I can’t stop thinking about razor blades. Seriously, having first seen the Dollar Shave Club video a few weeks ago, all this shaving business just wouldn’t go away. What’s so amazing? Watch the video first, and then we can talk
1. Purple Cow
First and foremost, the Dollar Shave Club is as purple as can get. I mean, the Queen would be jealous. There isn’t anything like it, and it’s awesome. Something you would tell your friends about. Something you (I) would blog about. Seriously purple.
2. Disruptive business model
Purple cows are rare. One reason for this is their creation often necessitates some serious innovation, of the disruptive kind. Dollar Shave Club is a prime example of disruption, coming to the market from below with a cheaper and simpler products than the leading incumbents currently offer. Moreover, with a monthly subscription, it turns product into a service. It’s not about who’s got a better blade anymore – it’s about Dollar Shave Club making you smile, every month.
3. Fantastic marketing support
Have you seen the video? Fun, isn’t it? If you haven’t shared it with your friends, don’t worry – others did. It’s currently at almost 5 million views and counting. No doubt this amazing bit of cinema history brought in a ton of early adopters to Dollar Shave Club. But what’s next? If you want sustainable growth, you need to ensure that new customers come from the actions of past customers (Eric Ries in Lean Startup). Hence DSC offers a free month of your subscription for every friend you sign up, up to lifetime supply of blades. No kidding. Mix in social media support, and you have a very happy growth engine going.
4. Iteration friendly
Did you read the Lean Startup yet? Mike and his team sure did (if you look closely, a guy is reading it right in the video). One of the key concepts in the book is the build-measure-learn cycle, a key driver of startup innovation. The idea is to rapidly iterate by testing many hypotheses and sticking with what turns out to work. With the subscription model, Dollar Shave Club can easily analyse customer cohorts as they sign up, or test different ideas on subsets of existing subscribers. Every month is a chance to iterate, every month is a chance to do things better. Priceless.
Best of all, it’s all very simple. One subscription, three blades to choose from, let’s shave. The whole idea has been distilled to it’s core. Once you see it, it’s obvious. But Mike – Mike is a f***ing genius.