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Building Business Ecosystems Series: #2—Ben Gomes-Casseres

Building Business Ecosystems Series: #2—Ben Gomes-Casseres

*Note to listeners* This episode is part of a special sub-series on business ecosystems.

Ben Gomes-Casseres has been studying ecosystems since before the term as we know it existed. He is an expert on business combinations, in particular alliance strategy and management, having researched this topic for 30 years.

He has published five books and many articles and case studies on M&A, alliances, and joint ventures, and his views have appeared widely in the business press. Ben helps companies create value from external resources by improving the way they manage partnerships. He holds degrees from Harvard, Princeton, and Brandeis. A native of Curaçao, he speaks four languages, and his work can be found at

Drawing from his experience at the beginning of the development of business ecosystems while studying computer companies in the early 90s, Ben has followed the development of ecosystems from a research standpoint since its infancy. In this discussion, Ben shares the in-depth insights he has learned over his time as a cutting edge—and early—expert of ecosystem study. In this discussion, Ben shares his insights on

In this podcast, he shares:

  • What he learned from the earliest industries that adopted ecosystems and ecosystem-based competition as a business model

  • The background and development of the term “ecosystems” as we know it today

  • The various types of ecosystems, and the different terms used to describe these groups

  • His Remix Strategy he developed as a result of his long-term research, including the three laws of business combinations

  • How to play fairly in an ecosystem, ensuring that you add to its value rather than take away from it

  • A practical set of questions that will help you determine where you can draw value from joining an ecosystem, and in what ways


"So, it has really been this interesting shift that kind of 2000, this chasm was crossed around opening up ecosystems to different kinds of partners as well, the opportunity to reach different kinds of customers in new ways through new channels."

-Ben Gomes-Casseres


  • Episode Timeline:

    00:00—Introducing Ben + The topic of today’s episode

    1:47—How did you fall into studying ecosystems before it was even a known area?

    7:26—How constellations (ecosystems) have evolved in the way they're perceived and defined over time

    9:10—Could you walk us through your model of the three laws of business combinations?

    12:07—The first law of business combinations

    13:10—The second law of business combinations

    15:41—The third law of business combinations

    18:41—What kind of changes does an organization need to make to be effective in ecosystem-based competition (mindset, capabilities, key success, factors, organizations, structure, incentives)?

    21:45—How do you decide what ecosystem to plug into if you're not yet in one?

    23:18—How does an ecosystem become more fragemented at the ecosystem or constellation level? What factors go into deciding is?

    26:08—How different ecosystems can be organized depending on their needs

    26:08—How different ecosystems can be organized depending on their needs

    28:32—What is the difference between a platform and a constellation or ecosystem?

    30:42—Do you think ecosystem-based competition is becoming more popular and essential to business' success, or has it always been popular and it's just the terminology that is becoming more popular?

    32:42—How the digital connectedness across the globe has pushed the need for more cooperation.



  • 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.