The power of knowledge - or knowledge has nothing to do with the power of marketing

Image /  U.S. Army

Image / U.S. Army

A customer came in today for an adjustment and also to inquire about my knowledge regarding shooting glasses. He read a recent article in a shooting magazine about a new lens invented by a sport shooter claiming the ability to see clearly out of any portion of the lens. We discussed the topic, such as what the lens was trying to accomplish and what is available now. I used to have a sport shooter as a customer and we would put an inverted bifocal on top of one lens so he could see the iron sight when his head was tilted downward. The customer was not sure about the lens in the article and said he would email it to me when he got home. Upon receiving and reading the article I had to hold back my laughter. One's lack of knowledge is another man's reason to start a business? To keep this short winded I'll cut to the chase. The sport shooter told his Optometrist his dilemma regarding seeing the iron sight and the target now that he has reached the age of being close vision challenged (Presbyope). The position of his head did not warrant using the bifocal positioned at the bottom of the lens.  He was told by his Optometrist that there was no such lens available to help him with that situation. The sport shooter took it upon himself to "invert" or come up with a solution. So he inverted a bifocal and started a shooting and safety eyewear company. Just imagine if he would have gone to a licensed Optician! Would he have made a business out of it anyway?

It's a great marketing schitk and I see it often with new product and service startups in any industry. Warby Parker for instance. One of the co-founders says he started the company to fulfill the absence of the ability to purchase eyewear online. " In February 2008, four MBA candidates at the Wharton School of business wondered: Why weren'’t glasses sold online?" Hmmm, as far as I know glasses were being sold online at that time and before. Then again a recent article by one of the other co-founders of the company states that "he and three of his buddies started riffing on the injustices of the monopolistic eyewear industry" which led to the hatch of Warby Parker. What monopoly is he talking about? Another "We started the company because we were sick and tired of radically overpaying for eyeglasses. It didn'’t make sense to us that a pair of eyeglasses should cost as much or more as an iPhone." These guys are in their 20's wearing SV lenses, more than an iPhone? Guess they never heard of For Eyes or Philadelphia Eyeglass Labs ( 2 pairs of eyeglasses and an exam for $99.00).

Either way, consumers like to support a company with a feel good story behind it. I have to laugh but also be concerned when there are alternative motives behind the perceived information. Especially in the case of the shooting and safety eyewear company which states - "This is the exact reason why we make all of our ANSI z87 prescription shooting lenses of only polycarbonate (not Trivex) and to the highest degrees of lens retention." Not Trivex! To the best of my knowledge Trivex is THE safest lens material as of 2016, as well as being far superior in all other aspects compared to Polycarbonate.