Taxonomy of Platforms

Technology platforms exhibit one or more of the following models.

Platform models and key challenges:

  • API as platform APIs deliver abstract away difficult problems adjacent to the user’s core business such as payments (e.g Stripe) or running on multiple operating systems (e.g. Java). The key challenge of API platforms is change over time—broadening capabilities while abstracting away the messy details.
  • User experience as platform Rich user experiences with novel capabilities and near-universal adoption define the work of entire professions (e.g. Figma). The key challenge is moving users over to new UX over time (who moved my cheese?) and evolving into an API platform (frontend UX and backend implementation tend to be harder to decouple than one thinks).
  • App as platform A product that is so good at solving a critical problem ends up defining how the problem is solved for others.

…More soon!

  • Data storage as platform
  • Horizontal or Vertical
  • Customization
  • Connectors and integrations
  • App store
  • Marketplaces and networks
  • Open source

From The Ultimate Guide to Platforms Steven Sinofsky.