KLEINMACHNOW - DECEMBER 17:  A sign for Intern...

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eBay is one of the most important players in the field of internet commerce. It strives to maintain a leading position in the global market and does so by having the vision to grow through using business model combining. eBay acquires innovative companies and integrates those business models with the eBay model.  Managers paint the eBay business model canvas with elements from other business models such as Milo, Redlaser, Gsi Commerce, PayPal, and FigCard.

eBay has two kind of target customers: small businesses and individual customers.

It has value propositions for small businesses such as retail stores. First, eBay offers
Gsi service, which helps companies put their inventory online, thereby opening up to potential customers the entire range of their products. In addition, Milo service lets users check the online inventory of thousands of stores while the Redlaser barcode reader permits Smartphone users to scan any item and then comparison shop among many suppliers. Finally, Where service provides local daily deals and creates buying incentives throughout the system by offering coupons and discounts. Milo, Redlaser and Where are great distribution channels to potential customers, especially small businesses, while FigCard and Paypal are great paying service systems.

eBay gives buyers these great services, all of which make shopping so much more convenient, economical and easy. Consumers can have great shopping search experiences with Milo and Redlaser while Where service enables local daily deals. Once a buying decision has been made, PayPal enables dependable, universal payment by phone whereas FigCard allows secure purchases by phone in a shop.

eBay connects businesses and consumers. Small shops and stores gain a great online service for buyers focused on products and location, thereby acquiring important distribution channels to reach many more customers.

With all these advantages, it’s safe to predict that thousands of small shops will combine their business models with the eBay model combo and start to be eBay partners.

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Most of the payable apps use credit cards to make payments, and typing on mobile phones can be slow. In addition, it’s all too easy to make a mistake when typing in such a long number. A new procedure called card.io provides a software development kit (SDK ) for mobile developers making it easy to accept credit cards in their mobile apps. When card i.o. is combined with mobile apps business models, it ensures a faster paying service for customers.

I went to a gas station at the Mercator supermarket today, but I had to wait a long time there because there were some problems with a cash terminal.  Then, I had to wait again in a drug store because of bad communication connections. Both places have robust hardware for reading credit cards, but it still took a while.

These delays could have almost certainly been prevented if these businesses had had smart phone connections and the card.io app. I think that supermarket chains and other stores can cut cost of paying services by using mobile devices to scan the codes of products and then scan the customers’ cards. That can be done by either the store personnel or by the customers themselves.

This technology is still in the early development stage, but I see a bright future for card.io in retail stores, gas stations, restaurants, etc.

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I joined the EmpireAvenue site three weeks ago because, after reading an interesting article (Serious Play: The Business of Social Currency about the EmpireAvenuein Harvard Business Review,) I became curious as to how this challenging, innovative service works. What I read in the article and saw at the site caused me to start thinking about the EmpireAvenue business model and the possible advantages of combining that model into a company’s business model.
The EmpireAvenue offer platform gives members the opportunity to trade shares with other participants. Shares are used as social currency and each participant (individual, company, or institution) is a partner who gives information to EmpireAvenue information about his/her/its activities on various social media. The frequency of activities on a participant’s social media are measured and calculated and then expressed as the value of one’s shares. Thus, the basis for one’s social currency depends to a great degree on the quantity of a participant’s activities. That is the “real “ virtual value because measuring quality of content is virtually impossible. Therefore, one’s “value” is largely determined by a participant’s followers, friends, and partners on his/her/its social networks.

EmpireAvenue enables members  to see how active and how influential a participant is in the virtual world of social media, and it was an interesting experiment to see how much impact I supposedly have. In addition, companies may want to combine the EmpireAvenue or similar business models into their own business models because by doing so they can get information about influential individuals and other companies or institutions. That information gives them an opportunity to collaborate with important participants. Thus, EmpireAvenue can be great tool for businesses and for high-value players who could sway a company’s significant customers.

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Quechua is a French brand, founded in 1997 at the foot of the Mont Blanc. The Quechua brand is oriented towards the hiking, mountaineering, climbing, raid-trail and Nordic walking markets. It held 5th place among outdoor equipment manufacturers worldwide (by turnover) in 2007 and it has not stopped climbing the ladder of the world manufacturers.
The Quechua business model is built on a unique value proposition which includes the most suitable prices for customers, attractive innovations, and eco-friendly products. Its specialized staff has created a variety of value propositions with some technical design partners. Two such partners are The Institute for Training and Research on Mountain Medicine (IFREMMONT) and proMONT-BLANC, an international nongovernmental organization. Quechua combines with Institute for Training and Research on Mountain Medicine for many aspects of scientific research while it combines with proMONT-BLANC in a partnership on environmental issues. Quechua also combines business models by using prominent athletes as technical partners/advisors..
The Quechua value proposition is oriented towards the best bargain hunters, mainly middle class customers who represent the biggest segment of the population interested in outdoor activities. Its customers want the highest quality at the most reasonable price.
Quechua differs from the competition by virtue of its technical & design innovations and its inexpensive, eco-friendly products, thereby making the pleasure of hiking available to all!
Business Model Canvas, Osterwalder, Pigneur & al. 2010, CC BY-SA 3.0.
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I’ve joined a group which works on new sport devices for training; we brainstorm hypotheses of new business models. One original product that we created enables an innovative approach for recreational and professional sportsmen. We were able to answer the question “how to make the product” quickly and easily. However, the project starts to become more complex when we try to rethink value propositions, add supplement services, and put all the considerations in the context of  financing.
Our goal is to find out what jobs recreational and professional sportsmen want to get done, and if our product and supplemental services will help them to reach their objectives. We are focusing on the “who” side of the business model and distribution channels. Therefore, we start by discovering who our potential customers may be.
The new product and services will have a better chance of success:

  • if the group of customers who like this inventive way to use technology is large enough
  • if the product helps this same group of customers get their jobs done .


