Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Start Ups Master Mark Grimes
Start Ups is the name of the game with Mark Grimes, todays guest joining us on the Join Up Dots podcast.
He is a man who over the last few months has taken more action than most people, not least himself have done over the last 18 years.
You see over nearly two decades our guest today created a list of businesses that he thought would be proven winners.
Or at least those that were worth reviewing and developing to see if they bore fruit.
Now since August 1, 2020, he is a man on fire.
As he says “Since August 2020 I launched one new startup every day for 31 days in a row.
Yep, 31 brand spanking new companies. No business plans drawn up. No money raised.
No teams assembled. No website created—nothing done ahead of time.
Zero. Zip. Zilch. Lean and mean. 100% transparent. 100% open.
How The Start Ups Dots Joined Up For Mark Grimes
One new idea was selected each day from 350+ business ideas scribbled down over the last 18 years, aka the Dunning Kruger Project.
Is this for real? Yes. Am I joking? No. Am I nuts? We’ll see.
Why am I doing this?
Well, there are 55 million newly unemployed people in the US alone.
There is continuing economic upheaval. There are tense racial, political, and personal divisions among us. There is a global pandemic.
Is this the worst possible time to launch and grow a startup? Yes
Could it be the best possible time? Yes.
Which of course makes him a perfect guest for a show like Join Up Dots
So where can people start first with so many ideas flooding around us all everyday?
And of course how does he remain organised and focused on developing every single one.
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mark Grimes
During the show we discussed such deep subjects with Mark Grimes such as:
Why the term fake it till you make can often be seen as hindernace to finding true business success.
Why Mark chose the amazing business Cowworking to get off the ground before settling on others.
Mark talks openly at his reasons why a business plan is often not the best thing to do, but making things up as you go is.
Why the world is looking to take the most perfect of steps forward before they ever go for the messy imperfection of business building.
How To Connect With Mark Grimes
If you enjoyed this episode with Start Up expert Mark Grimes why not listen to some of our favourite podcast episodes such as Making Money Online, Nick Ruiz, Sarah Caltieri or the amazing Sam Bearfoot
Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from.
Full Transcription Of Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host, live from the back of his garden in the UK, David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:25]
Yes, hello. Good morning to you. Well, good morning. And thank you for being here with us on Join Up Dots. Now, today’s guest was somebody that I started recording with about three weeks ago, and we had technical issues, it all went a bit pear shaped like we say in the United Kingdom. And so we stopped, he’s coming back again. And the first time I basically referenced that I thought he was mental. And after I’ve been sitting here for three weeks, I think he’s even more mental. I just can’t can’t quite get over it, but we’re gonna share it with you. He is a man who over the last few months has taken more action than most people, not least himself has done over the last 18 years. You see, over nearly two decades, our guest today created a list of businesses that he thought would be proven winners, or at least those that were worth reviewing, and developing to see if they bought crude. Now since August, the first 2020 he’s a man on fire. And as he says since August 2020 I launched one new startup every day, but 31 days in a row now. Yeah. bachina Yep. 31 brand spanking new companies. No business plans drawn up. No money raised, no teams assembled, no website created. Nothing done ahead of time zero zip, zilch. Alina mean 100% transparent and 100%. Open. Now one new idea was selected each day from 350 plus business ideas scribbled down over the last 18 years. And you know, is this for real? Yeah, it is. Now, there’s actually 55 million newly unemployed people in the US alone. And there is continuing economic upheaval. There are tense racial, political and personal divisions amongst us. And there’s a global pandemic as well. So this is the worst possible time to launch a grow up startup. Yeah. It’s got to be Yeah. Can it be the best possible time? Yeah, you probably could as well. So what makes him a perfect guest for a show like Join Up Dots? So you know, it’s just this kind of action taking this mentor, fire burning that he’s got inside him. So where can people start? First? We’ve so many ideas flooding around us all every day? And of course, how does he remain organised and focused on developing every single one? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Mark Grimes. Good morning. How are you?
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [2:47]
Wow, how on earth do I live up to that buildup?
David Ralph [2:51]
Well, you’ve heard that build up twice now. And and you did really well. And I think that was the problem. I think I over delivered so much last, the internet couldn’t keep up with us.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [3:03]
We just blew the power out.
David Ralph [3:04]
I think we blew the fuse and everyone was sitting out watching their pornography and go, hang on, why is it all gone black, and it was big? It was because of us. So let’s start with it. Right? 31 job businesses in 31 days. I am an action taker. I’m somebody that can see an opportunity and develop it quite quickly. But I can’t get my head around how you can keep it organised for 31 days. So I want to start with the big question. Just by saying that you’ve launched 31 companies doesn’t mean that you’ve launched 31 companies does it?
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [3:43]
Absolutely. Correct. You’ve got it dialled in. Yep. I mean, with launching a company, and one of the things that I was hoping to, to share with people is I think so many people get hung up on what does, you know, to start a business? What does it mean, for those of us, you know, people like you, David, myself that have started, you know, multiple things over the years, we know, depending on how we want to do it, you just go out and you make it happen. Like you’ve mentioned, you know, kind of in the windup, you don’t have to write a business plan, you certainly don’t have to raise money. So what do you have to do at the bare minimum? And that’s what I’m hoping that people who have been thinking about starting a company for weeks or months or years can learn from this is you start it, you put it out there and you move it forward? It’s definitely not a I hate the phrase fake it till you make it. I think that’s kind of baloney. It’s it’s you design, what it is that you’re trying to get built. And then you move forward with it.
