3 Lessons on Disruption from the Founder of Endy, Mike Gettis
In the vein of Uber and Warby Parker, Endy delivers a fair-priced product to their customers, gimmick-free. Endy is everywhere – from the subway posters you can’t look away from to the bed you sleep in every night.
Mike Gettis, founder and CEO of Endy, became an entrepreneur after life as a professional engineer. With an MBA from Belgium, he joined a European home-goods company with in-demand products and strong distributions channels.
Here, Gettis’ 3 lessons on disrupting the market.
Disruption and innovation are not the same.
Disruption is one of those catchphrases used by entrepreneurs today, but there can be confusion around the term. Disruption comes from ‘disruptive innovation,’ a term first coined by Clayton Christensen of Harvard University in 1995. Not all innovations are disruptive innovations. Truly disruptive innovations start as low-cost, minimally featured innovations that take market share, and improve over time to better suit a larger, high-value market. For example, when Uber launched, it was not a disruption, as the black cars were more expensive than the taxis it now replaces. It became disruptive only after launching UberX, which was indeed cheaper than taxis.
Build Disruption by Design.
Much of the disruption happening recently has been in older industries with big barriers to entry. At Endy, we disrupt the mattress market. The mattress market previously had big barriers to entry: mattress production is expensive and building a retail network is very time consuming and costly. Our solution was to completely disrupt the market by building our mattresses in Canada and having a unique compression technology that enables us to ship directly to our customers at a fraction of the price of similar mattresses. Our focus on redesigning the experience has created a completely new way for customers to experience mattress shopping unlike they have ever done before.
Creating the right business model is the first step, but winning is the hardest part. Since the barriers of entry to start an e-commerce business aren’t as high, there are different factors that determine success or failure and many competitors can follow suit in pursuit of the same business model. The key to success in a high-growth, disruptive business model is speed and execution. At Endy, we created an amazing customer experience, a product the market loves, and shipping at a speed that surprises and delights our customers. At the same time, the business must operate at a cost that is sustainable. By keeping costs lean we are able to provide our customers an amazingly supportive, comfortable, and high-quality mattress while keeping our price point in a range that remains disruptive in the market.