Your company is a platform company ? Really ?

When I became a management consultant with Arthur D. Little and years later switched to a new part of my career when I became a technology-focused insurance industry analyst (First with The Meta Group, then to IDC, and eventually to Ovum [now Omdia]) there were several ‘fundamental’ questions I thought about regarding technology firms.

One such fundamental question was, and still is, “What is the DNA or essence of this technology company?” For some technology companies, the answer was “an insurance core administration system company,” for others the answer was “an analytical company,” and for others the answer was “a multi-prong solutions company.”

I ask the same question of non-technology companies.

It is because of the answer to the question as well as a firm’s 10K and other financial reports that leads me to be extremely skeptical when a firm states they are a ‘platform company’ particularly if they are generating their revenue from any number of markets (i.e. transportation, hospitality, entertainment, …).

For these firms, their fortunes are tied to their success in the markets that are generating their revenue (and losses and profit).

It’s sexy to state they are ‘platform companies’ but I can’t get my head around that position.

I guess my years of higher education and decades of being first a consultant and then an industry analyst are blinding me in some manner.

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