• Phone: 617-358-3571
  • E-Mail:  mva@bu.edu
  • Website: http://ssrn.com/author=253298
  • Office: 649
  • Office Hours: By Appointment
  • Address: Boston University School of Management
    595 Commonwealth Avenue
    Boston, MA 02215

Profile Summary

Professor Van Alstyne is one of the leading experts in network business models. He conducts research on information economics, covering such topics as communications markets, the economics of networks, intellectual property, social effects of technology, and productivity effects of information. As co-developer of the concept of “two sided networks” he has been a major contributor to the theory of network effects, a set of ideas now taught in more than 50 business schools worldwide.

Awards include two patents, National Science Foundation IOC, SGER, SBIR, iCorp and Career Awards, and six best paper awards. Articles or commentary have appeared in Science, Nature, Management Science, Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

  • Education Open or Close

    Ph D, MIT Sloan School, Information Systems, 1997.

    MS, MIT Sloan School, Management, 1991.

    BA, Yale University, Computer Science, 1984.

  • Current CoursesOpen or Close

    GSM DS999 C1 Dissertation

    GSM IS710 D1 IT Strategies for a Networked Economy

    GSM IS827 F1 Platforms and Information Markets

    GSM IS912 A1 Information Economics

  • PublicationsOpen or Close

    Journal Articles:

      Aral, S., Brynlofsson, E., Van Alstyne, M., (2012). Information, Technology & Information Worker Productivity. Information Systems Research, 23(Sept.), 849-867.

      Van Alstyne, M., N, B., (2012). An Empirical Analysis of Strategies & Efficiencies in Social Networks. Journal of Indian Management Research, II(2), 28-45.

      Van Alstyne, M., Benbya, H., (2011). How to Find Answers within Your Company. Sloan Management Review, 52(2), 65-75. Cambridge MA.

      Eisenmann, T., Parker, G., Van Alstyne, M., (2011). Platform Envelopment. Strategic Management Journal, 12(32), 1270-1285.

      Van Alstyne, M., Aral, S., (2011). The Diversity Bandwidth Tradeoff. American Journal of Sociology, 117(1), 90-171. Chicago.

      Van Alstyne, M., (2009). Computational Social Science. Science, 323(5915), 721-723.

      Van Alstyne, M., (2009). The Social Network within a Management Recruiting Firm: Network Structure and Output. Review of Network Economics, 8(4), 302-324.

      Van Alstyne, M., (2009). Six Challenges in Platform Innovation and Open Licensing. Communications & Strategies, 1(74), 17-36.

      Van Alstyne, M., (2007). Curing Spam: Rights, Signals & Screens. Economists' Voice, 4(2), Article 4. Berkeley Press.

      Eisenmann, T., Parker, G., Van Alstyne, M., (2006). Strategies for Two-Sided Networks. Harvard Business Review, Boston, MA.

      Loder, T., Van Alstyne, M., Wash, R., (2006). An Economic Response to Unsolicited Communication. Berkeley Economics Journals: Advances in Economic Analysis & Policy, 6(1), 2-36. Berkeley, CA.

      Van Alstyne, M., (2005). Create Colleagues Not Competitors. Harvard Business Review , Boston, MA.

      Parker, G., Van Alstyne, M., (2005). Two-Sided Network Effects: A Theory of Information Product Design. Management Science, 51(10), 1494-1504. Hanover, MD.

      Van Alstyne, M., Brynjolfsson, E., (2005). Global Village or Cyber Balkans? Measuring and Modeling the Integration of Electronic Communities. Management Science, 51(6), 851-868. Hanover, MD.

      Van Alstyne, M., (1998). The State of Network Organization: A Survey in Three Frameworks. Journal of Organizational Computing, 7(3), .

      Brynjolfsson, E., Renshaw, A. A., Van Alstyne, M., (1997). The Matrix of Change: A Tool for Business Process Reengineering. Sloan Management Review,

      Van Alstyne, M., Brynjolfsson, E., (1996). Wider Access and Narrower Focus – Could the Internet Balkanize Science?. Science, 274(5292), 1479-1480.

      Van Alstyne, M., Brynjolfsson, E., Madnick, S., (1995). Why Not One Big Database? Principles for Data Ownership. Decision Support Systems Journal, 15(4), . Amsterdam.


      Parker, G., Van Alstyne, M., Choudary, S., (Accepted). Platform World. : Norton.

    Book Chapters:

      Van Alstyne, M., (2016). New Palgrave Encyclopedia of Strategy, in Platform Strategy, David Teece, .

