Start-Ups Are Marketing Projects
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
Start-Ups Are Marketing Projects
The Inventive Journey
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
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believe there are two reasons to build to do a startup one is you're passionate about something you want to do a company and you're willing to ram your idea down the throats of potential clients that was utd the second reason is you see a niche and you fill it and that's coach me strong so i've had the opportunity to do both of these right be passionate about something create a new product try to market it be open to a niche create it fill it and then try to market it the commonality between those two things it doesn't matter which one you do if you're if you're willing to go the long road for either one the commonality is business startups are marketing projects [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller serial entrepreneur has grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours let's go to strategymeeting.com we're always here to help now today we've got another great guest on the podcast jeff second door and is a quick introduction to jeff so jeff was a what he would say is a child photographer so he all throughout his younger years love photography and works for a local newspaper starting at 17 and then moved around with a couple additional papers i moved over to television news and did also learn how to do uh move from photography to cinematography uh moved into commercials on their commercials on film and i think that over a thousand tv commercials had an opportunity to come along um or had an opportunity to come along to do scooter and get into scuba i thought that sounded fun and interesting built a business with a friend for a while they ended up splitting up for a bit and then also learned a lot on the i.t and technology along the way um and then had a friend that got into parkinson's and also had with opus shut down so i moved over to scuba i moved from scuba training into parkinson's exercise regimens and then now is running i think both the scuba business as well as uh exercise regimen and parallel so but that much is an introduction welcome on the podcast yeah great thanks devin great to be here so i gave kind of the quick second run through a much longer journey so why don't you take us a bit back in time to starting out as uh with your love as uh photography as a child and how your journey gets started there yeah i was a kid photographer right so my uncle gave me a it was a hawkeye brownie camera when i was a kid and you know i played with that we built a dark room in my house so all through my childhood i was doing photography and uh and like you mentioned earlier ended up on a local newspaper moved on to wire services upi worked for the new york times newsday all that kind of stuff and then at some point shifted it over to moving pictures through tv news and then went on to do commercials from commercials i went on to do movies now slowing down just a bit because of that into quite a bit of your journey so you know you started out just kind of as for fun as a kid as a photographer you know doing photography and then at 17 worked with the you know started i think he said is a newspaper as a photographer yeah so i assume but you can fill me in that you went straight from graduating high school right into the news industry is that right yeah i wasn't even graduated well all right um now did you graduate high school i did graduate high school yeah i did finish it um you know i massaged that to my own needs a little bit but i did get a high school diploma out of it and then um but i was basically going to like high school in the morning and then driving to my job as a newspaper photographer for the rest of the day and i did that for a couple of years well not a couple years until the high school thing was over so high school now high school finishes you said okay i already know what i want to do already kind of know my passion why you know college isn't going to working in the work world getting experience and going down that path is probably the you know the better suited path for you so you get into newspapers and how long did you work for newspapers um i had a still photography career for about 10 years it was a little more interesting than that too because i was accepted at syracuse university in the photojournalism school and so i got on my little motorcycle and i went to syracuse which is i don't know three four five hour drive stayed with some friends who were there toured the uh the journalism school and um they told me that your first photography course will be in two years and i'm like at that point i didn't understand that photography courses was the least important part of it so i turned around i went home i went back to work and i kept my career moving that way if i skip ahead a couple of decades when i was teaching filmmakers at the rockport college and the main photographic workshops they would always ask me where should i go to film school and my initial or my always answer was all they're going to teach you in film school is how to make movies in film school so if you want to go to college and make movies do something that's productive to become a visual storyteller at that point so that would be you know go get an art history degree go get a you know bizarre european philosophy degree learn to think learn to see how the world thought throughout history and then apply that thinking that process of thinking to your own storytelling and that's i think that's the road to filmmaker better than you know learning how to put film in a camera and learning you know that kind of stuff um no that makes sense so so you now see you make have that realization you start get into syracuse you're going to go down that path and said well i don't know if i want to wait two years to actually get any experience if this makes sense so you got into did newspapers for quite a while now what made you switch kind of from doing newspapers over to television news and then to doing commercials so that was that followed a lot of what happens in my career which um is basically serendipitous so i was um kind of looking for a job you know i've been freelancing for a long time i was kind of looking for a job something to do some t you know i had a journalism