The phenomenally successful eyewear startup Warby Parker has a great origin story on their website: “We were students when one of us lost his glasses on a backpacking trip. The cost of replacing them was so high that he spent the first semester of grad school without them…we were amazed at how hard it was to find a pair of great frames that didn’t leave our wallets bare.” So they created a new kind of eyewear company.
I’ve also heard a different version of the story: four ambitious MBA students were looking for a business opportunity, discovered that the prescription eyeglass industry was ripe for disruption, and launched an online eyewear company.
While the second story is probably more accurate, I don’t think the first one is deceptive or misleading in any meaningful way. Or in other words, it’s “true enough.” And it’s certainly a powerful story that resonates with consumers.
An origin story needs to capture the essence of who you are, what you do, and why you do it in a way that connects with customers' needs and values. The story doesn’t need to faithfully document the facts; it just needs to be true enough.
Breaking News: As if to prove my point, this morning Fast Company announced that Warby Parker was #1 on their list of Most Innovative Companies!