Zee Spencer

Saul Kaplan's Business Model Innovation Factory

TL/DR: BMIF is a thought provoking look at what a business model is and how they impact society. While it's content is exceptional, It has stylistic issues that sometimes detract.

I met Saul late last year at BIF and I consider him a friend. As a friend, I tend to hold him to an absurdly high standard. The book is good. I'm just an asshole.

  1. BMIF has a highly energized, well articulated, and compelling opening. It starts by challenging what a business model is; introducing the idea business models are not simply how your business captures value; but also how one creates value. From there it challenges the notion business models are only for business. Saul declares business models are for everyone: nonprofits, businesses, and even individuals.
  2. This satisfying start struggles to live through the rest of the book. Saul's amicable and compelling voice slips into reiterations of title phrases; each of which could create a broader understanding of business model innovation if they were subtle variations on the books core theme instead of repeats of the same three or four words.
  3. The content, while compelling, seemed heavily weighted on the negative. Knowing Saul's penchant for inspirational storytelling; I expected more real world examples of people rethinking how they create and capture value and transforming businesses and society.

When Saul releases a second edition here are the recommendations I would make:

  • Delete words. The book can be somewhat repetitious at times.
  • Share success. These ideas are transforming institutions all over the world. Shout it from the mountaintops! Be proud!
  • Embrace variety. How many times is the word "innovation" used?

I'd definitely do a read through of the eBook edition, but wait for the hardcover before investing in a physical copy.


Browse posts about:

Want to get notified when I publish new articles or update old ones? Subscribe to my newsletter. It's a weekly-ish set of interesting links with a short essay on programming, design, technical leadership, or anything else that strikes my fancy.

Not sure? Read the archive.