PaddleSmash Creators Tim and Scott Joins Us On The Join Up Dots Podcast
Paddlesmash creators Tim Swindle And Scott Brown have been an entrepreneur for over 10 years, having launched multiple companies.
His first Kickstarter in 2013 was successfully funded for a game he co-created called, Utter Nonsense.
It achieved rapid commercial interest and ultimately went on to be sold in Target, Walmart and other major retailers around the country.
He has since brought numerous products to market in the toy, game, and novelty space.
How The Dots Joined Up For Tim
As an early investor and employee at PointDrive, a Chicago-based sales software company, he had roles leading sales, marketing, and operations before the company was acquired in 2016 by LinkedIn.
During this time, he worked on his own future making the most of all the time he had available.
In 2018 Tim co- founded Playtacular, a boutique publishing company that designs and creates innovative toys and games.
In addition to this he also is heaviliy involved in Paddlesmash a great new family game brought to him by its inventor Joe Bingham.
Tim lives in Nashville, with his wife, daughter and his dog Tucker.
So what is it about the uber competitive toy market that excites him and keeps him moving forward daily?
And how can someone listening today with an idea for a toy move it to the shops quickly?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show, to join up more dots with the one and only Mr Tim Swindle
During the show we discussed such weighty subjects with the creators of Paddlesmash such as:
Scott shares his journey through the entrepreneurial rollercoaster of failure and strain which excites him more than ever.
We discuss the idea interaction that you get from having colleagues working closely with you that you can struggle with working on your own.
The guys talk the process of finding each other and realising that their strengths perfectly compliment each other which builds a stronger business
Why you should never ask your friends and families to validate your ideas but get it out into the real world as soon as possible.
How To Connect With Paddlesmash
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Full Transcription Of Paddlesmash Interview
David Ralph [0:00]
Life shouldn’t be hard life should be a fun filled adventure every day. So now start joining up dots tap into your talents, your skills, your God given gifts and tell your boss, you don’t deserve me. I’m out of here. It’s time for you to smash that alarm clock. And start getting the dream business and life you will, of course, are dreaming of. Let’s join your host, David Ralph from the back of his garden in the UK, or wherever he might be today with another JAM PACKED episode of the number one hit podcast. Join Up Dots.
Good morning, and welcome to Join Up Dots. Thank you so much for being here with your daily inspirational, motivational and entrepreneurial conversation. Now, today’s episode, we’ve got two guys from the US and they’ve been entrepreneurs for over 10 years or so, having launched multiple companies in the outdoor sports and the game environment now, one of them first started Kickstarter in 2013, and was successfully funded for a game he co created called utter nonsense, and he achieved rapid commercial interest, and ultimately went on to be sold in Target and Walmart and other major retailers around the country. He has since bought numerous products to market in the toy game and novelty space. And now with his partner, Scott. He’s co founded or he’s joined in with a co founder of a new game called paddle Smash, which looks fun looks inventive, and it looks like something that’s going to take the family beach holidays by storm. So what is it about the Uber competitive toy market that excites them and keeps them moving forward at daily? And how can someone listening today with an idea for a toy, move it to the shops quickly? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Tim Swindle and Scott Brown.
Good morning. Good morning, David. Thanks for having us on.
It’s lovely to have you both. So let’s just um, so people know who’s who. Now Scott is the one with the manly voice. And Tim is the one that sounds like a girl or is it the opposite way round?
Paddlesmash Founders [2:22]
Scott’s The one with the nasally girly voice.
Im the one with the Chicago accent
David Ralph [2:28]
Okay, right. So we know who we’re dealing with. Now let’s jump straight to it guys, because you’re both on the show because you are entrepreneurs. And you are entrepreneurs in in quite a sort of broad but narrow niche as well games, what excites you about this,
Paddlesmash Founders [2:45]
originally I was in software, which is not a it’s not exciting. At least it wasn’t wasn’t for me, I’d created a sales software that we ultimately sold to LinkedIn. But while doing that had the idea for a board game that had something was something that we played with friends up at Lake houses and you know, the cabin, when you’re late at night, having a couple of drinks and need something to do to get some laughs And so, you know, kind of fell into this world of the toy and game space as a genre. But you know, having experienced it from, you know, experienced as an entrepreneur from, you know, being in software to now you know, being in a 20 game space, I can tell you wholeheartedly that it is way more fun to be to bring toys and games to life. And as cheesy as it may sound, that is something that some I believe in that actually as much as I’m making a joke out of it. You know, I think there’s a lot of crud going on in the world. And it’s something meaningful to me if I can help, you know, bring joy bring laughter bring fun to the world and have people be playing together and get off of their iPhones and the screens and enjoy each other’s company again, that’s something that I take great, great pride in. And something that I’m really passionate about.
David Ralph [4:03]
Now I’m gonna ask the same question to Scott. But Tim, isn’t the excitement of American Lake houses? Isn’t it about skinny dipping in the evenings? Isn’t? Isn’t that what it’s all about? In my view?
