Netflix and the perils of disruptive platforms

Netflix is the textbook case of a disruptive innovation. Initially, it recognized and solved the "travel problem" in DVD rentals but sacrificed immediacy (subscribers had to wait for their DVDs to arrive in the mail). Improvements in broadband penetration throughout the U.S. have helped the company move into online streaming. Now consumers could not only remain …

Time to buy Apple

For the second time, Steve Jobs will move away from running the company he cofounded, Apple. If history is any judge, this won't go well for the company. But there are lots of reasons to think history will be a poor judge of Apple's future performance. Let's start with some similarities between this departure and …

How Twitter, Google and Apple walk a fine line in platform defense

Innovators who build platforms face a difficult set of trade-offs. To begin with, the very definition of a platform requires buy-in from others — and not simply from the consumers you hope will purchase your product. The consumers and suppliers of complementary products need to make real investments too, investments that will enhance the overall value of …

Google+ comes up short

What problem does Google+ solve for consumers? The answer appears to be: nothing. And, therefore, it solves nothing for Google either. As with many of these social launches — an exception being the ill-fated Google Buzz — the launch of Google+ was limited. Like Gmail and Google Wave, Google relied on invites to scale initial users and …