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Arguing by Analogy: Regulating User Generated Content on Peer-2-Peer
Platforms from the Boundary Resource Model Perspective
Alexandros Johannes Bletsis
4743318
Technische Universiteit Delft, MSc Complex Systems Engineering and Management - SEN1641
Abstract- Peer-2-Peer platforms provide a new way for individuals to interact with each other both digitally and physically.
Consequently, the number of users populating such platforms and providing so called user generated content is increasing
significantly. Therefore, platform owners require a new interface with their users enforcing new modes of governance to
ensure the integrity of the platform. In this essay, I argue for a philosophical analogy between content creation on B2C
software platforms and P2P content platforms in order to identify possible interfaces between content creators and the
platform. As a result, an analogous boundary resources model for P2P platforms is erected creating a clear overview how
such interfaces should be positioned in a P2P platform ecosystem. In future research, the model could be expanded to a
framework that functions as a method for analysing and designing P2P platforms and user contribution.
-Introduction-
The emergence of Peer-2-Peer (P2P) platforms provides resources for a new economic and societal development,
as they are reshaping the way individuals organize, interact and contribute both digitally and physically. Furthermore, P2P
platforms are becoming increasingly popular due to better transparency, the ability to connect with your peer without
intermediary, a diverse prosumer offering and the emergence of a collaborative economy. Moreover, direct contact between
user groups in the (temporary or permanent) exchange of goods and information in a digital environment is valued highly by
young adults of the millennial generation (Bellotti et al., 2015). Millennials, born in 1985-1996, are often characterised as
“digital natives and the networked generation”, are motivated by sustainable development, have a strong desire to contribute
and to be part of a society such as a platform ecosystem (Sweeney, 2006). Consequently, most Millennials are members of
P2P media platforms on which they absorb and generate user contents that inevitably influences their decisions to a large
extent (Marketingcharts, 2014). To be precise, user generated content in P2P platforms can be considered as active user
contributions that attempt to communicate specific contextual information, encoded into a form of expression supported by
the platform (video, static visuals or textual), with other platform users (peers).
Similarly, there are certain advantages from the perspective of the platform owner in leveraging users to generate
and aggregate content, namely, the economic benefits due to the voluntary content creation and the creation of a sense
community, thereby generating additional positive network effects and repulsing negative network effects (Cook, 2008;
Parker et al., 2016). However, this requires the design of user contribution systems that effectively communicate the user
generated contents (active user contributions) with the rest of the platform ecosystem (Cook, 2008). Consequently, when
engaging in user contributions, the platform owner allocates significant control to “third party” content creators that add to
the extensible knowledge base of the platform without immediate supervision.
Therefore, a thorough system needs to be in place through which a certain degree of behavioural control is exerted
on the content generation process, whilst retaining high levels of trust and external contribution. More specifically, the design
of such a system requires a technical architecture, governance elements and to be appropriately positioned in the platform
periphery by means of a user interface (Tiwana, 2013; de Rivera et al., 2016). Depending on the characteristics of the P2P
platform, different design specifications might be necessary as de Rivera et al. (2016) showed in their research on
collaborative consumption. Nevertheless, it can be expected that a recursive structure might appear when designing
successful user interfaces, however, frameworks that provide a structured overview are not readily available to my
knowledge.
On the contrary, in B2C software platforms, platform ecosystems are often cultivated by means of third-party
application developers that satisfy the end-users of the platform by adding applications to its extensible code base. Therefore,
the platform owner should focus on providing the appropriate resources to support third-party developers by means of
boundary resources (Ghazawneh & Henfridsson, 2013). Consequently, Ghazawneh and Henfridsson (2013) provide a
boundary resources model that provides clearly defined building blocks for defining boundary resources in the context of the
platform of study. This is particularly useful when discussing the role of so called boundary resources in platforms. In this
essay, I will try to draw the analogy between third party application development and user generated content in order to
develop an analogous boundary resources model for governing P2P user generated content.
