Building a Complete Product
Building a business that transforms a major industry is exciting and challenging. While there are many elements that require careful planning and execution, at the core is a product or service that delights customers.
View CEO Rao Mulpuri recently shared how View has taken inspiration from innovation leaders like Apple and Tesla to transform traditional, static windows into intelligent dynamic windows that create more comfortable, inspiring and healthy environments, and lead to improved productivity.
Technologists and marketers alike talk about the ‘first mover’ advantage; however, in reality, the first product to market rarely wins. As we witnessed with both the Apple iPhone and the Tesla Model S, it was the first Complete Product that created the tipping point, and created irreversible change in a major industry.
What is a Complete Product?
The first step to building a Complete Product is to gain a deep understanding of the customer needs and how your product will solve their challenges. At View, we didn’t get fixated on the glass, the coatings, the digital technology, or the software. Instead, we focused on the environments that people work, live, play and learn in every day, and on designing a product that dramatically improves their experience while also being easy to use. This required building a product that hides all the complexity of the hardware, software and controls from the building occupants – and just works. People then experience a more comfortable, light-filled, delightful environment and do not have to think at all about the technology. And, if they want to personalize their environment, the product enables them to do so with a simple, intuitive app on their smartphone.
The second step was to make our product easy to install. “We wanted to make it so easy to install, that it was just like Lego blocks”, said Rao Mulpuri, View CEO. We realized that we had to design and build our products so they required no new trades at the job sites. And because our products have to be connected, we designed a very simple, pre-terminated, connector based wiring network that ships with the system, making it easy to install and allowing us to leverage the low voltage electricians already in construction. This approach lowered resistance from the real estate trades, and has enabled View to scale rapidly.
Finally, we knew that our products had to be built to last longer than 30 years, similar to the lifetime of traditional static glass windows. This required a truly innovative approach to solve the difficult materials science challenges of developing nano-coatings that are highly durable. Previous (and even some current) approaches used organic materials that are easier to develop, but degrade under repeated exposure to heat and UV that are a result of the harsh sunlight to which windows are exposed. We took the more difficult but ultimately successful path of developing our coatings using only inorganic materials, with proven coating lifetimes well in excess of 50 years under the most stringent conditions.
To summarize - we learned to design and build a Complete Product that is:
• Easy to use and provides a delightful experience,
• Easy to install, and
• Built to last
You can watch a summary of Rao’s presentation at Verge in a video here.
Rao Mulpuri - CEO