Jazz Tigan, the creator of Hugalopes (a "fuzzy Mr. Potato Head" plush toy) and I sat down to discuss entrepreneurism, knowledge sharing, hyper efficiency on a computer, the Socialize acquisition and many other topics in this wide ranging chat.
But the most incredible moment of our talk happened in the last 10 minutes.
In fact, it's so significant that I created a separate sub-video below to capture this moment.
Here's the back-story:
Two years ago, Jazz had the idea of Hugalopes. Last year, he launched a successful kickstarter campaign and signed a deal with a toy manufacturer to produce the toys. The Hugalope I had on my head in this interview was one of the first in production from the Kickstarter campaign.
However, as is often (always?) the case in entrepreneurism, things haven't been 100% smooth sailing for Jazz. Things are really hard for his startup right now. We talk about what the process is like of actually creating value, of creating something from nothing, and how incredibly difficult that is. In the last 10 minutes of the video, I make a bet with Jazz for $20 to encourage him to take the optimal next step in his journey. It's a poignant moment -- and I really appreciate Jazz being willing to let me capture it on camera. If you've ever thought "hey, I have an idea" and wanted to turn it into reality, I encourage you to watch the clip below.
I pushed Jazz really hard in the video to prioritize the most important thing in his business right now. At minute 2:45 in the video below, I challenge Jazz by asking him if he's doing that most important thing now. And we end up having a really, really honest and productive conversation around it. This is raw entrepreneurism at its most vulnerable.
I know Jazz can do this -- he's so passionate about his product, and even though it's hard right now, it's often hardest right before a big breakthrough. Keep believing in the Hugalopes, Jazz. They're awesome.
Here are the last 10 minutes of our talk:
Here's our full, wide ranging discussion on being an entrepreneur:
Here are a few Hugalopes pictures -- click here for a full gallery:
By the way, there's another AWESOME moment in the convo I had with Jazz, where he mentions how active the community on this blog is, and how great the comments are. I've spliced that bit out, and it's huge props to Tynan & Todd, the creators of SETT, to hear Jazz talk about it. Check the video out here:
Thanks for the shoutout! One of my favorite things to see, too, is people embed videos and pictures in comments. It seems really natural, but no other blogging platform allows that. One more little way to keep the conversation going and encourage high quality...
Speaking of high quality, I was really psyched to see the bet you guys made. If I had heard of Hugalopes without seeing them, I'm not sure that I would have seen the genius in it, but I remember seeing the first video on Kickstarter and falling in love instantly. The idea is great, but the execution is really what sets them apart.
I have no doubt whatsoever that there are several paths that lead to Hugalopes being a huge success. The idea is there, the execution is there... like Daniel says, I think it's just a matter of singular focus on getting them out there.
I'm just going to take a moment and point out something that I think is a notable best practice by Daniel that probably goes unnoticed. This post went up mere hours after the conversation took place and probably would have gone up sooner if there hadn't been a scheduled dinner in between. Daniel, you move as fast as anyone I know in executing on the things you mean to do. I've noticed this in how you manage your email and communications as well. And I can contrast this to my version of doing this - recorded on a really nice DSLR (which led to other issues like grabbing it in 12 minute chunks, some of which I missed) and now I have to dump it to FCP and edit it together which will let me add in the nice sound captured from a second source and that's great but it will all happen...eventually. In the meantime, you're quick grab is out there making an impact...NOW.
I know you've set up a lot of things in your life to be optimized for efficiency and speed, but I'm going to point out that there is also a discipline there to be admired. And I'm further impressed that you don't sacrifice thoughtfulness for speed - as evidenced by identifying and refocusing this conversation that was ostensibly about your acquisition.
What would Daniel do in situation X? Well, it whatever it is, it would have already been done.
Oh, and you can see some pretty, shiny mudballs here: http://dorodango.com/
Hey Jazz, thanks for pointing that out.
You're right -- that's a core principle of mine.
And that's exactly why I don't edit the videos I take. Because i've found that when I let myself edit things, I get sucked into wanting to make them perfect. And wanting to make them perfect means they never get done.
It's also why I sent you the audio file moments after we met. And it's why I had my video upload to Vimeo while I was away at dinner. And it's why I posted the blog early this morning as the very first thing I did. Because I knew that if I let any of those things slip, other things would get in the way. And while it was absolutely worth prioritizing for 30 minutes this morning (and making it my "most important thing" for a very short period of time), it wouldn't have been worth becoming a blocking item above the other things I had to get done today.
Having said all of that, I am looking forward to seeing your version of the video -- I'm sure it'll be beautifully produced.
But then again, I would encourage you to spend your time walking into toy stores, and calling on Walmart buyers, to sell Hugalopes instead of ever getting the "nice" version of the video done.