“Boundary resources are the software tools and regulations that serve as the interface for the arm’s-length relationship between the
platform owner and the application developer. Hence, boundary resources are imperative to transfer design capability to users with the
intention to generate complementary applications”
- Ghazawneh and Henfridsson (2013)
-Arguing by analogy-
In short, an analogy can be seen as the conceptual mapping between two subjects (the analogue, subject A and the
target subject, subject B) that share some similarity such that the logic (Assigned-Predicate) of a familiar subject (subject A)
may be transplanted into the other subject (subject B). Thus, granting the ability to draw new conclusions in one subject
(subject B) based on observations made in the other (subject A) (Juthe, 2005).
Analogue B2C software platforms
Assigned-predicate Platform boundary resources
Target subject P2P user generated content platforms
According to Juthe (2005), unlike in inductive and deductive relations, the inference goes through an analogical
relation. As aforementioned, a good argument is often one where the contents of the premises and the conclusion are
sufficiently related. Therefore, a good argument by analogy is one where there exists a one-to-one correspondence of all
relevant concepts between the two subjects. In this analogy, we will be traversing concepts between similar domains yet
with distinctly different characteristics that would make a “simple” argument for similarity counterintuitive.
-The boundary resources model-
Before continuing with the analogy, I briefly paraphrase the boundary resources model of Ghazawneh and
Henfridsson (2013). Their model consists of three main components namely, the platform, boundary resources and the third-
party applications and four relations between those components, this is visualised in figure 1.
More specifically, the platform can be seen as the extensible code base of a software system that provides the core
functionality other applications can leverage.
First, the platform (owner) designs the
boundary resources. The platform initiates the
boundary resource design in order to facilitate
new contributions and retain a certain degree
of control. Therefore, good design can
stimulate and empower third-party
developers.
Second, the third-party developers
make use of the boundary resources for the
design of applications for their end-users. For
instance, using the available Application
Programming Interfaces (APIs) in order to
utilise the capabilities of the platform.
Noteworthy to mention is that not all
boundary resources are mandatory, they
often attempt to enable design opportunities
that will inevitably benefit the platform end-
users.
Third, the boundary resources
resource the platform. In other words, this is
the process where the ecosystem is enhanced
by means of application heterogeneity.
Consequently, this could impact the scope of the platform by adding extra functionalities, new resources, knowledge and
capabilities.
Fourth, the boundary resources secure the platform through exerting a certain degree of control its community.
Securing would often refer to preventing platform infringement due to faulty applications. An example would be to modify
the terms of agreement between developer and the platform owner or the management of certain software settings.
-Traversing between concepts-
I hope that by now, my claim for the analogy has likewise strengthened from your perspective. Nevertheless, one
might still ask, why would you even need to analogise? Additionally, is it not possible to simply use the same conceptual
structure on P2P platforms? From my experience, when talking about platforms that do not have a direct link to (third-party)
application development, applying the boundary resources model of Ghazawneh and Henfridsson (2013) is rather difficult or
Figure 1 - boundary resources model as borrowed from Ghazawneh and Henfridsson
(2013)
in the end will sound gibberish while missing the essence. Even though the elements of trust, governance and control are
universal in all types of platforms and as de Rivera et al. (2016) stated, having a common and neat model of reference allows
for better communication. Therefore, I believe there is an added value in traversing concepts between B2C and P2P platforms
related to content control. In the following schema, I attempt to create an overview of the P2P concepts that have more or
less been discussed so far in relation with their B2C counterparts.
Target subject Analogue
A P2P (user generated content) platform is the
extensible knowledge base of a web-based system that
provides the core information for the peers that
interact with it
ó
A B2C (software) platform is the extensible codebase of
a software-based system that provides core functionality
for the applications that interoperate with it
(user) Content creators ó Third-party application developers
content in some form of expression providing material
to be absorbed by the peers of the platform
ó Applications that are executable pieces of software
providing a service to the end-users of the platform
enhancing the platform ecosystem with a diversity of
user generated content that lead to new platform
functions
ó Enhancing the platform ecosystem with a diversity of
applications that broaden the scope of the platform
(resourcing)
Process and policies that regulate user generated
content on the platform
ó Process and policies that regulate the services provided
on the platform (securing)
-Finalising the argument-
As you might have noticed already, one element and two relations of the boundary resources model arestill missing.
