Welcome to the Platform Chronicles by Andrei Hagiu and Julian Wright.

In this series we take an in-depth look at key strategic issues associated with businesses built around platforms and data-enabled learning. It should be of particular interest to entrepreneurs building such businesses, their angel and VC investors, as well as executives at platform companies or companies that wish to become platforms.

Our perspective on platforms is unique and comprehensive. We have been researching, writing and teaching about platform businesses for nearly 20 years. In addition to numerous academic articles, we have published one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight Harvard Business Review articles and op-eds on platforms.

In parallel, we are now active angel investors in startups that are building platforms or leveraging data-enabled learning – we each have over 100 companies in our respective portfolios, some of which we advise. And we have also consulted for several large companies on platform strategy and policy issues.

The fascinating thing about these topics is that they are constantly evolving and expanding due to endless business model innovations attempted by entrepreneurs. No matter how much has been written on platforms, network effects and data over the past two decades, the reality of startups has stayed two steps ahead and has been a reliable source of challenges to conventional wisdom and conceptual refinements. This is why we are confident that there will always be fresh material and scope for providing new and useful perspectives. Which is precisely the goal of this newsletter.