Paddlesmash Founders [4:14]
David Ralph [4:15]
It’s both. Yeah, a little bit of both. Yeah. But but you lean more to, to the games and stuff. Okay. So Scott, on the other side. entrepreneurial life isn’t easy. It’s something where you don’t get a playbook generally and you have to make it up as you go along. And it’s failures, its successes is obstacles. Is that what excites you? Are you somebody that likes solving puzzles?
Paddlesmash Founders [4:42]
I think that’s it. I think I really like to help fix things. I like to be a problem solver. And if I were to kind of go if we had a long time on this today, I could spend hours talking about the ups and downs of entrepreneurial life and my my path has been very up been down. But there is something so satisfying about the ups that makes the downs sort of you forget them. It’s like I’ve never been pregnant, despite the sound of my voice, but I Yeah, but it’s how my mom, my wife always describes it. As you know, after a certain period of time post pregnancy, you forget the pain of pregnancy, and then you want to have a baby. Again, this is a little bit like that with entrepreneurship. I mean, my my initial business, and this is how I met Tim was a brick and mortar retail chain based in the US called marbles, the brain store. And I started it co founded it in Chicago, grew it to have 40 stores across the US ultimately, and we were selling educational toys and games. Tim’s game was, in my stores, I was the very first retail store to carry his game. But that I mean, to be honest, like that had a kind of epic fail at the end. And it was, I mean, it took years off my life, it caused a lot of strain in my life. And there was a period I’ll call it a three year period, post that that era, when I had some stability, you know, I my company was acquired by a big Canadian toy and game manufacturer named Spin Master. And I was able to go work for them. And it was a very stable three years, I always knew the paycheck was coming, I always knew I didn’t have to worry about the ups and downs, it was a multibillion dollar company. And for some weird reason, I decided to leave that company and to go back out in kind of the wild and have to fend for myself and eat what I kill. So there’s something that draws me to it
David Ralph [6:40]
is interesting, because the stability, especially for entrepreneurs, I’ve noticed it big time over the last 15 years of me doing it. And one of the things that I feel drawn to grasping the stability is not financial, but kind of teamwork, and other people doing the same project and the quick drink after work before you come home, all that kind of stuff quite often lacks when you’re entrepreneurial. How do you sort of bed that in? Or is that not something that sort of bothers you anymore?
Paddlesmash Founders [7:17]
For me, I, it doesn’t bother me, I’m introverted. So I don’t need that kind of social touches as much. The thing I miss, honestly, and this is maybe a COVID related thing as well, but just the the sort of bumping of ideas. So when I was in an office space, and I was sitting across the desk from other creatives, I’d be able to toss an idea out and sort of get the reaction and the friction of it. And I don’t get that as much. In fact, one thing I’m looking to do here, and I work from home and have for the last number of years, but I’m looking to go get some office space at an creative agency and an agency just so I’m around creative people, and I can toss an idea out in the air and get reaction to it. So I missed that. But I will say I’m on phone calls with Tim hours every day. And it does simulate in many ways that work environment where I’m able to toss something Tim’s way, get a reaction back and vice versa.
David Ralph [8:13]
Now, I want to Join Up Dots, I’m not going to ask him this question. Because obviously he put one of these products into your shop or your store. You must have had hundreds of people that did that. What was it about? Tim, that drew you to Scott or so Tim? What was it about Scott, that you thought yes, this is somebody that I could actually work with?
Paddlesmash Founders [8:38]
Well, yeah, I mean, taking a step back, as far as you know, I did not have the options. As far as you know, at the time, we had just launched this game. And it was, we did launch it on Kickstarter. And and we were successful, but it was very modest. I mean, you see some of these explode on on, on Kickstarter, and is Exploding Kittens, and they’re doing millions of dollars. I mean, I think we barely hit like $15,000 which, which was our goal. So you know, it’s like a Beggars can’t be choosers in that position. So I was introduced to Scott through a mutual friend at the time, you know, we had just gotten funded on Kickstarter and kind of looking, you know, what’s next after that we didn’t really know or have a plan. And, you know, Scott had the stores that were going and, and he saw it and took us in. So, you know, for me at that time, it was not something that we had a lot of, or I had a lot of choices on. It was like I’ll take what I could get, you know, fortunately, you know, Scott was the perfect as it turned out in hindsight like you saying, connecting the dots. You know, what Scott had built at marbles was kind of this thought leader in the space. You know, the bigger players like the targets of the world. We’re looking at what Scott and marbles were doing because they seem to be a little more on the cutting edge. And you know, fine, they were really good at spotting trends in the market and You know, taking those products in. And so that’s, I think where I got lucky was, you know, because of the brand that they’ve built in Marvel’s as being these cutting edge, you know, spotting the trend, which happened to be my game at the time. That then was what helped me lead to getting into the bigger retailers like Target Walmart and Barnes and Noble, etc.
David Ralph [10:20]
So you needed Scott, he he completed you at that stage. Now, with the experience that you’ve gained, if Scott wasn’t in the picture, Tim, do you think you could could do it on your own because I find a lot of people join forces with people, because their personal confidence in their abilities is not at the level that it might be later on by they almost need to grow into themselves with the help of somebody else. What do you think, Tim?
