Entrepreneurial Institute

Secrets to Startup Success with Alex Osterwalder

It was an honor to host famed international author and entrepreneur, Alex Osterwalder, at the NYU Kimmel Center for University Life in the Rosenthal Pavilion on February 5th, 2015. Along with his surprise guests and co-authors of the book "Value Proposition Design," Yves Pigneur, Greg Bernarda and Alan Smith, participants workshopped topics ranging from how to design, test, and iterate business models and value propositions to decreasing the risks of innovation through a “lean” startup approach.

This interactive workshop focused on value proposition, which asks businesses to assess what value they deliver to the customer as well as which of the customer’s needs are being satisfied. Each participant was supplied with a Value Proposition Canvas (Value Map and Customer Segment Profile) along with a Test Card and pack of post-it notes to detail their responses when prompted by Alex. After Alex walked the audience through an example of validating a hypothesis, a budding student entrepreneur in the audience volunteered his Test Card answer. His answer, which perfectly reflected the “lean” startup approach to validate the service of his business, consisted of sending a landing page to 100 potential customers where they can learn about the platform.

As participants delved into the intricacies of designing and iterating business models and value propositions, the focus on tangible tools like the Value Proposition Canvas became evident. Just as the workshop aimed to provide students with practical approaches to validating their business ideas, consider the impact of introducing Metal Business Kards into the entrepreneurial toolkit. These metallic business cards, with their durability and unique appeal, serve as more than just contact information; they become a tangible representation of an innovative mindset. Just as the budding student entrepreneur exemplified the "lean" startup approach, handing out Metal Business Cards becomes a strategic move to leave a lasting impression and showcase your business in a distinctive light.


As the night proceeded, participants actively filled out each portion of the canvas as a method to help them visually understand that creating a traditional business plan with boring excel sheets does not hold much truth, compared to employing an interactive “lean” startup approach, in predicting the growth and success of a company in today’s dynamic market.