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Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  650 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Many of the most dynamic public companies, from Alibaba to Facebook to Visa, and the most valuable start-ups, such as Airbnb and Uber, are matchmakers that connect one group of customers with another group of customers. Economists call matchmakers multisided platforms because they provide physical or virtual platforms for multiple groups to get together. Dating sites conne ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 24th 2016 by Harvard Business Review Press
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Jul 14, 2016 rated it liked it
I felt like this book bogged down in the middle, without a lot of new information. The beginning was great. The ending included a nice historical overview of multisided platforms which I found interesting. Good book but I wished it was shorter or dug deeper in the middle.
Đạt Tiêu
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Matchmakers Notes

I. Economics and Technologies
- Platforms in a broad view:
+ Physical/Tangible platforms (shops, bars, agencies, payment cards, ads, ...)
+ Human platforms (dating matchmakers, brokers,...)
+ Digital/Virtual platforms (telecom network, Internet, computer OS, websites, mobile apps, ...)
- Traditional model:
+ Single-sided.
+ Inputs/Material -> products -> sell to customers.
+ Price is always higher than cost.
+ Independence between customers.
- Platform model:
+ Multi-sided.
+ Need
Viktor Kyosev
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: entrepreneurship
Ever since I started my entrepreneurial journey my focus has been on multi-sided platforms, only now I realize how challenging this choice has been…

Multisided platforms are extremely difficult as you have to please two or more, completely different types of people/businesses while facilitating a match between them. Such a match must bring a steady flow of value to all parties involved, while making sure that there are clear rules preventing people from abusing the platform. The book raises more
Mike Siegel
Not for everyone, but if you're a Product person or an Entrepreneur you'd find it interesting.

The authors are economists and this book is written with that lense. They talk about old matchmakers like Dance Clubs and many of the SaaS enabled platforms today such as OpenTable and Alibaba. They also talk a lot about the large software companies that nearly all have a matchmaker components - Apple, Facebook, MySpace, eBay and Google (YouTube).

I thought they overused OpenTable and Alibaba. I would h
Carl Rannaberg
Apr 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is a good introduction on how multi-sided platforms work and affect our lives. Authors give a lot of examples starting from internet companies like OpenTable and Alibaba to old-school matchmakers like dance clubs and banks. They also examine matchmaking aspects of products by companies like Apple, Facebook, MySpace, eBay, Amazon, Google etc. It's a quite light read without delving into too much detail. But i was enlightened by the history and analysis of how Symbian operating system ca ...more
Yanjia Li
Fair introduction of internet business model

This book will give an overview of current internet world and IT companies. However if you have ever worked in IT industry for a short while, you should know most of examples and theories that talked in this book already. It still bring up few interesting points from author's generalization: Reducing friction is the key of success. How matchmakers ignite their market. And not only IT companies like Airbnb Uber are matchmakers, but lots of old economy a
Huan Ha
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The authors nicely explain the economic concepts of multisided platforms, reveal the differences between the platforms and the conventional single-sided businesses. Stressing on the fact that platforms are mainly to sell "access" to different groups of customers, they explain why many fundamental rules of the traditional business cannot be applied in the economics of multisided platforms, for example, while pricing the products below the production cost in never a sustainable strategy for tradit ...more
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Matchmakers lies somewhere between being a guide for entrepreneurs to start their own multisided platform and being an introductory, economics handbook on multisided platforms, although Evans and Schmalensee land closer to the former than the latter. As a person with a background in economics, I wish the authors would focus more on the economics and theoretical models behind multisided platforms, but the book features more anecdotal examples of rather than research papers on such platforms. Of c ...more
Sep 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great book for anyone who wants to learn about turbo charged multisided platforms. Most of the ideas and examples will be familiar to readers who follow the topic, but this book contains probably the clearest explanation of the economic concepts that drive platforms, and the examples are still useful for managers and entrepreneurs interested in platform strategy.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me:

o Frictions (Pages 7-20)
o OpenTable (7-8 and 9-14)
o Critic
Scott Wozniak
Jul 31, 2016 rated it liked it
If you didn't know anything about the business of connecting two (or more) groups of people then this would be a great book. But if you've ever read about Amazon, Google, Apple, Airbnb, or Alibaba then you won't learn much from this book. It's a well-written beginner's primer. But that's all. ...more
Aug 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
Sometimes even if a "business/management" book has repeated concepts, it can still be interesting for its particular case studies. Not in this case--even those were trite. ...more
Laurent Franckx
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Uber, Airbnb, Tinder, Youtube... Platforms have been the talk of the town worldwide in the last few years. What all these firms have in common is that they have used new technologies (the Web, smartphones, big data) to match the demand side of a specific market (people needing a ride or a place to stay, people looking for a potential date, people who want to watch funny cat videos...) with its supply side (people offering a ride or a place to stay, other people looking for a potential date, peop ...more
Tralala Tralala
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting book. Like often, it could have been shorter. The structure is a bit confusing. Not too sure who it's aimed at, but I think it's best suited to those with little knowledge of the "business world". I learnt a few things from case studies. I recommend the book for the case studies and the list of questions to be asked to go through an analysis of a MSP (Multisided platform)

