I’ve been writing a lot recently on the unintended problems of platform economies; especially on the back of the recent launch of The Open Application Network, working to solve these very problems using a new type of App infrastructure fuelled by the blockchain.
That said, I find myself fighting an uphill battle to convince people that their favorite Silicon Valley darlings potentially have a dark side. As much as I work to build a new narrative to shine a light on these growing issues, most people still need some convincing. If you want to learn more about the problems I’m talking about, check out my last article here.
In the process of writing and researching these topics, I kept stumbling on the same question: why does every successful online platform look the same? Putting aside the good or service they provide (rides on Uber or room bookings on Oyo), it seems like the majority of these companies have built business model replicas in different verticals, and across different geographies. Some would argue that these companies are simply putting in practice a proven model that benefits consumers, but others are now starting to ask whether this is fuelled by outside interests.
Last week I read a great piece in the New York Times that captures what I’ve been trying to put into words. The SoftBank Effect: How $100 Billion Left Workers in a Hole
The authors tell a great story that is too often ignored. The online platforms we use every day are built on unsustainable economic models that eventually pit these companies against their stakeholders, for the long term benefit of their shareholders.
The piece in the New York Times highlights a few examples of how SoftBank has seemingly been complicit in tactics that have fuelled…