. When you have your your kind of nifty platform

idea from middle management. It suggests that. Perhaps one of the first steps to get going is to engage and find enough protection of the kind of the board and Senior Management level. And to get that protection lined up for a long-term because you can just tell that if Scott's having to sort of fend off the antibodies, you can just imagine what that looks like in the organization. One thing we didn't get a chance to explore with them because wouldn't have enough time, but sort of what are the implications for training for education? For kind of

socialized. Some of these initiatives so that you have a higher chance of success. So those are a few initial observations. And so I'll hand it off to commercial with Peter. But I'm sure I'll Circle back because I think we can turn this into a bit of a around robbing conversation comments. One is you know, I love doing this every year because it just opens your eyes to the so many different ways that platform business models can arise and be applied. You know, we've said in the past anywhere there can be a platform. There will be a platform and I

think what's interesting is removing from easier to consummate matches and pricing systems to increasingly complex ones in which we're getting multi-layered, you know, the idea of the super app, you know, that's actually the joining of multiple platforms into one and so I think we're going to see more of that. And then you know what I tried to do this year with info. Joe Pyne and his panel is to explore areas that we haven't in the past, which is kind of the application of platforms to experiences and they're actually a dozens and dozens and dozens of platforms

emerging in that space that are going to allow for Mass personalization in in an interesting kind of way, right? You can like, match a lot of people but you're still delivering a very personalized experience. So I think that's extremely interesting and exciting. And I got the last thing I would mention. As, you know, we we focus a lot on becoming a platform being a platform, but we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that we're not leaving increasingly in a platform economy. And so it's not just becoming if I was actually knowing how to use platforms. And so that's a skill into

itself, platforms are actually deliver. A lot of things. I actually wasn't aware of the Turbo Tax, you know, example of the insights, you can gain inside of TurboTax. Because of the question answer in the kind of the wiki systems that they've set up and that's pretty interesting. Right? So you actually have to get inside some of these app and I think increasingly companies going to recognize that they can lean into and tap into platforms to deliver things that are valuable for their either product or services that they're seeking to deliver. So he quit becoming a platform one thing but

also being good at knowing how to use platforms. Is another really interesting skill set. That's going to become more increasingly important. What's the Marshall before you get going? Let me just say one thing to add to our audience would probably have time for a couple of questions. I'm so if you want to throw those in to chat Marshall Peter, and I can do this all day. But sometimes I see already that there are one or two questions on anything else, just

to put into the chat and over the Q&A, and then the cidg and we'll get it over to us. So there's several things in here that actually sold one of them write beginning in effect when there's the opportunity to be an operating system for industrial industrial girls, actually, think in the end of the things is going to be huge opportunities, industrial space, and Industrial Equipment or opportunities. There are some points from Jessica. I love her story that they had taken drop conversions in Insurance where the best insurance agents on average. What's the average

insurance agent and got his 35% conversion, you some information or creation is not an example of the use of creating network using information spread it across different folks. Similar to the inside came out of discussion that they were actually a cloud-based system back in the 1880s using pneumatic tubes in order to get information from person to person. So they were sharing information across doctors again. In some ways. His information is essential to creating a viable business message that came out of that information Navigator with his mother in. This

is how you want to deal with the husband and got information for the benefit of the users. That's a valuable role internalized, the extra nowadays and actually play the government's role in trade real value,. He broke one of them is the high-frequency greater engagement. Great opportunity, this Uber app. Again. It may be the case that a low-margin This may be a fantastic Place actually build the platform because of the high-frequency engagement added

hotel and travel booking Witcher, very high marching frequency engagement and they took Uber from the apps that already doing that, but it had low-frequency engagement. So the folks are already in place. And actually, I got that sad value to adding information for traditional, bloody almost I'm back to back your bushes, adding information to my name. Jeff highlighted. So I had some interesting insights on quick and Rapid pivot and experimentation. He started his company address and it seems like a

really simple experiments. May be able to identify a pinpoint and use them launch there quickly without having to do laundry again. I dropped lots of money and things not to buy too much. Just wanted to reiterate, there's a big difference to the marketing, that's different than the architectural investment to create a network to create. Keep the relationship on platform. Explain the difference between value between each one of these workshops, and I look forward to reading this up and making sure that it's available. I guess, unless you're booked up as well,

before we started our final rap. In particular, a question came in asking about what Innovation and platforms. Are you guys most excited about the next 5-10 years and what's it? Look like so, I think that the technology is always going to be changing. So, I mean, we wouldn't have the platforms. We have today without the, the Revolution and information Communications storage compute across the board, but I think the next round of Innovations, I mean, or at least a category of next round.

