The surprising history behind G&Ts
The story of how solving one problem ends up creating a different market altogether
Here’s a story. By the 1840s the British Empire operated on every continent apart from Antartica. But it was nearly brought to its knees by the humble mosquito.
Malaria was rampant in the tropical areas. It led to high fevers, vomiting, and sometimes to seizures, coma and death.
The main treatment (quinine) was effective but had a really bitter taste. To make it easier to drink, folks started mixing it with water and sugar. The new ‘tonic water’ took the colonies by storm.
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And then British officers started adding this new (more pleasant!) malaria prevention to their afternoon gin. Low and behold, G&Ts were born.
I find business can sometimes be like that too. You set out to solve one problem, but the solution ends up creating a different market altogether.
I’ve experienced this first hand at Lexoo. We were primarily in the business of doing contract review for in-house legal teams. Because we charge fixed fees, we’ve always been incentivised to be more efficient.
So we built some tech that lives in MS Word that hosts the contract playbooks. The goal was to generally speed up our in-house lawyers. But also to enable junior lawyers to punch above their weight.
Anyway, we sometimes showed this product to in-house lawyers during our contract outsourcing pitches. I guess we were just showing off a bit!
But a weird thing happened.
Roughly half of the in-house teams we showed it to said: “Look we’re ok on the outsourcing / overflow front. But we’d love to have access to the tool. Can you licence it to us?”
Embarrassingly, we had never considered creating a SaaS product within Lexoo. We simply wanted to make our internal lawyers more efficient.
But fortunately, we said… yes we can!
Fast forward and LexPlay (the name of the tool) has become a meaningful part of our business.
I don’t really know what the lesson here is - aside from the fact that G&Ts are really really good for you 🙃.
Maybe that we should keep our eyes open to spot opportunity when it lands in our lap!
Thanks for being here,
P.S. If you need help with any of these things, please do keep us on your radar :-)
Commercial contract review: fixed fees + fast turnarounds. Work done by our in-house lawyers
Contract playbook solution: get a custom playbook that lives in LexPlay (a smart MS Word plug-in). Train up new and junior lawyers to a high and consistent standard
Multi-country and repapering projects: such as localising T&Cs, employment contract, answering regulatory questionnaires as well as Data Protection remediation (SCCs etc)