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BUS 111 — Building Multi-Sided Platform Marketplaces

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Saturday and Sunday
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 2 days
Date(s): Jan 28—Jan 29
Time: 10:00 am—4:00 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jan 21
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $475
Instructor(s): Ted Ladd
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
Saturday and Sunday
10:00 am—4:00 pm (PT)
Jan 28—Jan 29
2 days
Refund Date
Jan 21
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Ted Ladd
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Many of the world's largest and fastest-growing companies share a common business model: they are multi-sided platform marketplaces. A multi-sided platform creates a marketplace where buyers can meet sellers to interact and transact. This kind of business rarely provides any other service and owns no assets itself, so it is inexpensive to operate. Its value to customers grows as more people join the marketplace. Think of Airbnb, Alibaba, Ant, Amazon, and Apple (and that's just the "A's"). These companies create and deliver customer value in a different way than traditional “linear” businesses. As a result, they must be designed, launched, scaled, and defended using different principles and tools.

In this course, students will learn and apply techniques (such as the network effect, first mover advantage, and disintermediation) that are particularly relevant to developing multi-sided platform marketplaces by building and critiquing a novel platform business in an emerging economy. Lectures from the instructor and a detailed case study of GetMyBoat, a boat-sharing platform, are provided via video between class sessions. Class time will be focused on discussions, exercises, simulations, and negotiations. We will also examine the implications of platforms on economies, societies, and natural environments. By the end of the course, students will have the skills to understand, analyze, improve, and design multi-sided platforms.

Professor, Hult International Business School; Instructor, Harvard

Ted Ladd has grown five platform companies. The most recent was acquired by Google to become Wear OS. He is the coauthor of Innovating with Impact. He received a PhD from Case Western Reserve, an MBA from the Wharton School, and an MA in economics from Johns Hopkins.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.