Ideas and Validation June 2, 2020

Learn how 6 pre-90s companies acquired their first clients

Leo Nagano @Leo

Madam C. J. Walker

Problem
Sarah suffered severe dandruff and other scalp ailments, including baldness, because of skin disorders and use of harsh products to cleanse hair and wash clothes. Poor diet, illnesses, and infrequent bathing also contributed

Solution
Hair products and straightener comb for African American women “Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower”. She adapted existing products created for white women, to be used by black women

First Clients
She first went door-to-door presenting her products to black women. After being successful, expanded through ""Madam C. J. Walker System"", training 20,000 black women

Twinings Tea

Problem
Thomas Twining worked for a Tea Merchant back in 1701 and noticed rich people were drinking gin, beers and coffee in the breakfast because water was extremely polluted

Solution
He bought a coffee shop in 1706 to sell brewed and dry tea alongside coffee and test the market

First Clients
First customers were acquired in his coffee shop, and after a while, he realised dry tea was selling way more than brewed and also coffee

Gore-Tex

Problem
High costs with cable isolation used on Bob Gore's company

Solution
Micropores resulting from stretched Teflon in an attempt to reduce those costs were bigger than water vapour and smaller than water droplets. Bob discovered another use for it and patented the invention

First Clients
After 6 years, the first tent was manufactured by an outdoor company. Then 1 year later, the first jacket using Gore-Tex was manufactured by the same company

Where's Wally

Problem
Where's Wally publisher was going to Bologna Books Fair in 1 week and didn't have anything exciting to show

Solution
He asked Martin, an artist specialised in crowded scenes since he was 5 years old, to draw a scene with someone to look for

First Clients
The next day, people were looking to buy those books

Lego

Problem
During the 1929 Great Depression, Ole Christiansen's woodworking shop had almost no orders

Solution
He then moved to miniature wooden toys, which then led to Lego's creation in 1949

First Clients
His clients from the toy shop were the first Lego customers

Liquid Paper

Problems
Bette Graham used to make many mistakes as a typist

Solution
She combined her arts passion, observing how artists used to correct their errors, not removing, but painting over and created a white liquid at her kitchen

First Clients
She acquired her first clients at the office she worked at the time. Her colleagues asked for the liquid, as it was solving a common problem


I've been writing how pre-internet companies acquired their first users.

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