Teaching Interest

Competing with Social Networks



MBA EC 1217

Career Focus

Competing with Social Networks is a Strategy class targeted at students considering careers in high technology, entertainment, social media or consumer packaged goods. It will be useful for students considering consulting careers, careers inside companies as well as for students who are planning to start their own Web 2.0 companies. Frequent protagonist visits will help students establish relationships required to be effective in this space.

Educational Objectives

The course introduces the social failure framework which helps us understand why so many people find social interactions online so appealing. Second, it introduces the social platform framework to understand how firms can successfully address these social failures, and help people interact in ways they are unable to in the offline world. Third, it outlines the social strategy framework which helps us understand how large and established firms can leverage social platforms for competitive advantage.

Course Content

There are three modules in the course. In the first module, we use courseware to establish what social failures are and where they come from. In the second module, we examine why some social platforms succeeded while others failed. Here we examine cases on: eHarmony, MeetUp, Twitter, Facebook, mixi, LinkedIn, Friendster and MySpace. In the third module, we examine how small and large firms can leverage social platforms for competitive advantage. Here we examine cases on: Zynga, Yelp, Wikipedia, American Express, Nike, Harvard Business Review, Cisco, and Barack Obama. Field projects complement our discussions.


Winter 2009 Competing with Social Networks 2009
Winter 2010 Competing with Social Networks 2010

Keywords: social networks;