Playing the Peer-to-Peer Platform Game

Defining the Peer-to-Peer Economy

Description of the Peer-to-Peer Platform Game

Major Issues Surrounding the P2P Platform Game

Winners and Losers in the P2P Platform Game



The “sharing economy” is one of the hottest, new tech paradigms. How hot is it? I just Googled “sharing economy paradigm” and got 6,590,000 hits. Pretty hot.

In particular, Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft have been all over the media for challenging established regulations and driving traditional businesses into a tizzy for threatening their livelihoods.

Is the sharing economy really a new paradigm? Is it here to stay? If so, how will it impact the traditional economy? Who will be the winners and losers under the new paradigm?

Playing the Platform Game

The purpose of this analysis is to better understand the dynamics of internet platforms. The analysis considers the three basic types of platforms:

  • Vendors (WalMart, Apple, Pandora, etc.)
  • Social Media (Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.)
  • Matchmakers (eBay, Uber, etc.)

And will seek to address such issues as

  • Who are the different players in each type of platform game? 
  • How do the players' actions combine to generate value in each type of game?
  • Who extracts what value?
  • Which types of platforms and configurations have the greatest value potential? 

Playing the Restaurant Delivery Game

Remember when restaurant delivery options included Domino’s, Pizza Hut, or Papa John’s? No longer! These pizza restaurants still have a majority share of the restaurant delivery market. However, GrubHub, Eat24, DoorDash, UberEats, and other restaurant delivery platforms are expanding users’ choices beyond just pizza.

This analysis examines the Restaurant Delivery Game: Who are the Players and what are the issues?


See Figure 1


  • Traditional (Dine-In) Restaurants
  • Takeout/Delivery Restaurants

♦ Takeout/Delivery Only (Virtual Restaurants)

♦ Dine-in or Takeout

Playing the Virtual Reality Game

Key Concepts

Before we can understand the issues related to 360°, 3D, AR and VR technologies, we have to understand some key concepts.

Immersion and Presence

The goal of 360°, 3D, AR and VR technologies is to immerse users in an environment, so that they feel they have been “teleported” to this new locale and are actually present in this new world. Achieving immersion and presence requires that the brain be fooled by the senses into believing it is somewhere that it really is not.

Here are descriptions of immersion and presence by some other sources:

Reality Technologies:

Total immersion means that the sensory experience feels so real, that we forget it is a virtual-artificial environment and begin to interact with it as we would naturally in the real world.

Virtual reality immersion is the perception of being physically present in a non-physical world. It encompasses the sense of presence, which is the point where the human brain believes that is somewhere it is really not, and is accomplished through purely mental and/or physical means. The state of total immersion exists when enough senses are activated to create the perception of being present in a non-physical world.

a sense of immersion (i.e. convincing the human brain to accept an artificial environment as real).

iQ by Intel:

… presence: “The unmistakable feeling that you’ve been teleported somewhere new.

VR Lens Lab

… presence. That is, the ability to take you somewhere other than where you really are, and trick your mind into believing it.

Jonathan Strickland at How Stuff Works

In a virtual reality environment, a user experiences immersion, or the feeling of being inside and a part of that world.

Sharing Economy Systems

The Buy vs. Rent Decision

Actual vs. Potential Value of Durable Products

Characterization of Potentially Collaborative Products


There has been an increasing trend toward collaborative consumption (aka the sharing economy), which, which Wikipedia describes as follows:

The term collaborative consumption is used to describe the cultural and economic force away from 'hyper-consumption' to re-invented economic models of sharing, swapping, bartering, trading or renting that have been enabled by advances in social media and peer-to-peer online platforms.

The Future of Jobs

The future of jobs is a serious concern.

The most popular opinion I’ve seen is that the answer is more education. Consider, though, that we are in a period in which historically high levels of the population have some amount of postsecondary education. Yet, less than half the population (about 42%) has at least an associate’s degree, and only about a third of the population has at least a bachelor’s degree. How much higher is it realistic to think these levels can actually go? Not to mention that student debt has reached massively unsustainable levels ($1.3 trillion).

So then what about the other half of the population?

I recently did an analysis of changes in employment by firm size over the past few decades. My analysis showed that

  • Increasing percentages of employees have been employed in large firms, at the expense of employees in small firms.
  • New firm creation has increasingly come from openings of smaller firms, while consolidation has been rampant among the largest firms.
  • The economy has become less dynamic than it was during the 1990s, with relatively greater decreases in job activity at smaller firms.

Taken overall, the data are consistent with economic/market conditions that

  • Are less hospitable to firms overall, and
  • Favor small firms for new innovations, but large firms for continued market success.

Factors consistent with this environment include

  • More regulations, capture by special interests, and/or uncertainty over-all that inhibit business activity;
  • Regulations, capture by special interests,  and/or uncertainty that favor large firms over small firms (e.g., Obamacare, bank regulations that favor large and/or less risky loans over small/more risky loans, minimum wage laws, etc.);
  • Bureaucracy in larger firms that prevents new ideas from developing and/or gaining traction; and
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Strategic Maneuvering in Dynamic Markets
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