Top take-aways as far as I'm concerned.
- Interesting case studies such as M-Pesa in Kenya, Apple Pay, Open Tables
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
For anyone new to the marketplace business, or is thinking of how break the chicken-and-egg dilemma, this book is a great start. It provides a historical context to the multi-sided platform business as it is known today, and shares interesting nuggets of examples from businesses that had either successfully tackled the challenge or fell victim to the change.

Particularly, I love how the authors framed the idea that marketplace has been with us for as long as man has lived -- but we just didn't r
Apr 29, 2020 rated it liked it
It was ok. Talked about the dynamics of why a multisided platform is or is not successful.

A few examples such as OpenTable and the telegraph machine.

Also made me think of how unfair it is that companies like YouTube and OpenTable have monopolies through this first mover advantage and how society encourages such monopolies. The end result is that users are taxes for their money or attention for something that should be open and accessible to all. We should work on open source data standards that
Prakhar Chandna
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it
A good book for understanding the dynamics of building a platform. It starts and ends on a good note but has some redundant parts in the middle.

Nonetheless, it does a wonderful job in explaining the economics of multisided platforms and how they are different from traditional businesses with great case studies. In addition to that, it certainly helps one identify the fundamental questions that need to be accounted for when building a platform, if not answer them. Here's what I think are the fund
Sergey Klimov
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good book to have a general understanding about matchmakers business models. It gives you overall perspective and ability to generalize to this model in real world. Authors put a solid research of different companies and their strategies to achieve success. At the same time it feels that the book can be a bit more detailed and deep. Maybe then it will be a different book though. Definitely recommend to anyone as a basic book to understand this type of business.
Lawrence Guo
Aug 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
State the obvious. The analogies used in the books are very old fashioned, such as gas cards or nightclubs, to explain the new phenomenon of two-sided marketplace economy. I wish the author could've discussed in more depth about the nuances of different marketplace business models, but unfortunately nothing about that. It stops at the surface level. In the author's favorite analogy with nightclubs, girl is the subsidy side, boy is the money side, there you have it.

Disappointment period.
Aaron Aoyume
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A more rigorous analysis on platforms

This is a very useful book as it really thrives in bridging from old economy's microeconomics to the world of multi-sided platforms. Compared with other books about the current hype, the analysis performed in this book is carefully crafted and very compelling and interesting.
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Felt as if the essence could have been distilled within a 20 page essay. While the case studies where interesting they really were optional to understanding the main point of the book and as such I felt that I had to go through 278 pages of content for way less essence than I would appreciate given the limited time one has in his life.
Brian Mogen
Oct 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Well-written and approachable overview of business models that require buy-in from multiple groups. Unfortunately doesn't include any economic models or help with mathematical forecasting/projections. ...more
Nadeen Matthews
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Matchmakers such as Google, Amazon, and Open Table have turned traditional economic and pricing principles on its head. The lessons should be contemplated by any business contemplating launching a multi-sided digital platform, but by non-traditional businesses as well
Neeraj Kohli
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good perpective on 2 way market places

Great perspective on market places working, challenges and opportunities. Skills needed to win, threshold and winning strategies. Makes it possible to understand actions of current players
Akshay Shahare
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A succinct description of how multi-sided platforms work and not just the economics of it. In today’s day and age when such platforms are ubiquitous, this is like a user guide which could easily part of school curriculum.
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Richard did his BA, MA and PhD at UChicago. Though key lessons overlap with Sangeet's Platform Scale, Matchmakers focused more on the economics of platforms vs Sangert's focus on design. Classic Booth style ...more
Max Kuzkin
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great work of authors - enjoyed reading. Lots of interesting historical insights. Must read to everyone in the industry.
Solomiya Zahray
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
an interesting read about the evolution and problems faced my multisided platforms being used today and in the past.
Jindřich Mynarz
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I think the phrase "turbocharged matchmakers" will sound quaint pretty soon. ...more
Mar 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
Jesus man this was terrible. Patronizing, simplistic, and uninformitave.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Awesome! A great book that explain complex concepts in a easier way, with past and current examples that ilustrate the topic.
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Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” So, this January, as we celebrate Martin Luther King...
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“Either way, every multisided platform has to have a strategy for making the trek to the critical mass frontier from which they can survive and prosper.” 0 likes
“Who needs whom, why, and how much? The answer is important for determining the pricing structure and whether to subsidize one group or another. Suppose” 0 likes
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