background you know i worked for upi and all these other papers um and so i just stumbled into my local tv station in albany new york and they hired me i was kind of the last photojournalist to get hired to become a news cameraman at that point and from there they were taking people straight out of journalism school but um so i did that for a couple of years and was just bored every day just couldn't get interested in it somebody along the way asked if i could shoot a commercial for them and i had all this video experience and editing and stuff like that so i said yes i did this little commercial went pretty well and from there i moved that into a few more and a few more and eventually i was able to leave the tv station and become a full-time freelance basically a production company in video and then the switch to film was really simple because i had this huge background in film as a stills photographer big background video as a news photographer putting those two together and starting to shoot commercials on motion picture film was a very small step and then that of course led to this long career in commercials which led to boredom which led to before you dive off the commercials any just for the listener audience or tangentially or related to your journey any commercials that people would recognize or remember or have probably seen so this was in the 80s all right so for the people in the 80s i did you know i did crest toothpaste i did saranac beer i did uh the new york city ballet um tons and tons of regional cars and banks and you know we did the big honda dealer group that was in upstate new york so things like that i had a a really solid niche in big regional commercials most make the most money have the less the lowest stress right for a pretty stressful that sounds like the perfect mix more money less stress stress and get to enjoy it more so yeah now you did commercials and how long did you do commercials for i did that for about 10 years um and then i kind of stopped carrying what kind of soap you use so whenever you did as many commercials as would get you excited you get to the end of the ten years and say okay all the commercials that i used to find exciting probably aren't exciting so at that point as you're kind of worn out or you kind of reached the end of the interest level there how did you decide what you're going to do next or kind of what that next base was was that hey i'm just going to take a year off take a sabbatical go enjoy life for a bit was it kept doing it but started to look into different things or kind of how did you decide yeah yeah it was it was so first of all the trigger to get out of the commercial industry there was i i remember this like it was yesterday even though it was i don't know how many years ago starting to do budgets and only caring about the bottom line you know i'd get storyboards in i'd build a budget and i'd look at the thing and say okay my profit is going to be x and that's cool and that's when that started to drive me other than the creative development the working with the advertising agencies the energy of being on set all that when that shifted to uh just being able you know just saying well all right so here's a hundred thousand dollar commercial i'm going to net off this how cool is that that's when this it triggered off and um so then there was another complete left turn and i was in the middle of building an airplane in my garage i'm a lifelong pilot and flight instructor and so i went to the people who made the kit of the airplane i was building and i thought why don't i just go sell airplanes for a couple years and that company was relocating to bend oregon i went to bend visited didn't see myself settling there turned around came back got home got on the phone called a friend of mine who i had done a short film for during my commercial stint and said hey i'm thinking about just getting out of commercials and into movies and he was like good timing so that led to um a movie that had a huge fabulous history called judy berlin that we made with director eric mendelson with and and that so that was my first feature film and i was the director of photography on it it was madeline khan edie falco barbara berry bob dishy it was a huge cast it's a small independent movie we shot it in black and white it won the director's award at sundance it was it can it movie went everywhere and so that kind of kicked off again this this right place right time which i know is frustrating for people to hear because how do you get in the right place right time but i think if you do enough stuff and you do it with the idea that you know if you do what you love the money will follow those right times and right places showed up and that happened to be now the thing about that movie was of all the movies i've done i did subsequently that one was the hardest not only because it was my first and the budget was small and the cast was amazing so the the the need to be perfect was high but it was just hard it was like it was like a bike race hard it was just hard so none of it none of this work came easily even though the jobs kind of came the work was never easy and i think that's a really important piece of it that if you're going to do this especially today right where there's so much help and technology and and maybe even a little reduction in quality overall of creative work that's being put out i think you just have to be willing to say okay i'm just going to work as hard as i can possibly work i'm going to ride this bike race as hard as i can possibly ride this bike race no and i like that i think you know the right place right time i also think it's everybody can you know every it always sounds like you know right right place right time like you just fell into the one you know a couple things to hit on is one is that you're cultivating different interests and always there you know been doing things outside of just your normal employment we weren't solely focused on that to the exclusion of everything else such that you had other you had interests in airplanes and then you were also networking talking with people seeing what else was out there i think you know when those opportunities come along if you're prepared then it seems okay i was just right place right time whereas if you weren't prepared or you didn't have that willingness to explore and other interests and always they're