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What Is a Business Model?
JAN15_23_107488644
Andrea Ovans 23/01/2015 00:00:00

 The New, New Thing, Michael Lewis refers to the phrase business model as “a term of art.”  And like art itself, it’s one of those things many people feel they can recognize when they see it (especially a particularly clever or terrible one) but can’t quite define.


That’s less surprising than it seems because how people define the term really depends on how they’re using it.


Lewis, for example, offers up the simplest of definitions — “All it really meant was how you planned to make money” — to make a simple point about the dot.com bubble, obvious now, but fairly prescient when he was writing at its height, in the fall of 1999.  The term, he says dismissively, was “central to the Internet boom; it glorified all manner of half-baked plans … The “business model” for Microsoft, for instance, was to sell software for 120 bucks a pop that cost fifty cents to manufacture … The business model of most Internet companies was to attract huge crowds of people to a Web site, and then sell others the chance to advertise products to the crowds. It was still not clear that the model made sense.” Well, maybe not then.

 

 

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