October 6, 2017
Ultimately, this story is about making a better mousetrap. After seeing people struggle with lacing systems, BOA founder Gary Hammerslag used his experience in medical device wires to fashion a mechanical wire-and-real closure system that allowed for uniform, consistent fit. Two things are important here: First, consumers weren't thinking they needed something better. Second, Gary didn't try to devise a better way of lacing up winter boots, he came up with something entirely new, different and better. He saw a problem for which a solution wasn't even being considered, which means opportunity. The challenge, then, wasn't just to create a solution, but figure out how he could bring it to market. And therein lie some of the key lessons in this episode - Gary talks about working with OEM partners, preserving capital, and marketing to two different audiences.
For complete show notes and images, head over to the The Build Cycle Blog!
September 28, 2017
As the founder of iconic brands like Dana Designs, Mojo Systems and now Mystery Ranch, Dana Gleason has been making bags, packs and outdoor gear for four decades. Yet, he’s stayed on top of the game with continuous innovation. Sometimes, that required a complete relaunch as a new brand, but his successful track record made me wonder: How does he keep adapting to changing needs, the changing retail landscape, and changing consumer habits? It’s all here in this incredible episode, featuring my most charismatic guest yet. We cover domestic versus Asian manufacturing, quality control, the different types of customers, and who to watch out for, and when to fire your dealers altogether. As he puts it, “Engage in the careful selection of customers”. Get ready for a roller coaster of an episode!
- Product strategy
- Development and manufacturing
- Retail strategy
- Business growth
- Customer selection
For complete show notes and time stamps, plus photos of Dana and his packs, head over to TheBuildCycle.com!
September 14, 2017
"Failures are just opportunities for growth. They're not mistakes, they're expenses. You're out of business when you can't afford your mistakes.”
Erik Ekman is the founder of Outside Van, an Oregon-based manufacturer of full custom, adventure-ready Sprinter vans. This is one of my shorter interviews, but it’s packed with great advice on how to run a company that attracts deep talent and does amazing work. Erik and I are both mountain bikers, so there are a few cycling references in here, but most it's just killer advice on how to create a company that's pushing boundaries while selling a premium product. The quote above is one of my favorites and sums up his fast moving, experimental management style. And with that, please enjoy episode 26 of The Build Cycle Podcast!
For full show notes, head over to The Build Cycle and search "outside van", and be sure to hit me up on Facebook and Twitter to let me know what YOU want to hear more of!
September 7, 2017
Doesn't matter if you do anything related to bicycles, Carl Strong has lessons that'll help every entrepreneur start and run a successful, profitable business.
Carl is legend within the custom bicycle frame building industry for good reason - he leads seminars, coaches younger builders, and most importantly, leads an industry in running his business as a real business, not a passion play. That’s a mistake so many entrepreneurs make. Sometimes, that allows for a great lifestyle business, but if you want to build a real company that’s highly profitable and capable of growing, Carl’s two decades of lessons are distilled into this episode. On top of that, he’s launching a new, ready-made brand of carbon fiber bikes with a partner, which will focus on limited runs of a single model at a time. And it’ll be high end, which caters to a customer that’s not arguing over price, which lets them focus on building something great. Those discussions on pricing, value systems, and determining your real bottom line are pure gold!
I took a ton of notes on this episode, check them out here with photos and more. And be sure to leave a rating and review whereever you listen to podcasts! Thanks!
August 17, 2017
Imagine launching your own product aligned perfectly with your passions, heading out on an 18-month roadshow to market it at your favorite outdoor spots, and having someone else paying for all of it. Sound’s amazing, right? That’s exactly what Boulder Denim co-founders Bradley Spence and Taz Barrett are doing. They hit the road in June in a custom Sprinter and Airstream trailer, traveling all over the US to demo their unique stretchy pairs of jeans that work just as well climbing as they do out on the town. They started out with nothing more than an idea, but thanks to fearless knocking on doors, jumping at all the right opportunities, and a killer Kickstarter strategy (plus a comically random assortment of crappy high school jobs and college startups), they’ve pulled off the ultimate lifestyle business. And it could get huge! Check out show notes and photos at TheBuildCycle.com
August 8, 2017
What does it take to build a global brand? Mike Sinyard founded Specialized Bicycles to get the parts he wanted into the US. Then he created a road bike tire because he couldn't find anything that met his needs. Step after step, he built his company, and now it's one of the largest bicycle brands in the world. A big part of his success is owed to the strong culture he's built with passionate, open minded employees all focused on a single mission: Create the best bicycles in the world. Here's how he did it, and check the show notes for photos, video and more at TheBuildCycle.com!
August 1, 2017
Strava has created THE unifying platform upon which cyclists share their rides, amassing tens of millions of users, and creating a massive platform of paid subscribers and valuable data. They did this by making it device agnostic, gamifying the experience, and making it incredibly easy to use. The result? A service that's able to push more services and products to their customers, sell aggregated data to municipalities, and attract massive venture capital. Here, co-founder Mark Gainey shares their startup story and growth tactics.
July 28, 2017
What if you could start a business that funded you and your best buddies' adventures? Wolfpack Ninja Tour cofounder Noah Kaufman is using their teams' American Ninja Warrior celebrity platform to build a national consumer sporting event series. It could have just been a T-shirt business to fund climbing trips, but they kept their eyes open for opportunities and took advantage of them, and it's led them to create something big. And being smart about their growth, attracting sponsors, and learning as they go means they're buidling something that will last. Listen in as Noah tells how competition is good, how they're co-opting other's marketing to their benefit, and how they've focused on the right type of customer.
July 19, 2017
Chris Warner has summited some of the tallest mountains in the world, and now he helps leaders reach the top of their game. He's also the founder of Earth Treks climbing gyms, which owns the largest indoor climbing facility in the USA. He drops some tips for building your own leadership skills (straight from his very expensive seminars!) and discusses revenue and management strategy...two things most passion-based outdoor/adventure entrepreneurs desperately need to do better!
Be sure to check the show notes for this episode at http://www.thebuildcycle.com for a LOT of post-interview knowledge, links to his videos (including a full speech) and a free download from Chris!
July 5, 2017
So you want to start a website. Or a podcast. Or a blog, YouTube channel or any other media outlet. Being able to talk about the things you love and live it every day sounds awesome. And it is. But things have changed, and the publications that are figuring out the right mix brand partnerships and editorial are the ones that are thriving.
GearJunkie.com Founder and Editor Stephen Regenold has built a sizable team and business pursuing the activities he loves. He's able to climb, ski, hike and explore the outdoors and it's all "business". If that's not the definition of a dream lifestyle business, I don't know what is. But he's able to do that and support a staff of eight, each following their own passion to provide comprehensive coverage of the outdoor industry and life. Here's how he's done it.
As always, for full show notes, time stamps and more, check the blog at http://www.thebuildcycle.com