working on you know other things you would have never been even at that right place right time to come along you wouldn't have been prepared and you wouldn't have done anything with it anyway so i always say that why right place right time you know does have a part play a part into it it's also that preparation and within being open to it as well and i think the other thing is to go through life never burning a bridge right because you know we had a joke in the film industry that said be nice to them on their way up because they're going to hire you on your way down and and it's kind of true right i mean i ended up working for a lot of people over the years who i helped their careers at some level throughout and then you know they turn around and they bring me back on so so that um no and i and i love that because you know it's one of those where it's always easier you just especially if it's you're not partying in good terms or it feels like they you know they leveraged you and you know or they you know they left you in the the you know left you behind or anything else it's always there's always that temptation to have that self-gratifying moment where you just tell them what you think can you tell them off or anything else and while it feels good for that slight amount of time it always burns the bridge and you can it's much harder to ever rebuild a burned bridge if you even can then if you just swallow your pride or you move on or you congratulate them or you continue to support them or anything else because you never know how things will connect later on and it's always easier to have those connections as you said when you're going up or they're coming down or either you know whichever direction people are going if you leave that bridge intact even if you think you've been wronged or you you know you it wasn't fair or anything else i think it always preserves a lot more opportunities especially now because the world has gotten so small i mean you know what happens in vegas shows up on facebook so it's like you know you can't dodge a burnt bridge any longer it's you just can't dodge it no i completely agree so so now getting back to your journey so you've done you know all up until now it seems like you know they kind of all made sense he did photography then he got into television he got into commercials he got into a bit of movies which all kind of have that cinematography that artistic the ability to you know create something and to bring it to you know fruition and then you jump over to scuba diving which does seem like a fairly drastic jump from what you were doing so how did you go from all you know all of the creative side to and i'm sure there may be creative in scuba but i don't think of it quite as much how did you get into scuba diving kind of what triggered that and then how did that kind of or work out for you so throughout all of these things i've done up until that point every iteration of my career had an educational component so in the film business in the film industry i was teaching i spent 24 years teaching um at the rockport college and the the main the main workshops and it was a vital part of my life for you know a couple of weeks or a month or two every summer to go up to this place and teach film workshops and teach up and coming filmmakers how to really you know do the best job they can most efficiently and i i moved that into a mentoring company in the film industry that i had for many years it's still open um called one-on-one film training and we were basically um we were basically training emerging directors on visual storytelling and that worked out to be another educational element and that sort of pushed me into the mentoring coaching world i've been a lifelong flight instructor so i had that element and i was teaching air competition aerobatics and coaching coaching and pilots and uh and i was also a scuba instructor just because i mean we can start we can talk at some point about the master's journey right the master's journey to me is a very simple road right it's discovery training practice and teaching right it's four elements to any journey so in order to get to the end point the most important thing is to find a way to teach in any industry or any any discipline to actually get to a point where you can explain things properly bring people along create retention in the film in education and so on so that journey happened to me over and over and over it happened in the film industry right discovery training practice teaching happened in flying discovery training years of practice flight instructor it happened in scuba discovery training practice scuba instructor now scuba instructor trainer so when you look at any of these industries that i've been in or any of the journeys that i've taken or you know anybody who's taken who really wants to get to that point giving back teaching bringing people along is always wants to me be a huge part of the progression to get to the point where you get this this mastery level so when i was trying to figure out a way out of the film business to go back to your question and i did had one producing partner said to me one day that you know you spent 20 years trying to get into the film business in 20 years trying to get out um because you know that for for 95 of the people in the film industry your full-time job is looking for work and your part-time job is working so i wanted a real job or a real a more real job so um i had i was working with this guy and he was a high-end scuba instructor and you know through a lot of machinations and conversations and craziness we decided to start a scuba training and certification agency which is still that was 12 years ago and it's still maybe 13 now it's still running it's called utd scuba diving formerly unified team diving and for me it was didn't matter that it was scuba it could have been rocket science brain surgery auto mechanics i didn't care i wanted a company that had a big strong education component to it i like scuba good at it an instructor and it seemed like the place where we could really make a difference by taking a traditional scuba training model putting a completely different spin on it making it a boutique agency with a different mission than most scuba training agencies and then build that out as an education program so so i brought in a lot of the education component my partner brought