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Platform Strategy

Seven 2016 books from MIT Sloan faculty members


Gift shopping for your favorite MBA student-to-be? Need some (not always light) holiday break reading? Here are seven new books from MIT Sloan faculty members in 2016. 

From Little's Law to Marketing Science: Essays in Honor of John D.C. Little

Edited by John Hauser, professor, and Glen Urban, professor emeritus and dean emeritus

Hauser and Urban open this book with a profile of John D.C. Little, the MIT Sloan professor best known for Little’s Law, his theory of queueing. The remainder of the book consists of papers that reflect Little’s influence on the study of marketing.

Buy the book at MIT Press.

Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You

By Geoffrey Parker, visiting scholar, Marshall Van Alstyne, digital fellow, and Sangeet Paul Choudary, founder, Platformation Labs 

Digital platforms are upending every industry. In this book, the authors examine how companies like Uber have used the platform model to unlock hidden value. They also cover the common pitfalls of building a platform company, such as failing to optimize openness or engage developers. Read a Q&A about “Platform Revolution” with Geoffrey Parker.

Buy the book at the authors’ website.

Visual Cortex and Deep Networks: Learning Invariant Representations 

By Tomaso Poggio, professor, and Fabio Anselmi, research associate

This slim volume takes up the ventral visual stream, which is believed to help primates recognize three-dimensional objects using two-dimensional views. The authors offer “a mathematical theory for how this brain region may achieve this feat, arguing that it operates in much the same way as artificial deep networks,” writes Matteo Carandini, a professor at University College London. For really smart kids only. 

Buy the book at MIT Press.

Becoming American: My First Learning Journey

By Edgar Schein, professor emeritus

In the first volume of his autobiography, organizational culture expert Edgar Schein tells of his childhood in Europe and the Soviet Union, his immigration to the United States, and his time at the University of Chicago, Stanford University, Harvard University, and in the Army. The book closes in 1956, just before Schein arrived at MIT.Buy the book at Amazon

Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms

By Richard Schmalensee, professor emeritus and dean emeritus, and David Evans

A successful digital platform isn’t just great technology. It must reduce friction between buyers and sellers in a way that benefits both parties. In Matchmakers, Schmalensee and Evans explain why dining reservation platform OpenTable does this, while Apply Pay doesn’t. Along with Platform Revolution, this is a must read in platform strategy. 

Read a Q&A about “Matchmakers” and buy the book at Harvard Business Review.

The Conversational Firm: Rethinking Bureaucracy in the Age of Social Media

By Catherine Turco, associate professor

Is there room for more open corporate communication than ever before? Catherine Turco spent 10 months inside “TechCo,” an anonymous company using social media tools to give millennial employees input into major business issues without upending a conventional decision-making process. Her book shows how other companies can follow TechCo’s lead. 

Read a Q&A about “The Conversational Firm and buy the book at Columbia University Press.

Free Innovation

By Eric von Hippel, professor

Von Hippel argues that there is a shadow innovation industry, one powered by fun and learning rather than business imperative. Consumers are innovating on their own, creating new products, and using existing products in new ways. And they do it not for monetary reward, but because they enjoy it, he writes. In “Free Innovation,” von Hippel proposes a way to harness these innovations for profit and social welfare.Buy the book or download it for free at MIT Press.

For more info Zach Church Editorial & Digital Media Director (617) 324-0804