So if you never get the "good" version of the video done, but you do sell millions of Hugalopes, I'd be a pretty happy camper about that :)
Funny enough, this all goes back to one of the first blog posts I wrote, 6 years ago: The Pick 2 Rule, which is "Good, Fast, Cheap: Pick 2". So I'm making the video fast & cheap (but it won't be good), and you're making the video good & cheap (but it won't be fast).
I tend always try to optimize for "fast", especially if it's a non-core item (core items I'll optimize to be "good" over "fast")
Daniel - Great post!! Way to push on such an important issue. That last 10:00 minute video was really good. This is really good post for entrepreneurs that are just starting out.
Jazz - you have a GREAT product. It looks beautiful and I think lots of people would be excited to walk into their store wearing the hat. Start getting that validation sooner than later, you'll save a lot of time and ultimately end up with a better product.
Hey Jazz ... you out there/in here?
Let's connect ... I can jump on Skype any time after 2:45pm EST today. We'll talk about how to IMMEDIATELY liquidate your on-hand inventory and where to go from there. We'll try to record the Skype call but I might ask you some harder (or possibly confidential) questions. Either way, we'll definitely come back here and summarized how you'll be winning this bet that Daniel proposed.
Shoot me an email - holler [AT] jeremycee [DOT] com
That's a very generous and kind offer. I'm time committed today but have a pretty open schedule tomorrow or any time going forward. This, by the way, is at least as scary as it is intriguing and exciting. But yeah, I'll jump off the cliff into the tornado with you and we can record the whole thing. Just so I can have as much useful info prepared as possible, can you point me in a general direction for this convo?
Oh, and the way the bet is structured, we are all rooting for Daniel to win.
There's so much buzz about social media that you're probably sick of hearing it.
But for all the buzz, I always have people asking me, "How can I use it to my benefit?"
To answer that question, I have to explain exactly what social media is (at least, to me), why it's so powerful, and what that means to you. So finally, here's my take on social media, and how you can leverage it in your business, right now.
A definition of social media:
First and most importantly: Social media is not advertising. In fact, people often think of social media like an ad in a telephone book. But that's wrong. You don't place ads in social media. Instead, social media is a tool, like the telephone. In fact, the telephone was an early example of social media. But with social media, it's like you have a telephone that's connected to thousands of phone receivers, instead of just one. And not only that, but social media is asynchronous, meaning you don't have to be talking to those thousands of people at the same time - they can listen to you when they want to. And whenever you remove time from the equation, your message becomes infinitely more powerful, because it lasts forever instead of happening at one point on a timeline (see my related talk at a Georgetown MBA class on the importance of capturing content).
There's so much buzz about social media that you're probably sick of hearing it. But for all the buzz, I always have people asking me, "How can I use it to my benefit?" To answer that question, I have to explain exactly what social media is (at least, to me), why it's so powerful, and what that means to you. So finally, here's my take on social media, and how you can leverage it in your business, right now. A definition of social media: First and most importantly: Social media is not advertising. In fact, people often think of social media like an ad in a telephone book. But that's wrong. You don't place ads in social media. Instead, social media is a tool, like the telephone. In fact, the telephone was an early example of social media. But with social media, it's like you have a telephone that's connected to thousands of phone receivers, instead of just one. And not only that, but social media is asynchronous, meaning you don't have to be talking to those thousands of people at the same time - they can listen to you when they want to. And whenever you remove time from the equation, your message becomes infinitely more powerful, because it lasts forever instead of happening at one point on a timeline (see my related talk at a Georgetown MBA class on the importance of capturing content). So, my definition of social media is this: A way to transfer knowledge and expertise out of your head, and into the hands of the people that want it when they're making a decision that could be affected by what you know. You must remember that social media is a tool, not an ad. And it requires an investment of your time to be leveraged effectively. In fact, that's the biggest barrier that keeps most people from really using it to their benefit: You have to learn new skills, and you have to dedicate time to utilizing those skills. You can't just buy an ad and be done with it. These barriers are enough to keep most people from using social media effectively. The benefits, however, are enormous. The funny thing about social media is that anyone can do it, because everyone has expertise in something. And at its core, that's all social media is: sharing your expertise with the world in a structured way. The good news is that you can pick & choose certain ways to get involved in social media that are easier and require less of a commitment to get started, and graduate from there as you see results. Here's a list of some options, from easiest to hardest: Start a blog: Back in 2007 I wrote about why Henry Ford would love blogs. I recommend you read that article to understand the benefits of blogging. Your goal should be to become a subject matter expert in the eyes of Google, so when people search for keywords, your name comes up. The narrower your topic, the easier that will be. Difficulty rating: Easy. 2 on a scale of 10 (10 is hardest) Time commitment: Medium. 