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Twitter is one of the smallest social networks in terms of daily active users (152 M) and revenue (US$ 3.5B in 2019). Compare this with Facebook’s 1.8B daily active users (US$ 71B revenue in 2019) or even with TikTok’s 800M daily active users. Yet, Twitter has a disproportional impact on society. It has opened the sluice gates for fake news, misinformation, political manipulation, hate speech, conspiracy theories and unfounded opinions. It seems to occupy a significant portion of the attention of politicians, journalists and advocacy groups. …


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This fall, Apple will release its iOS14 operating system. Or more accurately, it will release its iOS14 ecosystem. Previews of the update given by Apple, MacRumors, Techradar, and The Telegraph Technology reveal that nearly all of its new functions consist of improvements in the way it creates value from ecosystems. Altogether, three ecosystems are involved: The ecosystem of businesses needed by Apple to offer new iOS 14 features, the ecosystem of users when they are using iOS 14, and the ecosystem of the experience that these users have. Let’s review the improvements to each of these ecosystems.

Business ecosystem

The business ecosystem of Apple consists of the businesses that, together with Apple, depend on each other to survive and thrive. Apple could not survive and thrive without these companies. Conversely, many of these companies depend for their well-being and survival on their relationship with Apple. …


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Computer Weekly recently reported that the UK’s three political parties are collecting personal data on voters for targeted political advertising. They are not alone. Dutch political parties do it, Trump does it, Obama did it. What’s wrong with this? Why shouldn’t political parties be allowed to send messages to people interested in these messages?

In this blog I look at how targeted political advertising works and argue that this is a bad idea. I finish with a few proposals to improve the situation.

Targeted advertising in the Obama and trump campaigns

Obama’s 2012 re-election used a Facebook App called “Obama for America”. At that time Facebook apps could access data of users and their friends, such as tags, likes and demographics, if the user approved it. Users could approve this access without consulting their friends. …


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Credit cards have reduced friction in commerce by creating the possibility to buy now and pay later. However, there is no free lunch and this reduction comes at a cost for cardholders and merchants, which creates a handsome revenue for card companies. In this blog we look at the credit card business model, analyze its value network, and identify the value propositions that it delivers to its participants.

This blog is accompanied by a White Paper that gives a more complete explanation. Our analysis is based on public information found on the web. …


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Facebook is a platform on which users can distribute content, play games and organize information, publishers can broadcast content, and advertisers deliver targeted advertisements. To understand Facebook’s business model, we must understand Facebook’s ecosystem. In this blog, I present an overview of its ecosystem, present a few of the interactions by which it acquires user data and earns money, and discuss the core dilemma that it faces today in the continuation of its business model.

This blog ignores Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. It is restricted to the Facebook social network only. A complete analysis of Facebook’s social network business model is provided in an accompanying White Paper that is freely downloadable. Our analysis has been pieced together from public information found on the web. The White Paper contains all links to the sources used. …


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The technology imperative is the norm that because technology exists, you need it. In the response to the Corona pandemic, we are seeing a lot of technology thrown at the problem, with the unquestioned assumption that we need it to fight the pandemic. It will be useful. Today, this is a dangerous imperative that can threaten democratic values.

Let me explain what I mean by this, what we should do instead, and what you can do. First, let’s look at some of the technology that has been used energetically by governments to fight the pandemic.

Using technology to fight the Corona pandemic

Drones have been very popular in the fight against the Corona pandemic. They have been used to deliver medical supplies, to disinfect public spaces, to warn people to keep their distance, to tell them to go home, to detect people with fever and to detect people not wearing masks. Surveillance cameras are used to track where people diagnosed with Covid-19 have been. Robots are used in hospitals to minimize person-to-person contact. There are proposals to use AI to detect Covid-19 in CT scans and to estimate the structure of SARS-CoV-2-related proteins. …


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Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

The Corona pandemic is a field experiment that no researcher could have designed. It tests our global connected infrastructure and shows us where the weak points are. We should use this opportunity to improve the structure of global connectivity. As Henry Petroski has so eloquently pointed out, if we want to predict the effect of our designs, we need to understand design successes and failures [1].

The primary lesson that we can draw from our experience so far with the Corona pandemic is that it is a network governance crisis. Networks of transport, travel and communication carry not only people and goods but also ideas and viruses. This has enabled the pandemic, but it also enables our responses to it. Information must be communicated to a population, hospitals must coordinate actions, medical supplies must be bought and delivered through value chains. …


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In 1986, the moral philosopher Harry Frankfurt published his famous essay On Bullshit in the Raritan Review.[1] Bullshitting, he says, is making a statement without regard for its truth value, in order to achieve some concealed goal. Politics and advertising, he said, are fields with a lot of bullshit.

Frankfurt is careful to distinguish bullshit from humbug (deceptive misrepresentation with a pretentious motive). It is closer, he says, to hot air and bluff. The analogy with hot air is striking, because hot air is an excrement from the other side of the body, that is just as necessary for emitter, and just as useless for others, as shit. The similarity with bluffing is close too. …


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What business are you in? How do you create value? How do you want to create value? Understanding the logic of value creation in your business allows you to understand how to survive and thrive in your ecosystem.

Research in business and management suggests there are three kinds of business, namely product, service and platform business. Each has its own value creation logic. Fifty years of research has not resulted in any additional kind of business, so I assume this is it.[i] In this briefing I describe the value creation logic of these three kinds of business.

Product value creation logic

Manufacturers produce tangible products following Porter’s value…


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Extended enterprises are often confused with business ecosystems. This is a problem, for strategic choices for your extended enterprise are different from strategic choices for your business ecosystem. Let me briefly state the difference and then give some examples.

I define an extended enterprise is a system of partnerships designed to create value for customers. It is a static structure that exists for a number of years. Members of the extended enterprise are listed in contracts that are drawn up before the extended enterprise starts.

A business ecosystem, by contrast, is a system of economic actors that depend on each other for their survival and well-being. Entering and leaving a business ecosystem is an actor’s own decision. There is no elaborate system of agreements that defines the role of each actor in the ecosystem. Within some general constraints on their behavior, actors are free to do what they want. …

About

Roel Wieringa

Professor emeritus Information Systems, University of Twente, The Netherlands. Co-founder and Director, The Value Engineers (www.thevalueengineers.nl).

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