The Power of Product Platforms

In many ways, product platforms represent many of the most widely-used solutions that people use every day. For example, I’ll start with a platform that you’re very familiar with – the App Store from Apple. It’s hard to believe, but Apple recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the App Store’s initial launch.

Given how frequently we use the App Store today, it’s easy to forget how much the platform has evolved since it was introduced. Most importantly, the App Store also validates the power of product platforms to enable innovation and profitability on many levels.

For example, it’s safe to say that the App Store is one of Apple’s most significant revenue streams.

However, Apple’s revenue is just one part of the platform’s overall impact. In the 10 years since the App Store launched, iOS developers on the platform have earned over $100 billion. Clearly, this revenue figure on its own is impressive. However, it shows how product platforms create an economy that is independent of the platform provider.

Specifically, this is one of the most important differentiators that platforms have when compared to other products. The platform provider is not the only group who benefits from the platform’s value proposition. Instead, they create opportunities for other businesses and stakeholders to grow their business via enablement from the platform.

That said, it takes time to build a platform that achieves the universal success of the App Store. The biggest challenge that comes with building product platforms is when you start from scratch. In my own experience, this opportunity has presented itself most recently at Salesforce with our Health Cloud product.

While it may be scary to build product platforms from scratch. However, it’s also one of the most rewarding products to drive from start to finish. At Salesforce, I joined the team to essentially bring health care products to the company. The key to success is following giving yourself enough time to get things right.


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About the Speaker
Rita Sharma
Salesforce VP, Product Management
Rita Sharma is a VP of Product at Salesforce - focusing on the company’s first health care product (Health Cloud). Prior to joining Salesforce, Rita was the Founder and CEO of - a consumer health website providing access to treatment solutions. In addition, Rita has held product/marketing positions at Lifescan and Handspring. Rita holds an MBA from UCLA and currently lives in Palo Alto, CA.

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