Paddlesmash Founders [10:49]
Yeah, man, at the time, it was, ignorance was bliss. I didn’t, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And I feel like that that works is an advantage when you’re early. And it’s just you’re going out there sure. Like, you know, I can get into retailers, why not? And now being in the business for several years, I’m realising that that’s not something that anyone can just go walk into a particular retailer, and you know, have them carry their game. That’s a, that’s a, that’s a hard thing to do. And so, you know, if you’re kind of hinting towards the more like, the partnership side of things? Absolutely. I mean, I would say, there’s a fine balance for me personally, where, you know, is it on the one end, and then one extreme end, there’s the solopreneur. So you just, you work by yourself, you don’t work with anyone else. And then there’s, like, you know, the big the big teams side of things. And I think my sweet spot is, is, is in between there. I don’t particularly like managing people and managing big teams, I, I’ve experienced that running the software company, it’s just not what I like to do. And then, you know, on the solo side, it’s a little too isolated, you know, I think there’s just, you know, you want to bounce ideas off someone I can only I can only, you know, asked my wife so many times before she’s like, go as somebody else. Right. So, I think, you know, having a partner for me, you know, is perfect. And I think one partner, quite frankly, is perfect. And I think I’m very lucky to have found that partner and Scott.
David Ralph [12:22]
Yeah, I think so look, looking at the two of you, or the fact that you were so eager to jump onto this call together, it seems there’s, there’s a synergy bear, there’s there’s a mutual effort driving you forward, which makes it easier, doesn’t it when somebody is, you know, reaching out for something heavy on the day that you feel tired, it drives you forward, Scott.
Paddlesmash Founders [12:46]
I’ve got to tell the story of how I knew Tim was someone I wanted to work with. And so back in my days of running this retail chain, one of the things that we did well was we would spotlight products and inventors behind products. And so if you were to walk in one of my stores, one of my employees, we call them brain coaches would come up to you and introduce you to an item and they wouldn’t just know the details of the rules, they would know the backstory, they would know who invented it, and why they invented it. And there was just this, this feeling of, you know, when a customer came in and experienced that they felt like they got to know that product at a level that they then wanted it. And so we would invite inventors into our headquarters and we would film them talking about their product. And we invited Tim and his business partner in they filmed this this video, their game was sort of adult and a little raunchy, but the way they filmed it was they were sitting behind a desk, kind of polo T shirts on top looking very semi professional talking, talking about their game. And then at the end of the video with the with the cameras still rolling, they both stood up and revealed that they were doing the whole thing without pants on. So they they had they had pretty fun but But nope, no pants. And, you know, it was just this sort of like this clever marketing way of like, revealing that their game is a little bit of like a little bit of sophistication and a little bit of raunch and I was like you know, that’s a that’s like a clever marketer right there. And I’m like, Alright, this is a guy I want to work with at some point, I want to work with them down the road, is like a funny way to like no that kind of standing across the room with a guy without pants on but I was like, this is the guy I want to work with. And so it’s become that with Tim and I, we we work very well together. As you said, there’s synergy. It’s a symbiotic relationship. We’re different personalities. There’s enough in common that we work well together. There’s enough different that we balance each other out. So I’d say if I’m using broad generalisations, I am call it more of the kind of creative chasing the next like shiny thing If I see the next shiny thing, I’m like, let’s do that thing. Let’s do that thing. You know, we’ve got this product we’re about to launch. And I’m like, This is awesome. But what’s next? What’s next him like, what’s the next version of this thing. And Tim’s is really good at just saying, let’s just focus on what’s right in front of us. Let’s take this thing and do it now. And we’ll worry about the other stuff down down the road. The other thing is, Tim’s really good about accountability and meetings, I’d say like meetings, maybe my least favourite thing to do. Tim’s very good at adding structure to our workflow. So it’s, you know, three times a week, we have set on the schedule, we get on an hour long call together. And for what it does for me, as annoying as it might be, is it makes me accountable. And so I know, I’m going to have to check in with Tim going to have to go over the action items we discussed in the previous call. And I just want to, I want to have those things done. And so there, you know, I thought I might be good as a solopreneur printer. I didn’t like it, I’d like felt a lack of structure. But I personally am not getting good at adding that structure. So I advise those that are listening, to be honest with yourself, look at where you might fall short, and look for partners that can help balance you out the way that Tim does for me.
David Ralph [16:15]
Yeah, sounds great. And just for clarity in the United Kingdom, pants, underpants, but you’re talking about trousers just yeah, sorry. Yeah, yeah, just in case it went one level even deeper. Let’s hear from Jim Carrey. And we’ll be back with Scott and Tim,
Unknown Speaker [16:33]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [16:59]
So earlier, Tim, you was talking about sort of lessons about inspiring career that you was in? Is this now your place? D Do you actually love it? Or are you still kind of finding your way into it?
