I rarely make audacious statements, but I promise that I (or anyone else with a fire burning deep in their soul) can disrupt any industry, anywhere where in the world, with verifiable results, in only a quarter.
I know because I did it.
VALOR CYCLES (THE HOW)
I have been speaking to organizations about the potential impact of digital disruption for the last twenty years. However, the message I have been sharing for the last five, the message that any business could be disrupted by anyone at any time, was one that I believed, but had not personally seen.
So, I ran an experiment.
I wanted to validate my assumption. Enter Valor Cycles.
When choosing a space for my experiment I decided to pursue something fun, a true passion project. As a budding triathlete and avid cyclist, I have been a huge fan of all things two-wheels from a very young age. Not so much the classics, but the most technologically advanced platforms on the market.
This is where I would run my experiment.
Audacious Statement 1: In 2019 nothing takes years.
The cycle time for of building a carbon road racing bike is painfully long. Years of engineering and research, massive expense associated with tooling, and ridiculously long build times (often exceeding 40 hands-on hours for a single frame.)
This entire cycle is in contradiction to Business Agility, where we promote small experiments, fast learning, and flexibility.
To understand the solution, we researched the market. Bike builders were taking years to engineer a mean solution for the mass market. They were building and marketing for maximum efficiency, maximum aerodynamic benefit, and ideal compliance which would only prove a benefit to a small subset of the customer base.
In short, they were investing millions to appease 1-ish% of the market.
The Valor Position: Instead of investing long lead times to satisfy a small portion of the market, lets invest in a basic platform and then optimize for the preferences of each individual rider.
After investing a month researching the average “great” from each performance bike on the market, we were able to identify the common compliance, performance, and geometric characteristics to serve as the foundation for our platform.
Audacious Statement 2: Technical expertise is only ever a click away.
Failure one: I thought I could teach myself AutoCAD and 3D Rendering in a few weekends.
Lesson learned, there is a very real reason that engineers go to school for years to learn how to use AutoCAD and 3D design tools.
However, through this failure I was about to validate another assumption: the gig economy.
After failing at CAD I began searching for a mechanical engineer to design the VALOR Fortitude F5. I found my engineer, a Berkley grad, in Malta. Supplying my crude drawings, data, and creative brief I received my fully engineered and computer tested 3D renderings in only a month.
Audacious Statement 3: The manufacturing capacity of the world is available to everyone.
Due to the 40-hour build time I previously referenced, most modern carbon race bikes are manufactured in Asia to make them as affordable as possible.
With affordability in mind, I started my search for manufacturing capacity in the exact same factories as Pinarello, Trek, Cervelo, and others. I accessed this capacity through Alibaba.
With minimum order quantities starting at only 100 units, the barrier to entry was quite low when compared to the cost of cutting molds and staffing a manufacturing floor domestically.
Though this learning was interesting, it led me to a pivot. I would be able to prove that I could come to market fast, but had not solved the problems of adaptability, sustainability, or efficiency.
It was time to rethink my hypothesis.
Audacious Statement 4: You don’t need millions to manufacture.
I grew up visiting my dad in his precision machining shop and attending machining trade shows. I spent hours watching Wire EDMs, CNC Mills, and other machines turn stock metal into amazingly intricate components.
In the 1990’s this was the only way to manufacture these parts as robotics were considered an emerging technology, and many blueprints were still validated by machinists.
In 2019, the world looks very different. You can manufacture almost anything from your desktop or garage with powerful CNC and 3D printing capabilities. Referencing my vision of building a highly flexible and customizable platform, 3D printing was proving an interesting option.
But how would I 3D print carbon fiber? There are other manufacturers in the cycling industry who 3D print titanium-butted carbon frames, but I wanted to build a true carbon racer.
After doing some research, I discovered a very strong and sustainable alternative in the ability to 3D print recycled chopped carbon fiber with the Mark Two printer by MarkForged.
In only three months I had envisioned, engineered, and produced a competitive first prototype of a product that could disrupt the cycling industry. For the purposed of my experiment, this was the end of Valor Cycles. Though short lived, the company will live to serve as validation that any industry can be disrupted in a short timeframe.
Where do we go from here?
BUSINESS AGILITY (THE SOLUTION)
Born in 2001 at the beginning of tech disruption “Agile” evolved as a framework for approaching work in a different way so that big firms could stand a chance of surviving digital revolution.
In 2019, those same ideas are proving just as valid as all business faces the same challenges that tech did in 2001.
The Business Agility way of working addresses technology, people, operations, compliance, and marketing in a new way, based on the foundations of Agile, for the purpose of helping big businesses survive in a post-digital economy.
In 2019 you can either be disrupted or be a disruptor.
Through twenty years of personal experience helping others disrupt, and centuries of combined experience doing the same, the team and I are here and ready to help your business embark on its LAST TRANSFORMATION.
We are the disruptors.
If you found this content useful, the greatest compliment you can give me is to share it with a friend or colleague.
Also, please consider giving me a follow on the platforms below and liking and commenting on the content. The more engagement a post receives, the better chance it has of helping someone new.