Platforms must perform three key functions in order to encourage a high volume of valuable core interactions, which we summarize as pull, facilitate, and match. The platform must pull the producers and consumers to the platform, which enables interactions among them. It must facilitate their interactions by providing them with tools and rules that make it easy for them to connect and that encourage valuable exchanges (while discouraging others). And it must match producers and consumers effectively by using information about each to connect them in ways they will find mutually rewarding.
All three functions must be performed well if the platform is to succeed. A platform that fails to pull participants will be unable to create the network effects that make the platform valuable. A platform that fails to facilitate interactions—one with clunky technology or overly restrictive policies that make usage difficult—will eventually discourage and alienate participants. And a platform that fails to match participants accurately will waste their time and energy, soon driving participants away.