David Ralph [4:47]
I actually think fake it till you make it. I think that there’s a truth in there. I do. I think, at the beginning when we’re starting something and I was talking to a guest just recently on this You put out a bigger version into the world when you actually feel yourself. And it feels a bit fake. But you’ve got to do that so that you can actually catch up with the image and grow into it. And then finally believe and then when you do believe, it’s like rocket powers all over you, and he’s suddenly just seems to make sense and become magical. So I do kind of think fake it till you make it is right, because we can’t feel competent about something, but it’s new, surely, can we?
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [5:33]
I take your point, I get that. I guess, you know, let’s let’s put up an example of, you know, one of the startups here. You know, I’ve never really done business to consumer stuff before personally, for my own companies, I’ve helped others launch theirs, but not my own. So for me, you know, that was a, an unknown experience. But you take like, the whiskey glasses, for instance, the hand blown whiskey glasses. Well, I’ve never done a consumer product. I’ve certainly never done anything that’s breakable. And, and kind of like a high end whiskey glass. I guess what it is with the fake it till you make it thing is the word fake just kind of throws me maybe, you know, I mean, it because I don’t want people to feel like they’re fakes. Or that what they’re doing. Is it real? I don’t know. I guess it’s just the word that throws me personally, I mean, I get the point I, you’re having to put it out there. But if you’re calling up, for instance, if you’re calling up a potential buyer of your thing, or a number of buyers, it’s okay to explain, hey, here’s what I’m working on. Here’s what I’m looking at, you’re talking to CEO, consumer, whatever it is a buyer for a grocery store, you’re talking to them about it, you don’t want to put it out there.
If it was fake, you’d say this thing exists.
You know, and I’m ready to deliver it tomorrow. But it’s okay to call them up and say, Hey, I’m looking to do in this product, this thing I want to talk to you about it, you could let them be a part of the initial process. So it’s not fake. It’s just it’s in development until you make it How’s that?
David Ralph [7:09]
Well, back in personal branding been a lot of people now create businesses, I’ve done it myself where you are fundamental. And you are going from potentially being in corporate land, to starting a business and trying to convince other people that you are an expert, or you’re knowledgeable or whatever. Is that more relevant to the fake it till you make it when the personality, you know, I can honestly say, I launched a podcast. I wasn’t a podcaster for about 100 shows. I was finding my way through developing it. Now I say to people, yeah, I’m a podcaster. And it’s not open to question. That’s what I do. But there was certainly a point where I didn’t feel it. And I didn’t want anybody to listen to it that used to know me, in case they said anything bad. It was very much a sort of a secret squirrel time.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [8:03]
Well, and I’m sure if you listen to those first 10 shows you probably lose your mind, I would get some amazing,
David Ralph [8:08]
they were amazing, man.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [8:11]
It’s so good. They’re behind a paywall. Anyway, um, no. So I think there’s there’s a truth to that. But I think you know, like you said, when you leave your corporate job to go start the thing, whatever the thing is, as long as you know, a little bit more about something than the people you’re trying to sell the thing to, then you’re okay. I think some people feel the hang up is I think some people feel like they want to know everything about it. Yeah. And not just about the thing that they’re trying to build, but they need to understand finances and become the CFO, and then they need to be the CEO. It’s like, yeah, you need to do all that stuff. But you don’t have to read, you know, dozens of books, listen to hundreds of hours of podcasts, you need to start a lot earlier than you think preferably like in an hour or two.
David Ralph [9:00]
Now, with your businesses, we jump back onto those. Now, you were saying no business plan. And I query I like a business strategy. But I don’t like a business plan. I like to know. But the offer is strong. I like to know that there’s a market out there. I like to know where the customers are. I like to know what the cost of traffic is going to cost me whether it’s in time or pay per click, all those kinds of things I like but I wouldn’t class it as a business plan. I see so many people create those and they seem restrictive, to the entrepreneurial, sort of back and forth that you have to go through where you’re, you know, you’re trying to find your way through what do you think?
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [9:46]
I agree with you. I think when people think of business plans, or go about creating their own, usually there are two real reasons you want to create a business plan. One is to get funding to get funding from A VC or an angel or whatnot, or to is to get a bank loan. And unless your path is that path, which I try to recommend to nobody, unless that path is your path, you don’t really need a business plan, what you need is, like you said, you need like a strategy plan a strategy document, you need to kind of break down the fundamentals of what your business is, and who your potential customers are. And that’s a huge step. And a step that, frankly, that scares a lot of people think about it, a business plan is sitting down at your computer, and banging out 20 to 50 pages of stuff that’s out of your own head. It’s not a bad process to go to. But it’s very, it’s like reading a book. It’s just it’s very lonely. And it’s you and it’s in your head, whereas it’s a strategy or marketing plan. And part of it has to be has to be you talk to 810 1220 or more potential customers. And then then it becomes real and you start to get feedback. That’s just critical.
David Ralph [10:59]
Now, I’ve been scribbling around looking for I used to have a list of all your businesses, but I can’t find it as it been blocked from your website, because I think I used to click on it and read them. And one of the ones I remember strongly thinking that’s a good idea. It was like a family financial meeting online. It was very much sort of zoom based what we’ve been going through with locked down, and very much a case of something that would be minimal startup costs.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [11:31]
Right, right. So so that idea well, first of all, just so you can go to on your notes, as we’re sitting there chatting, if you go to the website, 90 days to cashflow positive, the number nine zero 90 days to cashflow positive, you’ll see all 31 businesses there. So yeah, that idea was born out of probably about two, two and a half years ago, on one Sunday, I took two or three adult sons out for a breakfast and a Sunday morning, breakfast and coffee, to talk about finance, we’d never really talked on any real level about money or finance. And it just struck me that, you know, categorically that was kind of stupid to not have real, honest conversations about that with them. Not that I did with my folks, and most people don’t. It’s one of those in some ways. In many situations, it’s kind of a taboo subject for for children and their parents. So we went out, we just talked about the basic structure of stocks, bonds, investment, living beyond your means living under your means and basic stuff like that. I did it with no real intention other than let’s have a coffee and have breakfast. At the end of it on the way back home. It’s like Well, guys, what do you think you want to do this again next month? categorically? three out of three thumbs up? Absolutely. So we’ve been doing that for a little over two and a half years now. It was one of the pseudo toss off business models for the 31 startups experiment. And, and people have people are interested in it. Let’s put it that way. I’m still trying to package what I think the weekly or the monthly offer looks like. But I think it’s something that’s it’s very sorely needed out there. And especially now when we’re dealing with all the things we are globally with a pandemic and so many people losing their jobs, you know, managing money, how to deal with money, what do you do now? stocks and bonds? Not that everybody has the same answer, but how do you look at it and how do you discuss it?
