It’s Friday, and I am beyond ready for the weekend! In fact, I was ready for the weekend on Monday when I had the idea for this post.
Yesterday the “Forbes Thought of the Day” came from Charles M. Schwab,
“the best place to succeed is where you are with what you have.”
It’s very likely a thought like that which inspired Ryan Grepper to innovate summer and come up with the “Coolest Cooler.” That’s what I thought, a Cooler cooler? If you haven’t seen it yet; this cooler comes with a blender, bluetooth speaker and USB charging station and is built for an awesome summer day out. Grepper took we he had, an sunny summer day, a sucky cooler and an innovative idea and put it all together to make the coolest cooler.
According to Kickstarter with over $7 MILLION in pledges, the Coolest Cooler is the third most funded Kickstarter campaign ever, and it still has over a month to go! But it was no picnic for Grepper to get to this stage. As a self proclaimed “professional inventor,” in his first attempt at kickstarting the cooler, Grepper staked his reputation on The Coolest Cooler 1.0 (video Coolest Cooler 1.0). His plan was to use his model and success as an example to other inventors he was training. But then he got the Kickstarter grey line of death…
I guess that’s what happens when you try to launch a cooler in the middle of winter. After being a backer of 23 projects, including six that had to do with summer, Grepper felt he had his pitch ready to go. If you check out Coolest Cooler 1.0 ( #failedattempt ), you’ll notice that it has a lot in common with the latest iteration of the Coolest Cooler, except you had to order in November / December 2013, for delivery in August 2014. In December I’m thinking about Christmas presents, not summer planning. This round you order in summer, for delivery next winter… “Timing” will likely be the most popular chapter in Grepper’s Ted Talk and book (as that’s where most Kickstarter rockstars end up). Stonemaier Games blog has actually given this some thought in their “Kickstarter Lesson #109: Seasonal Timing” post – worth a read.
Kicktraq estimates that the Coolest Cooler will be the MOST funded Kickstarter campaign with $21 million in sales, based on current volumes. With the long weekend coming up, who knows. To double pledges of the #1 Pebble, and #2 OUYA, would be quite a feat, but we did see both of their sales take dips after fast launches and huge finishes. Timing may not ALL be on Grepper’s side as he goes for the record.
The full version of this blog, including some interesting points on Bunch O Balloons and an extended version of “Reality Check” can be found on my Linkedin Profile or check out my other posts here on innovation (warning – one’s a rant).
Reality Check: I used to think of myself as an “ideas guy” until I discovered most of my amazing ideas were already taken! Crowdfunding has really helped people get their ideas to market, like with the Coolest Cooler and Bunch O Balloons. While we aren’t all inventors, we all have different areas of skill and expertise that are ripe for innovation, just like summer, and summer has been around FOREVER! Never stop believing, never. stop. innovating.
Disclaimer: This blog starts out as a bit of a rant but can hopefully lead to some successful results in every area of your life by contributing!
If you were given the opportunity to choose which industry you worked in – would you take it? What if you were given the resources to build a product to showcase to a perspective client or employer and you could select which industry you wanted to target? Do you think you would have a better chance creating something where you get to choose your audience, or when someone else chooses for you?
That’s exactly what I thought! Well at least I thought everyone would jump at that opportunity to choose what industry to work for, but apparently I was wrong; I mean, 23 – 1 wrong.
This week the second half of the ‘summer semester’ at University of Toronto began and my first class was “Advanced Web Design (CCT460),” held at Sheridan College. I began to get excited as the instructor listed off the semester’s team projects: build a widget, build a theme, build a plugin, build and present a website. What a great opportunity! As a marketing manager, these were all things I had contracted out in the past and I was now going to learn pieces of the process of what it was really like to build these tools. And the best part, we got to choose which industry we wanted to create these tools for, giving us the opportunity to add something to our creative portfolio we could showcase to future prospective employers. At least that’s how I thought it was going to go when the instructor said that for our team projects we could:
A. Choose our own industry to develop projects for.
B. Choose from a list of industries the instructor would provide.
C. Be assigned an industry by the instructor.
Out of 24 in the class, 23 chose B and I was the only one to choose A! To say I was flabbergasted was an understatement. How could / Why would you not take the opportunity to choose your own adventure?
Being fair I understand that it is an academic environment, but this is the best time to practice life; when the stakes are controllable. My theory is to never pass up an opportunity to contribute. Dan Schwabel, in his Forbes article Why Companies Want You To Be An Intrapreneur, writes about how contribution leads to innovation and intrepreneurship. Some of his examples are pretty big deals; 3M Post-It Notes, Google Mail, and aircraft designs at Lockheed Martin, all came from employees contributing ideas, fuelling a culture of innovation. Thinking on my past ten years of work experience, it’s amazing how many times I’ve sat in meetings and the question “does anyone have any ideas” was responded to with crickets.
Harvard’s MBA website states, “in every case, class, event, and activity, you are asked not only to study leadership, but to demonstrate it.” So I’m taking that as a personal challenge, and encourage you to do the same. In every case, class, event and activity, how are you leading, contributing and innovating?
My activation for the day: putting together six industry sectors and a couple of sub-sectors that the six groups in my CCT460 group can choose from (to potentially be added to the list our instructor puts together).
Music / Concerts
Movies / Television
Professional Sports (league / team) *
Municipal / Provincial / Federal
(sub categories are literally endless)
Commercial Travel (vacation / airline / train / bus) *
Independent Dr / Dentist Office