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Managing Disruptive Technologies


Units: 6


We live in a rapidly changing world dominated by a myriad of technology-enabled disruptions. Consequently, there is a strong need for individuals that understand the complex ways in which these innovations affect marketplaces over time. In line with this need, this course looks at how technology-based products diffuse across markets. We depart from the fundamental ideas of monopoly and competitive pricing and study markets in which consumers interact across social networks and firms offer products to several markets simultaneously. The former enables direct network effects, while the latter enables indirect network effects. Lectures cover the fundamental concepts of economics and management applied to technology-enabled markets, including diffusion and critical mass, network effects, multi-sided platforms, pricing strategies, winner-takes-all markets, versioning, bundling, and envelopment attacks. We study these concepts in theory and lively with in-class discussions, competitive games, and simulations. We analyze several markets to complement the theories and models discussed in class, such as content distribution networks, social networking, the sharing economy, and online marketplaces for both digital and physical products. Students learn how to manage disruptive technologies and are exposed to frameworks and tools to characterize their dynamics over time.

Learning Outcomes

Students learn tools, concepts, and ideas to understand how to manage the dynamic aspects of marketplaces enabled by digital technologies. The course focuses on the diffusion of products in markets where consumers interact through social networks and where firms provide services to multiple markets simultaneously. Through several in-class competitive games, discussions, and simulations, students understand the dynamics of multi-sided pricing and winner-takes-all markets. The course focuses on the intuition behind the best managerial practices. It also provides models to study diffusion, network effects, seeding strategies, pricing, and competition in multi-sided platforms. Firms analyzed during the course include Airbnb, Netflix, Uber, Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

Prerequisites Description

a course in economics is required (e.g. 95710 – economic analysis).