Paddlesmash Founders [17:15]
Absolutely love it. Yeah, it’s, it’s something that you know, I don’t know, again, the the cliche of you know, if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. And I finally feel like that’s where I’m at. And, you know, when I, when I decided to pursue the kind of toy and game industry for my full time job, it the idea I had behind it was listen, you know, not everything is going to be successful, that I’m going to come out with, but I’m gonna have fun doing it along the way. So even if it’s not a commercial success, I’m gonna have fun, you know, tinkering with the ideas, thinking of the ideas, think about the marketing, you know, all the stuff that goes along with it, although it’s work, it’s all very fun. And I was like, you know, that’s a good way to spend my life is, you know, I’m going to have fun. And hopefully, if I’m having fun, the stuff that the stuff I’m bringing to life is going to, it’s going to bring fun to others. And that’s going to be, you know, financially rewarding at the end of the day. And so you know, that that’s still what I believe, you know,
David Ralph [18:19]
to this day, and I’m asking this to Tim, when you have that conversation, and most entrepreneurs have a partner that supports them, but doesn’t really understand it. Why why do you want to give up the stability of a paycheck? Why do you want to do this? When you had the conversation with your lovely wife? Did she just say go for it? Or was she kind of hang on? Hang on, let’s think about this?
Paddlesmash Founders [18:45]
Yeah, it’s funny. She is, you know, her parents are, she’s Indian, and her parents are immigrants and highly, you know, trained and educated. And Dad’s father is a physician. And I think there was a little bit of a culture shock when she met me. And she is also she has a master’s degree from Northwestern here in the States, and had a very corporate job working at a big bank. And then, you know, we met up with me who’s run as this little board game, flailing business on the side, and also, you know, the software company at the time. And I think it was a little bit of a culture shock. And but after being exposed to it, I think she just understood that that’s who I am. My dad was, was an entrepreneur, and I out of college, I did work in a corporate environment and commercial real estate, and I just was miserable. And it just was not something I was passionate about. I kind of dreaded waking up every day I happened to go to work, and I was just like, You know what, like, I want to be my own boss. I think almost more than anything that was that was a big driver for me was the The thought of just being my own boss was something that was really exciting to me. And so, yeah, I mean, I think at some point, you know, I just I’d thought about it and lived enough days of being miserable to where I was like, I’m making the leap. And it was a conscious decision to say, trust yourself. Let’s go. You know, you’re smart enough. And you’re it’s like the Stuart Smalley ended up there with from from the old Saturday night lights gets set in our lives, kids, you know, you’re good enough. You’re smart enough. And Gosh, darn it, people like me. Yeah, well, let’s go. Yeah,
David Ralph [20:33]
well, yeah. And you can make it happen, can’t you? It’s that inner drive. So while on the one I want to do, Scott, I just want to take the conversation over to Joe Bingham. Because Joe Bingham has created a game called paddle Smash. And we had the founder of another one called spike Borg. And I called Chris Rado. I think his name was on the show several years ago. And it was it was an idea that wasn’t he’s already somebody else had the idea. And he kind of just took it to the next level. When did the idea excite you enough to want to jump on board with it and explain to the listeners actually, what paddle smashy is, because I watched a video and I’ve Oh, I’ve quite fancy playing this. This looks this looks fun.
Paddlesmash Founders [21:18]
Yeah, so my job at marbles really was to evaluate ideas. You know, I sat there at the kind of Chief merchant desk for over 10 years at marbles. And in that role, I evaluated every concept that came in our door. And so it was literally I’d say, 10s of 1000s of ideas, I would evaluate every every year to decide whether it was worthy of our stores. So I think I developed a pretty good radar for what worked, what didn’t and what I liked. In that role, I got to know all of these inventors anytime. And this is one of those things with when you’re in the toy industry. Anytime you meet someone and they find out what you do, they always know someone that has invented a game. Or they’ve invented a game themselves. And they want you to evaluate it, which is great. And so anytime I introduce myself, someone says, Hey, I’ve got a brother in law that created this thing. And I will be honest, most of the time when I meet with these people and hear about their idea, they’re usually pretty trash. So you could kind of rubbish. But every once in a while, there’s just kind of a hidden gem. So I met someone. He’s like, I’ve got a brother in law that’s created this game, you know, my I’m kind of inside going okay, here we go again. And he’s like, Would you talk to him? I said, Sure. So I get on a cold call with Joe Bingham. Joe tells me this story. Joe is the father of seven kids. Six of them are boys. Almost all of them are teenagers. And they used to play spike ball. So you just mentioned Chris. I know Chris. Well, I used to carry Chris’s game in my stores. Spikeball is an amazing game. But what Joe noticed is that he couldn’t keep up with his kids anymore. In Spikeball, it’s just to physically active you’re jumping around diving on the ground. It is a hard game to play for older people. And so Joe’s like, alright, so spike balls off the table for