Colin Barry

Role of the CEO/OnStar (BSSE, Tuesday, Week 13)


GM and OnStar => value propositions, resources, processes, and profit models are almost entirely orthogonal

Why is OnStar a good idea?
There is a big job out there waiting to be done (safety and security). AAA, cell phones, and 911 dramatically under-serve the customer base.

Lots of possible theories. Most interesting takeaway:
OnStar's success (like most disruptive business models) came from integrating around a different job-to-be-done/establishing a simplified product through interdependence.
But they started out modular --- they outsourced almost everything. Is this a mistake?
=> NO. Emergent strategy means you need tons of flexibility in your business --- so you start modular. When you don't know exactly what the job to be done is, you shouldn't invest in a robust set of interdependent capabilities. You'll probably get it wrong!
OnStar initially thought their opportunity was mobile concierge services.

"If you have a chance to shape an idea disruptively, you should do it. But what does that even mean??" -- Chet Huber

"I was a locomotive salesman, so you could convince me of anything...Our job started off as 'anything technology can do.' It was terrible. We had advisors singing showtunes to people in their cars." -- Chet Huber

"You get to call it an 'emergent strategy' later. At the time, it's like, 'Holy cow, it blew up again.'" -- Chet Huber