In this episode, your host Callye Keen, introduces himself and the new End Hype Podcast.
So today we're going to do a little background. Who the hell am I? Why should I be talking about this stuff? What have I done? Why you should listen. Why you should turn it off right now, never listen to me again, unsubscribe. All those good things.
So here's the deal. I've been in manufacturing my whole life. My family has been in manufacturing since the 50s. I grew up in a manufacturing facility. When I was old enough running equipment, checking parts. Then I got into product development. So I've been in product development for almost 15 years. I've developed hundreds of products. I sat shotgun with entrepreneurs and startups and big companies, government entities, and saw how they went from paper, from an idea, from just requirements to prototypes to production. We're talking about growing businesses from somebody presenting an idea in the conference room to me, to their company being sold for $200 million, legit.
I saw the way that successful companies worked and I saw the way that most entrepreneurs worked. I love working with the entrepreneurs. You get to know their family. You see that come up story. I love a good come up story. You actually impact their life. You meet their wife, you meet their kids, you know that they didn't mortgage the house and lose it. They mortgaged their house and made a million. It's amazing.
You work for Boeing, you get an attaboy. An attaboy is good. One time they gave me a pen. It was pretty cool. I got one of those moon pens. You can write upside down. Super fun, but that was for helping develop a product that Boeing bought that company for almost $10 million. So the entrepreneur that I helped, he did okay. The Boeing project, they walked me in the conference room and said, "I'm not sure that you guys are qualified to make this." I developed it. Pretty sure we can make it. Long story short, we're still making it. But at any rate, I really liked working with entrepreneurs.
Our one company, K-Form, we focus on defense. Entrepreneurs are fuzzy. They're all over the map, plans change, shift quickly. You have to be agile because you're competing against the big boys. So not all entrepreneurs are a great fit for what we're trying to do in a manufacturing company. So I founded Red Blue Collective and I said, "I want to take the successful portion of this process, I want to take my network, my experience and package it up and offer it to the people that need it, that need it the most, entrepreneurs." I went around speaking. I've spoken at all the local colleges, community events, all the nice little startup events, pitch events. I started mentoring through incubators, state run incubators, privately run incubators, corporate incubators. And then I wrote my own curriculum and I started running my own incubators. We've had some crazy success stories out of that. Hopefully, on a later podcast we'll have some of the people that I've mentored and they've gone on to really big accelerators. They've gone through purchases. Pretty interesting. It's been a long road getting there.
I want to start this podcast so I can share that message, instead of just being local, being on Instagram, we can get it out there, get the information to the people that need it. I'm always experimenting, trying something out. Right now we're trying out some new digital marketing campaigns, some processes to teach people how to grow. I've done this over the last few years in different ways. I'll give one example. This is a fun story.
I went out to a particular community space, Makerspace, and I gave my process, say 10, 12 different presentations on here is my process for developing a product. How to come up with an idea. How to validate that idea. How to get some initial traction. How to launch it. And we had good feedback, but I got more excuses than I got really positive feedback. Excuses I got were, "Hey, I have a full time job." Yeah, me too. But "I have a full time job. I can't develop a product. I don't have any money for marketing. I can't launch something. I don't have the skills that I need. I only have what's available in this Makerspace." I hate excuses. Excuses are garbage. They're something that you're putting in front of yourself to say, "If things were different, I'd do what you do." Or, "I'd be successful and I'd be a millionaire just like that person." If only this one thing, that's completely within my control to change, but whatever.
So I said, "I'm going to create a challenge. I'm going to create a challenge for myself." And we put it out there that we would go from no idea, we don't know what we're going to do, to launching a live Kickstarter in 20 days. The reason I made it 20 days is, again, I've been in manufacturing my whole life. I have a lot of resources. If I said, "Hey, we're going to launch a Kickstarter," that's not impressive. I can literally make anything. Anything that you go on Kickstarter, I've probably made a version of that. Luggage, watch, clothing, any of those things, if I said, "I'm eventually going to do this," that's not really a goal. It's an aspiration, eventually I'm going to do this. So 20 days, shorten the life cycle.
Scheduled the event and people said, "Well, how are you going to finance it?" Well, I charged $50 for the next lesson. And I said, "In this next lesson, I will show you how I picked the idea, how I did all the marketing, what I spent on the marketing, what the results are. I'll show you the whole behind the scenes." I'll apply the process and instead of saying, "This part of the process should take a week." Or, "This part of the process should take two weeks," it'll probably take about an hour. I'll show you how I did every step of the way and I'll only use resources that are available at the Makerspace. So instead of using 30,000 square feet of production manufacturing, I'll use the mill that we donated and put in the back. Instead of hiring a videographer, I'll trade with my buddy that works locally and he'll help film the video. I still had to edit it, but come on, let's keep this under control. I'll use the skills that I've developed, the network that's available pretty much for anybody and we'll launch in 20 days.