me with my kids, they got into pickleball I’m not sure if you or your listeners are all familiar with it. But this is the fastest growing sport in North America. It’s like tennis meets ping pong. So it’s like a smaller tennis court, you’re playing it with oversized ping pong paddles, and you play it with a wiffle ball, or we call it a pickleball. And so Joe got really into pickleball. He’s like, this is a sport I can play with my kids. The problem was the nearest court was 20 minutes away, court was always crowded, too expensive to build a court in his yard. And so he’s like, Alright, I’m a structural engineer, I’m going to create my own thing. And so he merged those two games. It’s like the paddle Smash, just like the love child of pickleball and Spike ball. And so we took, he took a bunch of his favourite elements of the two, he went into his garage and started glueing plastic pieces together, taking his router to it, 3d printing components, and he built a prototype. And then he tested it over actually a couple of years with friends and family. And he just got to a spot where he’s like, I really think this is a good idea. I like it a lot. I have no idea how to bring it to market. You know, I’m an engineer. I have no experience here. And so it sort of was sitting there dormant when I met Joe. So Joe shows it to me. I’m like, there actually might be something here Joe. I met up with Joe in person tried it out. I’m like show I really think there’s something here. Let me talk to my business partner, Tim. And I knew I wanted to work with Tim on this one. I just was like, you know, this is a big one. Like, we need to use both of our strengths to bring this one to market. But I reached out to Tim and, you know, Tim Tims the natural cynic around this stuff as well, but he trusts my tastes. And so when I said to him, I think there’s something here Tim’s like great. I trust you mostly but I want to see it in person myself. So he actually flew from Chicago to you Where I live, and we met up in person and tested this ourselves tested it in my backyard first went great. And then we’re like, alright, we need real feedback. And to me real feedback is not friends and family, friends and family always want to tell you that they liked your idea. So what we did was we took it down to the local pickleball courts, and we set it up outside the courts. And honestly, it was like, I don’t know, flies to honey bees to honey, whatever the thing is cutting, like people stopping mid game of their pickleball game coming up to the fence coming out to see what we were doing. So they’re drawn to it immediately. And then we started playing, and people were like, over and over. And the way we presented the concept was not that it was our idea, or that we wanted to know if they liked our idea it was, we’ve got some guy that’s presented this to us, we need help figuring out if this idea is any good. So we removed ourselves from the equation, no one felt like we would have our feelings heard if they gave us honest feedback. But we opened it up for feedback. And we played it with these groups for over an hour. I mean, there was one guy that was smiling the entire time, and was like I want I want to buy this from you now. He left her bid and brought his son back and was like I had to go home and get my son so he could see this too. So that was enough validation that we’re like, there’s something here. So to kind of give your listeners a little bit of a picture of what this game is. It’s like imagine, if you’re familiar, like with Spike ball, great. If not, I’m going to kind of describe it. So the idea is there’s the centre base, the centre unit that that teams are rotating around. And in our game, it’s best playing two versus two. So you’re serving a shot to your teammate and to serve, you hit the ball off the court, and then it bounces up and then your teammate, and you have up to three hits to get it back into the court. And once you’ve done that plague turns over to the other team and they’ve got up to three hits to get back into the court. And you’re basically going back and forth. It’s like volleyball, the bump set spike a volleyball, but trying to get back in the court what the two nice things we have that are different than Spikeball. One is we’ve got a hard plastic base that absorbs some of those blows. So when you hit it hard, it doesn’t fly a mile into the air, it’s still very returnable. And then the other is we have a net system which requires you to hit downward instead of hard side angles. And the reason we did all of this is to make it so play is more contained. And so that the points last longer, we love we want long rallies, we just find that a lot more fun. So anyway, kind of going back to Joe, this is why Joe created it, this idea of I want a game I can play with my kids. And that’s what we think is the opportunity, we want a game that is very family friendly, that parents can kind of bond with their teenage kids over play together. And then the other thing is just to get a little bit of that pickleball experience in your own backyard. This
is something you can easily fold up all the components that are inside, you can take it with you the beach to the park play in your backyard out camping. So it’s very portable Pickleball is a good way to look at it.
David Ralph [27:59]
Now just to sort of describe it for my view. It’s a it’s a kind of netted bucket in the middle, where you you spin round and you surf it bounces out and then you bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, and then you smash it back in. Now, it seems so simple to me. Like all great ideas. I thought, Well, why didn’t I think of that? It just seemed to be there already. When it came to market or came to you. Tim, did you think the same? Did you think hang on somebody must have this already out there?
