Martijn Arets - Platform Revolution

From Amazon to Zalando, the impact of platforms on how we work and live


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Recently our society has been shaken up by new platform organizations like Amazon, Uber and Booking.com. With exponential growth capacities and unorthodox strategies, these companies become global moguls within a few years. The platform revolution is disruptive for all sectors.

While the platform revolution offers great possibilities, there are also questions. What do platforms do differently, what can existing organizations learn from them, what is the role of government in the platform economy and how do we use the chances while avoiding the negative side effects?

These where the key questions for entrepreneur, international platform expert and author Martijn Arets during 60 travels to 16 countries where he interviewed over 500 stakeholders in the platform economy in the last 8 years. In Platform Revolution Arets analyses the most important developments and players. He exposes the most pressing dilemmas and outlines a vision and roadmap towards the future.

Published in July 2020 | Paperback | 368 pages | ca. 92,000 words
Full English AI and sample translations available
Shortlisted for PIM Marketing Literature Prize
Shortlisted for Order of Organization Advisors book of the Year
Nominated for Management Book of the Year
Dutch edition published by Management Impact

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Martijn Arets is entrepreneur and an internationally acknowledged platform expert. He was a pioneer in the field of crowdfunding as he raised over 20,000 euros to finance the translation and production of the English edition of his book Brand Expedition. This earned him the title Dutch Entrepreneur of the Year, membership in a European think tank and a TEDtalk in Greece. He also wrote Crowdfunding Beyond the Hype and Crowdfunding for Dummies.

Triggered by the possibilities of online platforms, he spent eight years researching the rise of the platform economy, traveling to sixteen countries to interview over five hundred people. He is an independent party in debates and research on the developments and effects of the platform economy. He is a connector who brings together the different stakeholders to ensure a more content-driven and more constructive dialogue on the platform economy.


'Thanks to the well-documented facts and excellent examples, Martijn Arets succeeds in circumnavigating the hype without losing focus on the bigger picture. If you are looking for an accurate current status of the platform economy, with honest estimates of the dangers and opportunities, you will have a hard time to find a better book.'
Rogier de Langhe, economics philosopher at Ghent University

'Platform Revolution meets a need. We have too little understanding of how platforms work and why they do. This book gives you a glimpse and so much more, thanks to the many examples. Both the economical and the social aspects of the platform economy are being examined.'
Carine van Oosteren, senior officer at the Dutch Social-Economical Board

'Martijn Arets has been following the platform economy for over ten years and shares his knowledge in this book. By combining theory and practical examples he creates a broad view and an easy read. Platform Revolution is a must-read for platform employees, competing organizations and governments.'
Ronald Egas, CEO at Werkspot

'Platforms have become an essential part of our society. In Platform Revolution, Martijn Arets doesn’t just mention the usual suspects, the book features the diverse nature of platforms, their accessibility, their success and their complexities. The author’s broad knowledge on platforms is remarkable. Platforms are a challenge for most governments but with Martijn’s vision and perspective on how governments can cope with these challenges and opportunities are highly recognizable and confronting. But overall, it provided new insights. To continue the dialogue with partners and platforms, remains the key to success.'
Nanette Schippers, project manager for the city council of Amsterdam

'How do you learn to understand something as new and complex as the platform economy? Not by thinking it will make you rich overnight – it is not going to happen! But by learning from someone who has spent much more time thinking about it and has interviewed a lot of people about this topic. Martijn Arets has combined a lot of examples in this book and offers a frame of reference; tools to get a grip on the matter. A great book for easy followers.'
Marijke Blom, top economist for ING Bank

'Platform Revolution is a multidisciplinary peak behind the curtains. Martijn Arets has gathered information, insights and knowledge for governments, entrepreneurs and scientists who need to reflect on a technology-driven reality and our increasingly platform-powered society. The author does more than just interpret the methods and meaning of platforms, but he brings a valuable contribution to the discussion on platforms and he addresses the responsibilities of leadership.'
Rosalie Koolhoven, scientific author and university professor in IT Law at the University of Groningen

'In his own way, Martijn Arets has researched the platform economy and its impact on our society. He provides clear insights and an overview and he also zooms in on the role of government in the platform economy. Unions recognize that workers have a lot to gain from platforms, like easy access to the labor market and the possibility to have a better voice in better balancing work and private life. We feel that platform employees have the same rights and that regular labor laws should apply to them too. The government, as the labor market’s umpire, should take its responsibility. This would assure that platform employees could also benefit from the leap that the platform economy is currently making.'
Zakaria Boufangacha, employment condition coordinator for the FNV – federation for Dutch trade unions

'A clear, complete and objective narrative on how the platform economy has developed and matured. The share of platforms in the current global economy is growing every day, but what goes on behind the walls of platforms and what can we expect for the future? Questions that often remain unanswered. Platform Revolution provides relevant answers and shows the challenges and opportunities of the platform economy.'
Michelle van Os, CEO at Helpling

'Platform Revolution gives a clear analysis of the role of platforms in our society and economy, provides practical tips and gives examples of the chances, risks and unsolved issues of the platform revolution.'
Jan Middendorp, member of the Dutch house of representatives