These concepts ought to be discussed in more detail since they argue for the assigned predicate of the target subject. Scott
Cook (2008), has as per my opinion come close to defining what would be a boundary resource for capturing user
contributions. In his article, he explains why users contribute and that in order for platform owners to facilitate and leverage
such contributions, the platform must consist of a “user contribution system” containing the appropriate methods to do so.
Similarly, de Rivera et al. (2016) describe that a sophisticated- system architecture and user interface are key to facilitating
highly dynamic, efficient and reliable P2P collaborative interactions that build trust and virtual reputation.
Consequently, there seems to be a need for an interface that allows both users to generate content and platform
owners to regulate and leverage that content. Therefore, I suggest that boundary resources analogy for P2P platforms should
involve the interaction between the content creators and the platform by means of User Interfaces (UIs). These communicate
the policies of the platform and provides structure to the way users generate content on the platform. Furthermore, UI design
is a delicate process that requires careful deliberation about the graphical layout and how to facilitate new forms of
expression whilst retaining a degree of control. Similarly, the content creators make use of the UIs to publish their content
and communicate it with their peers on the platform. For instance, UIs could scope content creators to standard a layout or
pre-specified sizes such as word count or image sizes and quality standards. The next schema attempts to analogise the
aforementioned concepts of the target subject with their analogue counterparts.
Target subject Analogue
Tools (embedded within the user interfaces) that
regulate the user generated content and serves as the
interface between the platform and its content
creators
ó
Software tools and regulations that serve as the
interface between the platform and the third-party
application developers (Assigned predicate)
The careful deliberation of selecting graphical layout
and means exerting control of the User Interfaces to
facilitate new formats of expression
ó Design of boundary resources to facilitate new
contributions and empower third-party developers
whilst retaining a certain degree of control
The use of the UIs to publish content for peers ó The use of boundary resources to create new
applications for end-users
With the growing number of users that exploit P2P services, platform owners need to shift focus to facilitating the
right support for content creators to stay engaged (Täuscher, 2017). A schematic overview that positions the role of User
Interfaces (boundary resources) within the platform ecosystem, provides means for their purposeful design using a plethora
of available platform theoretical concepts. I would like to conclude this essay with the adapted boundary resources model
including a brief example of a P2P user generated content platform “Skillshare.com” next to the scheme (figure 2).
Platform P2P educational platform Skillshare.com
UIs Class management tools, video upload tools
and instructive resources
User generated
content
Instructive and educational videos made
available by peers on the platform
Resourcing Different types educational videos, the
addition of new content and inspiration for
new content developments
Securing Instructions, rules and regulations for content
creation provided through the UIs of the
platform. Such as length and quality/design of
videos and tutorials
UI use Upload, manage and promote educational
videos, profile management
UI design Constant innovation of user friendly interfaces
that encourage peer-educators to join the
platform and continuous production
Figure 2- Boundary resources model analogy for P2P platforms
References
Bellotti, V., Ambard, A., Turner, D., Gossmann, C., Demkova, K., & Carroll, J. M. (2015). A muddle of models of motivation for
using peer-to-peer economy systems. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing
Systems (pp. 1085-1094). ACM.
Cook, S. (2008). The contribution revolution: Letting volunteers build your business. Harvard business review, 86(10), 60-69.
de Rivera, J., Gordo, Á., Cassidy, P., & Apesteguía, A. (2016). A netnographic study of P2P collaborative consumption
platforms’ user interface and design. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 23, 11-27.
Ghazawneh, A., & Henfridsson, O. (2013). Balancing platform control and external contribution in third-party development:
the boundary resources model. Information Systems Journal, 23(2), 173-192.
Juthe, A. (2005). Argument by analogy. Argumentation, 19(1), 1-27.
Marketingcharts. (2014). Millennials said to be highly trusting of user-generated content. (last accessed: July 3rd, 2018)
Retrieved from: https://www.marketingcharts.com/digital-41276
Parker, G. G., Van Alstyne, M. W., & Choudary, S. P. (2016). Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming
the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You. WW Norton & Company.
Skillshare. (nd). A P2P educational platform. (last accessed: July 5th, 2018) Retrieved from: https://www.skillshare.com/home
Sweeney, R. (2006). Millennial behaviours and demographics. Newark: New Jersey Institute of Technology, 12(3), 10.
