Startup Secrets: Business Model

The video “Startup Secrets: Business Model” by Harvard i-lab provides a comprehensive overview of the importance of having a disruptive business model in order to be successful as a startup. The speaker, Steve Blank, defines a disruptive business model as one that “creates a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network.” He then goes on to discuss the three key components of a disruptive business model: C.O.R.E differentiation, multipliers, and levers.

C.O.R.E differentiation

C.O.R.E differentiation refers to the unique value proposition that a startup offers to its customers. This value proposition should be something that is truly differentiated from the competition and that solves a real problem for customers. For example, Airbnb’s unique value proposition is that it allows people to rent out their homes to travellers, which is a much cheaper and more convenient alternative to staying in a hotel.


Multipliers are the factors that allow a startup to scale its business quickly and efficiently. These factors can include things like low-cost manufacturing, a strong distribution network, or a network effect. For example, Uber’s multipliers include its low-cost ride-sharing platform and its large network of drivers.


Levers are the things that a startup can control in order to influence its profitability. These levers can include things like pricing, marketing, and sales. For example, Amazon’s levers include its low prices, its aggressive marketing campaigns, and its large sales force.

The speaker also discusses the concept of “SLIPPERY” products, which are products that are difficult for competitors to copy. SLIPPERY products are often based on new technologies or business models that are difficult to replicate. For example, Facebook’s social networking platform is a SLIPPERY product because it is based on new technology (social networking) and a business model (advertising) that are difficult for competitors to replicate.

The video concludes by discussing the importance of testing and iterating on a startup’s business model. The speaker argues that startups should not be afraid to experiment with different business models until they find one that is truly disruptive. For example, Airbnb experimented with a number of different business models before it found the one that worked best for it.

In addition to the key takeaways mentioned above, here are some other important points from the video:

  • A disruptive business model is not just about having a great product. It is also about having a business model that is sustainable and scalable.
  • A disruptive business model can be used to create new markets or to disrupt existing markets.
  • A disruptive business model can be used to target new customers or to compete with existing competitors.
  • A disruptive business model can be used to achieve rapid growth or to achieve profitability.

How can startups use business models?

App startups can utilise disruptive business models in a number of ways. Here are a few examples:

In order to be successful, app startups need to carefully consider their target market, their unique value proposition, and their business model. By doing so, they can create a disruptive business model that will help them achieve success.

Here are some additional tips for app startups that want to utilize disruptive business models:

  • Focus on the customer. The most important thing for any app startup is to focus on the customer. What are their needs? What problems are they trying to solve? How can your app make their lives better?
  • Be innovative. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and come up with new and innovative ways to solve problems or meet needs. The most successful app startups are often the ones that are the most innovative.
  • Be agile. The app market is constantly changing, so you need to be able to adapt quickly. Be prepared to change your business model or your product if necessary.
  • Be persistent. It takes time and effort to build a successful app startup. Don’t give up if you don’t succeed overnight. Keep iterating and improving your product until you find a winning formula.