Summary of Hidden Networks

Looking for the article?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 5 minutes.

Hidden Networks summary

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening
  • Concrete Examples


Some network effects (when a network gains more value to its users as more people participate in its platform) don’t show up in the usual metrics. Their hidden nature makes them hard to measure – but they can confer significant long-term competitive advantages. In an insightful article for, D’Arcy Coolican – an Andreessen Horowitz partner and a co-founder of the peer-to-peer lending platform Frank – shines a light on hidden networks, giving useful guidelines for identifying when they’re at work.

About the Author

D’Arcy Coolican is an investment partner at Andreessen Horowitz and a co-founder of the P2P lending platform Frank.


Some companies have hidden networks that yield network effects not apparent in the usual metrics.

Many of the most important internet projects are based on so-called network effects, which means that the network gains more value to its users when more people participate in the platform. Examples include Wikipedia, Facebook and bitcoin. In some cases, a hidden network exerts delayed effects; in other cases, a company builds an incomplete network – often, as a strategic choice. In time, when the network effects begin to reveal themselves or the final pieces of the network fall into place, the network’s actual strength becomes evident.

Hidden networks...

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

Being the Agile Boss
Coronavirus Outbreak Deepens Its Toll on Global Business
Why Airlines’ Network Planning Must Be Bionic
An Ethics Guide for Tech Gets Written With Workers in Mind
So much for the decentralized internet
It’s Time to Break Up Facebook

Related Channels