Innovations is going to be around the way people think about their data and their willingness to share and where will we see it? Or meteor, is sort of act on data owners that have? Because if we start to give soda rights and data that could potentially create so much friction that many of the benefits that we've seen from platforms disappear on. So, how do we start a maintain the value-add while still ensuring kind of fair division of labor? And I think that's a big innovation kind of in the economics and policy space that might address some of the concerns that we've

seen over the rise in the power. So that's kind of product in Connie's Park on a cliff, really interesting. Small mom-and-pop shops. Don't want that to invest in cloud services on the Amazon web services and apps. Every tiny little store doesn't have to have an app developer. Should I get the thousand? People try to download the app, not going to make it to where it would take advantage of another super app. You can just plug in with a QR code, just with proximity. I think that's going to blow open

some of the platform opportunity. Just going to Technologies Inc. Something is going most excited. But that's the first element in the ownership of this information in creation of wealth with this information. And then also in the social effects on the communications Channels with misinformation, and I actually think it is incumbent upon us as a society. Platforms as well. Just start cleaning up some of the misinformation. What is being moved around on platform. So I think we need to look at some of

the downsizing. Aleutian problem will also be felt like they were going to be trying to conduct some of the research on how to solve some of the problems. I think we will be better off as a society. If we capture the upside and downside, cuz both are right little bit smaller space, but, and it has face that I'm very interested in right now, is how do you improve the user experience? Not just in this seamlessness of the digital interaction and the connectivity, but how does it sound to people in? So it's interesting that Amazon? Integrated

a sound Library into Alexa. It actually turns out that your performance and how you to control with the voice technology actually worked better if you integrated with sound. So that, for example, of Philips Lighting. Now, when you have the Alexa skill to turn on the lights, it affirms it now with a voice command, but actually with a staff like they do, as Rome and Bush was speaking about the internet of things in all the different ways. You could bring platform strategies into the betta to be space. And we also know that we're going to see more

Automation in war robots and things of that nature. How does that interact with humans? In often integrating? Not just voice control but sound so that those cobots in those voice controls become integrated with the way that people behave. And so what's interesting is a lot of people focus on the technology and the business model but not Full user experience. And so there's lots of innovations that could happen to bring a better embellishment of the user experience and just like this event today, you know, how this conference would have been less if we hadn't had music as part

of the, The Experience been. So there's a lots of conferences and events going on. There could be a matching platform to match artists with, you know, events that are taking place online and things of that nature. So, just a little piece, but I think that enriches what we're doing here from kind of Human Experience standpoint as well. I see another question here. It's coming from the audience. What are our thoughts on platforms and National Security open source, and intelligence ask. But you're just want to jump in on that. I should think there are some big issues on that question.

By the way, I mean, you know, we had a really good panel at last year's conference on on exactly those issues. So I think that's one of those sort of Everfresh topics that are going to go away. I would say there's two sides to it one or the the reality that platforms are now driving Innovation. And so they've become so important that they actually influencing National systems of innovation. Still there's the value capture on that side, but there's also the concern of you know, encroachment into in wealth generation, you know, they often say the date is the new oil platforms. May be the

new, you know, you know Seven Sisters, so to speak in the sense that wherever there is value capture capture value-creation, there's interested in in whose capturing that and States get involved in that process. So this is not going to go away as platforms become engines of value. Creation, you're going to see States want to intervene to influence where that value is captured. So all that's happening on the tax side as well as state of residency Rule. And even some point out that these privacy rules, aren't so much in driven by concerns about

citizens rights over privacy, but actually backdoor protectionism. So, you know, this this issue isn't going away and may actually intensify and in the years to come one of these is to look at the difference between individual civil liberties and the power platforms have in a state. How do you balance a civil liberties with the folks whose Gator being gathered? Know? What are the negative consequences to others with power impose upon those individuals within a

country, really dirty simple example, huge social value to be able Create covid-19, tracing also, immense power and Jen videos with that. Information. We have a little bit of writing on using data and also respecting user. So you can take a look that up on nation-states because these things are incredibly powerful. China would like to have Jade up in the United States on which teenagers are using Kik, talking with might be receptive to the message that kind of want as part of,, that's an interesting question. And that's something that we're all going to have to struggle with. As you look

at nation-states contending nation-state Vladimir Putin, trying to influence. Our elections has just been on the number of the Chinese apps inside China. So we have to look at those questioned, both internally. What's in the interests of one country versus another. And what's the right answer into those cases. Those are going to be questions were going to wrestling with for a decade and I promise you again across different countries. So, if Marshall, I think that actually is a pretty great place to end. And the reason is that you just laid out of research agenda, that

will ensure. But when we come and do this next year, much like this year, we'll have a whole new host of interesting things to say. I'm so again, I would just like to thank the ID team on. Thank all of the participants and panelists and of course all of the people who made time for us today in this online format. So thank you very much. For those of you who have a moment to press fill out a survey for us under the pole button. You can tell us who you are and give us some comments there, more than nine hundred of you today

on on this webcast. So a tremendous success and Powerful reach Carrie Reynolds, really ran the show today, and I want to thank her. You can see her there. She's done a terrific job and putting the event together. Behind the scenes Jo bikini, Tammy puzzle, and Joanne. See if they go about fifty of you or having technical problems are on to the webcast. Oh, thanks to them. Our speakers are co-chairs. Obviously, Jeff Marshall and Peter are co-host Stephen Cooks of there as well. We will post videos for this event by the latest on Monday. So,

if there's anything you missed or one or two reference, you can certainly check back in with us. Then we couldn't have done any of this without our sponsors and donors. It's been great to have their support and I know many of them were with us today. So I hope that everybody will be. Well, we'll be safe and we'll build a platform will see you soon enough. Enjoy the remainder of the summer.

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Geoff Parker
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