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经济学人双语:百货商场的逆袭 细数各个领域中的"平台"(上)

2016-12-06    来源:经济学人    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

usiness: Schumpeter: The emporium strikes back
商业:熊彼德:百货商场的逆袭

Platforms are the future—but not for everyone.
平台才是未来——但因人而异。

“Interesting thesis, but don’t use the word ‘platform’ in the title. No one knows what it means.”
“论题很有意思,但是标题里不要加 ‘平台’ 这个词,没人明白那是什么意思。”

That was the reaction of a professor at MIT in 2000 upon reading the dissertation of Annabelle Gawer, now co-director of the Centre for Digital Economy at the University of Surrey.
这是2000年,一位麻省理工的教授在读现任萨里大学数字化经济中心联席主任安娜贝尔·加威尔的研究论文时候的反应。

She ignored the advice and kept the title.
加威尔没有理会这条建议,在标题中保留了这个词。

If anyone were to counsel Ms Gawer against using the word today, it would be for the opposite reason: overuse.
如果今天再有人劝加威尔女士不要使用 “平台” 这个词,那一定是出于相反的理由:这个词已经被用滥了。

Academic papers on the concept are now legion.
关于这个概念的学术论文不胜枚举。

Books are multiplying, too: after “Platform Revolution” in March, this month will see the release of “Matchmakers” (with the p-word in the subtitle) .
相关书籍的数量也成倍增长:在三月份的 “平台革命” 后,即将迎来这个月 “中介” 概念的爆发 (副标题里有 “专业的” 这个词)。

Rare is the startup that does not want to be a platform.
很少有创业公司不想搭建平台。

A rapidly growing number of incumbent firms, too, are striving to build platforms.
与此同时,越来越多的在位企业也在加入这个行列。

Yet the professor’s problem remains pertinent: confusion still reigns over what exactly platforms are.
但麻省理工那位教授提出的问题依然适用:平台究竟是什么,人们对此还是一头雾水。

And this, combined with the hype, hides the fact that they are not for everyone.
这些疑惑再加上媒体天花乱坠的报导掩盖了真相:平台的战略并非适合所有人。

Broadly defined, platforms are a type of market place where people and businesses trade under a set of rules set by the owner or operator.
广义上来讲,平台即用户及商业机构在业主或经营者建立的规则范围内进行交易的市场。

Among the first were the emporiums in ancient Greece, designated places near docks where traders could exchange merchandise.
平台的最初形态即古希腊港口边指定场所的商业中心,在这里商人们可以交换货物。

More recently, digitisation and the internet have given rise to a new type that is both marketplace and shared base.
最近,随着数字化与互联网的发展而兴起了基于商业和共享的新型平台。

Operating systems are an example, such as Windows for personal computers and Android for smartphones.
操作系统就是一个很好的例子,比如个人电脑上的 “视窗” 操作系统以及智能手机上的安卓系统。

These programs provide basic services that applications developed by others need to run.
这些程序提供的基础服务使他人开发的应用得以运行。

Another version is e-commerce sites, including Amazon and eBay, which connect sellers and buyers (hence the title “Matchmakers” ) .
另一个例子是包括亚马逊和易贝等电商网站,他们提供的平台就将买家和卖家连结起来 (所以才叫 “中介” )。

Social networks, too, are platforms: they bring together consumers, advertisers and software developers.
社交网络也是平台,他们将客户/广告商/软件开发商连结起来。

These modern platforms have three things in common.
现代的平台有三个共同点。

They are “multi-sided”, meaning they have more than one group of customers.
“多边性”,这意味着多个客户群。

They exhibit strong “network effects” : a growing group of one sort of customer attracts more of the other, which again draws in more of the first and so on.
“强大的网络效应” : 某类客户群的增长会吸引更多的使用者,以此类推形成正反馈。

And they are controlled by one company, which can dictate the terms of trade, such as what type of businesses are allowed on its digital property and what they have to pay for the privilege.
这些平台都受制于某个公司,公司规定了贸易条款,比如自身的数字资产将决定何种商业类型会被允许以及搭建平台所需的代价。

Such features have allowed American companies in particular to build global digital emporiums that have come to dominate the technology industry.
这样的特征尤其有利于美国的公司构建全球性的数字化贸易市场,由此支配科技领域。

In late 2015 the 44 platform firms based in Silicon Valley alone boasted a combined market capitalisation of $2.2 trillion, according to the Centre for Global Enterprise (CGE) , a think-tank.
根据全球企业中心智库表示,2015年中仅凭44家硅谷的平台公司就霸踞了2.2万亿美金的资本市场。

Among them, Apple’s iPhone exemplifies best how to run a platform: anybody can write an app, but it has to pass strict tests and the firm keeps 30% of all sales.
其中,苹果公司的Iphone就是平台运作的典型:任何人都可以在上面编写应用,但是需要通过平台严格的审查并且切分掉30%的销售收入。



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