Realizations seem to come in steps. The landscape changes quickly so it’s imperative to keep pace. Less than 18 months in to my stewardship of The Hydroswing® Single Panel Door System, it was clear this wasn’t just a product… this was a revolution in the large door market. The Hydroswing® Single Panel Door was emerging as the large door sector’s “disruptor.” “Disruptive innovation” is defined as an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market by displacing established market leaders and alliances. The term was coined and the phenomenon analyzed in 1995 by Harvard Business School professor, Clayton M. Christensen when he studied the excavating equipment industry (where hydraulic actuation slowly displaced cable-actuated movement). Christensen further articulated the theory in his first book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma.” I had a very good understanding of his concepts, and by 2008 we at Hydroswing® were living the definition.
As an entrepreneur I knew I had a tiger by the tail. When the bifold manufacturers started to cut their own pricing out of the blue, I knew there was pressure. Then, one of the well-known brands even went “personal” with bizarre anonymous outbursts on forums in aviation and agriculture, posting accusations and personal insults whilst slitting his own throat on competitive pricing. I was definitely disrupting!
Undeterred by outside forces, Hydroswing® entered 2008 with a full on assault on the traditional bifold market. Our target the 35/85’ x 14’/21’ size points. That same year we joined what is affectionately known as the “ton up club.” Hydroswing® proudly introduced a door system for an existing early adopter, Performance Aircraft Inc. of Gillespie Field in El Cajon, San Diego. This was the very first Hydroswing 100 foot plus door! Truly, a big freakin’ door (BFD)! This monster measured a whopping 119’ x 27’ and was manufactured for a brand new build on an EagleSpan Structure for southern California’s foremost Piper dealer.
Without realizing, I had created the Door Disrupter! At over the 100’ wide and above 25’ at it tallest size point, we had powered through to yet another size point. We were now firmly replacing and competing with bifold, slider, stacker, fabric and tilt up doors… All with one product, one vision and ironically, the lowest part count, easiest to install large door system in the world. Game on!
The video link shows time lapse of building our very first “ton up” in four shifts in our little shop in a small town in Minnesota. Utterly phenomenal. I am pleased to report that Performance Aircraft remain a very committed Hydroswing® customer, and after install and a few integration modifications, the 119’ x 27’ Hydroswing® is performing as well today as it was in 2008.
In just 18 months we had firmly entered the large door arena. We were punching into size points the sliding, fabric and tilting large door market thought were unchallengeable from Hydroswing®. And it didn’t stop there…
To be continued...