'Martijn Arets is, without a doubt, the best-informed expert on the platform economy. And he combines theory, practice, experience and insight effortlessly in Platform Revolution while taking the reader along a fascinating journey of various platforms. And he doesn’t shy away from addressing all the critical issues. Its strengths are the countless examples, showing the effects that platforms have on people, institutions, establishes interests, the entire society in fact.'
José van Dijck, professor media and digital society at the University of Utrecht and co-author of The Platform Society

'Martijn Arets has traveled around the world the last couple of years to witness how people and companies are building the future. He paints a fascinating picture on the sky-high ambitions and the many struggles that this development is encountering. Platform Revolution inspires and makes you think, but above all it gives you the necessary boost to start being a part of the platform economy.'
Hans van der Loo, international bestselling author of Musk Mania and founder of Energyfinder

'Platform Revolution gives a detailed report on the developments, principles and possibilities of online platforms. Martijn Arets discusses the obvious examples like Airbnb and Uber that have disrupted entire market segments by now. But especially the chapters on government in the platform economy have made me aware of the huge impact that platforms have on our society. He exemplifies Estonia as a government that is developing itself like a platform. Platform Revolution is a must-read and makes you think about the role of platforms in both public and the private organizations.'
Marco Derksen, advisor, speaker and founder-partner of Upstream

'Martijn Arets guides you through the complex matter of the platform economy with personal anecdotes and sharp analyses. A must-read for students, policy makers and others!'
Koen Frenken, professor innovation studies at the Copernicus Institute for sustainable developments at the University of Utrecht

“Martijn Arets is a guide in the world of platforms. In his book he gives and objective view of the developments in the platform economy from all angles. His intrinsic purpose and mission are to help this interesting and complex playing field develop for the better and Platform Revolution is a practical and successful effort to achieve this. Something that we all can learn and gain from.”
Peter Knol, founder of BKSY

'Few people are as well-informed on the current developments in the field of platforms as Martijn Arets. He regularly speaks with the most important players: Estonian government officials who are realizing their platform ideas, to Swedish union leaders who have progressive ideas about shaping the online gig economy. This book provides an almost encyclopedic overview of the most important developments, visions and positions in the – sometimes heated – discussions on the rise of platforms.'
Martijn de Waal, Lector Play & Civic Media at the University of Applied Sciences of Amsterdam and co-author of The Platform Society

'Platforms will largely determine our future economy, as well as which role humans will play in it. Much is being written, speculated and agitated against about platforms in the broadest sense, people make the wildest assumptions. It is time for a well-researched foundation. From shared ownership, to algorithms, from employment to governance, from data to privacy, many interesting issues are being discussed. And international experts share their insights in this book. With Platform Revolution Martijn has laid a solid foundation for the social discussions we need to have in the future.'
Ronald van den Hoff, co-owner Seatsmeet.com and author of Society 3.0 and Yes! It is getting complicated

'Martijn Arets shows that platform entrepreneurs are not only using disruptive technology, but also a disruptive mentality and corporate culture. This makes Platform Revolution interesting for all marketeers, business leaders and entrepreneurs. The book explains how you can be committed to a large group of customers in a fair and sustainable manner, by using the internet in a clever way, and who doesn’t want to do that?'
Arko van Brakel, internet entrepreneur, speaker, trainer, bestselling author of Entrepreneur With Impact and Everybody Entrepreneur

'Platform Revolution by Martijn Arets is a masterclass in the platform economy. In over 350 pages and with over 135 fitting examples of platforms the author presents an objectively view on the world of platforms. The book is easy to read, avoids complicated theoretical contemplations but shares clear stories about various platforms. If you are unfamiliar with the platform economy, this is the book to delve in to, but don’t expect a ‘how-to’ guidebook on how to build a scalable platform.'
Henny Poortman, HWP Consulting partner

'Platform Revolution is easy to read, no elaborate theories, scientific analysis, models or matrixes. It is a sober and comprehensive view from the real world, with a clear storyline and countless examples, experiences, insights, tips and attention points. The book is sure to help you develop your platform with more success. Platform Revolution is a must-read for every entrepreneur, strategy professional, marketeer and innovator. Highly topical and the author shares a wealth of knowledge on the rise of platform companies, the social impact of platforms and the risks and opportunities that platform solutions offers for consumers, companies, citizens and governments. For those who don’t know it yet, Bill Clinton nearly said it with: It’s the platform economy, stupid!'
Sjors van Leeuwen, CRM professional, advisor and author



Part 1 To platform or not to platform?

Chapter 1 The (un)limited possibilities of the platform economy
Chapter 2 Platforms as two-way market places
Chapter 3 What platforms do differently
Chapter 4 But how? Lessons from platform practices
Chapter 5 Platforms in a social perspective

Part 2 Platforms for non-startups

Chapter 6 Chances for existing organizations
Chapter 7 Strategic questions
Chapter 8 Checklist for added value of platforms

Part 3 Government and platforms

Chapter 9 Government in the platform economy
Chapter 10 Platforms that contribute to the government objectives
Chapter 11 Governments and platforms
Chapter 12 Government as a platform

Part 4 Future

Chapter 13 The platform economy potential
Chapter 14 Towards an inclusive platform economy
Chapter 15 Platforms in times of crisis

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