Lendahand Blog

Impact

This is why we don’t want you to buy our product

Written by Koen The on 21 December 2018

When on my way, commuting or traveling, I like to watch TED.com clips. These are talks on a variety of topics and some of them make you go hmmm. For instance check out this one on how we have troubles making decisions without knowing it.

One of the most discussed TED talk is an iffy looking video clip from Simon Sinek. His idea is as follows: people don’t simply just buy your product, they buy into why you do what you do, and then purchase your product. I’m definitely in the camp that thinks that Sinek’s clip is overhyped, but it does touch something to the core. Especially in this day and age in which people are more than ever aware of – and able to verify – the pros and cons of your offering.

Drinking from a firehose

Already back in 2011 it was estimated that people received 5 times as much information than in 1986. Imagine the peace and quietness people experienced in the ‘80s! And then try to realize how much more information we get today than back in 2011. The information flow just doesn’t stop. At the same time the marginal cost of innovation or just setting up shop is going down. For each obscure niche in a random market there seems to exist a company to fulfil those needs.

When customers have so many options to choose from, just providing a product is not good enough. There are probably 17 other companies offering the same kind of product or service AND the customer is able to find them (and heaven forbid, starts to love them). Unless you’re a volume player in a fully commoditized market or operating in a very specific niche with high barriers to enter, you have to realize that your offering has to mean something to people.

Do I allow you to be part of my life?

As a company you need to stay relevant. A clear observation is that companies that are mainly driven by profits are having a hard time doing just that, staying relevant. There is absolutely nothing to love about a company that exists to maximize shareholder value, no matter how good the product. Such companies will ultimately replace innovation by the wish to maintain the status quo and short-term profits become the main concern. I could not fall in love with a girl if all she thinks about is maximizing her own utility out of our relationship. She could be the prettiest in the crowd, I still would want her at a distance. Companies that only care about profit, and not people or planet, will one day find out they are left alone.

When nothing goes right, we go left

Lendahand is on a mission. We exist because we believe that there are very cool companies active in emerging markets that are creating economic value while having an enormous positive impact on their surroundings. With the right amount of funding they can build their company and create jobs. But the problem is that they find it very hard to impossible to find that funding. We have created a platform around this issue and with EUR 40 million lent so far it’s fair to say we are not the only ones that think it’s a good idea.

Don’t buy our product, join our mission

As a company we are not alone on this mission. We don’t want you to buy our product, we want you to join us on our mission and journey. Together we learn and make things happen. That way we are able to keep coming up with awesome product. A product with a story. And we are sure that profit will eventually follow. In that order.