Product

A metaphor for The Entrepreneurial Spirit

MouseDriver® is a simple product that was commercialized by two regular guys. The idea originated on the back of a coaster at a bar in Dallas, TX while Kyle Harrison was doodling product concepts with his buddy Ed McClung over a couple of beers. OK, what exactly is MouseDriver you ask? It’s a standard PS/2 computer mouse shaped as the head of a driver golf club – the perfect gift for the golfing enthusiast.

A few years after that fateful design session in the bar, Kyle met John Lusk while the two were attending the Wharton MBA program. Intent on becoming entrepreneurs, they used the MouseDriver idea as the basis for several classroom projects and presentations. When graduation rolled around in May of 1999, Kyle and John – then loaded with lucrative job offers from consulting firms, technology companies and dot-com startups – choose to go against traditional MBA convention and bring life to their classroom project by commercializing MouseDriver.

In the real world – backed by a small amount of personal savings, credit card debt and friends and family money, and motivated by a lot of well-to-do classmates looking on – they quickly learned how difficult it can be bringing even the simplest product idea to market. Feeling frustrated yet enlightened by their experiences they decided to open up their journey to friends and family in a bi-monthly email newsletter entitled The MouseDriver Insider.

Soon after the release of the first Insider newsletter a remarkable thing began to happen. Colleagues, professors, fellow entrepreneurs, actors, VCs, long lost friends…people from all walks of life began subscribing to the newsletter, and enjoying the real-life commentary and down-to-earth insights that John and Kyle were providing. It seemed that every entrepreneur could relate to the experiences being told and every non-entrepreneur felt inspired by two guys trying to make a go of it of their own.

Then, in February 2001, drawing on the growing popularity of the newsletter, Inc Magazine profiled John and Kyle in a cover story that told their tale. Entitled An American Start-up, the story highlighted the benefits of the reality-based newsletter and detailed how its insights were affecting entrepreneurs around the country. What followed was a mass of follow-on articles, radio and TV interviews, guest lecturing appearances, and most importantly, a book: The MouseDriver Chronicles.

Their book, The MouseDriver Chronicles: The True Life Adventures of Two First-Time Entrepreneurs is the detailed and heartfelt account of how Kyle and John brought MouseDriver to market. With insights into nearly every aspect of launching a new venture and bringing a new product to market, The MouseDriver Chronicles has been called a must read for every past, present, and would-be entrepreneur.

So what ever happened to MouseDriver? Well, Kyle and John created a distribution network of over 1,000 retailers and distributors and booked about $1 million in revenues during their first year and a half of MouseDriver sales. Not quite a homerun, but certainly not a strikeout either.