in a lot of the scuba intellectual property and and uh it ran well for for pretty long time and then i call it that question follow the question maybe you touched on briefly but what made you decide to get out of the film and i get the educational aspect and that's kind of a commonality throughout but what made you decide okay i'm kind of done with movies and film and photography and i want to switch over and do something different still you know the educational and having that aspect but what was kind of that trigger what you know was it something planned it was something that came along they thought would be fun kind of how did you make that change you know it was the same as as kind of everything else right it was a serendipitous moment where this opportunity presented itself you know where the stars lined up for that but um you know i done photography and cinematography and directing for i don't know how long right since 1973 until we started this thing in 2008 so i was kind of like ready for something else right i mean i was having fun it was good and i was just ready for something else so when this came up i mean of course there was an overlap right i was still making movies and still you know doing the education thing but yeah it just seemed like an interesting target to see if we could pull this off as a startup and it turned out to be yes so now you get that in and you had your partner and you worked with them for a good period of time now i think that at one point you know so you build that up and i can't remember eight or nine ten whatever amount of years and you're working with the partner and then what kind of made you guys decide to split or go different paths and how did you decide which path he would take which path you would take and kind of how did that all work out so the company had two divisions it had a training scuba company a training division and an equipment division i i was never a big fan of the equipment division i think when you take a company like ours that had an income stream that was completely passive right we're basically a digital publishing company and you add in stuff it complicates things right because you know if we ran out of this one thing in a size medium and we had an order for one we had to order 50 or 100 or 200. so the cash flow issues associated with maintaining a small company with a big equipment catalog became challenging and taxed heavily the training side of it so um you know i gave some thought to should i exit the scuba company and you know i looked around for someone to buy my half of it and so on and and um you know looked at other opportunities was it a good exit time was it not a good exit time zone so we got to a point where um you know my partner was going through some changes also and we had the app you know we had lunch and it was like why don't we just close it you know let's just close it and be done but a lot of people were relying on it right a lot of instructors had left their other agencies to work with us and it just didn't seem like a responsible thing to do to the people we've impacted over that decade so we came to this agreement where i would take the training company you know it's no secret i bought it for a dollar and he would take the equipment side and there's no secret he bought it for a dollar we separated them out it was pretty amicable and um you know we did a bunch of legal stuff to create new companies new corporations and um and it gave me a chance to clean the slate on technology so i was able to start the company run it the way i wanted to run it focus on what i wanted to focus on um build it the way i wanted to build it and uh yeah just kind of move it forward and that was just a year and a half yeah just a year and a half ago january 2020. so the company was kind of reborn rebirthed and you know i'm having fun i'm still doing it i'm having fun i love it you know i i dive a desk a lot more than the water but it's okay because it's fun and i know and i think that's and i think that they're you know a lot of times you get in there with the business partner huge have different strains so you can leverage different things that you can do but you also sometimes say hey as a business grows and it starts to go different directions different you know different founders their partners have different ideas and directions and you can either kind of continue to butt heads and sometimes uh head butting can make their business grow and you know it can push it and you know you have someone to really back in so to speak but other times it's just saying hey we just want to go through different directions it's probably better to amically split past rather than continue to have that internal consternation within the company that sounds like that was the best decision for you guys now the last part of your journey is also you got into what would be parkinson's exercise regimens which how did you get into that because that you know that at least seems like it has the same teaching aspect to it but part you know cinematography to scuba dive parkinson's are all fairly desperate so how did you get into that that aspect of the of your business yeah there's a thread there for sure and again you know you have to be able to say yes to the universe when something drops in your plate i think that's the most important thing right so and we talked about this earlier that you know serendipitous doesn't mean magic it means you've worked in a direction for a long time and when an opportunity comes up you recognize it and say yes so what was happening on the parkinson's thing is um i had been doing quite a bit of work for the local parkinson's association through friends and and so on and um so i'm doing their website and i was doing their email distribution a little bit of marketing and and uh quite a bit of a video production for them because i still keep my hand in that on little small projects so there's that piece of it and then on this corner there's that i'm a long time bicycle racer and and a coached athlete now in the masters division so i race a bike at the on the track at the national level and have had coaches now continuously for i don't know 10 12 15 years as i've been getting you know better and better at this as i get older and older so i have that piece of it i understand how to be coached i had the training and mentoring program so i understand how to