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#26—Felix Oberholzer-Gee: Applying a Value-Based Strategy to Drive Your Business

#26—Felix Oberholzer-Gee: Applying a Value-Based Strategy to Drive Your Business

Felix Oberholzer-Gee is the Andreas Andresen Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. An award-winning instructor, his academic work has been published in the very best, peer-reviewed journals of his profession. He currently teaches competitive strategy in executive education programs such as the Harvard General Management Program. He also serves as faculty chair of the Senior Executive Leadership Program for China and the Driving Digital Strategy program. He is a cohost of the popular HBR Presents podcast, After Hours.

His most recent book Better, Simpler Strategy, Felix is one of the most compelling, complete, and yet, simple strategy books out there. He shows how successful companies that appear to be in very similar businesses – say Home Depot and Lowes - dramatically outperform their rivals. At a time when rapid technological change and global competition conspire to upend traditional ways of doing business, these companies pursue radically simplified strategies focused on value.

In this podcast he shares:

  • Why focusing on differentiating our value proposition for customers misses half of the opportunity (we should be equally focused on employees and suppliers).

  • Why we so often confuse “complements” with “substitutes”—for example, we thought music streaming would kill the music business, but it actually had the opposite effect.

  • A simple, immediately-actionable framework design a strategy that maximized the value of your firm.


  • "There are two key ideas: One is value creation for customers, and that is just ways to increase willingness to pay for your customers. Willingness to pay is the most a customer would ever be willing to pay for a product or a service. We want to make sure that we do the kinds of things that increase value where value is the difference between willingness to pay the most the customer is willing to pay verses the actual price for a better camera in your smart phone, and the actual price that we charge."

    -Felix Oberholzer-Gee


  • Episode Timeline:

    00:00—Introducing Felix Oberholzer-Gee + The topic of today’s episode

    1:54—If you really know me, you know that...

    2:01—What is your definition of strategy?

    3:22—What are you most well-known for?

    5:18—Could you walk us through your framework of what value-based strategy is?

    10:15—Differentiating your offer to increase willingness to pay

    13:10—What is the right amount of value to capture?

    17:40—What is a favorite framework or tool you have?

    19:50—Applying the value of differentiation to more than just marketing

    23:00—How should people connect with you?


    Additional Resources:

The 4th Option Junto
The Outthinkers podcast is a growth strategy podcast hosted by Kaihan Krippendorff. Each week, Kaihan talks with forward-looking strategists and innovators that are challenging the status quo, leading the future of business, and shaping our world.