The biggest mistake in platform building

Lieselotte Roose

Developing a brand new platform requires knowledge and experience in the field. Technological expertise seems to be a determining factor to make something unique and outstanding. However, this technology can also be the pitfall at the same time.

Simple maths: technology is necessary but not sufficient.

It will be hard to explain to our children how sitting at a desk was necessary in order to access the internet. Today, most of the people are connected everywhere, all the time. The fact that more people in India have access to mobile phones than to toilets, says it all.

Moreover, important shifts were made. Webshops don’t own inventory, Uber don’t own taxi’s,... We’re evolving to an economy where the focus is no longer on producing products and services. The real big businesses are shifting their focus to enabling interactions.

Technology is a great facilitator to achieve this. So, where do we start?

The questions you should be asking

It’s about redefining relationships with your stakeholders. In a platform, we speak of producers on the one hand: people who create or offer something in your platform. On the other hand there are consumers: the demand, let’s say: the people who will use (consume) the product or service.

Which people do you want to attract to your platform? Focus on them. What do they look like? What value can they add?

Subsequently, we zoom in to their interactions. How can we remove any kind of frictions, barriers? How do we make sure that we maintain active users? Retention is everything. Try to figure out ways to encourage the producer, to keep producing more often. The consumer can play an important role in this.

You can’t have one without the other

Technology makes or breaks your platform. But tackling this hurdle first, is like drying your laundry before washing it. It’s a loss of time and it’s meaningless. It would result in a platform that may look very fancy but is actually short-lived due to horrible customer-experience.

Moreover, creating platform technology is not an isolated process. On the contrary, interactions are both the fuel ànd the GPS while developing and implementing the technology. Let the cobbler stick to it’s last: if you’re thinking about building a platform, make sure to work with an agency that has expertise in both platform economy and -technology.

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