coach and i was at a parkinson's association in san diego board meeting and one of the right when kovitz started and with with parkinson's you have to exercise it's the only known therapy to slow the progression of parkinson's uh so with covid the gyms closed the programs closed and people were just literally left in their homes and told by their doctors their movement disorder specialists you have to exercise but at that point nobody really knew how because there was they were going to pilates and boxing and this and that and the other thing now there's nothing right so all of a sudden people are walking 20 minutes a day calling it exercise and getting worse symptoms worse and worse and worse and worse so i was at this meeting for something else and i and i have to back up just a tiny little bit i took in scuba one of the things i did in scuba was i created a coaching model to supplement teaching so you can do a in utd you could do a scuba course or you can take on an instructor as a coach and they'll take you through scuba training over a long period of time with lots of peripheral stuff to it and i used my athletic training model for that in the parkinson's association meeting i said look i have this model set up in the scuba company for coaching i have this experience for decades as a coached athlete why don't we put it together we'll make a coaching program for these people who don't know how to exercise don't have gyms it'll all be online they can exercise in their homes and you know that crowd of people were like yeah do it just do it so i grabbed a partner um from the parkinson's association good friend of mine has parkinson's was not a chronic exerciser but knew she had to and you know we discussed how to make this how to create a program for people that would give them all the benefits of athletic coaching without the stress of having to compete because parkinson's you're competing every day right you've got to train it's the only thing that will stop or slow these symptoms over the course of a lifetime so we came up with this very simple really simple model the same model that endurance athletes have been using with coaches for years there are a couple of pieces of software out there that manage this we came up with a name that i still love called coach me strong uh we grabbed one of the online training software packages called today's plan which is a fabulous piece of software and an amazing company more importantly than the software they're an amazing company customer service development attention to detail all that's been incredible so i took a third party piece of software put it together with a what i think is a great name a solid partner and a built-in constituency and we built this thing out in like six weeks website software i got coaches who had worked with parkinson's patients for years physical therapists exercise physiologists kinesiologists we train them on how to do structured training to give them the the workout part the clients sign up they pay a monthly fee they get an online calendar they get an online communications thing with their coach they talk to the coaches every day and people started getting better and it was awesome i mean it was awesome to see it go so you know the company has been doing really really steadily great since may of 2020 when it opened and um now that gyms and stuff are starting to open here and there we have no sign of slowing down we're just incorporating those facilities and programs back into our clients training we've expanded it to three different constituencies so parkinson's is its own constituency it's kind of where the roots are and then we we also have a constituency constituency of other neurologically challenged people so that would be ms alzheimer's traumatic brain injury stroke things like that again people who need to exercise but don't know how and then the third constituency was based on care partners but it's really anybody who is kind of getting older who again needs to exercise wants to exercise but doesn't know how and that's the constituency we're calling geno w it's kind of the baby boomers but i hate that silent generation that's 1929 and prior we have clients that old i it just needed a name for it there's gen x gen y gen z's and q's and whatever so i just came up with geno w for generation older wiser hey i like that no i think that's very just that sounds like a lot of uh fun opportunities a lot of fun things that you've been able to accomplish and continue to be able to work on so that kind of brings us to up to kind of where you're at today and kind of what thing or how your journey got to where you're at today and always tons of more things that would be fun to talk about and never quite have time to but as we start to wrap towards the end of the podcast i always have two questions that i that i ask so we'll jump to those now so the first question i always ask is along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made i wanted to learn from it so unfortunately that's an easy one when we started the scuba company we couldn't find software to run it that met all our needs right education delivery system certification tracking and so we made it so we bankrolled um a giant software company which again you know the utd didn't really have the money for it but we did it anyway and we put personal money in it and we built this huge huge software package at a time when software was fracturing right people were going to very specific things that's education that's certification that's calendar that's communicating we just put the whole thing in one giant package and it was like building you know a 600 foot long truck on a volkswagen frame it just didn't work we spent so much money so much time it was such a disaster i didn't know anything about software development it was a train wreck we called a train wreck with a capital r when i rebuilt utd so now you're asking what i learned from it when i rebuilt utd a year and a half ago when i took it over i went 100 third party software and it's amazing so if you don't know what you're doing buy it don't build it that's my advice no i think that's a good it's a hard one it's a hard balance sometimes you know and it's an easy mistake to make because sometimes you're saying oh the sock rather just it's terrible or doesn't work or doesn't it calm what we do or clients aren't going to like it as much