David Ralph [13:26]
Now for the list? I am fascinated because there’s I’ve now found this 90 days to cash flow positive. And some of these have they changed because I am reading him now. And there’s one that jumped out of me and it was day eight, and it’s called coworking invite a cow to your zoom meeting. What the hell is that about?
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [13:50]
So I have a co working space in downtown Portland’s It’s 12. It’s 12 years old. It’s one of the oldest in Oregon. pandemics are a little bit like oil and water. It has been an interesting year for co working. Had you asked me in May, May June, I would have told you, I just think we’re screwed. I think by the end of the year, we’re just done. I think differently. Now. setting that aside. My wife and I have a place on the Oregon coast in the dairy town where tilam of cheese comes from which I doubt you guys get over there. But it’s one of the bigger brands of cheese here in the US. And so we I see a lot of cows on a weekly basis. And I’ve actually met some of the dairy farmers which are, you know, frankly, some of the hardest working people in the world I think I mean, these people work insane hours and they rarely take a day off Christmas if they’re lucky. So, it was it was literally just a play on words. Obviously coworking co working with the idea of there were so many zoom meetings and we’re all I think Many people early on or started suffering from zoom burnout. So you know, that’s a newer idea. Obviously, that’s another 10 year old idea or 20 year old idea. But the whole idea was inviting it, you know, where somebody at some one of their bigger corporate meetings, obviously, it’s not going to be a bank meeting probably.
David Ralph [15:20]
How would you monetize this? And this is this is I look at this. And I think, out of the 350 ideas that were written down over 18 years, why the hell did this get to number eight? Surely? Yeah, this would be the 420 out the 350.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [15:40]
Um, I agree. And I knew putting it out there. It was definitely one of the it’s definitely not, you know, it’s not my number one list for an IPO. Let’s put it that way.
I think it’s, I wanted to show people
that startups can be playful and fun to, you know, it doesn’t have to be all serious. It doesn’t have to be a bunch of shit that you know about. And it’s this and it’s that and it’s, you know, you have to be heads down and, and just so focused on this thing that you’ve just or so deep down. I don’t know anything about, you know, dairy farmers, I know how this thing could work. I know how it can actually make some money. How how’s
David Ralph [16:24]
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [16:26]
yeah. How how now brown cow is with a cow. I want to know how know how, okay, so, in doing this, and I haven’t done a lot of research on any of these things. I’m gonna have to, you know, it’s not like I’m deeply in research, however. So you’ve heard of the company GoToMeeting? Yes. Yes. Okay, I actually used to be a client of ours at the ad agency, we actually helped add millions of dollars to their bottom line anyway. So but that was years ago. Different different. Different era. However, GoToMeeting, GoToMeeting, goat to meeting, there’s actually a company out there that brings goats to your Skype calls, goats.
David Ralph [17:09]
That just gonna eat everything. And they,
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [17:12]
they’re gonna, they’re gonna go wild and everything, they charge 40 to over $100 an hour to bring that go to your meeting. Now before go to your meeting is 75 bucks, I’m sure a cow could be somewhere. I don’t know what the cow goat ratio is. But there’s some kind of ratio there that will work it out. It’s gotta be four times as an fo unless it’s a very small cow. It’s got it. Well, exactly. When you got you know, you got the other thing, which is like that. But yeah, exactly. So yeah, four times the amount of a go.
David Ralph [17:43]
Now I’m going to scroll down here because that was the one that jumped out at me. And I just bought been he’s obviously been on something. And then I saw family pot aware but donk 1 million pounders gathering online or in person to help each other out now, just just the scale of this is more than a throw it out on day 17 kind of business, isn’t it?
