How to sell non-physical assets?
One of the reliable ways that a company can build a long-lasting, sustainable competitive advantage in the tech business is to transition from building just a product into building a whole platform. Building a “platform” usually means allowing third-parties a way to plug in to your product and offer platform-level services so that they can leverage your core product and build on top of it. In effect, you build an eco-system around your product, extending the benefits of your product to your partners and to your users. If done right, it results in a win-win-win: Your users get the benefit of a broader set of features, your partners are able to leverage your platform to reach more users, and you also benefit by “renting out” your core assets.
But before a platform can work, it has to have one key ingredient - A monetizable, core asset. This is the core asset that your product is really good at building, and this is the asset that you allow external partners access to. This is far more tricky than it sounds, and often times it is very hard to even recognize what the “core asset” is.
Lets take Facebook as an example. Facebook has differentiated itself from all the social networks that came before it by building a platform. But what is at the core of this platform? What is Facebook’s most valuable, core asset that they have managed to monetize so well?
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