Building and investing in

network effects

Learn how to rigorously evaluate the upside potential of network effects and how to make design choices that enhance their defensibility.

4 x 2 hr sessions

4pm PST; Aug 30; Sep 1, 6, 8

Early Bird Price: $700 (expense through L&D)

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Your referral makes you eligible for a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Designed to expand your expertise in building and evaluating

Businesses with Network Effects

Managers, Engineers and Executives

Product managers, software engineers and strategy executives at technology companies and startups will learn:


Strategies for transforming regular products into platforms with network effects, or for expanding the network effects of existing platforms


Business metrics for assessing the progress and health of a product’s or platform’s network effects.


Design tactics for strengthening network effects and enhancing defensibility


Angel investors, venture capitalists, and public market investors will learn:


How to evaluate the defensibility and upside potential of marketplaces or SaaS, AI and web3.0 businesses that leverage network effects

How to evaluate the potential of a regular product or service to become a platform with network effects


What key metrics to ask for in order to evaluate network effects businesses


Start-up founders and their teams who are building network effects businesses will learn:


What are the factors that determine the defensibility of the network effects their business is attempting to leverage?


How to best frame the competitive advantage of their business in order to attract investors?


What key metrics to look at in order to judge the progress of their network effects?

Join a live AMA with the instructors

and get your questions answered

Andrei and Julian are hosting a free live introductory session which you’re invited to join:

Format; Case study, Course Information & Live Q&A

4-5pm PST; May 3rd

Price: Free

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Your referral makes you eligible for a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Meet your


Andrei Hagiu and Julian Wright are leading experts on platform businesses and network effects, on which they have done research, consulting and investment work for over twenty years.

Together, they have published dozens of professional economics articles, nine Harvard Business Review articles, and a Substack newsletter, all focused on various aspects of platform strategy. They are also active angel investors in platform businesses, having invested in hundreds of startups (including Dapper Labs, Grin, OpenSea, Papa and Turing) and provided advice to many.

Andrei has taught MBA and executive education courses on platform strategy at HBS, MIT and Boston University for over 15 years. He has also consulted with ADP, Equifax, Hearst and Intuit – all on the topic of how to transform products into platforms.

Julian has taught executive courses on platform strategy and on winning with data at NUS and has consulted with Facebook, MasterCard and Visa, as well as competition authorities and regulators interested in digital platforms.

Join us for a

Next Generation Learning Experience

About Andrei & Julian’s

Live Cohort

Platform businesses leveraging network effects have become the most powerful businesses in the world. Indeed, today they include many of the world’s most valuable companies. Not surprisingly, there are thousands of early-stage startups attempting to leverage network effects in order to become the next Airbnb, Alibaba, Facebook, Google or Uber. Meanwhile, many established companies are attempting to transform their products or services into platforms with network effects, or to expand their existing network effects. A few of these projects will succeed and most will fail. Partly because of poor execution, and partly because of unrealistic claims and expectations about the defensibility that network effects can create for their specific businesses.

Participants in this course will learn how to rigorously evaluate the upside potential and defensibility of business opportunities with network effects:

What separates network effects that can support defensible businesses from those that do not?

What are the key metrics to look at when evaluating and managing businesses with network effects?

What are the common pitfalls to avoid when transforming products into platforms with network effects?

To answer these questions, we will leverage economics concepts and frameworks that we have developed during our over 20 years of research on platform businesses, and that we use extensively in our own consulting and angel investing activities. We will apply these frameworks to discuss a wide range of startups and mature tech firms.

Session 1 – Network effects and defensibility

Tuesday, Aug 30
4pm PST

What are the various types of network effects?

What factors determine whether they are strong/weak and whether they create defensible moats?

How can network effects be enhanced by product design?

Session 2 – Data network effects

Thursday, Sep 1
4pm PST

What are the different types of data-enabled learning and what factors determine the extent of compounding competitive advantage businesses can obtain from data?

Under what conditions does data-enabled learning lead to network effects and how do data network effects compare with regular network effects?

What are the most promising business applications of data and AI?

Session 3 – Transforming products into platforms

Tuesday, Sep 6
4pm PST

In this session we will analyze in-depth three strategies that businesses can use to transform regular products into platforms with network effects, or to expand already existing platforms to additional sources of network effects:

Opening the door to third-parties.

Connecting customers.

Reaching out to customers’ customers.

Session 4 – Metrics for building and investing in network effect businesses

Thursday, Sep 8
4pm PST

What are the key metrics to focus on when growing network effect businesses, and how do they differ based on the stage of the business?

How to achieve minimum critical liquidity?

What are the common pitfalls to avoid when scaling businesses with network effects?

Session 5 – Managing network effects and the future

Tuesday, May 31
4pm PST

How to prevent leakage, i.e. participants meeting on the platform but taking their transactions off the platform

How much centralized control to exert on transactions between platform participants?

What are the challenges/opportunities created for network effects businesses by the emergence of web3 and big-tech regulation?