The Renaissance Innovator

Thoughts, examples and updates on the Renaissance Innovation Method

Posts by Karan Girotra

What Tim Cook is doing better than Steve Jobs

Posted on August 7, 2014


We now have a date: September 9, the day that iPhone6 is expected to be launched. While there is a still a month to go , the iPhone launch circus and its usual cast of characters are all already in town. The tech media is leaping on every bit of information that can be inferred from the Apple supply chain about the potential specs of the phone (for the record we are expecting Apple to introduce a big screen brother to the current phone and produce it in record numbers). But the business press is decidedly less excited: a bigger iPhone is hardly the category busting game changer they have been calling for. Some have even gone as far as speculating that Apple under Tim Cook has lost its creative…

Tesla Goes Big Not Home

Posted on June 17, 2014


Last week Elon Musk, the iconoclastic CEO of Tesla Motors declared that Tesla would effectively allow any competitor to use its patents portfolio. Shortly after, BMW and Nissan announced that they wanted to cooperate with Tesla on technology and standards. Between them, these three carmakers own almost all the market for electric vehicles and as such are natural competitors. So what motivates this recent cooperation: is it just good PR, is it plain altruism, or is there something more calculated? Tesla has challenged the automotive business model on other occasions: it disintermediated car dealerships and then adopted a switching station model. Giving up the patent portfolio is a similar move that challenges the traditional business model. At the core of these moves is the realization that the conventional auto business model simply doesn’t…

What Uber Should Do With the Money

Posted on June 11, 2014


By now, you’ve likely heard of Uber’s staggering US$1.2 billion funding round that values the business at US$ 18.2 billion. One can debate the merits of the valuation, but whatever your opinion, the folks at Uber will have a ton of resources to fund their next strategic move. So to us the interesting question is what Uber should do with the money and, perhaps more importantly, what it shouldn’t. 

Car dealerships are a bad deal for customers

Posted on March 24, 2014


Last week New Jersey started enforcing a ban on direct sales by Tesla Motors of its path-breaking model S.   Tesla’s direct sales have also run into hot water in a number of other states: Ohio lawmakers are debating a ban on Tesla’s direct sales and Texas, Arizona, and Virginia are also opposed.   Proponents of a ban on direct sales claim that they are acting in the interest of customers. But is it the interests of customers they’re following or rather the bidding of the powerful car dealership lobby?

The Business Model Journey at Amazon

Posted on November 17, 2013


Amazon.com is in the headlines again because it started Sunday package deliveries in several large cities. This offering follows the company’s recent strategic decision to offer same day delivery to most US addresses.  As a part of this strategy, the company is drastically increasing the number of warehouses all around the US. As we discussed in our forthcoming book,  and this recent post on the HBR bloggers network. Amazon is in a class of its own when it comes to thinking about its business model. We are all accustomed to new offerings from Amazon.com: in fact, since its inception in 1995, Amazon has fundamentally changed its business model several times.  At its inception, Amazon’s operation was organized around a “sell all, carry few” business…

At Last, a New Business Model for Tesla

Posted on July 3, 2013


Two weeks back,  Tesla Motors, the company behind the Tesla Model S, arguably the most promising all-electric challenger to the century-long domination of fossil-fuel cars, announced an innovative switching station based infrastructure that would bring its flagship product one step closer to being the first all-electric no-compromises luxury sedan. We were delighted to hear of this latest move by Tesla. Almost four months back, on this blog, we called for Tesla to complement the path-breaking technology in the Model S sedan with an innovative business model to match (Tesla’s Model S: Technology Outruns the Business Model). The proposed battery-swap system will allow a driver to replace a depleted battery with a fully charged battery in less than 90 seconds — faster than filling up a tank of gas…