TNW (The Next Web) recently published “Platform thinking”, a guest post by Sangeet Paul Choudary. In it, Choudary examines “four ways to leverage the power of networks”, offering advice to rethink:
- Business models;
- Work itself;
- Marketing; and
- Human resources management.
His business-model assessment challenges us to rethink where inventory is created and maintained. In Choudary’s view, the industrial model maintained it more or less centrally, while web 1.0 solutions optimized inventory where it existed.
Web 2.0 solutions – platforms – give us the ability to cost-effectively connect smaller inventories with potential buyers. In publishing parlance, inventory can include things like a used book, or a work in progress. In December, I referred to this approach to inventory management as “disaggregating supply”.
Choudary’s thoughts on work and marketing are also good and worth revisiting. But it was his thinking about human resource management that really stuck with me:
“Businesses need to focus on user management the way they have focused on employee management so far. In the avatar of a community manager, businesses are already extending HR principles to factor in the context of the user.”
The HR principles include incentives for participation, providing external users with access to tools that insiders take for granted, and a sense of fairness and recognition for any contributions.
Not surprisingly, these are also conditions that support the development of community. Platforms that already sustain a host of self-organizing groups provide an opportunity to mindfully design reader-facing businesses. We can start by thinking like those readers.