Thursday, February 13, 2014

Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur

If you're looking to start a business, this is one of the books you should be reading. I find that this book helps immensely when you're trying to figure out what exactly your business is doing.

For example, I'm helping out at a charity called Amberbrook (the reason why I read this book). We know what we want to achieve - helping youths achieve their full potential, but the details, such as how we're going to advertise ourselves, how we're going to get enough donations to be sustainable, these are details that we're still working out. With the Business Model Canvas, it'll force us to think about all these details.

The book describes itself as a "handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers striving to defy outmoded business models and design tomorrow's enterprises." The number of people who contributed to this book is mind-boggling (you could say this book was crowd-sourced), and I think it shows that the things in the book are tried-and-tested methods. The book uses real examples to illustrate the various business models, and explains them in an easy-to-understand fashion.

I have only one gripe about the book. It's a pretty book, but some of the text were not presented in the best way. For example, writing out a business model canvas by hand, then adding notes with the computer. For me at least, I ended up reading the notes and ignoring the hand-written stuff. Perhaps my brain wrongly interpreted it as a background decoration, but I would have liked for the hand-written parts to be done on a computer as well, instead of having things typed onto what looks like a photograph.

All in all though, this book is good. It boils down various strategies into one book, and if you're trying to figure out which business model is the one for you (freemium, bait & hook, etc), this book will help you decide.

P.s. This book is also available in Japanese (I actually first read it in Japanese), so if English isn't your first language, you could check to see if its been translated into whatever language you're more comfortable with).

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