Rapid user base scaling is imperative for a nascent platform venture to generate value and stand out from its competitors. However, even with rapid growth of the user base, there is no guarantee that it will come with user stickiness, that is, a capacity to stimulate extended user interactions and engagement on the platform. We refer to the risk to focus too much on the user scaling at the expense of the user stickiness as the platform scaling trap. To understand how a nascent platform business can overcome the platform scaling trap, we conducted a longitudinal multiple-case study on five short video platforms in China. In this paper, we present our research-in-progress and our anticipated contributions. Our initial findings show that the way that platforms combine digital resources impacts both the growth of the user base and user stickiness. Upon the completion of the research, this study is expected to make a contribution to the platform literature by unpacking the mechanisms of platform scaling through examining digital resource recombination strategies.
Liu, Shiyuan; Nandhakumar, Joe; and Henfridsson, Ola, (2019). "BALANCING USER BASE AND USER STICKINESS IN PLATFORM SCALING". In Proceedings of the 27th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Stockholm & Uppsala, Sweden, June 8-14, 2019. ISBN 978-1-7336325-0-8 Research-in-Progress Papers.