David Evans, Richard Schmalensee

The New Middlemen How Airbnb, BlaBlaCar, Uber and the rest are changing the economy Publication date : February 15, 2017

Richard Schmalensee teaches economics and management at MIT. He has written a number of articles and books on the subject of industrial economics, his field of expertise.
David Evans is both an entrepreneur and a consultant for many digital platforms.
With a foreword by Jean Tirole, winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Economics and President of the Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
When making things free… pays!
The firms that have seen the most spectacular growth in recent years — Airbnb, BlaBlaCar, Uber and Spotify — are what is known as multi-sided platforms (MSP). The activity of this new kind of middleman is to connect. They connect members of one group — people looking for a ride, for instance — with those of a another, such as drivers looking for passengers. 

What makes the way these platforms work different from the way traditional firms work? And how are they going to transform the economy? Based on numerous case studies, this book’s purpose is to enable readers to understand exactly that. By revealing their business model, it shows that the interdependence of buyers and sellers is the key to the system. Grasping that notion helps make strategies that would otherwise seem counter-intuitive, like free contents or paying consumers to participate, suddenly limpid.