So we had a good amount of people sign up. Had enough people to sign up so I could actually pay another friend, who's at the Makerspace, to help us prototype the parts, actually run the mill. I did the CAD work myself, printed the parts, showed the whole thing and that launched. What we ended up choosing was because... and we'll get into the Red Blue Collective process later, but part of my process, and I believe so deeply in this, is that you make products for people. And you have them fulfill a problem that that group of people that you know and you care about actually has. You don't come up with ideas randomly.
And we ended up making a fidget spinner and because of the problems that we identified, the marketing was very effective. This was really early in the whole fidget spinner craze and people thought that we were totally insane for charging about $200 for a fidget spinner. It's called Alpha. It was on Kickstarter. You can check it out. We did about 30k, which in my opinion, it's okay for something that we literally did the marketing, the prototyping, the list building, everything, within really, realistically, about two weeks. Did 30k. Did a little over 10k in presales after that. Then we fulfilled it. People thought we were totally insane. They didn't know what fidget spinners were. They couldn't believe somebody would pay $200 but in the group of people that we marketed to, they couldn't get them and they wanted them, and we saw an opportunity to innovate and move quickly.
Of course, like I said, people love complaining. So the next complaints that we had, people said, "Oh, fidget spinners will never be a thing. You can't scale a business. You can't sell a million fidget spinners." They thought they should be $5, which inevitably, in eventuality, yeah, they were in 7-Eleven for a little while, but I try to teach people that selling cheap garbage isn't a way to really build a sustaining business and brand. So I told them, "I'm going to do the opposite." What we're going to do is we're going to do another class and this class went back to my original price, which is free, but it is how to scale a niche product. So we went about and we made the world's most expensive fidget spinner, at that time. There's been ones made out of rare materials that have been more, but we partnered with a friend who is a CNC machining sculptor, and we transposed the value of one of his sculptures, one of his 5000, 10000, $20000 dollars sculptures, into something that would fit into your pocket.
So it really became a spinner secondarily and really we launched this whole new category of pocket sculptures. Small carryable, everyday carry, pieces of art, which is still a thing. We didn't use Kickstarter this time. We sold through a landing page and through Instagram and we sold out. We sold out in a week. We Sold a lot of them. I think it's public knowledge now, but we didn't tell people how many we were going to sell. They were all serialized, but we ended up selling 150 regular units and a 160 total units and they were sold out in a week. So how is that even possible? And that's using our framework of making things that are worth sharing and making things that people actually care about.
I normally don't make fidget spinners. I usually make commercial products or military products, higher end things. But, I don't know, it was an adventure. So at this point, I don't make fidget spinners. Mostly do things like this, coaching, consulting. I want to create the podcast so I can interview people that are, they're making cool things. They're building businesses, they have amazing ideas. They're trying to change the world. I want to give all of that experience that I've had through doing wacky, crazy little challenges like launching a Kickstarter in 20 days or going to China after three days of getting a contract and building a supply chain to seize an opportunity. That spirit of entrepreneurship and that process, I wanted a platform to be able to relay that to you guys and hear what you think.
So that's what the End Hype podcast is about, It is about taking those excuses, taking all the bullshit, and silencing it with action. The world is filled with opportunity. There is literally opportunity everywhere. You walk into a store, you think this could be better. You walk into work, you think, Oh, not this problem again. Over and over we're presented with problems, challenges. A key point aside, we live in America. I don't think that most people, I think 98% of people don't have real problems. They have challenges every day. Of course, we all encounter problems eventually, but I think on a day to day life, people say problems, I think they really mean challenges, obstacles. They're things to be solved, not really insurmountable issues.
But as an aside, we can train our brain to see these instead of at that negative light as a positive thing, as an opportunity. We can connect those dots. We can transform our skills and that opportunity. We can create a bridge with a product or service and we can build a business. We can build a better life. We can build a better world. We can find teams and make friends and build a community. I've seen it with successful people, repeatedly, and I've seen the opposite with people that fail. Trying to do it all themselves, trying to push something that nobody wants. Creating a cloud of BS around their idea that it's going to do those things, change the world, change people's lives. And I'm like, "Dude, it's a piece of Tupperware. It's just a juicer. It's not going to do any of those things. It's just what it is." That's hype.
I'm all for getting super pumped up, connecting with people, getting people excited. But it's all about delivering, guys. It's not about these ideas. Gary V talks about this over and over. There's only two things that are important, ideas and execution. And, yeah, to a degree, it's a bifurcated, a two part, it's the two parts of life. You have to conceive of the reality. You have to be able to predict the future, and then you have to make that future real. It's not going to happen for you, but that's the End Hype Podcast.