It all started for me in March 2008 when I found Alex Osterwalders‘ business model presentations on the Web. In my company ULURU we innovated for companies such as Heineken, Tom Tom, ING etc. but we we had a hard time making business plans work. Why? There was no clue about a sound business model methodology. I thought it would be nice to get Alex over for a training for our clients (and for myself).
At that time Alex focused with his Arvetica firm on the private banking industry in Switzerland. “If there is enough interest, I might consider coming over to Holland” Alex said. And yes there was… In no-time we had a workshop full of interested and experienced business modelers from all over the world: New York, Istanbul, Turkey and the Netherlands.
After the workshop in Amsterdam April 22nd me and the participants asked Alex “When will you start working on your book…?” And Alex had to admit that it was about the time. At the end of the summer Alex decided to fully focus on the book. With full mental support of Yves Pigneur. We started to look for producers, designers and financing. More and more we concluded the book needed to be very special. We also needed to find a way to work together… or not. On October 27th we had a session together in Lausanne, Switzerland. We drew our visioning stories together. What would our future be like with or without a business model (book)? After a lovely dinner at Alex family home, we continued our brainstorming and came up with an action plan.
A special business model for the book
What is a business model book without an innovative and sound business model? That sucks! So we came with a special model. No publisher, no financing but a co-created book by people who want to be part of our journey. In december 2008 we started the Business Model Hub (www.businessmodelhub.com) where people could subscribe after a payment of 24 USD. They get access to the content, can comment on design and their name is printed in the book. After a couple of months we saw the number of members rising and so the subscription did as well. The last participant paid 243 USD.
Design thinking and business modeling
Alan Smith from The Movement joined a workshop of Alex last year. After Alex put a post on his blog about finding the right designer for the book, Alan responded immediately. We met together with Alex this year in London. For us it was immediately clear Alan could take design-wise the book to the next level. We were impressed from the start. And Alan kept his promise. The book is an amazing beautiful result of not design only but a very meaningful way of combining design thinking in management books. “I want to create a cook-book for management” Alan said meaning you want to make the recipe as soon as you open the book.
Prototyping of the book…
Part of Alex’ philosophy on business model innovation is design thinking. Prototyping is all about creating the options for your business model and shaping it as best as you can. On June 19th Alex launched the unfinished version of the book. 200 versions were printed for the participants. And.. it was a disaster. The pages were printed in the wrong order and the quality was not acceptable. “Prototyping is very meaningful!” Alex and Alan said.
A friend brought me into contact with Maarten Modderman. He immediately said that our special book deserves a better printing and finishing. He came with a book that has no “back”. The book is glued and sewed and that’s it. The book then feels like a workbook, if you open it on your desk it stays open all the time. More beautiful is even the finishing. A manually glued cardboard black printed cover resulting in a 1,2 kg book.
At the moment we are connecting our website http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com with an e-fulfillment center so shipment will be fully automated. Then the books will be shipped in the week of september 26th. The first print run contains 5.000 books of which already 1.500 are sold through our site.
The final book launch at Nyenrode University
Alex will come to The Netherlands – where it all started – on October 13th to run a workshop on business modeling… And… to present the book! You can subscribe through the website of Focus Conferences (contact: KristelVeerman at email@example.com). Our blog readers will get a special price for Alex workshop incl. the book € 395.-
Life after the launch?
So is there any life after the launch? Alex is happy that he finished the book. But there is more to come. Speeches, a new platform, white papers, tools for business modeling, workshops and so on… And for me? I found it fantastic applying Alex’ methodology in combination with visual thinking for clients. Improving our methodology and creating products for business modelers. And the book – not even shipped – brings me into contact with wonderful people all over the world. For me the journey just started. With an amazing team: Alex, Yves, Alan, Tim and our Hub! Looking forward continuing the journey…