Keep the Whole Product In Mind and Head Towards It

Houses with Solar Power on them

I had a great meeting this week with Peter Rive, co-founder and COO of SolarCity, the largest solar power company in the United States. SolarCity has created runaway growth forresidential solar power in the United States and in looking at how they did it, I see a parallel between their mass market success and how Kindara will eventually achieve mass market success.

It has to do with finding our Whole Product for Kindara: the combination of touch-points and features that will make Natural Fertility Management ready for mass market adoption (for more on the Whole Product concept see The 4 Steps To the Epiphany by Steve Blank or Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore). SolarCity is a good case in point:

Prior to SolarCity, installing a solar power system on your house was a pain in the butt. Most home owners had to deal with half a dozen separate parties to get the project completed: Conversations had be set up with a dealer to supply the panels, a bank to loan the money, an engineer to do the design, a controls engineer to design the monitoring system and monitor it over time, an insurance company to insure the investment, and most annoyingly, the utility to get all the permitting approved. It was, and is, too much of a pain in the butt for John Q. Citizen to be bothered with.

SolarCity's genius was to recognize this pain-in-the-butt factor as the main impediment to widespread adoption of solar power in the USA. And so they set about to remove the friction. SolarCity innovated to offer ALL of the above services (supply, design, installation, monitoring, insurance, financing, & permitting) through one point of contact for the homeowner at a price lower than conventional electricity from the grid.

SolarCity's proposition to the homeowner became "sign up and start saving today with no money down and we'll take care of everything". The result has been amazing to watch: SolarCity had revenues of $400M last year and is set to double that amount in 2012. SolarCity built the Whole Product for their business and are reaping the rewards!

The interesting thing about the Whole Product is that until ALL the required elements are in place, mediocre market share is the best case scenario.

The best analogy I can think of is in relation to Jiu Jitsu, which I just started playing: If the Whole Product is playing Jiu Jitsu with all four limbs, anything less than the Whole Product is is playing Jiu Jitsu with less than four limbs: small victories are possible, but not ultimate dominance.

Even if I'm just using my legs to pin an opponent, and I add an arm to the mix (50% more limbs!) I'm still destined to lose to a worthy adversary. Only when all arms and legs are working in concert can I hope to submit my opponent. The fourth limb is the critical limb to enable my full potential.

Looking back at SolarCity, the fourth limb for Solar was to remove the pain-in-the-ass factor for homeowners. The fourth limb for tablets was a color touch screen and internet connectivity. The fourth limb for automobiles was the combination of reliability and low price of the Model T. Without these elements all these technologies were stuck with slowly growing single-digit market share and mediocre adoption.

So this has me thinking about the Whole Product for Kindara. While we can and will execute and grow before our Whole Product is in place, I'm thinking about the elements that will have Natural Fertility Management become a mainstream practice for women and their partners. Currently I think our Whole Product has 5 elements:

  1. Non-invasive hardware that effortlessly measures and transmits fertility bio-markers to the internet without much user interaction.
  2. Beautiful cloud-based software that allows a woman to interact with her fertility data on any device.
  3. Accessible and fun educational materials so women are supported in learning and practicing the method at every step.
  4. Useful and affordable support that helps women feel calm and confident about managing their fertility, and
  5. Dialogue with the medical community to educate and support doctors and healthcare workers in communicating the benefits of Natural Fertility Management to their patients.

It's a multi-year project for sure, but when we have all these elements in place it'll be like playing Jiu Jitsu with all four limbs working together and we'll unlock Kindara's full potential.