      Van Alstyne, M., Eisenmann, T., Parker, G., (2009). "Opening Platforms: How, When and Why" Platforms, Markets and Innovation, London: Edward Elgar, pp 131-162.

      Van Alstyne, M., (1998). The Influence of Information Technology on Higher Education, in New Thinking on Higher Education, Joel Meyerson, ed., : Anker Publishing , pp 120-147.

      Bulkley, N., Van Alstyne, M., Why Information Influence Should Productivity, in The Network Society: A Global Perspective; Manuel Castells (ed.), : Edward Elgar Publishers.

    Other Publications:

      Van Alstyne, M., Malhotra, A., (2014). The Dark Side of the Sharing Economy and How to Lighten It. (11, 57, 24-27).: Communications of the ACM.

      Van Alstyne, M., (2014). Why Bitcoin Has Value. (5, 57, 30-32).: Communications of the ACM.

      Van Alstyne, M., (2013). Why Not Immortality?. (56, 11, 29-31).: Communications of the ACM.

      Van Alstyne, M., Parker, G., Shanker, T., (2013). How to Strengthen Ad Mail by Building a Digital Information Market. Washington: Office of Inspector General - Risk Analysis Research Center.

      Dellarocas, C., Van Alstyne, M., (2013). Money Models for MOOCs. (8, 56, 25-28).: Communications of the ACM.

      Van Alstyne, M., Zhang, J., (2009). US Patent 7,503,070. A mechanism to permit analysis of communication content that preserves personal privacy. Washington, D.C.: US Patent & Trademark Office.

      Koomey, J., Van Alstyne, M., Brynjolfsson, E., (2007). You've got spam. New York, NY: Wall Street Journal.

      Van Alstyne, M., (Accepted). US Patent 7,890,338 B2. Method for Managing a Whitelist. Awarded February 15, 2011. Funded by NSF Award 0114368.

  • Contracts, Grants and Sponsored ResearchOpen or Close

    Platform Symposium, Pearson Publishing. (March 3, 2013 - July 2013).

    Platform Driven Innovation Within and Across Firms, National Science Foundation. (September 1, 2009 - August 31, 2012).

  • Research PresentationsOpen or Close

    Invited Lectures:

      Van Alstyne, M., (Presenter & Author), EMERCE eDay, The Rise of Platforms and What it Means for Business, Amsterdam eWeek, Amsterdam, Netherlands. (October 10, 2013).

      Van Alstyne, M., (Presenter & Author), Postal Vision 2020, A Digital Postal Platform, Postal Vision 2020, Washington, DC. (February 25, 2013).

      Van Alstyne, M., (Presenter and Author), Dean's Research Roundtable, Platform Ecosystem Strategy, UC Davis, Davis, CA. (October 4, 2012).

      Van Alstyne, M., (Presenter and Author), Research Institute for Socionetwork Strategies, Platform Envelopment, Kansai University & University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan. (November 13, 2012).

      Van Alstyne, M., (Presenter and Author), A Policy Framework for Knowledge Based Capital, Innovation, Openness & Platform Control, OECD, Paris, FR. (June 25, 2012).

      Van Alstyne, M., (Presenter and Author), Goldman Sachs Analyst Summit, Platform Ecosystem Strategy, Goldman Sachs, New York. (December 6, 2012).

      Van Alstyne, M., (Author Only), A Policy Framework for Knowledge Based Capital, Innovation, Openness & Platform Control, OECD, Washington, DC. (December 3, 2012).

    Accepted Lectures:

      Van Alstyne, M., (Presenter & Author), Parker, G., (Author Only), Academy of Management, Innovation, Openness & Platform Control, Academy of Management, Orlando, FL. (August 12, 2013).

      DiMaggio, M., (Author Only), Van Alstyne, M., (Presenter and Author), North American Summer Meeting of the Econometric Society, Information Sharing, Social Norms & Performance, North American Summer Meeting of the Econometric Society, Evanston, IL. (June 30, 2012).

    Other Presentations:

      Van Alstyne, M., (Other), On Point, "The Future of Snail Mail" M. Van Alstyne interview with Tom Ashbrook. WBUR/NPR program On Point. September 13, 2011., WBUR/NPR program. (September 13, 2011).

  • General ServiceOpen or Close

    Service to the School:

      International, School of Management, Other SMG Service Area, Chairperson. (January 2013 - Present).
      I conceived, raised funds to support, and developed an entire new workshop on the economics of business ecosystems in order to raise the research profile of BU / SMG.

