Course Outline: Level 2


You have completed the First Steps and are moving upwards. Awesome. Keep going.

For Level 2, there are 5 learning goals. And the first thing to do is to listen to the below Level 2 Podcast.

Listen to the Level 2 Podcast


We are going into a lot more theory in this level. A lot of really big ideas.

But keep in mind, you always search the Categories (listed on the right and at the bottom of each article / podcast) for more content on any Company or Concept. For example, you can search Alibaba and lots of articles will come up. Or search Network Effects.


Learning Goal 1: The basics of digital economics

  • One of the reasons “software is eating the world” is because of the economics of digital. Things made of bits and bytes have different economics than physical goods and services made of molecules. And as more and more products become smart and connected (i.e., infused with software), their economics and business models are changing.
  • There are quite a few quirks in this grab bag of digital economics, such as non-rivalry, zero marginal production costs, complements, consumer surplus, bundling and versioning. This is an introduction to the major ideas.
  • The key learning goals are:
    • The basics of Mobike, Hellobikes and Ofo (i.e., bike-sharing and micro-mobility)
    • Digital economics: non-rivalry, zero marginal production costs
    • Porter’s 5 Forces
  • Listen / read and write:
    1. An Introduction to the Sexy but Dangerous Economics of Digital (pt 1 of 3)
    2. Review: Digital Economics (Jeff’s Asia Tech Class – Podcast 15)
      1. Write 3 paragraphs in your journal comparing non-rivalry and zero marginal reproduction costs for physical books vs. ebooks. And for TV shows vs. movies.
    3. Jeffrey Towson – What is the Engine of Chinese Bike-Sharing? (Video)
      1. Write an answer to: Was bike-sharing and its growth about the economics of software? Scalability? Was it mostly venture capital? Why did it grow so fast?
    4. Can Luckin, Mobike, Didi or WeWork Be Profitable? (Jeff’s Asia Tech – Podcast 6)
      1. Write an answer to: Why is it so difficult to become profitable in digital economics? Can Mobike be profitable?


Learning Goal 2: The basics of digital platforms

Learning Goal 3: The basics of Alibaba’s marketplace platform


Learning Goal 4: The basics of VIPShop and JD – and more on digital economics


Learning Goal 5: The basics of JD


You should try to complete these in about 2-3 months. And you probably want to do some of the Learning Goals twice. Speed is not important here. What is important is to build up your understanding. So repetition can be really helpful.

When you are ready, go on to level 3.

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