32 Spectacular Alexander Osterwalder Quotes

Alexander Osterwalder is a Swiss author and consultant known for his work on business development and modeling. Osterwalder is the co-founder of Strategyzer, an app focused on business model generation and value proposition design. Here is a look at some of the most memorable Alexander Osterwalder quotes to be familiar with.

“A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value.”

“A business model really is a system where one element influences the other; it only makes sense as a whole. Capturing that big picture without visualizing it is difficult. In fact, by visually depicting a business model, one turns its tacit assumptions into explicit information. This makes the model tangible and allows for clearer discussions and changes. Visual techniques give “life” to a business model and facilitate co-creation.”

“A Value Proposition creates value for a Customer Segment through a distinct mix of elements catering to that segment’s needs. Values may be quantitative (e.g. price, speed of service) or qualitative (e.g. design, customer experience).”

“Actions speak louder than words. There is a big difference between what people say and what they do. People might tell you they are excited about your new product, but when they are in a buying situation their behaviour might be totally different.”

“An entrepreneur’s challenge is to design and successfully implement a new business model.”

“An organization must make a conscious decision about which segments to serve and which segments to ignore.”


“Apple’s view was unique at a time when illegal downloading was rampant and most companies argued that nobody would be willing to pay for digital music online.”

“Businesspeople don’t just need to understand designers better; they need to become designers.”

“Co-creation is much more work than writing somewhere in a hidden corner and then publishing your content. However, the benefits outweigh the costs.”

“Companies should focus on one of three value disciplines: operational excellence, product leadership, or customer intimacy.”

“Crafting a business model is no different. Ideas placed in the Canvas trigger new ones. The Canvas becomes a tool for facilitating the idea dialogue—for individuals sketching out their ideas and for groups developing ideas together.”

“CS Business models with a multi-sided platform pattern have a distinct structure. They have two or more customer segments, each of which has its own Value Proposition and associated Revenue Stream. Moreover, one Customer Segment cannot exist without the others.”

“Design attitude demands changing one’s orientation from making decisions to creating options from which to choose.”

“Focus: Establish a new business model in an old industry.”

“Founders go wrong when they start to believe their business plan will materialize as written. I advise entrepreneurs to burn their business plan – it’s simply too dangerous to the health of your business.”

“Great entrepreneurs are often great listeners and they can spot patterns and pick up on small details in customer stories.”

“In a nutshell, Blue Ocean Strategy is about creating completely new industries through fundamental differentiation as opposed to competing in existing industries by tweaking established models. Rather than outdoing competitors in terms of traditional performance metrics, Kim and Mauborgne advocate creating new, uncontested market space through what the authors call value innovation.”

“In today’s climate, it’s best to assume that most business models, even successful ones, will have a short lifespan.”

“Like seeing the doctor for an annual exam, regularly assessing a business model is an important management activity that allows an organization to evaluate the health of its market position and adapt accordingly.”

“Maintaining a beginner’s mindset helps keep us from becoming victims of our own successes. We all need to constantly scan the landscape and continuously assess our own business models. Take a fresh look at your model regularly. You may need to overhaul a successful model sooner than you thought.”

“Once you understand business models you can then start prototyping business models just like you prototype products.”

“One way multi-sided platforms solve this problem is by subsidizing a Customer Segment. Though a platform operator incurs costs by serving all customer groups, it often decides to lure one segment to the platform with an inexpensive or free Value Proposition in order to subsequently attract users of the platform’s “other side.” One difficulty multi-sided platform operators face is understanding which side to subsidize and how to price correctly to attract customers.”

“Pattern in architecture is the idea of capturing architectural design ideas as archetypal and reusable descriptions.”

“People are moved more by stories than by logic. Ease listeners into the new or unknown by building the logic of your model into a compelling narrative.”

“Telling a story that illustrates how your business model solves a customer problem is a clear way to introduce listeners to the idea. Stories give you the “buy-in” needed to subsequently explain your model in detail.”

“The same products, services or technologies can fail or succeed depending on the business model you choose. Exploring the possibilities is critical to finding a successful business model. Settling on first ideas risks the possibility of missing potential that can only be discovered by prototyping and testing different alternatives.”

“The Value Proposition is the reason why customers turn to one company over another. It solves a customer problem or satisfies a customer need. Each Value Proposition consists of a selected bundle of products and/or services that caters to the requirements of a specific Customer Segment. In this sense, the Value Proposition is an aggregation, or bundle, of benefits that a company offers customers.”

“The world is so full of ambiguity and uncertainty that the design attitude of exploring and prototyping multiple possibilities is most likely to lead to a powerful new business model.”

“There’s not a single business model . . . There are really a lot of opportunities and a lot of options and we just have to discover all of them.”

“Understanding a business model requires not only knowing the compositional elements, but also grasping the interdependencies between elements. This is easier to express visually than through words. This is even more true when several elements and relationships are involved.”

“We’ve shown we can do it; now we need to think of how we want to do it.”

“Your customers are the judge, jury, and executioner of your value proposition. They will be merciless if you don’t find fit!”

Here is a lecture from Alexander Osterwalder on business models for new startups. Osterwalder discusses how to transition from business plan to business model.

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