So many companies play defense. Cut costs, watch the competition, follow best practices. Great entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk play offense. They see the world with fresh eyes, taking off the blinders that keep companies using technology to make slight improvements to existing products and practices, rather than imagining the world as it could be, given the new capabilities that technology has given us. They also understand that a business model is the way that all the parts of a business work together to create competitive advantage and customer value. Despite appearances, Uber and Lyft have a very different business model from taxi companies, Airbnb has a very different business model than Hyatt or Hilton, Google has a very different business model than Facebook in advertising, and than Apple in smartphones. Understanding how all the parts of your business work together is the key to innovation, because it lets you take advantage of the capabilities provided by new technology without getting sucked into the vortex of me-too thinking that never quite seems to work out the way it does for the startups who first show its power.
[Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.]