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [18:07]
Right? Absolutely. And I think the thing there is, I don’t know. I mean, obviously, if you have the things that are out there from the link things and the Facebook’s and the Twitter’s I mean, there are things that have hundreds of millions of users. So the question becomes, how do you connect founders in a meaningful way where they can help each other out, and it doesn’t become just meaningless noise, and baloney, which is what most LinkedIn groups, most Facebook groups, most all these things become insane. Now, I’ve been fortunate enough to be in a position to help people in Egypt and Nairobi, different people around the world found and grow their companies in different various countries outside of the United States. And it’s its own challenge, because you don’t necessarily know what the local obstacles are to helping them grow the business. But at the same time, you depending on how you come up with the attitude, you have more of an international perspective of what somebody in Cairo can do to grow their their tea oriented business, because you get their heads out of Egypt, and you have them take a more global perspective, or whatever. That’s obviously just an example. So when you put founders and entrepreneurs together in a peer to peer environment, just you know, magic things happen. That’s the way it works. Because it’s this it’s like the Kevin degrees six degrees of separation, Kevin Bacon thing. It’s, it’s, it’s like here’s a challenge. Here’s what I’m facing. How can you help me and when you’re talking founder to founder, and you’re in a in a good peer to peer environment, you’re not trying to just sell each other stuff. Hopefully that does not happen. You’re not you know, that’s I mean, Personally, my, I am not a fan of networking, going to some open event where you’re going to drink beer coffee together and just kibitz about this or that, you know, that’s people trying to sell each other stuff. And that’s really not peer to peer helping each other, like a massive smaller mastermind group or something like that. So the idea with the 1 million founders is, can you get them an environment where, yes, there’s a lot of them together, but then they have these smaller broken out peer to peer groups where they’re in kind of a similar stage of their business, and they can really help each other grow is a million a lot? Sure, why not? You know, is it gonna be a million in six months? or six years? Oh, I had turned that off. Sorry about that. Um, and it’s like, the million is, yeah, it’s ridiculous. I mean, I’ve done a million things before with some other businesses. So I have a fair concept of a million. You know, getting a million people to do this. Or to do that, you know, I started with a true kind of mean based company, as an adjunct to the ad agency, we had 850,000 people sign up for a mailing list to get content. So I understand you know, getting to a million is a big reach. But I guess the answer to the big question is, well, why not? Because the millions a lot more aspirational than 100,000 and 10,000? Oh,
David Ralph [21:26]
yeah, but but the key thing is jumping in here. And this is what I want the the lesson is to understand if your offer is strong enough, if your offer is really robust, vain, these kind of things take care of themselves, you know, and I just keep on seeing so many businesses, but it’s just crap. And I say to the people, I don’t understand it. This is my phrase of 2020. I don’t understand what you’re selling. I don’t understand the experience you’re offering. I don’t understand how I’ve got to navigate my way through your business to find something, you know. Yep. Once you get that strong, and you get the idea, and you really define an offer, you know, you look at Facebook, back in the day, they basically switched it on a went mental, because people wanted to do that. And they wanted to connect, that is where people have got to look at it, I’ve got to make sure that the offer is stronger than anything else out there. And it’s already wanted by people.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [22:32]
100%. And I think you’ve articulated that better than I did. So you could just edit out what I said and put in what you said, I genuinely
David Ralph [22:38]
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [22:42]
So, so, exactly. And I and, again, so many people get caught up in in the one concept of, Oh, well, what is the problem you’re trying to address? It’s like, Oh, my God, you don’t have to look at it that way, either. There is certainly no problem. You know, like the x target throwing company that I want to build, that is not solving a problem, what I have an x and I want to hurl it at something, you know, so so it doesn’t have to be a problem. But like you just said, you have to identify, you know, what is that thing? And what is it you’re really selling. And if you land on a page, and if in 16 seconds, you can’t tell what it is that they’re trying to, in essence, sell you or get you to buy, then you probably need to tighten up that a little bit. Now, that being said, to going back to what you said, it may be that you or I or other people, maybe they don’t we don’t get with a thing is because maybe that person is potentially thinking a level above because they really understand what the situation is and who’s going to buy it. And it’s our real new thought that it’s a new thing. To a certain degree, I go back 12 years ago, that’s what net space was. It’s a co working space in Portland. I always had to explain to people at first what a co working space was.
David Ralph [23:59]
I used to have to explain what a podcast was. And you know, exactly, and that wasn’t that far, far back in time.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [24:06]
Well, yeah, yep. Yeah, you probably still get people that will say, I don’t know how to get a podcast, right?
David Ralph [24:11]
Yeah. Or they say that did this is my all time favourite, but I get now they say, Can I listen to it? And I think, no, no, I do it on my own in a downstairs toilet. And no one ever gets to hear it.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [24:27]
Yeah, exactly. Well, and that’s well at podcasts when it comes to that. You look at the problems of podcast right now one of the biggest problems. I think, you know, I have a podcast network. Maybe you don’t, anywhere. Have a startup Podcast Network. One of the biggest challenges with podcasts. There’s now 850,000 I think in the world. I think there’s more podcasts and podcast listeners myself, but anyway, but it’s it’s fine stability. Yeah, I mean, you’ve done your you know, you’ve done over almost 1400 podcasts. That’s insane. That’s ridiculous. That’s so amazing. I’m so impressed with that. So people, you’ve got involved so early on. That’s such a really good place to be, even though you had to fight, you know, to explain to people what the hell you were doing years ago when you first started doing it. Now people are out there trying to put out content and try to try to get found trying to find listeners, it’s a whole different world out there. It’s easy.
David Ralph [25:25]
I won’t tell you how it’s been. It’s it’s so easy to get listeners, it’s untrue. And I often wonder why people are struggling blasting information onto Facebook and social media where it’s not required. He’s just, it’s just obvious. Now I’m gonna play the words of Jim Carrey. And we’re gonna be back with Mark Grimes,
Jim Carrey [25:44]
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 [26:10]
Now, you obviously love this, and why did it take you so many years to burst into life?
Unknown Speaker [26:20]
that’s a good question.
I think I just,
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [26:29]
I wanted to take a stretch out there. And every startup is an adventure in a new experience, and kind of like you get to be an explorer and adventure. And I’ve been enjoying this, I’ve been enjoying Ned space, I’ve been enjoying startup radio network, you know, these two companies that I’m currently the longest involved in. But when I was looking at the list, and you know, I’m in my late 50s now. And looking at the list, I told my wife when I met her 1983, I’d never retired, I want to do stuff that I’m thrilled and happy to do every day. And I think I’m going to live up to that I hope to never have to retire. So I’m looking at this list. And I’m thinking, Well, what do I want to do? You know, we’re sitting here, net space is kind of, you know, it’s at a plateau, it’s doing not the best it could, but it’s doing okay, during a pandemic, but that’s not taking up, you know, 100 hours a week, sort of radio network, what do I want to do? What’s something I can experiment around with during the pandemic? So I started to look at this list if you know 350 plus things then like, well, Oh, that one? Oh, I like that. Oh, geez, no, no, no, no, I like that one, too. Oh, oh, shoot, what about this? So I started looking at that, and then started realising, you know what? So I thought about doing more than one before, you know, how many could I do? Which is maybe not a best question to ask yourself. And then I finally figured, you know, what, I’ll just do, what did they all run with, it will run hard, we’ll see what happens. I don’t know what the outcomes gonna be. I don’t have any. I don’t have to have to make it make $100,000 a month, just because I can make it take the time, build it, go with it, try to share with people how to do it, so they can see it themselves. And that was, I think that was the biggest credit impetus really was helping other people see how I do it, and how they might be able to apply it themselves. And that’s what really kind of lit the fire.
