The downside of tech platforms

This morning’s Observer column:

But because capitalism never knows when to stop, eventually even the exponential growth rate promised by Metcalfe’s law wasn’t good enough for Google and co. They noticed Reed’s law, which said that if a network can have sub-groups then its utility can grow at an even more colossal rate. And so they began to turn themselves into platforms on which entrepreneurs could build services. A platform in this sense is a set of tools provided by the owner to enable third-party developers to create applications that interact with core features of the platform (thereby keeping users within the network to leave monetisable data trails)…

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