Cleve Gibbon

content management, content modelling, digital ecosystems, technology evangelist.

Platform Books

Here are few books on digital platform organised simply in the order that I read them.

Platform Revolution
How networked markets are transforming the economy – and how to make them work for you

Geoffrey Parker, Marshall Van Alstyne and Sangeet Choudray

Platform Revolution in progress…

Platform Scale
How an emerging business model helps startups build large empires with minimum investment

Sangeet Paul Choudary, 2015

Platform Scale is one of the best books I’ve read on digital platforms.  It steps away from the myth that businesses are in the business building software.  Because they are not.  Instead, they are in the business of enabling interactions through technology.  This is the role of the platform in digital today.  This is what it means to be platformed!

The book starts off explaining the difference between a pipe business and a platform business.  A pipe business is based upon the traditional model where a company (the producer) pushes products and services at its customers (the consumers).  The flow of value is in a straight line, from the company to the customer, and everything is about making those processes as efficient possible.  In a platform business the producer is not the company.  Instead, a platform business facilities that value exchange between producers and consumers by enabling interactions between them.  Think Uber where the producer is the driver and the consumer is the rider.  Airbnb, hosts are producers and guests are consumers.  Netflix, film makers and watchers.  Spotify, musicians and listeners.  Amazon, sellers and buyers.  The role of the platform in these platform business is about enabling participants within the ecosystem to co-create and exchange value with each other.  In the platform business model, it’s critical to understand the ecosystem of participants.  It’s less about the technology and more about the interactions for value exchange.

The remainder the book is about understanding where new value comes from, the interaction drivers to create this value, approaches for transitioning business models from pipes to platforms, and finishing up with a scaling framework to best leverage the network effects that come with platform businesses.  This is a must read for anyone designing, building, supporting or investing in platforms for digital growth.  My key takeaway is:

Platform businesses are driven by business platforms that scale.  Pipe businesses cannot scale and are increasingly becoming niche and/or irrelevant.

Hacking Marketing
Agile Practices to make marketing smarter, faster and more innovative

Scott Brinker, 2016

Hacking Marketing is a book for both marketers and technologists.  You don’t need a technical background to learn from this book.  Scott Brinker does a great job of continually drawing the important parallels between software and marketing, right at the intersection of digital.

The book is based on experience.  It clearly shows how the software industry hit same challenges that marketing are facing today.  Changing requirements.  Wickedly evolving technology.  Demanding stakeholders. Increasing complexity.  Flexibility stability.  This led to the rise of agile software management within engineering as an approach to deal with these challenges.  The rest is history.

Scott brings our attention to five digital dynamics (speed, adaptability, adjacency, scale and precision) that need to be considered when marketing in a digital world. Agile management when applied to marketing gives rise to agile marketing that embraces these digital dynamics.  This book walks through why an organisation adept in agile software development is not enough to drive competitive advantage within the business.  We need to enable agility within marketing to take advantage of these new software-enabled capabilities.

Read this book to find out why and  how you can do this, and at the same time truly understand how agility, innovation, scale and talent are critical to the future success of marketing in a digital world.

Platform Ecosystems
Aligning Architecture, Governance and Strategy

Amrit Twiana, 2013

Platform Ecosystems is both ahead its time and a decade too late for many businesses today.  In an era where software is literally eating the world, this books calms the water.  Don’t panic, take stock and here are few things you need to consider and this is how you should approach these gnarly problems.   This is how the author leads by example.

Over twenty years ago, the software industry was going through transformative change.  Shifting from build and go products, to evolve and grow platforms.  But it wasn’t clear to those outside of the software development industry.  Bombarded with changing requirements, mounting complexity, proliferating technology and shortened lifecycles, technology shops had to adapt fast or die slowly.

IT departments had to rise to the challenge.  And they did.  And with it a shift in thinking from products to platforms ensued.  This book takes you though that change and comes out the other side with the why, what and how to do it within your own organisations.  Platforms are winning.  They are here to stay.  Facebook. Apple. Uber. Spotify. AirBnB. Amazon.  These platforms evolve capability rather than launch completed solutions.  It never ends.

Read the book and understand how to lead not lag, facilitate not control, grow not go, govern not procrastinate, architect not just build.

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About Cleve Gibbon



I'm Cleve Gibbon, CTO at Cognifide where we are passionate about digital content.

My sort of up-to-date cv tells you my past, linked in shows you my professional network and on twitter you can find out what I'm currently doing.

This year I plan attend a number of events. Hopefully I'll see you there. I'm easy to find as I'm always laughing. Find out more about me and get in touch!