Platform and ecosystem research generally uses two founding texts as a reference point for the modern ecosystem.
There is James F Moore’s work beginning with his 1993 Harvard Business Review article “Predators and Prey: A New Ecology of Competition”. Here’s a link to Moore’s later work on ecosystems in developing countries.
And there’s Iansiti and Levien’s Keystone Advantage.
In the Elastic Enterprise Nick and I argued that the ecosystems we are seeing now do not necessarily have these keystone elements and nor are they easily summarized in the way we used to think when the main ecosystems were highly controlled collaborative entities such as Intel and Microsoft’s WINTEL ecosystem. This is Moore’s definition of an ecosystem:
An economic community supported by a foundation of interacting organizations and individuals—the organisms of the business world. The economic community produces goods and services of value to customers, who are themselves members of the ecosystem. The member organisms also include suppliers, lead producers, competitors, and other stakeholders. Over time, they coevolve their capabilities and roles, and tend to align themselves with the directions set by one or more central companies.
Why do I think it is wrong? The interaction between platform owner and ecosystem is highly variable. Those variations are an important source of learning (more of that in a minute). Continue reading