Platforms are conduits for action. Through the platform flows the resources needed to create products, services, or new businesses. They can pivot and shift quickly. Lean, agile, and flexible describe how they operate. A platform can be as small as an individual or as large as Amazon. Platforms are engines for growth and conduits for action.
What guides them? Clear principles or values.
Where are they going? Wherever the needs of the public take them.
How do they continually create new sources of value? Constant experimentation.
Will the platform evolve into another corporate life form at some point in the future? Not if they continue to change with their customers. If anything, they will constantly spinoff new products and services--some of which may turn into their own companies.
Creating a platform of your own requires constant assessment of your position and an openness to new ideas. You should be prepared and comfortable living in a state of constant change.