Thales Teixeira on Digital Disruption Through Decoupling

Prof. Thales Teixeira is the co-founder of digital disruption consultancy Previously, he was the Lumry Family Associate Professor at Harvard Business School, where he taught MBA, doctoral and executive-level courses in Marketing Models, Digital Marketing and E-commerce  for 10 years. His two primary domains of research constitute Digital Disruption and The Economics of Attention.

He is the author of dozens of articles published in trade press outlets such as The Harvard Business Review, The McKinsey Quarterly, Think with Google, and in academic journals such as Marketing Science, JMR, JM, and JAR. His research and opinions have been routinely featured in The NY Times, The Financial Times, ABC Nightly News, NBC News, NPR, Forbes, Quartz, The New Yorker and The Guardian.

Thales is the author of  Unlocking the Customer Value Chain: How Decoupling Drives Consumer Disruption, which is Based on eight years of research visiting dozens of startups, tech companies and incumbents. Thales shows how and why consumer industries are disrupted, and what established companies can do about it—while highlighting the specific strategies potential startups use to gain a competitive edge.

In this episode with Swami & Vignesh, Thales talks about:

  • Disruption & the genesis of Decoupling
  • Product Development in Developed vs Developing Markets
  • Differences between Customer Value Chain and Customer Journey
  • How certain Customer Value Chain niches are creating new business models
  • How to define Business Models through the Customer Value Chain
  • How Large Companies Vs Startups approach Customer Needs
  • Identifying Erosion of Product-Market Fit
  • Insight into how Uber, Airnbnb & Etsy made their first 1000 customers

Listen to the Episode

Selected Links

Connect with Thales

Economics of Attention

Viral Advertising on HBR

Customer Value Chain


Customer Journey

HBR Working Knowledge Article

People Mentioned

Clayton Christensen

Eric Ries

Geoffrey A Moore

Barack Obama

Steve Jobs

Anthony Bourdain

Stephen Colbert

Dave Chappell

Steve Blank

Sara Blakley

Books Mentioned

Unlocking the Customer value Chain By Thales Teixeira

The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A Moore

Companies / Institutions Mentioned


Harvard Business School








BlaBla Car






Show Notes

Disruption according to Thales

Technology is not the driver of disruption

Genesis of the Decoupling Model

Product Development Developed Markets Vs Developing Markets

Differences between Customer Value Chain and Customer Journey

Customer Value Chain Niches Creating New Business Models

Defining Business Models through the Customer Value Chain

Large Corporations Vs Startups – Fulfiling Customer Needs

Large Corporations Vs Startups – Signal to Noise ratio 

How do companies identity erosion of product Market Fit

Developing skills to master wavespotting

Do Patents provide a competitive advantage to increase market share?

Insight into how Uber, Airbnb and Etsy acquired their first 1000 customers

Examples of Recoupling in Large Companies

Books that influenced your life and career

What is Success?

Best piece of advice

Four guests for a dream dinner

Advice to an 18-year old at University

Guest Recommendation for The ContraMinds Podcast

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