Platforms are the New Corporation; Technology and Basketball

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An eagle and a fox fight over a rabbit; or, Amazon’s fight for food delivery dominance.

🏢 Do Platforms Work?, Aeon

The distributed network has gobbled up the hierarchical firm. Where once we had the ‘corporation’, now we are witnessing the ascendancy of the ‘platform’. The platform economy is in its early days, but to date, profits generated by these large internet platforms (Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple) have accrued to their owners. But the future of platforms provides promise for workers (through the current platform model, or through crypto networks) to build and own their own platforms. This provides opportunity for them to actual participate in and own the value being created, rather than having it be skimmed by remote investors or shareholders.

“The traditional structure of the firm might have reached its use-by date. But if societies can embrace the economics of the platform while shifting its ownership to workers, a more equitable, resilient and democratic society could well be in store.”

🥑 How Amazon Is Using Whole Foods in a Bid for Total Retail Domination, Fortune

As part of its profile of Fortune 500 companies, Fortune provides a peak into Amazon’s Whole Foods strategy, a year since the merger took place. The online food delivery business is different than the traditional ecommerce business Amazon has perfected, but its Whole Foods purchase gives it just the door needed to win over the fridge space of its 100-million-strong Prime subscriber base. Indeed, many of Amazon’s most well-known and consumer-facing efforts – Amazon Key, the Ring purchase, Alexa – will all play critical roles in the ecommerce giant’s efforts to sell us our kale and avocados.

“’Food is the platform for selling you everything else,’ says Walter Robb, the former co-CEO of Whole Foods. ‘It’s an everyday way into your life. There’s nothing else that happens quite that way.'”

👸 Queens of Infamy: Anne Boleyn, Longreads

Before royal weddings were nationally televised and Harry wiped away a tear for millions to see, there was Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. A brilliantly funny and informative tour of Boleyn’s life.


 

With the NBA Finals beginning today, a few basketball-themed tech long reads:

⛹️‍♂️ The Instagram Stars of High School Basketball, The Atlantic

Around 2014, the hyper-local world of high school basketball began to change.

Zion Williams, a high-school phenom and Duke’s latest five-star recruit, has more than 1.5 million Instagram followers.

Short-form video began to proliferate on social networks and more digitally native high-school athletes, armed with their own cellphones, started posting clips of themselves and friends doing dunks and trick shots, and cobbling together their own highlight reels for YouTube. These clips spread like wildfire, amplified by the rise of basketball-focused media companies like Ballislife and Overtime, which have dedicated increasing resources to covering the high-school market.

It’s another fascinating story illustrating the way in which digital platforms have influenced the way we act in the physical world.

🏀 The Curious Case of Bryan Colangelo and the Secret Twitter Account, The Ringer

In one of the weirder internet-meets-sports stories since Manti Te’o and the dead girlfriend, The Ringer details the weird story of Philadelphia 76ers’ president of basketball operations, Bryan Colangelo and his five fake Twitter accounts. The accounts disclosed non-public information, debated 76ers’ front office moves and strategy, and crticized NBA players.

Cool things of the week 🤔: 

🦅 A fox and a bald eagle fight over a rabbit in mid air.

🎬 A trailer for the Winnie the Pooh live action film that might make you cry.

📚 And, all the books Bill Gates has recommended.