Insider #23: One Helluva Ride

We apologize for taking so long on this Insider…just too much stuff going on right now. Next one will go out within the next five weeks or so. And as usual, please check out all of the book comments on Amazon and feel free to post your own…we love checking those things out!

Lessons Learned

Well, after a couple of months of some serious self-reflecting, the two of us have finally made the decision to ‘officially’ search for new job opportunities. That’s right, we’re movin’ on! Now, before the depression kicks in for some of ya, let’s go over a couple of points. First, we never intended to build a sustainable company. When we sat down to create the business plan for this thing, it wasn’t to build out the next Sony or the next Logitech. Our vision was simply to bring a new product idea to market, sell as many as we could over an 18-24 month period, bank our millions and then move on. Hell, even calling Platinum Concepts, Inc. a company is a reach. It’s more of a project. (Most of you know by now that we were a little naïve in our time frame and financial projections). Second, just because we’re looking at other opportunities doesn’t mean the company goes way. Quite the contrary. We’re still selling MouseDrivers, we’re still building out distribution channels and we’re still trying to find somebody to buy all of the MouseDriver assets. It’s just that the majority of our time will be spent looking at our next individual career moves. To get a better idea of what each of us is looking for and what we’ve been able to accomplish over the past few years, just check out the links below and let us know your thoughts!

John (www.mousedriver.com/aboutjl.htm)

Kyle (www.mousedriver.com/aboutkh.htm)

So where does all of this leave the Insider? As we’ve said to many of you, we’ll continue to write the Insider as long as we feel like we have information and insights and as long as people want to hear them. Who knows, maybe one of us will become a US President and everyone will finally get realistic accounts of what it’s like to work in the oval office. The
bottom line: the Insider will live on….just have to figure out what adventure it’s going to cover next. In the meantime, the two of us have decided to focus the next few MouseDriver Insiders on the ‘real’ lessons that we’ve learned during this entrepreneurial adventure. Now that we’ve had some time to look back and reflect, it’s really easy for us to pinpoint
what we think are very key insights for anybody looking to start their own company. We don’t have all the answers by any stretch of the imagination, but we certainly understand what we did right, what we did wrong, what we could have done better, what the emotional roller coaster is like and what kept us going over the past 36 months. What we’re going to do is package all of these insights into the next few Insiders and leave all of you with a very nice close to the MouseDriver chapter. Hopefully (praying), we’ll be able to invite you to join a new chapter of Insiders in the very near future (as in ASAP!).

In case you haven’t figured it out, the MouseDriver story has actually become bigger than the MouseDriver product. What started out as a simple marketing strategy to tie a story (and an emotion) around our product has led to an incredible amount of press, a cover story, book deals, potential Hollywood opportunities, a phenomenal network of entrepreneurs, professors, students, etc. and who knows what else. We’re not too sure exactly what the ‘story’ did for us from a sales perspective…way too hard to measure…but we’re pretty confident that it helped. But damn, can you imagine what sales would have been like if we were able to build out all of our distribution channels as the story was getting big. Timing is critical, right?. Anyway, because the story is now bigger than the product, we’re seeing more people associating MouseDriver with the thrilling ride of entrepreneurship rather than a novelty computer mouse that looks like a driver golf club. Which is fine by us…just means that we need to do what we can to continue promoting MouseDriver as a metaphor for entrepreneurship and to continue motivating and inspiring others to live the entrepreneurial experience. Things are going well thus far. As of Monday, August 5th, 32 professors around the world are using the Insiders and/or the MouseDriver Chronicles as an educational tool in the classroom. Now that is cool!

So what are we doing to promote our experiences and continue building out the ‘brand’ that MouseDriver has come to represent? Right now, we’re focused on the website. . We’ve totally modified the website and made it less product-centric and more community based. The idea here is to promote the fact that MouseDriver has become a metaphor for the entrepreneurial experience and to inspire and motivate others to take the entrepreneurial plunge. While the site still needs a ton of work (keeping it simple right now until we figure out what to add), we’ve managed to succeed in driving some traffic to the discussion board. Now that we have some traction on that thing, we’re going to spend a little bit more time making sure that the board is providing tons of value to visitors. That means adding moderators, changing/adding topics to reflect the needs of visitors, dedicating sections of the board to certain groups (i.e. students and professors) and basically taking a more proactive role in generating discussion. As the board continues to gain in popularity, we’ll start adding other things to the site…a resource section, an area to attach standard documents such as NDA’s, sales rep agreements, etc, a chat room, etc. The vision is that this site become THE place for entrepreneurs to ask questions, share ideas and discuss their experiences. We’ll see…

What We’ve Done

  • Redesigned the website to reflect more of the entrepreneurial experience that MouseDriver has come to stand for. Let us know if you have any suggestions.
  • Contacted a bunch of ASI distributors and retail distributors in an effort to get them to pre-pay for large inventory investments. The jury is still out on this one.
  • Spoke with a talent agency in Hollywood about the possibilities of putting together a talk show focused on entrepreneurship. We give this as good of a chance as seeing the MouseDriver TV Sitcom on the air next fall!
  • Started to streamline basic operational stuff in order to cut down expenses.

Priority Goals

  • Sell the company assets and return as much money as possible to our investors. This is, by far, our biggest goal.
  • Put all of the Insiders in a very easy-to-read format so that anybody can download one document off of the website and check them out.
  • Find out through discussions with professors and students how our story is being used in the classroom.
  • Find jobs and start the next ‘adventure’!

Mood Meter

We’re stoked! There’s a certain freedom associated with committing to a decision and knowing that you’re moving on with the next phase of your life. We’ve had a phenomenal experience, one helluva ride and the opportunity to accomplish some really great things. But it’s time to move on, to leave this chapter behind us and to look for the next life adventure. After all, isn’t life all about experiences? When we’re 80 and pushin’ shuffleboard in some retirement home, at least we know we’ll be able to talk about those crazy three years in our late 20’s/early 30’s when we decided to go against the grain and bring a novelty computer mouse to market. Sure beats the hell out of wondering ‘what if’ and talking about all of those great corporate retreats! :)

 

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