David Ralph [28:27]
But how do you remain organised? And with all that going on? You know, I because I know I’ve got about four or five things I do all the time. And it’s a real juggle. And, you know, it’s just from from paperwork to administration to this and that. It’s, it’s, it’s difficult. So how do you keep it organised?
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [28:47]
That’s a good question. And I forgot that Africa had a claim or profanities is that yes or no? Here.
David Ralph [28:51]
You can say anything you want, as long as you are happy that somebody’s grandchild isn’t going to be walking around the streets saying Mark Grimes told me to say that.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [29:01]
Okay, well, this. Okay. So, so you’ve heard the will, okay. You’ve heard that expression. If somebody gives you a, you know, a poo sandwich, I guess let’s Yes, yes, we’ve heard that. Okay. Okay. heard that. So in the response to that is, if you’re given a poo sandwich, you better take big bites. Oh,
David Ralph [29:24]
I thought she gave it to someone else. I I wouldn’t get it myself.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [29:30]
You get you’d sell it to somebody else. Word up a website, you fresh two sandwiches to your door anyway. So that the truth is, I mean, it’s funny because, you know, a month ago we were going to talk to a certain degree, there was a different story because this is developing in real time. I took off in some ways, well, in many ways more than I could chew. I don’t have a good answer for that. I don’t have a I understood how to launch it and that was great. But trying to to juggle 31 things. And, and what I’ve been doing is, I’ve been focusing on the things that I know least how to do. So I’ve been focusing on the development of the axe throwing target, again, a physical product that’s heavy, how do you ship it? But trying to get the prototype built? I’ve been focusing on the prototypes for the whiskey glasses. One of the people that this blowing the whiskey glasses, studied ennerdale. Julie, I mean, we’re talking about high level really cool, super interesting stuff. But I’m, I spent a bit too much time focusing on the things that are new to me. So it’s been a challenge balancing the time on a day to day basis. I mean, there’s no doubt about it.
David Ralph [30:41]
So wouldn’t wouldn’t it have been better to look down the list and think, yeah, I’ve got knowledge on that I could do that one straightaway.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [30:49]
You’re right, that probably would have been a way to do it.
David Ralph [30:52]
Because I always say to people, you know, what’s your knowledge base in that thing? And I’m always blown away that somebody and I could, I could argue, yeah, I started a podcast, I didn’t have any idea about podcasting. You know, so we, we all do it. But it’s so much better to have lived the business to understand the nuances of the business. More than start something, you know, the two bit jumped out of me on this list, one, because it amused me greatly. And this was cookies, cookies made by ex felons by paid their dues to society. Now time for sweet treats. raisins can simply just and a bad word off the bat. And I like that. But the one that I’ve actually had this idea, and in when we was in luck, this is 2020. So if you’re listening to this 30 years down the line, it was a weird year in 2020. And, and more often than not, we were told that we couldn’t go anywhere, and pop up drivings. And I saw a YouTube video where this guy, it was his birthday. And he was in a sort of apartment block. And he lent out the window and all the neighbours, but he’d never met before sang Happy Birthday to him. And it was a real sort of connection. And with this pop up driving, but you’ve got manifesting the driving experience in strange and unusual places. I keep on thinking about if you found a wall in an apartment block, but you could beam the picture of up. But everybody could sit in their flats, or apartments at seven o’clock at night, and watch a movie together. It would be like going to the cinema. But you’re not actually breaking social distance rules or whatever, you know. And I think that would be something that you could start quite easy. And there will be a big demand for it, don’t you?
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [32:46]
Absolutely. I think you can, it’s just a matter of like you said, you know, where’s the physical location? What’s the equipment that you need to broadcast? And then if you need to get into licencing, it’s situations. So you know, for instance, if you’re trying to do new films, that’s not going to work, even if you’re trying to do traditional films, depending on what depends on what method or what Avenue you want to take. But I think you could do exactly what you describe, I’ve actually helped do do one of those in downtown Portland, a couple of decades ago, where we had outside the movie that was in the public domain that we showed the people, there’s probably about three or 400 people that showed up for that one night. So yes, absolutely, I think you can do it. And then they’re actually portable driving screens upwards of 20 to 40 feet. So you can actually even do it as a drive into to kind of replicate the driving experience. And for those of us that are in our 50s and are older, you know, the drive ins were around back then. And they are such a fun experience to do and so many people that are saying I don’t know 3035 and under, I’ve never had the chance to to have the driving experience where you’re driving in. You can. There’s so many things you can kind of experience in a driving in your own car that make it interesting and fun. So it not tremendously hard to really make it happen.
David Ralph [34:14]
I can imagine a lot of the stuff that goes on inside private cars. And so there’s no point in going to a driving I think you could find any old corner.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [34:24]
Yep, yep. And the cookies idea. Cookies made by ex felons is actually based in so one of the shows we have in startup video podcast networks called felony Inc. And it’s actually ex felons that have started companies. The host for the first 18 months was a friend named Dave Dahl. Dave’s a four time loser as he calls himself he spent 16 years in prison drug related stuff on the user side, sometimes small dealing anyway
when he got out Finally, the fourth time
he was kind of talked into joining the family business. Out of that it was a bread and baking business and company. Out of that they launched a brand called Dave’s Killer bread. Now Dave Didn’t he didn’t kill anybody, but he doesn’t mind if people think he does anyway, he is. Anyway, he’s a very interesting character. He,
David Ralph [35:27]
you could spend spin this off and have like Dave’s Killer babysitters.
