Book Review: Business Model Generation

Skipping the content for one moment, I’ll first say that this book is absolutely beautifully designed. The basic look has the sort of unique artistry of Dustin Curtis’ website, from the spacious layouts and excellent accompanying graphics to the lightly embossed cover. This wouldn’t look out of place on a business geek’s coffee table. Kudos to Alan Smith from The Movement.

On to the actual content. Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur (along with 470 or so co-creators) have put together a fantastic manual on how to map, analyze, and strip-down your business’s model and re-assemble it into something that really creates real value.¬† The starting point of the exercise is the Business Model Template which allows you to break your business down into:

  • Key Activities – What you do every day to make the model work
  • Key Partners – Your suppliers and partners that help you make the model work
  • Key Resources – The most important assets you used to create value
  • Cost Structure – All the costs involved in running the business
  • Customer Relationships – The types of relationships you have with your customer segments
  • Customer Segments¬† – The different groups of people you’re trying to reach and serve
  • Channels – How you reach your customer segments
  • Revenue Streams – Where you make cash from your customer segments
  • Value Proposition – The key ideas that create value for your customer segments

Model Analysis

Once you map these elements, you can do an analysis on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the model. What happens if one of your partners disappears? Could a competitor destroy your business by creating better customer relationships than you have?

The outputs of this analysis can allow you question your fundamental assumptions, and to pivot to a stronger model that provides an amazing product or service to your clients. As well as this, the book provides a reference selection of well company and industry models mapped to the template (e.g. Freemium, Google’s model, Traditional Publishing). There’s also a detailed five-stage process on how to run a successful business model design project within your own company. They even include the process they used themselves to produce and market the book! It’s awesome!

Online Resources

Outside of the book itself, they’ve created an entire ecosystem to help guide you:

I’ve shown this book to no less than three people who have immediately gone out and ordered it. This book is a very practical and accessible tool to analyze and improve your business.

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One thought on “Book Review: Business Model Generation

  1. Dave,Glad you’ve enjoyed our book and it’s giving your coffee table some points from business geek buddies!

    Thanks for the kind words,

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