Disrupting An Industry: Warby Parker

Warby Parker is a sunglass company that generated enough customer adoption that it completely disrupted the eyeglass market.

Remember: a product is not disruptive, customer adoption is disruptive.

And turns out, people love getting eye wear that’s a fraction of their typical cost.

The company has a fascinating founding story, but I want to highlight how after establishing their company they preserved their culture of originality.

The program was called “Warbles” and invited everyone in the company to submit suggestions and requests for new technology features at any time. Before the Warbles program 10-20 ideas were introduced per quarter, now they have nearly 400 ideas because employees trusted the selection process was meritocratic.

Here’s how the program worked:

Step one: Suggestion are completely transparent in a google document.

Step two: It sounds purely democratic, but there’s a twist: managers vote the promising ideas up or down.

Step three: Anyone can make comments on the suggestions.

Step four: The votes aren’t binding and the tech team can overrule managers by selecting requests that didn’t get a lot of votes and prove its value. The technology team discusses the suggestions in a biweekly meeting while having full discretion to start working on what interests them most while gathering feedback from peers before rolling it out to customers. Key: The company trusts this group, which initially starts fast and then slows down.

Keep inventing and failing, it might just lead to disruption.

Photo by Siyuan on Unsplash.

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