Unknown Speaker [35:33]
And see if that would go. Yeah,
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [35:35]
But so in starting the podcast, one of the stairs stories he shared early on was before doing the bread company, he actually kind of wanted to do cookies. And for whatever reason, in my mind, at the time, I just was thinking, I just thought, oh, cookies. Oh, that’d be a blast. So I just filed that one away. Again, this was three years ago. Anyway, Dave went on. h calibrate grew, they had about a, I think it was close to a 300 and $30 million exit.
David Ralph [36:07]
Well, back home flakes, serial killers that will kill
Unknown Speaker [36:11]
that would work as well.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [36:12]
Perfect. Perfect. And you could have trading cards too, right? Yeah.
So I mean, I think, again, not that ex felons, or you know, like, you know, ex felons have served their time, they need to have something in the way of legal options when they get out of prison. And a lot of them based in the United States, at least what they’re locked up for, they’re really good at selling stuff, just selling the wrong stuff. You know, so if you could get him to sell better stuff, then maybe there’s some options. So, you know, Dave’s Killer bread, about a third of the people, there are people that have had, you know, records. And I think we can kind of duplicate that with cookies. And I think it could be, you know, it’d be like Ben and Jerry’s only the people or, you know, I’ve spent time behind bars,
David Ralph [36:58]
I’ll tell you why. It’s an interesting point of view that you made there, because I imagine an awful lot of murders are quite persuasive. And very convincing. And very good. You know, as salespeople or you know, drug dealers and stuff, it really does demonstrate, but even if somebody goes to the wrong side to the dark side, by they’ve got talents that can be utilised, which are kind of inherently vem. It’s just in them. You know, I always say to people, my two biggest talents is that I can talk, and I’m very good at digesting information and explaining it in layman’s terms. And I spent my whole life in a corporate land, basically taking very dry subjects and teaching it to other people. And that was what I used to do. And it doesn’t seem a lot to build a business on. But if you do it well, and there’s a value point, then it is, but it’s almost inherently just bear, you’re just tapping into it. And that’s got to be something that people need to look at mark, isn’t it the things that they just go, no one’s gonna pay for that because I can just do it easily.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [38:08]
And I think that’s one of the big challenges and fallacies and I want to add a third thing to the list of what I think you do really well. And that is, I think you listen and understand very well too. And that’s another important critical thing for a startup founders, really cheering if you’re talking to potential customers, or you’re thinking about that idea, and you’re talking to those potential buyers, you better hear what they’re saying. And if you listen hard enough, they’re gonna tell you how to make your thing better. And so you better not be so wrapped up in your thing, that that’s just your thing. And if you don’t want to buy it tough, I’ll go to the next person. It’s like, hold it, hold it, hold it, you’re trying to make and build something interesting of value. People want to pay for your talking to 10 people, they’re all telling you some similar feedback about your idea, then listen to them, they will help you and they will be they will be fans, they will want to help you succeed if you go about it, right. So yep, yep. And and like I said, you know, being a good listener, your ability to talk your ability to to kind of not only share the stories to but I think what you do is you share stories in an interesting way. So people are compelled to listen to you whether they’re tied down in the back room, that’s another story.
David Ralph [39:29]
So basically list this list 31 days, what were these? Did you just reach into a bag and shake it around and pull ones out? Or did you look at them? What was the decision making? Because as I say, some of them I look at and I think great idea others I look at a man thing. He was on drugs. I have no idea why he’s he’s thinking about and then there’s others but I kind of almost ordinary, they’re not overly creative. They’re just kind of out there.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [40:00]
Didn’t quite reach into the bag. But I didn’t also pick all 31 out before day before day one, I knew like the first half a dozen I wanted to start with. And then after that I started to make the decision the day before and what I wanted to do the next day. And I wanted to do a full stretch of things and ideas. So I didn’t want them all to be b2b, business to business or business to consumer. I didn’t want them all to be a $10 thing. But I didn’t want them all to be $100,000 thing either. I wanted to show the full range of ideas. So people could, again, so much of this, I think goes back to just trying to show the examples of what can be done, including, like you said, some that are like, Oh, he just crackers. What is that about? Why is he doing that? I mean, getting founders drunk to talk about startups, what is that about? But I didn’t want and, and to also understand, you know, boring ideas. Like say the day I think it’s day 23 or so but media buying, you know, online media buying buying traffic driving traffic. That’s a huge business. Now, hundreds of millions of dollars spent doing that. The the best idea behind that one in particular is, that’s a really easy one to articulate. Hey, listen, founder, you’re going to spend a buck here, you’re gonna make 12 bucks over here. That’s an easy one for people to understand.
David Ralph [41:36]
Well, is, it is but that’s one of those ones that people would look at and go, it’s too big for me to tackle straight off.
Unknown Speaker [41:49]
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [41:52]
well, I mean, exactly. So that shouldn’t be their idea. Right? In other words, I’ve done it before. And I’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars spending on media, other people’s money, not my own. But made them hundreds of millions of dollars in themselves, right. So but that shouldn’t be, you know, if people are looking at this list of ideas as kind of a recipe or a menu of things they want to try, first of all, by all means please do, right? It’s like, I want to show this to show people they can do it if they want to say hey, I really want to do whatever I want to do coworking. Go for it, right? I don’t, there’s nothing here. I’m not trying to play close to the fast. I’m not trying to be, you know, all peaky about it all. It’s like, go out and copy it make it work. But like you brought up earlier, which I think is so on point to do something that you either know something about or that really just You’re on fire about to make it happen. Because it’s interesting to you. And you think it will be interesting to other people too. You know, don’t don’t just do it for just the money only. And all you’re doing is chasing money. No.