Paddlesmash Founders [28:30]
Yeah, it’s funny, when when Scott first showed me the idea, you know, we are constantly seeing different concepts. And we’re also trying to stay in tune with what’s happening in the market, what’s happening on social media looking for trends, things that, you know, we’re seeing coming around the corner, that there may be an opportunity to introduce, you know, a new product. And so on one of our brainstorming sessions, between Scott and I, we had an I have this drawing still we had concepted something very similar to what ultimately, you know, Joe had done on his own. And so it was one of those things in this instance, the second that I saw it, I immediately was like, yes, just because in terms of just you know, I think this product has merit. You know, it’s it’s riding the coattails of some very popular sports right now. Pickleball, the fastest growing sport in America. Spikeball, as you’ve mentioned, also incredibly popular for the past 10 years. And you know, so so once I saw it, it was just it was funny, because it was like, Oh my gosh, that’s looks very similar to what we had kind of drawn up on a piece of paper. Now, I’ll say that that’s typically where it ends for a lot of people is that, you know, they have an idea and credit to Joe for actually putting his idea into motion to creating that prototype to taking the next steps to investing the time and energy because I think that’s, you know, what we see a lot is, you know, just gotten out both get hit up by people that have an idea or want to launch a business. And that’s all it ever is, is it’s a lot of time, it’s just, they’re just talking about it, and very few actually put it into action. And so kudos to Joe for putting it into action. And then, you know, once once Scott had looked at it, once I flew out and, and played it myself and was able to get, you know, touch it and feel it and get some other people playing with it. It was pretty apparent at that time that, you know, there was something here for sure,
David Ralph [30:28]
you know, we can all be guilty of the fact that we come up with crazy ideas about then five, six years down the line, you see it on a shelf in the shop, and you think I invented that. And I must have done that about five or six times. But you don’t personally believe in it, you don’t have that, that kind of connection with it enough to push through. Now, what Joe did is very difficult to have the passion and the enthusiasm to do it on his own. He’s much better when he’s got Scott, and he’s got you going. We all believe in this. Is that one of the things that you would say to most entrepreneurs now that get a mentorship as quickly as possible, or people that you trust that can help foster those ideas? What do you think, Scott?
Paddlesmash Founders [31:14]
Well, I think it’s two part, I think you’ve got to be able to get honest feedback, I just read a book called The mom tests where it’s talking all about this, don’t go to your mom and ask for advice or whether or not your idea is good, you got to take it out into the into the wild. And for me, the wild is non friends and family groups. So that’s definitely one part of the process of evaluating what whether what you have is, is about as good or not. The other part is just recognising, and whether you have the skills to get it out into the world. Tim had a unique experience with his game. But what I will say is that Tim was whether it was happenstance or true skill, he was smart about the game he chose, which was a card based game, very inexpensive to manufacture, very easy to make small production runs, where I caution New Inventors or new entrepreneurs, around business ideas is if it’s a really expensive, upfront cost, before you even get any market validation. Now, I would really caution you against doing it yourself, purely yourself. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, I just generally and this, this is very applicable to the twin game industry, there’s really two routes you can take you either self publish, or you licence your idea. And so in the case of self publishing, which is what Tim did it, all of the money that it takes to get it to market is on you, you’ve got to produce it, you’ve got to then get it marketed and sold out to the end of the world. And with Tim’s you know, the upfront costs might have been a couple of $1,000 to do this not a whole lot of money to test whether this is viable. And he also had Kickstarter as a way to get a little market validation. So inexpensive, upfront test, and then you find out whether people will fall apart with their money for your product. If they don’t, then you can kill it and move on to the next thing, if they do great. Where I get worried is when an inventor comes to me and says, my friends and family loved this idea. I’ve now spent $30,000 on tooling to get this in the market and I bought 30,000 pieces of it. Now I’ve got to figure out if people like it. And I’m like, Well, I think you’ve got a little backwards. And so in the toy industry, the other option is licencing an idea and that’s generally, I generally advise this when it’s a really expensive upfront costs. So if he has a lot of plastic tooling, or it’s going to colleges require enough marketing to get word out. In the case of Joe’s invention. This is a large plastic base. It is complex manufacturing. I mean, Tim and I have a lot of experience. I personally have brought 150 products to market. But even still, I had to hire an engineer in engineering firm to help us figure out the right makeup of plastic, the right thickness of plastic for this base. And that was expensive. And then the tooling is very expensive. So we’re a lot of money in before we even know if people part with their money. But Tim and I have enough experience and enough capital to be able to take those risks. So but for Joe, Joe didn’t know how to do this. And Joe maybe didn’t want to spend that money because he knew he didn’t know how to do it. So he found us and he partnered with us, Joe, Joe gets a royalty now so Joe’s an inventor for this product, but Joe’s not a business owner in the business. Tim and I are the business owners. So now Joe’s involvement is we’ll ask Joe for input. We are happy to have Joe give us his thoughts on things. But it’s Tim and I deciding how to run this business. Joe gets an A check every quarter for a portion of the sales which works out really well for Joe because he doesn’t have to worry about all that stuff that we that Tim and I have to worry about.
David Ralph [34:56]
I think you know passive income is the goal. A winner of life. But there’s no such real thing as passive income, there’s still effort involved to to get something to it. Now, what I’m fascinated is and I’m always fascinated when you see people go on to shark tank or Dragons Den as it’s called over here. And as you say, they get ripped to shreds by the sharks. And then every now and again, somebody stands up there, and the sharks go into a frenzy, and they all want to invest. Now, that would be the moment that I would go, No, thank you very much. I’m keeping the idea myself, you proved it did this is my own concept. Is that something that you see as well, that people are too precious with keeping the integrity of the whole product where actually, they should share it out? They should be a Joe, who says no, actually, I’m happy. I’ve done my part. I’m happy to get the passive income each quarter.
