My kids are obsessed with the podcast Wow in the World (and, to be fair, it’s really good). Guy Raz is such a goofball on that show that it was a little weird to see the headline Guy Raz: Five Lessons PMs Can Take From Famous Entrepreneurs. But I thoroughly enjoyed Laura Baverman’s write-up of one his recent talks at the first ProductCraft conference. He gives several recommendations for PMs on how to run successful products, including “Focus on What’s Different, Special, or Better Than Anything out There”:
Advisors to Allbirds were concerned that launching just a single shoe design in only four colors was a recipe for failure. To succeed in the direct-to-consumer retail market, they’d need to provide options for shoppers, those experts said.
But founders and co-CEOs Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger were most concerned with creating a superior product—an environmentally-friendly shoe made of superfine Merino wool. They were convinced that getting these values right would help them sell the shoes, and expansion into other types of shoes or products would happen from there.
They were right. Within 30 days of launch, they sold out of a year’s worth of inventory. Three years later, the company is valued at $1.4B, and according to Raz, still offers something better than anything else comparable. Allbirds ignored what the competition was doing and create a truly differentiated product.
There are some great lessons in these stories.