A possible maturity cycle of a business from “cradle to grave”

Past Experience
February 5, 2023

Interesting piece from Cory Doctorow published in Wired (Jan 23, 2023) on how “platforms die.” The author’s point of view straddles between the literal and metaphorical. The issues laid out in the article are mostly observational and qualitative, I don’t disagree. However, the points brought up aren’t unique to two-sided marketplaces.

A platform (think Amazon per the article) during its early stages.

1 – Needs users: so, it entices consumers with an incredible experience, service, and price/value. This isn’t easy to accomplish, btw, there are plenty of startups and mature businesses that have failed to either a) find product market fit and/or b) keep up with customer expectations.

2 – Needs business customers: so as soon as the business gets to a chasm of customers and data, the ensuing value / insights entice businesses as they want in on the scale and growth potential by tapping into the customer base. Also, incredibly hard to do, business needs do vary and isn’t necessarily always consistent. Google, used to have “don’t be evil” in its corporate code of conduct which serves how everyone should Google’s users. During the formation of Alphabet in 2015, tweaked it to “do the right thing” which shifted its motto to more of a user and business focus.

3 – Needs to answer to investors (board / shareholders). The pressure of profitability / returns requires businesses shift the value equation from one group (customers to businesses) to achieve this. This is where the rubber meets the road, the proverbial race to the bottom is necessary and sometimes painful, particularly for businesses who are too short term focused.

I oversimplified the article’s points about the progression and maturity cycle of a business from “cradle to grave”. There’s a lot of good points contained in it. With data across a more diverse set of industries, business models and companies, the insights and learnings could be an interesting new way future founders, CEOs or growth leaders can find crucial inflection points and consider a more appropriate balance of the three stakeholders including employees first / foremost.

There are plenty of businesses that are thriving and are the antithesis of “enshitification” though, would love to the network to name a couple in comments or directly.

Here’s the link to the Wired article.


#chatgpt was not used to create this post, it’d likely put my post to shame!

#businessandmanagement #growth #data #insights #wired #google #amazon #startups #formation

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