Täuscher, K. (2017). Leveraging collective intelligence: How to design and manage crowd-based business models. Business
Horizons, 60(2), 237-245.
Tiwana, A. (2013). Platform ecosystems: aligning architecture, governance, and strategy. Newnes.

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Arguing By Analogy An Essay On Regulating User Generated Content On Peer-2-Peer Platforms From The Boundary Resource Model Perspective

  • 1. Arguing by Analogy: Regulating User Generated Content on Peer-2-Peer Platforms from the Boundary Resource Model Perspective Alexandros Johannes Bletsis 4743318 Technische Universiteit Delft, MSc Complex Systems Engineering and Management - SEN1641 Abstract- Peer-2-Peer platforms provide a new way for individuals to interact with each other both digitally and physically. Consequently, the number of users populating such platforms and providing so called user generated content is increasing significantly. Therefore, platform owners require a new interface with their users enforcing new modes of governance to ensure the integrity of the platform. In this essay, I argue for a philosophical analogy between content creation on B2C software platforms and P2P content platforms in order to identify possible interfaces between content creators and the platform. As a result, an analogous boundary resources model for P2P platforms is erected creating a clear overview how such interfaces should be positioned in a P2P platform ecosystem. In future research, the model could be expanded to a framework that functions as a method for analysing and designing P2P platforms and user contribution. -Introduction- The emergence of Peer-2-Peer (P2P) platforms provides resources for a new economic and societal development, as they are reshaping the way individuals organize, interact and contribute both digitally and physically. Furthermore, P2P platforms are becoming increasingly popular due to better transparency, the ability to connect with your peer without intermediary, a diverse prosumer offering and the emergence of a collaborative economy. Moreover, direct contact between user groups in the (temporary or permanent) exchange of goods and information in a digital environment is valued highly by young adults of the millennial generation (Bellotti et al., 2015). Millennials, born in 1985-1996, are often characterised as “digital natives and the networked generation”, are motivated by sustainable development, have a strong desire to contribute and to be part of a society such as a platform ecosystem (Sweeney, 2006). Consequently, most Millennials are members of P2P media platforms on which they absorb and generate user contents that inevitably influences their decisions to a large extent (Marketingcharts, 2014). To be precise, user generated content in P2P platforms can be considered as active user contributions that attempt to communicate specific contextual information, encoded into a form of expression supported by the platform (video, static visuals or textual), with other platform users (peers). Similarly, there are certain advantages from the perspective of the platform owner in leveraging users to generate and aggregate content, namely, the economic benefits due to the voluntary content creation and the creation of a sense community, thereby generating additional positive network effects and repulsing negative network effects (Cook, 2008; Parker et al., 2016). However, this requires the design of user contribution systems that effectively communicate the user generated contents (active user contributions) with the rest of the platform ecosystem (Cook, 2008). Consequently, when engaging in user contributions, the platform owner allocates significant control to “third party” content creators that add to the extensible knowledge base of the platform without immediate supervision. Therefore, a thorough system needs to be in place through which a certain degree of behavioural control is exerted on the content generation process, whilst retaining high levels of trust and external contribution. More specifically, the design of such a system requires a technical architecture, governance elements and to be appropriately positioned in the platform periphery by means of a user interface (Tiwana, 2013; de Rivera et al., 2016). Depending on the characteristics of the P2P platform, different design specifications might be necessary as de Rivera et al. (2016) showed in their research on collaborative consumption. Nevertheless, it can be expected that a recursive structure might appear when designing successful user interfaces, however, frameworks that provide a structured overview are not readily available to my knowledge. On the contrary, in B2C software platforms, platform ecosystems are often cultivated by means of third-party application developers that satisfy the end-users of the platform by adding applications to its extensible code base. Therefore, the platform owner should focus on providing the appropriate resources to support third-party developers by means of boundary resources (Ghazawneh & Henfridsson, 2013). Consequently, Ghazawneh and Henfridsson (2013) provide a boundary resources model that provides clearly defined building blocks for defining boundary resources in the context of the platform of study. This is particularly useful when discussing the role of so called boundary resources in platforms. In this essay, I will try to draw the analogy between third party application development and user generated content in order to develop an analogous boundary resources model for governing P2P user generated content. “Boundary resources are the software tools and regulations that serve as the interface for the arm’s-length relationship between the platform owner and the application developer. Hence, boundary resources are imperative to transfer design capability to users with the intention to generate complementary applications” - Ghazawneh and Henfridsson (2013)
