Intellectual Capital

MPD has invested in substantial intellectual capital which provides the bedrock for our investment, advisory, and management consulting work.

Books

MPD’s founders have collaborated on researching and writing seven widely read and cited books on platform economics, payments, and the digital economy. Four were published by Harvard Business Review Press or MIT Press, two were award-winners, and were translated into multiple languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and French.

Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms

Many of the most dynamic public companies, from Alibaba to Facebook to Visa, and the most valuable start-ups, such as Airbnb and Uber, are matchmakers that connect one group of customers with another group of customers. Economists call matchmakers multisided platforms because they provide physical or virtual platforms for multiple groups to get together.

In Matchmakers, David Evans and Richard Schmalensee, two economists who were among the first to analyze multisided platforms and discover their principles, and who’ve consulted for some of the most successful platform businesses in the world, explain how matchmakers work best in practice, why they do what they do, and how entrepreneurs can improve their chances for success.

“A must-read business book for ambitious entrepreneurs … thought-provoking insight into what’s behind the exponential growth of the companies in whose footsteps we’re following. It’s a portal through which to view the economy of the future.” — Daily Telegraph

“More than the Internet, the sharing economy or automation platform companies and matchmaking markets are defining the new economy. Evans and Schmalensee are pioneers in developing economic theories that explain this new economy. Here they share what they’ve learned to the great benefit not just of economists, but also of entrepreneurs, policy makers, and consumers.” — Lawrence H. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus, Harvard University; former US Secretary of the Treasury

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Platform Economics: Essays on Multi-Sided Businesses

Platform Economics is based on a series of contributions the author made to the new field of multisided platform economics, and its application to business strategy and antitrust economics, between 2002 and 2011. After presenting the general framework and empirical evidence on the scope of platform businesses the economy the book presents detailed applications to the digital economy, payment systems, and software platforms.

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Catalyst Code: The Strategies Behind the World’s Most Dynamic Companies

Successful platform businesses such as Google and Visa cracked the catalyst code-and they couldn’t have done it using traditional business strategies and tactics.

These two-sided businesses generate value by creating simultaneous and mutually beneficial relationships among the different groups of customers they serve.

In a book that challenges conventional wisdom about pricing, product design, organization, and incentives, David Evans and Richard Schmalensee provide the first step-by-step framework for launching and sustaining these dynamic businesses. They show why two-sided businesses, or catalysts, are today’s power brokers-and they are quickly disrupting existing industry ecosystems and gaining unprecedented prominence in the economy. And, most important, how entrepreneurs and businesses can make the most of the astounding opportunities.

“An important book for anyone interested in understanding how breakthrough businesses can be built in today’s economy.” — Bill Gates

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Invisible Engines: How Software Platforms Drive Innovation and Transform Industries

Software platforms are the invisible engines that have created, touched, or transformed nearly every major industry for the past quarter century. They power everything from mobile phones and automobile navigation systems to search engines and web portals. Evans and Schmalensee examine the business dynamics and strategies used by firms that recognize the transformative power unleashed by this new revolution — a revolution that will change both new and old industries.

The authors argue that in order to understand the successes of software platforms, we must first understand their role as a technological meeting ground where application developers and end users converge.

“The prose is accessible, even engaging. And the shrewd analysis backed up by a great deal of research and a precise narrative of recent business history more than makes up for the lack of office politics and entrepreneur heroics. Any executive looking to turn his company’s product into an engine of growth will want to consult Invisible Engines.” — Om Malik Wall Street Journal

“The closest thing the new world of platforms has to a foundational text … makes the prescient case that platforms will come to redefine our economy.” — John Herman, New York Times.

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Paying with Plastic, second edition: The Digital Revolution in Buying and Borrowing

Paying with Plastic is the definitive source on an industry that has revolutionized the way we borrow and spend. It delivers an entertaining discussion of the impact of an industry that epitomizes the notion of two-sided markets: those in which two or more customer groups receive value only if all sides are actively engaged. The authors also examine the implications of the recent antitrust cases on the industry as well as other business and technological changes—including the massive consolidation brought about by bank mergers, the rise of the debit card, and the emergence of e-commerce—that could alter the payment card industry dramatically in the years to come.

“Paying with Plastic provides a rigorous analysis and deep insights about the payment card industry’s fascinating institutional features. This book will appeal not only to policymakers and business executives, but also to the theoretically inclined economist. A remarkable achievement.” — Jean Tirole, 2014 The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2014.

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Friction Fighters: How to Identify Opportunities and Vulnerabilities in the Platform Economy

The introduction of digital and the reality of a more connected economy creates new opportunities and sources of competitive pressures for businesses operating in every sector. The accelerating diffusion of AI and other technologies has quickened the pace of change and the profile of competitors. New business models are changing market dynamics and creating new platform economics.

The FIT Framework provides executives with an analytic baseline to more accurately examine the why and the what of a new business opportunity, and a decision framework for how to execute for profits and scale. The result is a more predictable way to align business and technology readiness with customer value and market opportunity in a world dominated by digital platform ecosystems.

This collection of essays and insights will immerse you into the relevance of using this analytical framework to drive success in the digital economy.

One more informed decision at a time.

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Launching New Payments Businesses: The Role of Critical Mass and Ignition Strategies

Hard data are not available but, based on my experience, billions of dollars each year go poof in the payments industry from investments in products that crash and burn soon after launch. These products didn’t have a sound ignition strategy, which should be the foundation of all payments innovation. This book describes what an ignition plan is, why every entrepreneur inside and outside of major corporations should have one, and why investors and directors should insist on seeing one.

Failure itself is hardly surprising. Most new businesses die young and few products become hits. Unless someone really does invent a working crystal ball, that’s the way it will always be.

But a lot of money gets wasted in payments because of the failure to deal with a difficult coordination problem. Many payments products provide value only if they are adopted by both buyers (such as consumers) and sellers (such as merchants). They have to achieve a critical mass of these buyers and sellers to provide a valuable product. If they don’t, they will crash and burn, after early adopters lose interest. If they do, they may ignite as an increasing number of buyers attract sellers and an increasing number of sellers attract buyers. Discover ignited. So did PayPal. Pay by Touch crashed and burned. Hundreds more just didn’t get off the ground.

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Articles

MPD’s founders have also written numerous scholarly articles that have developed the theory and application of multisided platforms or apply this to key aspects of the digital economy or payments. These articles have been highly influential with tens of thousands of citations in the professional literature.
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Frameworks

MPD’s founders use insights from their research to develop proprietary frameworks for identifying platform opportunities; designing, igniting, growing platform businesses; and protecting existing businesses from platform disruptors.
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Catalyst Framework
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Ignition Framework
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FIT Framework

Data

Through its partnership with PYMNTS Intelligence, MPD has access to data from more than two million respondents around the world, collected since at least 2020, on most sectors of the digital economy and payments including FinTechs.
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