      Local, Boston University, PhD Program, Committee Member, Phd PDC. (September 2012 - Present).
      Evaluate phd student policies, applications, requests for research funds.

      Local, Boston University, Management Information Systems Department, Program Coordinator, PhD program coordinator for IS. (September 2012 - Present).
      Counsel IS phd students; approve course curricula; review & interview new applicants; revise IS specific policies.

      International, Boston University, Other SMG Service Area, Faculty Council Member, Andrew Lack Chair Search. (October 2012 - December 2013).
      Assisted chaired search for School of Journalism. Identifyied, vetted, and recruited professors who understands the economics and business models for news. We hired David Carr of the NYT.

    Service to the Profession:

      International, Professional, Chairperson, Platform Strategy Symposium. (January 2013 - Present).
      Organized workshop, reviewed 40 papers, handled catering, raised $24,000 in funding. Goal is to raise the research profile among scholars in this area.

      International, Professional, Chairperson, Workshop on Information Systems Economics. (January 2013 - January 2014).
      Reviewed 120 papers, organized venue, created program, arranged meals etc for largest information systems economics conference.

  • Conference ActivitiesOpen or Close

      ICIS Doctoral Consortium, Association for Information Systems, Teaching Doctoral Students, Committee Member. (June 30, 2012 - December 18, 2012).

  • ConsultingOpen or Close

    Academic, IBM Summit, Boston University. (July 17, 2013 - Present).

    Taught 50 IBM executives business platform strategy.

    Academic, Thomson Reuters. (September 3, 2013 - January 30, 2014).
    Provided basis for a platform strategy for their financial services.

    Academic, Office of Inspector General / US Postal Service, Washington, DC. (August 27, 2013 - December 20, 2013).
    Provided training in digital goods, knowledge markets, and creation of a possible digital postal ecosystem.

  • Editorial And Review ActivitiesOpen or Close

    Van Alstyne, M., Communications of the ACM, Association for Computing Machinery, Editor, International, Standing Editorship (Edited Multiple Publications), Appointed, Academic. (January 1, 2013 - Present).

    Responsible for editing of a standing column on how economics affects information technology and society.

    Van Alstyne, M., Hugh Hampton Young Fellowship, Review Committee, Referee, State, Standing Editorship (Edited Multiple Publications), Appointed. (February 25, 2013 - Present).
    In this office, I evaluate students for scholarship awards based on their research merit.

    Van Alstyne, M., National Science Foundation, Ad Hoc Reviewer, Papers. ( - Present).

  • Awards and HonorsOpen or Close

    Student Mentoring Award, SMG Ph.D. Students, Teaching. (May 15, 2014).

    Voted by Ph.D students as having most significant contribution to their development.

    SBIR, National Science Foundation, Research. (March 3, 2013).
    Received $150,000, co-PI with D. Shen, to develop new knowledge market technologies.

    Dean's Research Fellowship, Boston University SMG, Research. (May 31, 2012).

    Innovation & Organization Sciences, National Science Foundation, Research. (2012).
    "Platform Driven Innovation Within and Across Firms" Co_PI with G. Parker & E. Anderson. Totaling $704,000 Innovation & Org Sciences # 0925004 (2009-2012)

    US Patent 7,890,338 B2. Method for Managing a Whitelist., NSF Award 0114368, Service, Professional. (February 15, 2011).

    Best Paper, MIT Spam Conference (with Sarah Zatko). (2009).

    Who's Who in America. (2009).

    Dean's Research Fellowship, Boston University, Research. (June 2007).

    Best Paper, Sunbelt Conference, Research. (May 20, 2006).

    Broderick Award for Excellence in Research, BU School of Management, Research. (May 2006).

    Best Paper, International Conference on Information Systems, Research. (December 11, 2006).

    Best Conference Theme Paper, International Conference on Information Systems. (1996).
    (co-author Erik Brynjolfsson)

    Hugh Hampton Young Fellowship, for innovative research. (1994).

    William L. Stewart Award. (1990).
    For outstanding contributions to MIT, helped found MIT $10K Competition

  • BroadcastsOpen or Close


      "Do Google Upgrade Maps Invade Privacy?", 02/25/2013, Channel 38, WBZTV.
      Zuckerberg: Killer stuff in mobile on the way, 09/11/2012, Reuters. See Web Page


      Stateside, 06/24/04, Michigan Public Radio.
      Quirks & Quarks, 11/30/98, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
      Internet on the Air, 01/03/98, Public Radio.