Challenging the establishment. Round 1
Next month will be the 20th anniversary of the launch of the world’s first daily-disposable contact lens. Throughout its development my business partner, Bill Seden, and I came under unscrupulous attacks by existing contact lens and solutions manufacturers because our ideas threatened their business model. One company, in particular, attempted to disrupt our patent filings and by so-doing to kill our business initiatives. But they failed. We persisted and we won-out.
I take great satisfaction from knowing that millions of contact lens wearers around the world enjoy the health-care benefits of daily disposability which Bill and I had pioneered and successfully commercialised. After many years of uncertainty, when Bausch & Lomb sought to buy our business and our extensive patent filings we agreed, giving our families financial security and a rest! B&L, having invested $millions in attempting to develop a d-d process/product themselves, had failed to do so. J&J and CIBA subsequently launched their own d-d lens … but, even after 20 years, it’s nice thinking ‘we were first’!
Challenging the optical establishment. Round 2
In 2001 I launched a new daily-disposable lens having completed my 5 year non-compete with Bausch & Lomb. I envisaged a B2B Internet-technology based business offering Independent Opticians the chance to tap into our new website which would allow them to compete with UK Optical Multiples. But the resistance to change was immense and we were simply asked to ship patient-specific orders to their shops which they would then send on to the wearer, keeping the wearer details to themselves but double or tripling the price! By 2006 enough was enough. So it was that I announced to the optical world (in Optician Magazine) that Daysoft would take orders direct on the Internet from wearers and ship direct to them. We became, and still are, the only contact lens manufacture in the world to adopt this business model allowing us to undercut even the biggest manufacture and the biggest retail giants, such as Specsavers.
The affordable, healthy option, daysoft.com
Today, over 500 million daysoft branded lenses have been ordered on daysoft.com and shipped direct. Over 2,000 daysoft orders a day are shipped to customers on our data-base which now exceeds 300,000 CL wearers. More importantly, we have the biggest post-market surveillance set of statistics underpinning the health-care validity of our business model. Uniquely, we have full traceability of every lens Lot sold and to which individual allowing us to verify the consistency of our lenses, our customer wearing satisfaction rating and our unique Internet based business-model.
Unscrupulous attacks, this time from the Multiples.
Now, I mentioned above the attacks experienced when inventing the first daily-disposable lens but these attacks pale into relative insignificance compared to the unscrupulous attacks daysoft lenses experience almost daily by the UK’s biggest optical retailers. Numerous examples of defamatory remarks made to the public have been sent to me and onwards to the General Optical Council (GOC) but they will take no action against the big Optical Multiples. Why? I believe this is because the GOC is not funded by Government (as many would assume) but by opticians themselves, primarily by the Multiples. Furthermore, the Director of Professional Services of Specsavers, sits on the GOC management committee and, believe it or not, on the GOC appointments committee. These attacks confirm their desperation at our highly successful business model and their deep seated determination to maintain the outdated and inefficient status-quo. We persist.
Thank you reading this and, if you are one, for being a customer.