Brilliant book by Wharton Business School Prof. Adam Grant, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move The World.
Grant opens the book with a case study of Warby Parker, a disruptively innovative company founded by four guys who liked eyeglasses but felt like they could become online vendors selling “cheap value”. One of its co-creators is Neil Blumenthal, a former student of Grant’s at Wharton, who approached him about investing in the company in 2009 – an invitation that Grant turned down which he acknowledges was one of the poorest financial decisions he’s ever made.
Well it was this very notion of eyewear having become commoditized that drove me around the same time that Warby Parker was being conceived to abandon “selling eyewear” in our office. While it was profitable, as any business must be, it was part of a hybrid environment that blended professional services with optical product. Ironically we were the envy of some our physician friends, who were bemoaning the poaching of professional services by third party carriers. But we decided that we would get rid of the busy-ness and frankly at times nuisance of dealing with eyeglass parts and walk-in adjustments that optical services entails.
This enabled us to focus our collective staff time, training, and energies toward excelling at the speciality services that built our reputation, and that were unique. We have stayed true to our mission by not participating with third party carriers (other than Medicare for senior citizens) so that we our primary relationship is with the patient and their family. We are principally patient providers, not third party providers. Someone may figure out how to disruptively innovate with an online version of what our speciality is, yet I doubt that this will occur in my professional lifetime. But if you were thinking of ideas on how to go about it, Grant’s tome would be a good place to start.