Paddlesmash Founders [35:52]
Yeah, sure. So you No, absolutely. So that’s something that we see quite often is, you know, people think that their idea is the next Facebook. The reality is, you know, generally it’s not. And that’s something that you know, when when I do consult, or mentor, you know, other entrepreneurs, is to say, you need to actually talk about your idea, flush out the issues, people just tend to want to hold it really close to the vest. And I think because the concern is that, oh my gosh, you know, somebody’s gonna steal this idea is so good, that somebody’s going to hear about it, and they’re going to steal it, and they’re going to do it, the reality is, it is incredibly hard to launch a business to launch a product to bring something to life, it’s expensive, it’s time consuming, and the odds that you know, somebody is going to be as passionate about whatever idea it is that you have, as you are, is unlikely. And so you know that in the risk reward scenario of, okay, you know, the very far out there chance that somebody’s going to take your idea and run with it, versus Hey, you know, start getting that raw feedback, like Scott saying, you know, do some market research. And because the other beauty of it is it listen, like you can just kind of have it concepted on, you know, a napkin or you know, a pen and paper, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money or time upfront, to start to evaluate and validate your idea. And, you know, don’t go all the way at the same time of creating a prototype. And, you know, it’s baby steps. It’s like, just try getting that casual feedback of here’s an idea that I have, does this sound interesting? You know, and you have enough validation backwards that says, yes, okay, well, then maybe take the next steps and try creating just a very rough prototype, so that people can actually like, get a visual on it, or give it a try. And so, you know, that’s kind of the method that I support is to, you know, baby steps, share your idea with other people, it’s not going to get taken. And you know, that’s the best way to, you know, to understand if you’ve got something or not,
David Ralph [38:11]
and solving somebody’s pain, obviously, you’re doing a product, but most people towards pleasure, they’re having enjoyment they’re being with their fake friends and family. But something that solves somebody’s pain point is one of the easiest, I’ll give you an example. My wife brought me back, a banana case, a plastic banana case. And I looked at it and I said, Why do I need a plastic banana case? She said, just use it. And so I put a banana in there. I went off for the day. And when I took it out my bag, normally I have a black banana that’s been bashed around, it was pristine. And I instantly realised that the simplicity of this thing is genius. And that’s one of the things isn’t it that people need to understand that. It doesn’t have to be clever. It doesn’t have to be sexy. It just has to solve the problem.
Paddlesmash Founders [38:59]
Yeah, well, so number one banana case means something different here in the US than what it means. What does it mean? I love that product. That’s such a funny product. I’ve seen people carrying those around. And it is such a weird thing. But also you’re right like it does solve a real issue. We’ve all had that experience. And so that is a it’s a great way to find ideas is to kind of start with what are pain points. I mean, it’s that was the origin story of my original retail store. It was also the the origin story of paddle Smash. You know, Joe had a pain point Joe couldn’t play with his kids the way he wanted to. So it’s a great way to start an idea but ideas are the easiest part. And this is not me. This is not me coming from this without experience. I’ve done both I’ve done the idea and licencing and I’ve done the idea and bringing it to market man ideas are so easy and they are honest They they’re a diamond that doesn’t we cannot treat ideas like they’re kind of this precious ring that golems. Like, protecting from the world. That’s the easy part, you’ve got to get it out there, you’ve got to let people hear about it, you’ve got to watch reactions to it, the hard part is taking that and bringing it to market. And so I mean, that’s the thing I’ve seen over and over again, and, and when invent when an inventor is pitching an idea to me, and they asked me to sign a nondisclosure agreement in advance, I get it, I understand their desire to protect, but it is a major warning flag for me. Because it to me, it shows a little bit of their, their feeling around their idea, which is an unwillingness to kind of put it out there and let it be roughed up a bit. And that’s what you got to do with your idea, you got to put it out there, let the world rough it up a little bit before you move to that next baby step. The first baby step is let it get roughed up next baby step is probably more roughing up before you even get to the stage where you’re building a prototype and putting it out there for real tests. So yeah, I think just kind of general theme here is, then I, I think ideas have to get out in the world. And now the thing is, I mean, I can’t tell you how many times an inventor would show something to me. And I’d be like, Listen, I’ve had eight people show me a similar concept in the last three weeks. And there’s something about it, sometimes it just ends up in the ether. And that’s kind of what happened with paddle Smash. This is not because Joe copied us. Or we copied Joe, that we were both thinking of the idea, at least at the same time. There’s just some times when trends come together out into the world. And I will say we’re lucky that no one else had the same idea. I would say like, one of the biggest fears for me over the last year was I would why would open my computer, and someone would have sent me a link to a video of someone having already created it, because it’s just likely to happen. And so we’re lucky that we’ve gotten this out to the market, we’re lucky that we’ve got a patent on this product. Lucky that will be a first to market combining these two amazing games, because it’s not always that way.