and so there's a temptation to build and sometimes building it can be lucrative you can build something that really makes sense and really works but other times as you found out it can be one where it's a money pit that it's always taking longer and you get to the end and it's really not that much better or it's not doesn't have the value for what you had to put into it or software evolved so quickly that people already moved on or they're better third-party things and so it's one way you always have to balance i think to your point of do you build it or do you buy it a lot of times if you can buy it it saves a whole lot more um you know time money and effort than what you can get out of building it so i think that that's definitely a great takeaway second question if somebody were just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them so if you're getting into a company we talked about this before we actually before we did the recording right i believe there are two reasons to build to do a startup one is you're passionate about something you want to do a company and you're willing to ram your idea down the throats of potential clients that was utd the second reason is you see a niche and you fill it and that's coach me strong so i've had the opportunity to do both of these right be passionate about something create a new product try to market it be open to a niche create it fill it and then try to market it the commonality between those two things it doesn't matter which one you do if you're if you're willing to go the long road for either one the commonality is business startups are marketing projects they are not widget selling projects they're not publishing projects they're not scuba training projects they're not coaching projects they are marketing projects if you're not prepared ready prepped and educated on the marketing side you can make the world's best company the world's best product the world's best gizmo and no one's going to buy it if they don't know about it so i think going into any project you have to look at every single thing as a marketing project it's why i screwed up in the film industry in terms of uh that full-time job is looking for work and part-time job is working because when i was looking for work i didn't realize that i was the marketing project no i think that there's a ton of wisdom in that you know everybody thinks i'll build a better mouse chat but build a great product which you definitely need in a company if you don't have something to sell then you're not going to sell anything but if you just simply go and naively thinking oh if i build it they will come and if i make a cool product they'll come banging down my doors and you know i think you get that kind of when you watch the television show they're shark tank or in the movies or anything else because that's how it is always portrayed oh you build it they fast forward and now you're a big success but they always leave out you have to launch it you still have to make it you'll have to actually do something and i think there's a ton of wisdom and you have to be prepared to market your own product you have to be prepared to figure out who to sell it to and how to sell it to them and how to get do all that aspect otherwise you can build the best product and it will still never go anywhere yeah yeah it's interesting right these are things that you know maybe if i went to college i would have learned that but i think there's plenty of people who went to college and still never learned them others didn't go to college i learned them a lot better and vice versa so it's one of those where i think that you know a lot of times we get help you know and i'll give you an example attorneys are the worst of this because i think oh if i can just a really good attorney that's all it takes to make it in the you know in the legal industry because everybody just wants my expertise as an attorney you have to be willing to sell you know you still have to be even as attorneys selling all the time you have to be figuring out how to find new clients how to bring them on how to keep them happy how to land new business and those are the attorneys that are more successful than just the ones not that you don't need to know the law but if all you know is the law and you don't figure out their other aspects it's going to significantly hamper your your career path so i think that there's definitely a great aspect there on that note this is a reminder we are going to do talk just a little bit about intellectual property after the we wrap up the normal part of the podcast but before we do that if people want to reach out to they want to find out more about you know your scuba training they want to they have parkinson's and want to find out about the exercise regimen they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an investor they want to be an employee they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out contact you find out more yeah so the two companies it's coachmestrong.com and utdscubadiving.com pretty simple all right makes as simple as that well i definitely encourage people to reach out find out more and a lot of a lot of great experience uh whether it's for any of the or for any of the businesses you offer or any of the knowledge that you have well thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast feel free to go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show we'd love to have you two more things as a listener one make sure to click subscribe in your podcast players so you know what all of our awesome episodes come out and two leave us a review so everybody else can find out about all of our awesome episodes last but not least if you have any help patents trademarks or anything else go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat so now as we've wrapped up the normal part of the episode we always get to switch gears a bit and you get to take the driver's seat and ask a question so with that i'll turn it over you to ask what or ask your number one intellectual property question yeah so it was really interesting when you presented this as as an opportunity for me to get a little free advice out of this thing um i'm always careful about free advice because i know how i know how valuable free is you know we always called free the other f word but um i have a question that has haunted me for many many years