David Ralph [43:03]
Yeah. Yeah. And I think one of the things that’s happened in 2020 is the status quo has been broken down and creativity. You know, I’ve never done a pop quiz on zoom before. And it was every Saturday, uh, me and my son was on Oh, it was like, for the first two weeks, you know, do we have to go again, and my wife is saying, we can’t go anywhere else. We might as well do this on and off. And off we’d go. But people are looking at things and doing concerts online and and just being more creative. And that’s got to bring about more opportunities, hasn’t it? Because the more that is limitless, isn’t there’s not a scarcity of opportunities. It’s just finding the right opportunities for you.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [43:50]
Absolutely, finding the right produce for you. And again, how quickly can you get out there and try it? Do it? Don’t try to make it perfect. Do it see if you can do it first. And then after that, guess what? Do it just a little bit better? Yeah, last week, we did a one of the ideas was trying to get do quarantined table reads. So basically trying to get professional talent around a table reading a script of a of a classic film. And I had an opportunity a few years ago to meet Penny Lane. And she was the the subject of the movie Almost Famous. It was about half her life and half the Cameron Crowe’s life. So it was the 20th anniversary of that film. So and I knew she was looking forward to it from a podcast. She had her as a guest on earlier in the year and all sudden the pandemic kit and all the places she’s going to travel and be the guest on all those things just disappeared. So first of all, I felt like a bummer. What a bummer for her. And about well pandemics, a bummer for everybody for a lot of different reasons, right
Unknown Speaker [44:59]
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [45:01]
wanted to do the table read of that movie with her reading the part of herself. I thought that’d be fun. It’d be a blast. Oh, this would be so neat Piece of cake. Oh, man, what a nightmare. Anyway. So the reason it was a nightmare was also it’s like, well mark you and maybe a table read it. You may have these people around the table doing this on zoom so people can watch it. But you’re going to need to get the rights to do that.
Unknown Speaker [45:25]
It’s like, Oh, no.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [45:28]
It’s like, Oh, really just to do a table read. So instead, last week, last Wednesday, last Thursday, we had penny. And then for those that have seen the movie, the the publisher of the Rolling Stone, I’m sorry, the editor of the Rolling Stone, at the time, Ben Fong Torres,
David Ralph [45:48]
who was hired Cameron Crowe character in the movie. So we had Penny and Ben, basically, do a q&a with a moderator for about 40 minutes, 30 to 40 minutes. And then they did a q&a with the audience. It was great. And we did it as a fundraiser for a local theatre company in Portland, where we put the bulk of the funds to them. It was fantastic. So we took something, it wasn’t the the original idea. But it changed into something that was similar enough, it made it work. And again, showing people you know, it’s not going to the thing you’re going to end up doing it isn’t the thing that you probably that your first idea is, I hate people that quote, copyright and licencing. To me, I used to, I used to make podcasts funnily enough back in corporate land before they were podcast, only because I was a financial trainer. And I realised that I couldn’t get around to everyone because it was too many staff for me. So I started making like these little videos, and the HR woman, lovely woman, but she was a stickler for rules. She used to say to me, oh, you’re playing Never gonna give you up by Rick Astley on there. Have
you got the licencing board? And I said, No. Of course I haven’t. But we’re indoors. She said, we still need the licencing. I said, I’ll just don’t tell anyone. Just don’t tell anyone. You know, just just play it and pretend you haven’t heard it, you know. But rules are there to be had. But I hate rules. I just want to bend and break them.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [47:11]
In that’s what startup founders do. Right? They look at the things they’re like, Well, hold it. People need to pay each other money. How can we do that? What if we just would if all we needed to do is have somebody connection to a bank account and an email address? What if you could do that? I mean, do you know how many rules and laws that that PayPal broke at first? Hmm. If data had been state have been waiting around to get all the authorizations they needed from banks and all the it would never would have happened, it never would have happened. Sometimes you have to be willing to roll the dice. And that’s I mean, that’s a pretty fact can be a pretty big challenge. You have to be willing to take that level of risk. But you know, look at how one would say that could probably paid off pretty well for those founders.
David Ralph [47:57]
Well, let’s listen to a founder who did rather well. And he broke a few rules as well as Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [48:03]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [48:38]
Now, I asked earlier, why didn’t you wait so long to actually do this? But another way I could have asked it was before the dots joined up? Could you have done this?
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [48:55]
Um, no, I don’t think so. I think I think every every sound so Buddhist, you know, but I think everything you do leaves you leads you to where you are now. So when I look at the companies that I’ve worked on, when I look at the CO working space, when I look at startup radio network was which has allowed me to meet another 400 founders over the last two and a half, three years. When I look at creating Maker Faire Africa, which has connected me to a lot of African founders. When I look at all these things that are individual, quote unquote, dots, people that I’ve met along the way doing the things that I do, and building, that’s what led me to be able to do 31 startups could I’ve done it 10 years before, sure, but not with the same kinds of connections, not by a longshot. But I do believe you know, you, you start, you start where you’re at you take the first step.
