Last week, as Uber battled a media firestorm after a senior executive talked of investigating unfriendly journalists and a company manager actually used its “God View” feature to track the comings and goings of a reporter, Airbnb welcomed more than 1,500 of its most productive providers to its first-ever host convention, an immersive celebration one expert attendee likened to a Mary Kay event. The happy #AirbnbOpen sentiment of gift-wrapped programs, food drives, and a new company logo that doubles as a swing filled my Twitter stream, painting a stark contrast to the cynicism of the dystopian #ubergate tweets. The contrast was especially striking given that Airbnb and Uber are together inventing a new organizational form: platforms that are firm-market hybrids, supplying branded service offerings without actually employing the providers or owning the assets used in provision. Crucial to their long-run success could be creating an appropriate platform culture — shared norms, values and capabilities among the providers. It’s the analog of an organizational culture, but without the directive authority or co-located social systems that traditional firms can take advantage of to manage their employees. The fact that these two market leaders are using such different approaches provides a useful testing ground for what works and what doesn’t. These two flagship platforms of the sharing economy are remarkably similar in many ways. Each has facilitated the digitally mediated “peer-to-peer” provision of a service rooted heavily in real-world assets, and regulated by city and local (rather than federal) government. Each has raised massive amounts of venture capital, sustaining a market capitalization in the double-digit billions while facing tremendous pushback from regulators and incumbent stakeholders. Each has invested heavily in government relations, hiring high-profile D.C. veterans David Plouffe (Uber) and David Hantman (Airbnb). Both are market leaders in what they do, spawning brands that have already permeated the cultural dialog. We Airbnb when we travel, we Uber to our business meetings, and countless new ventures aspire to be the Airbnb or the Uber of their respective categories. Get the full story at Harvard Business Review