The Platform Delusion

The Platform Delusion

Who Wins and Who Loses in the Age of Tech Titans

Jonathan A. Knee


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An investment banker and professor explains what really drives success in the tech economy

Many think that they understand the secrets to the success of the biggest tech companies: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google. It's the platform economy, or network effects, or some other magical power that makes their ultimate world domination inevitable. Investment banker and professor Jonathan Knee argues that the truth is much more complicated--but entrepreneurs and investors can understand what makes the giants work, and learn the keys to lasting success in the digital economy.

Knee explains what really makes the biggest tech companies work: a surprisingly disparate portfolio of structural advantages buttressed by shrewd acquisitions, strong management, lax regulation, and often, encouraging the myth that they are invincible to discourage competitors. By offering fresh insights into the true sources of strength and very real vulnerabilities of these companies, The Platform Delusion shows how investors, existing businesses, and startups might value them, compete with them, and imitate them.

The Platform Delusion demystifies the success of the biggest digital companies in sectors from retail to media to software to hardware, offering readers what those companies don't want everyone else to know. Knee's insights are invaluable for entrepreneurs and investors in digital businesses seeking to understand what drives resilience and profitability for the long term.


Jonathan A. Knee:
Jonathan A. Knee is the author of The Accidental Investment Banker: Inside the Decade That Transformed Wall Street and the co-author of The Curse of the Mogul. Professor Knee’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and elsewhere. Knee is a Professor of Finance and Economics at the Columbia Graduate School of Business, and has previously taught at Northwestern University. He is also a Senior Advisor at Evercore Partners, a boutique investment banking firm. Before joining Evercore, he was a managing director and co-head of Morgan Stanley's Media Group.