David Ralph [49:56]
Yeah, I agree with that. Totally. But People don’t do they, I was trying to make a profound way of explaining that. But people don’t buy one, the first step to be perfect. They want to have answers. They want to say, What if, and none of that is out there, it’s only you experience it, you live it, and you find out what happens. And sometimes it is, the first step is wonderful. And you leap. Other times you step into a big pile of steaming dog poo. And then you move on to the next one. And the next one, I look back at everything that I’ve created. And I say this a lot. But I would say, probably 80% of the effort that I’ve done, isn’t here anymore. But the 20% back is still here and visible, was only found by the 80%. That isn’t there anymore, because it was just wasted time and effort, learning self development, creating things that didn’t fly, creating things that were just rubbish, you know, it was just effort, effort effort. But you can’t find that without that imperfect first step.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [51:10]
You have to be willing to, and I hate to call it failure, but you have to be willing to let things be broken at first, and then build them from there. And you’re right, too many people are afraid of that first step because they want it to be perfect. And it’s it is perfect, as we’ve heard so many times too, if it if it is perfect, you just started too late. Now, that doesn’t mean still gonna make it work, you probably can. But those are the perfect people that probably don’t want to change the thing either. So even if they can make some sales at first, they’re probably going to try to keep it quote unquote, perfect and not allow it to change and evolve over time. I think people need to, and it’s hard because you know, when you’re not perfect at work, if you’re not perfect enough times in a row, eventually you just get fired? Well, you’re not doing it this way you got to court, you know, you have to toe the corporate line. And it’s like, well, in startup world, it’s kinda a little the opposite of that. It’s the outliers, it’s the one doing interesting things, it’s the ones that are taking risks that are out there, not huge risks. I mean, you know, most founders kind of know what they’re doing out there, certainly by a second or third time to where they’re not, they know they can make it happen. So it would feel a risk to a lot of other people, it doesn’t feel as much like a risk to them. If anything, they’re a little bit more in control of their environment. You go back to a sound clip that you played at first, that first soundbite my dad worked for a grocery chain in the West Coast, here in the US, and he worked for 35 years for the same company. And then in the early 80s, you know, when he was in his 50s, he got laid off. And I looked at that, and man that had a huge impact on me personally, which is like, wow, if you can work for you to the golden watch timeframe, and they can just let you go. And he got let go because the company was starting to fail. And within a matter of four years it was gone. So it’s through no fault of his own. But it’s like if you can do that, well, I’d rather do my own thing, at least then I have my own future in control. Even if there is failure there. At least it’s something I had something that I can help create. And help control. Yep, grow.
David Ralph [53:20]
Yeah. And and don’t put all your eggs in one basket, you know, just multiple income streams. It just gives you flexibility. Now, man, we could go on and on and on. But of course we can’t. Because we’ve been leading up to the part of the show that we called a sermon on the mic when we get the chance to send you back in time to have a one on one with a young mark. And if you could go back in time and speak to him. What advice would you like to give him and what age Mark Would you like to speak to? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the music. And when it fades is your time to talk. This is a sermon on the mic.
Here we go with the best bit of the show.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [54:20]
Hello, daughters. So here’s the deal. If I go back to my early 20s before I’d started up any company, I had the opportunity to have a lunch with a startup founder, elderly gentleman in Portland. And and I did not get a start up. I was a marketing director and I asked him I was I just wanted to say he’s the kind of a grandfather of startups. It’s like, what one piece of advice would you wish you could take back to when you were a kid before you start anything up when you were in your 20s and he thought about it for a couple minutes and he said 1% of all Watermelon is better than 100% of a grape. And I’m like, oh, man, what does that even mean? So, so I get it now, but I didn’t get it back then. But now I get it. If you want to do your startup, if you have, you’re saying, you know, make the watermelon, have your vision be big, bring on other people. Let them be a part of the experience. Be open, be transparent, do this. Don’t just grow this little tiny grape. Have it be a big idea. There’s seven, 8 billion people on the planet, make it be a big idea. develop it, work with it, if you can, you know, make sure that it helps make the world a better place as you grow it because guess what, that will make you excited to not just making the money, but improving the world. What an opportunity you have before you to do it. Make it happen.
David Ralph [55:58]
You didn’t have lunch with Yoda. Did you by any chance?
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [56:03]
No, no, he’s still he’s still serving 15 years for things. I can’t talk about. You you’ve got dark
David Ralph [56:09]
underbelly of your life. I mean, yeah. We will touch on that on the next time you’re on the show. So Mark, what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you?
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [56:23]
Hit me up on Twitter, just my candles. You know, my username is Mark Grimes. Say hi on Twitter. I’ll say hey, back, that’s the best way to reach me.
David Ralph [56:33]
We’ll have over links in the show notes to make it as easy as possible to connect. Mark, thank you so much for spending time with us today and joining up those dots. And please come back again when you’ve got more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Mark Grimes. Thank you so much.
Start Ups Expert Mark Grimes [56:53]
David, thank you so much for having me. It’s been a blast.
David Ralph [56:57]
Mr. Mark Grimes so yeah, 31 businesses in 31 days, moving them through to profit and you can go over to his website, 90 days to cash flow positive. And just look at the list. And as we went through, there’s some that you think Yeah, great, some that you’ve been constrained, but that’s not the point. It’s about getting your brain, seeing opportunities and thinking of value points and thinking about how to take those value and make it into an offer that other people really want fine tuning the offer is so, so important. Don’t go half assed on it. Make sure that it’s as strong as you possibly can have by getting your research done. Do your market research, ask people, test the waters, make sure that the offer is strong enough because if you haven’t got that, then your business is going to struggle your business is only as good as what you’re offering to the right people. Until next time, my friends thank you so much for listening to us. And Mark and I will be here again. I know I will. I know I will. It’s I’ve got nothing else to do. And so yeah, by
the end of Join Up Dots, you’ve heard the conversation. Now it’s time for you to start taking massive action. Create your life easy only live God. We’ll be back again real soon. Join Up Dots Join Up Dots Join Up Dots, God’s joy. Join Up Dots.