both in scuba and in even the coaching business is if i trademark something or if i patent something knowing that i don't have the resources to defend it what's the point no i i think that's a fair question is one that a lot of startup small businesses often grapple with because you're saying okay let's say i go get the world's best pack or the world's best trademark and it's very valuable but i'm still sorry for small business and i have the the goliath come along right and they're going to come along and they're going to just simply run over the top of me they have the money that they can exhaust it in court and even if i'm in the right it's still i'm still not going to be able to enforce it which i think there's a a ton of truth to that so there's a couple things if if that's the only reason you're going to do it is i'm going to take on the big guys i would say you're probably better at this point to hold off or to invest in other places because that's probably not going to give you the return on power now with that said there's a couple other areas that i would look at one is you know not all businesses are going to compete with you are going to be big businesses you know you may have another startup for a small business or a competitor let's say you're in california and somebody down in florida starts to scuba you know scuba business and they're also a smaller small startup but they start to infringe on your name well for the smaller businesses you all you're in a much better position you can you know you can get them to whether it's a cease and desist or you can start down the road of suits and they're not going to want to get into it anymore than you are because they don't want to spend all their funds on that either so it does have some value on that end um another one you're always looking at is with start or with big businesses let's say a couple things one is that there's always a competitor to a big business you know apple has samsung you have uh nike that has adidas pepsi has coca-cola and so almost indefinitely you're gonna have a big business to have the competitor and if one big business comes and starts you really knock off what you're doing a lot of times what you do is you leverage that and say okay i'm gonna go to you go to their competitor and say i'm not in the position to enforce this but your competitor is finding that we have a lot of value in the system or this brand or whatnot why don't you take it over you acquire your license from us and then you do the work of enforcing it because they're looking for that competitive edge another thing that you can always think about is it also is building in an asset to your company so you know one thing you're always thinking oh this is just the ability to protect it but if you're putting in a ton of time sweat and money and effort to build something whether it's a brand whether it's a patent then you're also going to say well now what about in five or ten years when i go to sell it or i go to get acquired or i do a merger or an acquisition or licensing and they come and say well that's great you build a good system now what is where's the value of your business is it in the brand that you built is it in the product that you build is it the customer loyalty is it in the customer list you know kind of what is it a lot of times you're able to monetize and say no here's our asset we built a good brand we have the protection there and as you so many mergers you know wants emergency acquire you you want to sell your business you want to retire you can get a better evaluation as an asset not just as a something that protects you so those are a lot of them across the board but i hopefully give you at least a little bit of an insight as to other ways that you're going to leverage your intellectual property aside from just protecting it from a much bigger competitor yeah i think it's interesting devin i think that that's probably the clearest i've ever had that explained to me and we have had that exact experience where people have just basically taken our scuba standards and procedures put their name on them and opened up a scuba training agency and you know it just feels like you know between international law and everything else it's just such an overwhelming weight to say how do we fight this thing and you know we try we try you know simple letters and things on our own but um that's an interesting it's it's been an interesting uh conundrum for me for many years so it gives me some more food to think food for thought in in terms of how do we know i think it but i think it highlights definitely you have to think about that and plan for it ahead of time all you're doing is saying well somebody told me i needed a trademark and i'll go get it just because they told me to and you don't have any idea how you're going to leverage it why you're going to use it or what it's going to be good for and then you probably shouldn't get it at least not to the point that you understand it and then you should be saying okay here's the point of our roadmap where it's going to make sense as an example if somebody else were to file a trademark first you know when you use branding and they come along and say hey this is you know this is a good brand i'm going to file on them first and then they box you out of your own business so not it's not only just protecting you mothers competing but now somebody else is stopping you from using your own brand and that's a much longer discussion but then you have to say okay i've got to also look and say if i had to rebrand if i had to do something else would that be easier or more worthwhile or would i'd rather be able to have that protection so even if somebody does come along copy they're not boxing me on my own so there's a lot of strategy but i think the point is is to kind of get someone that can help you explain it understand it be able to work your way through it is as much value as anything else so with that we're going to go ahead and wrap up the podcast and it's been fun to have you on i've had it was a great conversation and uh if you or any of the audience have any other questions now or down the road if you ever want to ask any other questions about intellectual property go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us at chad always happy to help in the meantime wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last you