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Comment: Clean pages with no writing or highlighting. Strong, uncreased spine and tight binding. A lightly read copy with minimal shelf-wear.
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The Age of the Platform: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Have Redefined Business Paperback – October 22, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Essential reading on the state of business today-and where it is going. Ignore this book at your own peril."
-Adrian C. Ott, award-winning author, The 24-Hour Customer


"The Age of the Platform is the kind of book to read if you want to better understand the Internet and how your company can fit into it and create a business model to profit from it."
-Anita Campbell, co-author of Visual Marketing


"Nothing short of a 21st-century business survival guide."
-Mike Faith, CEO & President, Headsets.com


"Phil Simon sees a forest when the rest of us just see trees. In this compelling mix of research and interpretation, Simon shows how the future of business isn't just technology, but its tentacles."
-Jay Baer, co-author of The NOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter, and More Social

From the Author

Buoyed by the success of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, companies of all sizes are fundamentally rethinking how they do business. They are creating vibrant ecosystems, and in the process, reaping big rewards. In the tradition of The Long Tail, The Age of the Platform demonstrates how the world of business today is vastly different from that of even ten years ago. Today the most successful companies are operating under an entirely different business model-one predicated on collaboration, rapid development, emerging technologies, and externally driven innovation. The Age of the Platform introduces and describes a critical new business model, one essential to survive in today's increasingly fragmented and dynamic economy. 

Without question, the Gang of Four has ascended to absolutely astounding heights. Yes, these companies excel via their superior use of technology. They have built incredible ecosystems. They've embraced partnerships and external innovation. Beyond all of this, The Gang of Four has defined an entirely new way of doing business: the platform. 

A platform is simply a set of integrated planks.

The most powerful platforms today have two things in common: 
  • They are rooted in equally powerful technologies--and their intelligent usage. In other words, they differ from traditional platforms in that they are not predicated on physical assets, land, and natural resources. 
  • They benefit tremendously from vibrant ecosystems (read: partners, developers, users, customers, and communities). 
While platforms inhere a great deal of potential commercial appeal and applications, they do not exist simply as a means for companies to hawk their wares. At their core, platforms today are primarily about consumer utility and communications. Finally, because consumer tastes change much faster than business' tastes, platforms today must adapt very quickly--or face obsolescence.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Motion Publishing; revised edition (October 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982930259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982930250
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian S. Sommer on April 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read the book last week after meeting Phil in person. He and I apparently share a number of perspectives re: software platforms except that I cover them (for ZDNet) as an adjunct of business enterprise software. Phil has a more expansive view and sees the Big 4 (Amazon, Salesforce, Google and Apple) as containing the largest ecosystems and most complete platforms to date. I'd agree.

I liked his book and think there's actually a lot in it that should give more traditional IT people plenty to ponder.If your firm is considering a change in application software, it needs to have a platform strategy in mind before making any further purchases. If you're considering a career (or job change) in IT, read the book. Platforms have some compelling economics that will change the custom and package software markets (hint: they will democratize them like never before). If you're a senior IT professional, business executive, or consultant, read the book to become aware of a big shift in software.

Phil did a very good job researching the book but more importantly, he called out what you need to know. All of which was done in a concise and easy to read format. As someone who pores over countless business books each year, his was a joy to read. Frankly, I can't stand the overly long, formulaic books that have only a couple of new ideas in the first two chapters and then fill the rest of the book with ponderous examples that barely advance the thinking. This book makes points throughout and that makes it fun and worth reading.

Brian Sommer
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Format: Paperback
The business landscape is littered with companies who are the corporate equivalent of the Bay City Rollers - one hit wonders whose initial success lacks any follow-up. But why do Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have a future so bright that you gotta wear shades? Simon deftly illustrates, through best of breed examples, how the Big 4 have managed to outwit, outplay and outlast the competition and create a sustainable advantage. Their secret sauce? An open but proprietary platform that invites third party innovation while maintaining ultimate control over the customer experience. It's the reason Amazon just finished its best season ever while former category leaders like Blockbuster, Borders and Sears have closed their doors forever (or soon will). Sherpa Simon takes us down the path less travelled and invites the reader to learn by example the lessons (and mistakes) that separate the winners from the flash in the pan phenoms. I highly and enthusiastically recommend this book for business leaders and wannabe rock stars alike, even if the only instrument you ever mastered on a S-a-t-u-r-d-a-y night is the air guitar.
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Format: Paperback
I had the good fortune of organizing a very large book study group to coincide with an in-person presentation that author Phil Simon held at my company. I think what I like most about the book is that Phil works very hard to share the good and the bad in a fair way that does not end up overly glorifying or demonizing the companies he studied. The book also does a great job in highlighting themes and common viewpoints shared by people in very different settings. Though tech companies are often used as examples, Phil does a good job of suggesting the aspects of a "Platform Mindset" (my term) which are equally useful and thought provoking for OTHER industries and even non-profit organizations. What I also like about "Age of the Platform" is that you don't necessarily have to read it cover to cover (though it certainly works well that way). We needed a book that would help us shake up the thinking of our managers in constructive ways. "The Age of the Platform" fit the bill perfectly.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mr. Simon leverages the successes of "The Gang of Four" (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google) to describe how companies can leverage some of the same ideas in their businesses. Unfortunately the focus is mostly on "The Gang of Four" Hahn on the hows. While a bit dated, still very relevant.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first two thirds of the book focus on Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook. In fact, if you follow these companies (as most of us do) then you already know half the story - the part about how they have grown dramatically over recent years. The other half of the story, which the author outlines in this book, is the ingenious platform strategies that these companies have utilized to gain their prominence. Features such as Amazon's Marketplace, Facebook's Like Button and Google's Gmail which we take for granted as modern-day conveniences were all highly-calculated strategies to expand the stickiness and reach of their platforms.

I was pleasantly surprised by the last one third of the book which featured stories about other upcoming platforms such as Hubspot, FourSquare, Twitter, WordPress and LinkedIn. And perhaps most interesting were the stories about AOL, Yahoo, MySpace and eBay each of which failed to build a true platform.

The only negative I found was that the author relied a little too heavily on content from other books. He frequently refers to ideas from other authors which I found a little bit unoriginal. However, he does a nice job of tying together concepts in new ways with a storytelling technique that is very appealing. And there is a plenty of original content on the strategies and importance of platforms in the book.

If you are interested in more depth on a business oriented (versus consumer) platform I highly recommend Marc Benioff's book Behind the Cloud.
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