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Why Spanx is the Ultimate MVP
Last week, I introduced a new kind of MVP: the maximum valuable product. It’s the product the consumer wants, rather than the minimum valuable product made popular by The Lean Start-Up and that leads to more failures than successes.
There are many examples of maximum valuable products. Two of my favorites were created by women and companies I greatly admire. It’s not a coincidence that both of them just sold some or all of their companies to Blackstone, a private equity giant.
From Day One, Spanx created a maximum valuable product. They started with a simple model — footless pantyhose that women could wear as shapewear without noticeable lines. But from the start, they got the fabric right, and they got the dimensions right for many different types of bodies. It was for most women, and it focused on giving them the confidence to wear what they wanted.
Then, as Spanx expanded, they focused on other areas that women could be comfortable in. When they did this, they could have skimped on fabric and gone down the Lula Roe path, but Spanx didn’t because they had integrity in the product. With each sequential launch, every initial product already had the maximum value built into it.
Hello Sunshine, the media company founded by Reese Witherspoon, is another example of a maximum valuable product but in company form. When Reese saw a gap in the market for female-funded and starred films, she didn’t have to start her own company. She could have commissioned scripts and had a production company handle them. Instead, she decided to create her own omnichannel media company focused on women, equity, and empowerment in the male-dominated film industry.
Not only does Hello Sunshine create female-driven content for TV, film, and digital platforms, the media company has a wildly successful book club, a live events division, and even Filmmaker Lab that teaches filmmaking to teenage girls. Not to mention, the content from Hello Sunshine is some of the strongest, most interesting work being produced today.
Those are my top two MVPs. What about you? What is your favorite Maximum Valuable Product?