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Tracy Hazzard

The Role Intellectual Property Can Play in an Exit

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Tracy Hazzard is the Co-founder of Hazz Design, a strategic consulting firm, and the CEO and Co-founder of Podetize, a podcasting platform used by over 550 podcasts with over 37,000 episodes to date. With her husband Tom Hazzard, they have launched over 250 products that have earned over $2 billion in retail sales and obtained over 37 patents. 

In addition to being an acclaimed product designer, Tracy is a fantastic speaker who speaks about innovation and intellectual property on stages worldwide. She also hosts several podcasts of her own, including Product Launch Hazzards, WTFFF?! 3D Print Podcast, Feed Your Brand, The New Trust Economy, and The Binge Factor.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • How Tracy Hazzard helped an entrepreneur increase the value of his company before an exit 
  • How multiple patents can increase your company’s worth and help create a barrier to entry
  • Why entrepreneurs should invest in intellectual property (IP) at the right time and for the right reasons
  • How a weak IP or patent can increase a firm’s ROI
  • Tracy explains why she created Podetize, differentiates between using equity crowdfunding and Kickstarter, and talks about her business model 
  • Tracy’s journey to creating a podcasting microphone and her program for helping people launch podcasts
  • Where to learn more about Podetize and Tracy

In this episode…

Obtaining multiple patents can be very effective for increasing the value of products and ultimately, your company. It also acts as a barrier to entry for other people who may be thinking of creating a similar product.

In addition, a company with a big patent portfolio attracts investors and increases the likelihood of not only successfully selling and exiting the company, but getting a high return on investment from it. However, it is important to know the right time to get intellectual property. 

In this episode of the Innovations and Breakthroughs Podcast, Rich Goldstein is joined by Tracy Hazzard, the Co-founder of Hazz Design and CEO and Co-Founder of Podetize, to discuss the role of intellectual property during an exit. They also talk about identifying the right time and reasons for getting a patent, how Podetize was started, and Tracy’s journey to creating a podcasting microphone. Stay tuned.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Goldstein Patent Law, a firm that helps protect inventors’ ideas and products. They have advised and obtained patents for thousands of companies over the past 25 years. So if you’re a company that has a software, product, or design you want protected, you can go to https://goldsteinpatentlaw.com/. They have amazing free resources for learning more about the patent process. 

You can email their team at [email protected] to explore if it’s a match to work together. Rich Goldstein has also written a book for the American Bar Association that explains in plain English how patents work, which is called ‘The ABA Consumer Guide to Obtaining a Patent.’

Intro (00:09):
Welcome to innovations and breakthroughs with your host, Rich Goldstein, talking about the evolutionary, the revolutionary, the inspiration and the perspiration and those aha that change everything. And now here’s your host, Rich Goldstein,

Rich (00:33):
Rich Goldstein, the host of the innovations and breakthroughs podcast, where I feature top leaders in the path they took to create change. Task guests include Joe Paul, Roland Frazier, and Kevin nations. This episode is brought to you by my company, gold steam patent law, where we help you to protect your ideas and products. We’ve advised and obtained patents for thousands of companies over the past 27 years. So if you’re a company that has software, a product or a design, you want protected go to gold steam patent law.com, where there are amazing free resources for learning about the patent. And you could email my team[email protected] to explore if it’s a match to work together. You could also check out the book I wrote for the American bar association that explains in plain English, how patents work it’s called the ABA consumer guide to obtaining a patent.

Rich (01:18):
I have with me here today, Tracy Hazzard, Tracy is the co-founder of Hazzard Design and together with her husband, Tom, who was a previous guest on the show, she launched over 270 products that have achieved over 2 billion in retail sales, and along the way they obtained 41 patents. She’s also the CEO of potties, which is a podcasting platform used by over 550 podcasts with over 37,000 app episodes to date. In addition to being acclaimed product designer, Tracy is a fantastic speaker. Speaking on stages worldwide very often about innovation and intellectual property. She also host several podcasts of her own, including product launch Hazzard’s, WT, FFF, 3d printing, um, feature brand, the new trust economy and the binge F actor. Wow. I’m a little bit intimidated by interviewing her being that she is the podcast expert, uh, and also can give me a run for my money when it comes to intellectual property, but I’m really pleased to welcome here today. My friend, Tracy. Hazzard welcome, Tracy. Welcome

Tracy (02:22):
To thanks so much. Thanks so much for having me excited to talk to you. Any podcaster. This is my favorite thing is to get to chat on a podcast and get to catch up with people who I get to see at events sometimes, but we don’t get to have good conversations in depth kind of conversations about things that we both are passionate about, like innovation, right?

Rich (02:40):
Yeah, no, absolutely. I, I love it. And I love it. And I’m so glad that you here and you’ve got so many great stories to tell. Uh, and, uh, so I like to, um, tell stories that show the value of IP and the role that I can play in exit. But Tracy has one of the best stories to tell about how IP truly multiplied the value that, um, um, that a, um, entrepreneur received at the time of ex exit. So you want to, um, tell us a little bit about that, Tracy.

Tracy (03:09):
Well, keep in mind that I’m I started out my I’m gonna say my design world. I started out in the world doing a lot of what we would call ghosted designing. It’s kinda like ghost writing a book, right? So you buy products every single day at mass market retail. And you don’t know that I designed them. That’s how it would work. We designed for Martha Stewart, we designed for Costco, Walmart, target, places like that in brands within that. And one of those brands was a great company and I say was, but they still exist. So there, there are still, but we haven’t worked for them in a long time, but Wayland furniture and Wayland, furniture’s outta San Diego, California, and they’d been known for creating TV stands. And we came in and we did a whole different product line for them. We did a whole line of office chairs for them, but when we came in and they were doing these TV stands and they were doing really good business every single year, them to all of the big name, uh, retailers, and they had filed a patent on what they called a three in one, which basically created multifunctions.