  • 2. -Arguing by analogy- In short, an analogy can be seen as the conceptual mapping between two subjects (the analogue, subject A and the target subject, subject B) that share some similarity such that the logic (Assigned-Predicate) of a familiar subject (subject A) may be transplanted into the other subject (subject B). Thus, granting the ability to draw new conclusions in one subject (subject B) based on observations made in the other (subject A) (Juthe, 2005). Analogue B2C software platforms Assigned-predicate Platform boundary resources Target subject P2P user generated content platforms According to Juthe (2005), unlike in inductive and deductive relations, the inference goes through an analogical relation. As aforementioned, a good argument is often one where the contents of the premises and the conclusion are sufficiently related. Therefore, a good argument by analogy is one where there exists a one-to-one correspondence of all relevant concepts between the two subjects. In this analogy, we will be traversing concepts between similar domains yet with distinctly different characteristics that would make a “simple” argument for similarity counterintuitive. -The boundary resources model- Before continuing with the analogy, I briefly paraphrase the boundary resources model of Ghazawneh and Henfridsson (2013). Their model consists of three main components namely, the platform, boundary resources and the third- party applications and four relations between those components, this is visualised in figure 1. More specifically, the platform can be seen as the extensible code base of a software system that provides the core functionality other applications can leverage. First, the platform (owner) designs the boundary resources. The platform initiates the boundary resource design in order to facilitate new contributions and retain a certain degree of control. Therefore, good design can stimulate and empower third-party developers. Second, the third-party developers make use of the boundary resources for the design of applications for their end-users. For instance, using the available Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in order to utilise the capabilities of the platform. Noteworthy to mention is that not all boundary resources are mandatory, they often attempt to enable design opportunities that will inevitably benefit the platform end- users. Third, the boundary resources resource the platform. In other words, this is the process where the ecosystem is enhanced by means of application heterogeneity. Consequently, this could impact the scope of the platform by adding extra functionalities, new resources, knowledge and capabilities. Fourth, the boundary resources secure the platform through exerting a certain degree of control its community. Securing would often refer to preventing platform infringement due to faulty applications. An example would be to modify the terms of agreement between developer and the platform owner or the management of certain software settings. -Traversing between concepts- I hope that by now, my claim for the analogy has likewise strengthened from your perspective. Nevertheless, one might still ask, why would you even need to analogise? Additionally, is it not possible to simply use the same conceptual structure on P2P platforms? From my experience, when talking about platforms that do not have a direct link to (third-party) application development, applying the boundary resources model of Ghazawneh and Henfridsson (2013) is rather difficult or Figure 1 - boundary resources model as borrowed from Ghazawneh and Henfridsson (2013)
  • 3. in the end will sound gibberish while missing the essence. Even though the elements of trust, governance and control are universal in all types of platforms and as de Rivera et al. (2016) stated, having a common and neat model of reference allows for better communication. Therefore, I believe there is an added value in traversing concepts between B2C and P2P platforms related to content control. In the following schema, I attempt to create an overview of the P2P concepts that have more or less been discussed so far in relation with their B2C counterparts. Target subject Analogue A P2P (user generated content) platform is the extensible knowledge base of a web-based system that provides the core information for the peers that interact with it ó A B2C (software) platform is the extensible codebase of a software-based system that provides core functionality for the applications that interoperate with it (user) Content creators ó Third-party application developers content in some form of expression providing material to be absorbed by the peers of the platform ó Applications that are executable pieces of software providing a service to the end-users of the platform enhancing the platform ecosystem with a diversity of user generated content that lead to new platform functions ó Enhancing the platform ecosystem with a diversity of applications that broaden the scope of the platform (resourcing) Process and policies that regulate user generated content on the platform ó Process and policies that regulate the services provided on the platform (securing) -Finalising the argument- As you might have noticed already, one element