Business Model You: A One-Page Method For Reinventing Your Career
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Q&A with Tim Clark, author of Business Model You
1.) What inspired you to write Business Model You?
I'd like to say “brilliant thinking.” But in one sense it was a response to the career blunders I’ve made over the years.
When I graduated from college, I was a directionless slacker — a psychology major and wannabe musician who thought my life had nothing to do with companies, organizations, and traditional forms of work. Boy, was I clueless.
Over the next ten years, I managed to transform myself into a quasi-business-knowledgeable person who could put two sentences together as a writer. I then took my first corporate job, with a Dilbert-sized Fortune 500 company, when it offered me an obscene salary. The money was more than my Dad made at the time, which of course is a thrill when you're young.
Within two weeks, I realized that 1) I’d known nothing about the company's real business model when I joined, and 2) my personal business model (such as it was) was utterly incompatible with my employer's organizational model. I wasn't using business model vocabulary at the time, but I absorbed the lesson.
I stayed there for my agreed-upon two years, but then I went back to school to get an MBA. I started a company, and it became successful. That was great fun at first, but it became less and less so as we succeeded. Eventually, we sold out in a multimillion-dollar payday. There was a lesson there, too: Money won't make you happy, but Purpose can.
2.) Who is Business Model You intended for?
People who, like me, have struggled to find purpose and satisfaction in their work. I think the book is also useful for people who are currently satisfied with their work — and want to do all they can to keep it that way.
3.) What do you hope Business Model You will teach readers?
I believe in three things:
a. We can become more entrepreneurial without becoming entrepreneurs
b. We can reinvent how we work (and sometimes we must)
c. We can develop our careers by design rather than by default
Business Model You reveals a specific, logical method for 1) understanding how organizations work, and 2) reinventing your career. Understanding how organization work comes in handy if you want to be either 1) an employee, or 2) a vendor to an organization — two categories that cover almost every worker in a modern economy. The Business Model You method is grounded in the hard economics of business models.
4.) Co-created by 328 people, how was Business Model You managed so successfully?
Our contributors were remarkably sharp, enthusiastic, and proactive. They were also unusually organized and driven people. Without them, the whole operation would have been a complete, sloppy mess. Even so, there were chaotic moments — but in a good way.
5.) Why is business model thinking the best way to adapt to a changing world?
All organizations, not just companies, have business models. A business model explains (and visually depicts) how governments, schools, non-profit organizations, and corporations function (or don't). The deteriorating U.S. health care system, the Fukushima disaster, the global financial meltdown, the latest failure of a corporate giant — if these things teach us anything, it's that business models matter.
Most of us work in organizations, so it serves us well to understand how those organizations function. Then, we can apply similar logic to our own careers by articulating our personal business models: how we use our interests, skills, and personalities to provide value.