On this episode of Inspiring Minds, host Justin Starbird welcomes good friend of the Edison Awards, serial entrepreneur, part owner, developer, and all-around awesome guy, Ryan Fogelman. Ryan is the CEO of Conversion Development is leading Gold Edison Award Winner Fire Rover, CO-hatch and former Edison Award Winner Re-Grip.
Listen to Ryan talk about how he has over come obstacle after obstacle to find success.
He says it best in this expert, "I’ve typically not had deep pockets in anything that I’ve worked on. I’ve never been one where a company like Accenture would say, “Okay, why don’t you become part of my research and development team and help us figure out what the next product market would be.” What I do is I’d like to work from the ground up. I’d like to work with inventors. I’d like to understand. I’m curious. I think that’s where the Re-Grip.
I fell in love with the innovation, in the simplicity of what the invention was. With Fire Rover, the same thing. It’s a very complex product and I work with the inventors and it was one of my really good friends who actually had the idea for the company and he did the first year of building prototypes and then I got involved.
Again, when I get involved, I think it’s the next level. You have the inventor who creates that product. Then I look for products. Number one that I think are going to make it because nobody wants to waste their time. I don’t want to say I refuse to fail. I’d like to think that I refuse to fail. Of course, I fail, but at the same time, it’s always going to be a calculated risk on the projects that I want to work on.
Then there are the surprises. You work on a passion project, like CO-hatch that actually now has a mind of its own and a life of itself. I think I’m always looking for innovation. I’m looking for things that excite me. Then, from my perspective, when I get involved, it’s, “Okay, what’s the best way and channels to start to drive awareness.” Then from that perspective, it’s, “Okay, now, we get awareness, let’s prove the product works, and then let’s try to go out and actually get real sales.”
You get real sales, it turns into a real business. There are some great ideas out there and there’s a lot of very naive inventors and I say that with the most respect. Inventors should be naive. They should stay naive. They should believe that the world is simple and that they can create a product because what’s made the US and what’s made the American way it’s our innovation.
It’s looking at a problem and trying to find something new, which is why I love the Edison Awards. Because when you go there, there are all of these different products of people who’ve created something or a different mousetrap or something. That’s huge. Now, bringing it to market is different.
Sometimes I feel like I crush the inventor’s dreams when I’m like, “Create your product. Get your patent, be done.” Then bring someone in like myself or a group that licensed it to a company that has the money and the deep pockets that can really bring it to market. Again, as we all know what the internal combustion engine, it’s not the most efficient product that’s out there.
My great grandfather used to say, “It was the biggest forest that was sold to all of us as Americans.” At the end of the day, that product made it because of the deep pocket. We would have had electric cars 50 years ago if it was for what the best and most innovative products are. There’s always the reality of business. I think that’s the hard part for people to understand."