and two relations of the boundary resources model arestill missing. These concepts ought to be discussed in more detail since they argue for the assigned predicate of the target subject. Scott Cook (2008), has as per my opinion come close to defining what would be a boundary resource for capturing user contributions. In his article, he explains why users contribute and that in order for platform owners to facilitate and leverage such contributions, the platform must consist of a “user contribution system” containing the appropriate methods to do so. Similarly, de Rivera et al. (2016) describe that a sophisticated- system architecture and user interface are key to facilitating highly dynamic, efficient and reliable P2P collaborative interactions that build trust and virtual reputation. Consequently, there seems to be a need for an interface that allows both users to generate content and platform owners to regulate and leverage that content. Therefore, I suggest that boundary resources analogy for P2P platforms should involve the interaction between the content creators and the platform by means of User Interfaces (UIs). These communicate the policies of the platform and provides structure to the way users generate content on the platform. Furthermore, UI design is a delicate process that requires careful deliberation about the graphical layout and how to facilitate new forms of expression whilst retaining a degree of control. Similarly, the content creators make use of the UIs to publish their content and communicate it with their peers on the platform. For instance, UIs could scope content creators to standard a layout or pre-specified sizes such as word count or image sizes and quality standards. The next schema attempts to analogise the aforementioned concepts of the target subject with their analogue counterparts. Target subject Analogue Tools (embedded within the user interfaces) that regulate the user generated content and serves as the interface between the platform and its content creators ó Software tools and regulations that serve as the interface between the platform and the third-party application developers (Assigned predicate) The careful deliberation of selecting graphical layout and means exerting control of the User Interfaces to facilitate new formats of expression ó Design of boundary resources to facilitate new contributions and empower third-party developers whilst retaining a certain degree of control The use of the UIs to publish content for peers ó The use of boundary resources to create new applications for end-users
  • 4. With the growing number of users that exploit P2P services, platform owners need to shift focus to facilitating the right support for content creators to stay engaged (Täuscher, 2017). A schematic overview that positions the role of User Interfaces (boundary resources) within the platform ecosystem, provides means for their purposeful design using a plethora of available platform theoretical concepts. I would like to conclude this essay with the adapted boundary resources model including a brief example of a P2P user generated content platform “Skillshare.com” next to the scheme (figure 2). Platform P2P educational platform Skillshare.com UIs Class management tools, video upload tools and instructive resources User generated content Instructive and educational videos made available by peers on the platform Resourcing Different types educational videos, the addition of new content and inspiration for new content developments Securing Instructions, rules and regulations for content creation provided through the UIs of the platform. Such as length and quality/design of videos and tutorials UI use Upload, manage and promote educational videos, profile management UI design Constant innovation of user friendly interfaces that encourage peer-educators to join the platform and continuous production Figure 2- Boundary resources model analogy for P2P platforms
  • 5. References Bellotti, V., Ambard, A., Turner, D., Gossmann, C., Demkova, K., & Carroll, J. M. (2015). A muddle of models of motivation for using peer-to-peer economy systems. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1085-1094). ACM. Cook, S. (2008). The contribution revolution: Letting volunteers build your business. Harvard business review, 86(10), 60-69. de Rivera, J., Gordo, Á., Cassidy, P., & Apesteguía, A. (2016). A netnographic study of P2P collaborative consumption platforms’ user interface and design. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 23, 11-27. Ghazawneh, A., & Henfridsson, O. (2013). Balancing platform control and external contribution in third-party development: the boundary resources model. Information Systems Journal, 23(2), 173-192. Juthe, A. (2005). Argument by analogy. Argumentation, 19(1), 1-27. Marketingcharts. (2014). Millennials said to be highly trusting of user-generated content. (last accessed: July 3rd, 2018) Retrieved from: https://www.marketingcharts.com/digital-41276 Parker, G. G., Van Alstyne, M. W., & Choudary, S. P. (2016). Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You. WW Norton & Company. Skillshare. (nd). A P2P educational platform. (last accessed: July 5th, 2018) Retrieved from: https://www.skillshare.com/home Sweeney, R. (2006). Millennial behaviours and demographics. Newark: New Jersey Institute of Technology, 12(3), 10. Täuscher, K. (2017). Leveraging collective intelligence: How to design and manage crowd-based business models. Business Horizons, 60(2), 237-245. Tiwana, A. (2013). Platform ecosystems: aligning architecture, governance, and strategy. Newnes.