Two years ago, when I was on my book tour, I had the great fortune of speaking at a management conference in Estonia. There were a number of other speakers there from Europe, including Morten Lund and Alexander Osterwalder.
Alex’s presentation was about business models, and I was immediately drawn in by the clear and simple way he explained them. He was a fantastic speaker, and I was very intrigued by his book, Business Model Generation.
We rode together in the car from the conference site back to Tallinn, and he told me the story of how he had created this book with the help of over 450 co-authors including business model designers, academics and enthusiastic students of business. They chose to self-publish, and took the risk of creating a very visually rich design, not the norm for most business books.
Fast forward to 2011, and I was sitting at a table in the blogger’s lounge at South by Southwest, preparing for a panel about blogs to books. One of the people on my panel was Matt Holt from Wiley, and he talked about a great success they had had recently with a book that had originally been self-published. “It has sold over 100,000 copies already,” he said. “It is called Business Model Generation.” I just about fell off my chair when I heard that, since I never would have imagined the world would be so small. I was thrilled for Alex’s success.
I recently spoke with Alex while he was at the Miami airport, fresh from a 3-day consulting gig in Medellin, Colombia. He is very busy working with companies to implement the ideas in the book, as well as spearhead a larger mission to demystify business model planning, and make it accessible to the masses so we can create true innovation.
One of these ways of demystifying business planning is a very cool iPad app which lets you quickly sketch out and prototype different business models, just as if you were writing on the back of a napkin. I think it will be the hit of every entrepreneur conference!
I hope you enjoy our conversation, and begin some serious experimentation with business models.
Download the mp3 at this link.
Follow Alex on Twitter @Business_Design