How do you evaluate markets?

following a few angles by which i examine what's happening at a macro scale and how it impacts the micro, the now...

first, bundling vs unbundling. every `N` period we observe a battle between "best of breed" vs "best of suite" in nearly every category. you had cable television, a bundle of network stations, get unbundled by Netflix and Hulu. but now with so many streaming providers, paying for each of them is essentially a re-bundling of digital entertainment. companies like Aereo were scratching the surface with their cable television alternative (#RIP).

next, stop gaps vs the future. for awhile i worked at an "Uber for shipping" startup, and we built apps that helped drivers connect with and claim truck loads from shippers on the network. since the "old way" of linking driver <> load through expensive brokerages is obviously inefficient, this felt like the future. since then i've determined that even if mobile apps for drivers get more traction, they are ultimately a stop gap to the inevitable future of self-driving trucks. for entrepreneurs the takeaway is to determine whether your invention is a stop gap, because if it is you might have fewer years to capitalize.

finally, platforms. much literature exists to describe what platforms are and where they came from. but i'm particularly interested in the observation that nowadays, to build one successfully you have to first become a "single player tool," where network effects don't matter. once at critical mass you invert to a multi-player tool, adding value between users. and finally you transform into a marketplace with a new business model that charges on the margins instead of by "all you can eat" usage.