David Ralph [42:13]
And if somebody had done that, Scott, you could look at it and just pivot somehow, can you you could make a smaller version but indoors, you know, it’s still the concepts great. He’s just needs something else to it.
Paddlesmash Founders [42:28]
There is I mean, the world is a massive marketplace, I there’s plenty of room for multiple multiples of the same thing. You know, there’s Uber, and there’s Lyft. You know, there’s all of these common common companies, similar companies that both can be out there, I’d say I’d get fearful if I saw more than two, you know, if I saw three out there, I wouldn’t want to jump into the pool with with very similar products if there was more than two. But no, it doesn’t scare me when I see someone doing something very similar. Actually think that competition can can drive innovation can drive creativity. So I like that. But I will say I’m excited that we’re the first.
David Ralph [43:05]
Yeah, and there’s more than one car company. And there’s more than one TV company, you know, it’s it’s just they put their own spin on it. So what we want to do, we want to bring the show to an end now. And we want to take Tim we’re going to choose Tim and a part of the show is the Sermon on the mic when we send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time, Tim, and give some advice to your younger self. What advice would you like to give them and how would that make a difference to them? And perhaps would they even listen? Who knows. But I’m going to play the music and when it fades. It’s your time to talk. This is the Sermon on the mic
Unknown Speaker [43:50]
we go with the best bit of the show.
Paddlesmash Founders [44:09]
Well, hello, Little Timmy, expecting me. I just want to let you know that although you are not as smart as you think you are. You should still pursue the ideas that you think are great, because you’re going to figure it out. Even if you don’t have all the answers. You need to trust yourself and just get going. So great job so far. But you’re going to do big things if you can just trust yourself. Believe in yourself and get going and quit quit your job and say yes, to more opportunities. And if you meet a guy named Scott along the way, even though he’s a little odd I think you might like
David Ralph [45:01]
him. And I’m actually gonna throw it over to Scott. I know we plan this with Tim. But I’m I’m intrigued to see what Scott would say to his younger self.
Paddlesmash Founders [45:09]
I mean, first would be to invest in Bitcoin. So definitely give myself some good financial advice. Yeah, there, I think I just be, I have lived in such fear. I think like just this fear of failure, fear that my ideas wouldn’t be good enough. And, you know, it has been a bumpy road. And there’s been lots of ups and downs. But like, benefit of hindsight, looking back, it has been a great journey. And super excited. I just say to myself, like, just put the fear aside, everything’s going to work out, like put yourself out there. Work hard, you’ll figure it out things that click.
David Ralph [45:53]
You always do you see the dots join up. And I say that time and time again, you can’t see where you are at sometimes. Sometimes you’re totally lost. But as long as you just keep moving forward, you then look over your shoulders, and you think I am make sense. I can see how it all happen. So Tim, what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you, sir?
Paddlesmash Founders [46:14]
Yeah, so we are recently live with our website of paddle smash.com pa DD le smash.com. And, you know, as of recording this podcast, and September 1, you know, we’re hoping to be live in the marketplace in about two weeks. And so that’s really the easiest place to find us as you can contact us and or Instagram, same thing, paddle Smash, but paddle smash.com is the best place and for
David Ralph [46:41]
UK sales, is that possible?
Paddlesmash Founders [46:46]
Not right now. So we are starting in the US market this year. But you know, that we’re looking at it as kind of like a soft launch this fall. And then we do have plans for expansion outside of the United States, you know, in 2023, but you know, I’ll just say if somebody is very interested in it, you know, hit us up, and maybe we can work something out.
David Ralph [47:10]
Yeah, I wish you all the best to you to Scott, and of course to Joe as well. I looked at it and thought, yeah, that looks fun. On a sunny afternoon in the back garden. You don’t need a lot of space to play. I think it’s going to be a winner, guys. So congratulations to you. Thanks. Thanks, David. So Scott, Tim, thank you so much for being here with us joining up the dots. And please come back again, when you’ve got more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up those dots, and connecting our paths is always the best way to build our futures. Scott and Tim, thank you so much. Thank you. Okay, so Scott, and Tim from paddle Smash. So they found a product somebody had invented it, they took his skills brought their own skills into it, they realised that one person was good at one thing, one person good at another. And now they are changing their lives and changing the lives of their families. And it’s a key point to that discussion, too. Don’t just think you can do everything yourself. If there’s somebody out there that can do something better than you and quicker venue then use them and that could be delegating work out. Or it could be finding a business partner. It doesn’t have to be an island. No man is an island as I say. Anyway, thank you so much for everybody listening to Join Up Dots. And thank you for all the interaction we’re getting through the show. And until next time, I will see you again look after yourselves. Stay sexy and Cheers. See ya. Bye bye.
That’s the end of Join Up Dots. You’ve heard the conversation. Now it’s time for you to start taking massive action.
Unknown Speaker [48:53]
Create your future create your life. Easy only you live God. We’ll be back again
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Unknown Speaker [49:07]
Joe Join Up Dots