Splash Talks


Michael Dubin: We're not trying to revolutionize the razor

Instead of giving customers tech they don't need, Dollar Shave Club wants to upend the industry

Innovation series by Steven Loeb
October 16, 2015
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At Vator's annual Splash LA event on Thursday, Michael Dubin, founder and CEO of Dollar Shave Club, sat down with Vator CEO Bambi Francisco to discuss his company, how it grew so big so far, and how he is trying to disrupt the shaving industry.

Dollar Shave Club, and Dubin, have become known for their funny videos, where they poke holes in the established players in the space, companies that Dubin accused of, essentially, trying to dupe their customers into buying useless technology for years.

"Over the last 20 years, since the commercialization of the Internet, and advances in infrastructure and mobile computing, a lot of these companies have emerged to make our lives more convenient and more smooth. So I'm curious, what are some of the advancements in razor technology that enabled you to create this new revolutionized razor, if that's the case?" Francisco asked to kick off the conversation.

"That's actually the opposite of what we're doing," Dubin answered. "Our story is, the big boys are serving you up superfluous technological advancements that don't really measure up, so to speak."

That includes things like the Gillette's FlexBall, "a product they claim to shave 13 microns closer than the previous version of Gilette," he said. "How long does it take for 13 microns to grow? Maybe a half an hour? So you decide is that's technology you need or not."

(Sidenote: only an astrophysicist in the audience had any idea what a micron is)

Other "advancements" in razor technology that he highlighted have included vibrating handles and LED guide-lights.

"These are what Gillete and Schick have up-selling the customer on and we make fun of it in the video, saying your grandfather had a great shave when he only had one blade, but the fact is that you don't need a revolutionized razor to get the job done. And so that go to market tone had really made us the people's hero of the men's grooming category, because we finally called bullshit on what the big boys are doing to take advantage of the customer," said Dubin.

"So it's not actually a revolutionized razor that we're selling, we're selling a more humble version of what you are already getting."

Francisco likened it to the healthcare industry: they keep pushing drugs on us that we don't need, when aspirin works pretty well.

"There's a big opportunity out there to create a brand around aspirin," Dubin joked. "As soon as all this goes bad for me I'll get on that."

You can see Dollar Shave Club's hilarious video below:

Thanks to our main sponsors Wilson SonsiniKPMGJavelin Venture PartnersSky MediaWavemakerAll Good Living Collective,  Bread and Butter Wine, and our co-production partner, Bixel Exchange.

Editor's Note: Our annual Post Seed conference is around the corner on Dec. 1 at Ruby Skye in San Francisco. Speakers include John Doerr (Kleiner Perkins), Vinod Khosla (Khosla Ventures), Alfred Lin (Sequoia Capital), and more. Join us! REGISTER HERE.

Related companies, investors and entrepreneurs

Dollar Shave Club
Description: Name of the company
Bio: Founder and CEO ­ Dollar Shave Club Michael Dubin is a passionate, creative executive & trailblazing brand­builder.

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