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Modern companies such as Zipcar are focusing on customers who need simple, individualized solutions for their temporary transportation needs. They want cost flexibility and a variety of cars for different occasions. There are many potential advantages to both the customer and the supplier when the transaction is based more on subscriptions than on one-time purchases. Modern companies such as  Zipcar want to have a lot of members since that will guarantee them predictable revenue streams. Zipcar subscribers also want to  be able to easily find the cars they hire. They can do so with Google maps, which displays all the locations of Zipcar pick-ups and drop-offs. This convenience makes Google maps the perfect distribution channel for Zipcar offers.  When a customer uses the car, he /she can employ Google maps for navigation and to discover where  the car can be returned once it is no longer needed.

I respect books as personal experiences, encounters with the creative mind of a writer. When I read books, it is a peaceful, even a spiritual, interlude. Books stimulate my imagination and inspire me to creative thinking. I like paper books, which has caused me to have some reservations about how widespread and popular online books might become. But some days ago, I watched a very thought-provoking IDEO video about the future of online books in the context of business model combining. It made me re-evaluate some of my opinions.

It was a five-minute video exploring the possibilities of digital books, and it examined three current concepts: the Nelson service, the Coupland service, and the Alice service. All three target groups of potentially interested users, but they differ in their offerings.

The Nelson service value propositions enable books to become the basis for critical thinking tools. They do so by combining all kinds of information, which can then be connected with a book’s content and author, providing multiple perspectives, references, and current conversations on that text. The layers of information beyond the book itself enable it to be seen in a much wider context, throughout history, the present time, and the future. If want to use the Nelson concept, we have to combine the books’ business models with the partners’ business models, the sources that have all the additional data connected with the books’ contents.

The Coupland service stimulates readers by connecting them into “book clubs” and other social layers where discussions, collaborations, suggestions, lists, and purchases can help each reader share and learn from others. The Coupland business model combines readers’ personal  business models.

The Alice service combines new ways for users to interact and affect the content of the books. Active participation allows each reader to utilize geographic location, communicate through the characters, and contribute to the storyline.

These kinds of services were used in the case of the book Business Model Generation, where readers co-created the content and style of the book. These concepts seem to indicate that the future of books will depend in large measure on support services which enable new value propositions, collaboration, co- creation of new contents, and new ways of learning. Those services will follow from new business models and business model combining.

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Techno cake presently has forty-nine members, and that number could, and most likely will,  increase with each talk. Techno cake can exist in the long run only if we have a sustainable business model that extends beyond just  profit.  This is the  reason that I created the prototype of the Techno cake business model and now, to further develop that prototype,  I need  to brainstorm with the current members of the movement.


Business Model Canvas, Osterwalder, Pigneur & al. 2010, CC BY-SA 3.0.

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Syndicom, founded in 2000, is a leader in on-line collaborative communities for medical practitioners and medical device companies. Its business model has established a platform for a community of spinal surgeons who meet virtually and share information about patients to further the development of new therapies. Syndicom also offers medical device companies private, peer-to-peer medical education, collaborative product development, and real-time sales support.

Syndicom’s R&D team combines the business models of many surgeons into the Syndicom business model. They form a crowd source for the Syndicom value propositions for the R&D of service (for orthopedic, trauma and spinal cases) and peer to peer medical education. The surgeons involved are the same-time partners and customers of the Syndicom value propositions of products and services. Syndicom has its own offer as a value proposition for membership into Syndicom, R&D database information, and real-time service.

Companies which offer medical devices combine their business models into the Syndicom business model because by doing so, they can sell on-line to clinics or hospitals where surgeons work. The Syndicom network brings a value proposition to its members and can enable best client relations.

Syndicom’s cost structure is based on the key costs: the R&D of services cost, the platform management cost, and the platform maintainence cost. These are mostly fixed and are determined by the number of network members. Syndicom gets a revenue stream from membership fees, on line sale fees, and advertising fees.

Why should surgeons and medical device producers join the Syndicom business model? Surgeons can gain the opportunity to co-create new products/services, to use other services, and to profit from the know-how and experiences of other surgeons. Medical devices producers join the network because it offers them an on-line channel to many potential customers.

Business Model Canvas, Osterwalder, Pigneur & al. 2010, CC BY-SA 3.0.

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If we want to eat a cake instead of a piece of bread, we have to know how to get the cake. If we want to gain knowledge for the creation of added value, we have to bring together a number of investors, innovators, geeks, creators, and engineers. A gathering of such visionary people can accelerate cooperation, bring about the correlation of new ideas, and propose promising innovations and productions.


A case of just such a potentially productive group was initiated in my town and has the name “Techno potica.” The main goal of this assembly is to change the status quo through collaboration, co-creations, and business model combining between members of the association and the companies of attendees. Techno potica started with one event about a week and a half ago and will meet again every two weeks. I’m looking forward to seeing  how big a piece of cake we have after one year.












Photo CC by Benjamin Lesjak





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