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Business Model Design and Learning by Barbara Spencer

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TOMS Shoes

I first heard about TOMS Shoes’ founder, Blake Mycoskie, when he gave a talk at my university in 2010. The students turned out in droves to hear him. This was a surprise to me because I had been working hard to bring speakers to campus that would resonate with the student body. We brought in famous generals, nationally known political pundits, and cable television news experts, but never did we get the response that Blake Mykoskie got.

Since its founding in 2006, this company has grown quickly into a phenomenon. By 2012, it had sold over 2 million pairs of shoes and given away an equal amount using Mykoskie’s “buy-one give-one business model.”2 With this model, TOMS appears to be the perfect exemplar of a vision-driven business, or ...

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