2 hours per week, minimum. You must build up 100+ blogs before you'll be picked up by Google for your blogging. Tools: Blogger, Typepad, Wordpress Make Videos: The power of videos is often underrated. Here's an example: I made a YouTube real estate video titled "Making successful lowball offers". It's been viewed over 10,000 times (remember what I wrote above about social media being asynchronous and letting people consume your content on their time? 9,000 views is a perfect example.) That video has paid handsome dividends over the years, as clients have contacted me asking me to represent them. Consider, for a moment, the significance of this: Just from making one YouTube video, which took me about an hour to produce, prospective real estate clients contacted me vs. me making cold calls trying to find clients. I call it the "celebrity effect" - just like we all feel that we know Angelina Jolie because we've seen her in the movies, clients felt like they knew me from watching my videos, and more importantly, they knew what knowledge I had that they thought could benefit them. Want some tangible proof? I made this video in 2006, four years ago. And yet, here's an email I received just today from someone who just watched the video: and letting people consume your content on their time? 9,000 views is a perfect example.) That video has paid handsome dividends over the years, as clients have contacted me asking me to represent them. Consider, for a moment, the significance of this: Just from making one YouTube video, which took me about an hour to produce, prospective real estate clients contacted me vs. me making cold calls trying to find clients. I call it the "celebrity effect" - just like we all feel that we know Angelina Jolie because we've seen her in the movies, clients felt like they knew me from watching my videos, and more importantly, they knew what knowledge I had that they thought could benefit them. Want some tangible proof? I made this video in 2006, four years ago. And yet, here's an email I received just today from someone who just watched the video: And he's in Seattle! He's contacting me from Seattle! There must be at least 25,000 real estate agents in Washington state, and yet he's reaching out to me, on the opposite coast of the USA, because the video was so powerful to him. And to reinforce my telephone analogy, it's like I've been on the telephone for over four years, with over 9,000 people, with just this one video alone. Now that's the power of social media. My friend Frank LLosa, also a real estate broker, has done amazing, cutting edge things with videos, as evidenced by his "wheel estate cam". Difficulty rating: Medium. 3 on a scale of 10 (get past your fear of appearing on camera, of thinking you have to make it 'perfect', and of uploading videos to YouTube) Time commitment: Low. 15 minutes+ per video; make as many as you'd like. Tools: social media bag, Kodak Zi8, YouTube, Vimeo Tweet: I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. I recently nuked my following list because there was too much noise for me to use it effectively. However, it can be a very powerful way to contact people that would otherwise be inaccessible to you. One tip for Twitter newbies - use it to search for content, instead of feeling like you have to use it to create content. For example, do you love Costa Rica? You can see what people are saying about it, right now. Maybe you need a job in Washington DC? You can search for that, too. Difficulty rating: Low. 1 on a scale of 10 Time commitment: High. Getting into the habit of using Twitter can be difficult. Tools: Twitter, CoTweet for business users, TweetDeck and HootSuite for power and mobile users Facebook I'm not much of a Facebook user personally, but many people are. I like to run Facebook through TweetDeck and just keep that open all day. It's a way to get updates on what's happening on Facebook without having to go to the site. Facebook Groups and Fan Pages are a good way to spread the word of whatever your business or cause is, and get people to sign up as fans. I recently did this for AppMakr and with 1410Q, so we'll see how well it works for us. I also run all my tweets through Facebook, so instead of creating content in Facebook directly, when I post a tweet on Twitter, it shows up on Facebook. If you have good tips on how to leverage Facebook, please leave them in the comments below, as I don't have any big ones here. Difficulty rating: Low. 2 on a scale of 10 Time commitment: Varies. You'll get out of it what you put into it. Tools: Facebook LinkedIn I'm not a big LinkedIn fan, mostly because of its limited utility to actually contact people from the tool. It's like a tease to me - you can find many people on LinkedIn, but you can't actually contact them. I much prefer Jigsaw, which I recommend for all salespeople as a powerful secret weapon to be able to contact anyone. Difficulty rating: Low. 2 on a scale of 10 Time commitment: Varies. You'll get out of it what you put into it. Tools: LinkedIn Mobile: Mobile is an emerging part of social media. Many of you know that I co-founded PointAbout, a company that makes high-end custom iPhone and Android applications for brands like The Washington Post, Gannett, Kaplan, Burger King, and Cars.com. We've also launched a service called AppMakr, which lets anyone make their own iPhone app. Most people just refer to mobile in the singular sense, but mobile is actually comprised of three main areas, which we call the "mobile pyramid". Here's a chart we made to describe all three: If you want to get into mobile, you'll have to have a strategy for all three areas. For now, really digging into mobile is an advanced area of social media, although tools like AppMakr are making it much easier. But you'll probably want to save this one for last, as the mobile distribution channel still has a smaller footprint than the web (at least in the US). If you're progressive, though, mobile is a very hot and fast-growing area you should focus on. Difficulty rating: High. 10 on a scale of 10 (or 4 on a scale of 10 with a tool like AppMakr) Time commitment: High up-front, then low ongoing Tools: AppMakr, PointAbout I'm sure many of you will have comments on other tools or approaches to social media, and I'd love to hear them. Please leave your comments below.
INTERNAL SCORECARD #2 --