At another panel at the I Love APIs conference Van Alstyne, a professor at Boston University and researcher at MIT and the MIT Center for Digital Business, explained the findings of his work comparing companies founded on platforms rather than products. Van Alstynes work focuses on the economics of information and will be presented in more detail in an upcoming book. The main point of his research is that companies founded on platforms create much more value than those founded on products that are used in a much narrower context. By creating a platform, a company allows a large amount of external actors to interact with the company and each other and innovate in external link various ways. Apples iPhone by itself is a product, but all of the app stores, application development environments, wireless companies that surround it turn it into a platform. Googles search interface is product but the surrounding ecosystem for ad delivery makes it into a platform.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.forbes.com/sites/danwoods/2014/09/28/when-does-a-chief-digital-officer-signal-weakness/