Tracy (04:10):
So you could take your TV, you could hang it on the wall, you could put it on the stand, you could put it on the, the base portion of it. And you had all these different ways to configure it. And they hadn’t been able to, to really get that patent issued. So it was, it’d been about, I think it was in patent holding for well over four years, which is for, uh, I mean, I think that’s extremely long, maybe rich, you have like that. That’s not long at all, but for furniture ponds,

Rich (04:35):
That’s

Tracy (04:35):
That’s well, yeah, it’s well above average, as I would say too, from my experience on it. And so it anyway, so we thought, well, that was odd. And so because Tom and I already held so many patents and Tom Hazzard is my partner and husband, and he’s already been on your show. So, you know, but because we had had so many patents already, they said, can you take a look at this and tell us what you think? And so we looked at it, we thought some of it wasn’t written to clearly identify where the value was in the marketplace. And that was probably why it was getting technically hung up because it wasn’t an amazing techno feet of any kind, but it’s innovation and packaging, these things together. And the marketplace was actually fairly innovative. And so that’s what we helped them rewrite some of their claims and had a conversation with a patent and trademark office, which is very rare that any inventor does, but we weren’t the named inventor.

Tracy (05:23):
So it didn’t really matter in that case, we were advising and helping to clarify the language in plain English in a way that someone who isn’t a designer or isn’t an engineer might understand. And that’s what really helped there. So when their patent issued, what happened was is that they went from a, what was a hundred million dollar a company in just terms of straight revenue and a hundred million is pretty decent size for furniture company in terms of like, uh, line. But if you wanted to sell the company, you’d be lucky if you got one and a half times revenue to sell the company and the owner of the company, um, Ken Wayland had received multiple offers to buy the company, but it was just all at that kind of like revenue get out of the company kind of thing. And he was, he just didn’t wanna do it.

Tracy (06:07):
It wasn’t where he, where he saw the value, but after this patent was finally issued and they were able to stop some of the other placements of knock offs that had happened. Because when you go on for four years, people don’t believe you’re actually gonna issue a get your patent issued. And so they stop worrying about it as a defensive strategy. And so they, they were like, you know, knock offs were going into the market left and right. And they were able to stop that. And when they did that, they came back and almost immediately got an offer for three times their value. So they were 300 million in terms of their offer that they received, which is really high. And then plus it had earn outs and a whole bunch of other things along the way. And they were bought by one of the largest furniture importers and or exporters in the world and outta China. And that’s just an amazing feat to be able to do that in such, uh, a difficult industry. That’s all trend based, but the power of that patent and what that added to the portfolio was just huge.

Rich (07:01):
Yeah, it’s amazing. And it’s like probably on what they invested in the patenting. It had to be a thousand time ROI

Tracy (07:09):
Easily. Cause I think we only charge them. We only charge ’em $10,000 to make a phone call and review something. Like it was nothing for what we did. Um, we did also, and we did do something else. That was a little bit interesting cuz there was like 10 thousands, a lot for a phone call. We don’t normally charge that. We would’ve probably charged a thousand dollars for that phone call, but we charged 10,000 because what we did was we, we did something, we call a, um, a patent fortres. So if somebody has a patent that is valuable and um, but sometimes the way you accomplish it could easily be circumvented. So, and in their case it was the concept of it. But there was a couple of detailed outlines about how you accomplished it. And so what we did was we invented three other patents that surrounded it three different ways to accomplish the same thing and still get the same result without violating the patent.

Tracy (07:59):
And so they were able to add three more patents, which also increased the value. Cuz now you have four patents in your portfolio, not just one. Um, though all three of those eventually issued even though at the time that they sold the company, they hadn’t issued at that point. Um, but that, so they added that. So that also kind of creates it so that people can’t find ways around it. And it makes it better when you go to sell your company because the lawyers can’t come in and say, well, there’s so much risk here when they see four different ways to make the same thing, they’re thinking, oh, that’s gonna be a lot harder to ho to knock off. So your risk factor just went down. And so that’s what we did for them. And I, I think they ended up actually utilizing one of the ways we made it because it hap it happened to be a more streamlined, simple find way to make, uh, one of their new products. So they did eventually use it. So it wasn’t just a, an extra patent.

Rich (08:46):
Hmm. Yeah. That that’s, that’s amazing. And, and in general, I guess it’s the, the value of a patent portfolio of this synergy there. It’s like, um, if you are able to obtain multiple patents or for someone or you as an inventor, if you’re able to obtain multiple patents, then it, it greatly magnifies the value of, for a lot of different reasons, including that anyone who looks at it and considers, well, what do we need to do to get around the patent? You’ve not only made it, let’s say four times more difficult to do so, but you’ve increased the cost of even assessing what these patents stand for tremendously. So it’s like, um, when, when, uh, when a client is asking, can I get around this company’s patent portfolio? I have to ask them, is it really worth it? Because it’s gonna take a lot for us to even analyze these patents. So you just create a, a much bigger barrier to entry when you create a patent portfolio. And so that’s a great story of how you’ve done that successfully.

Tracy (09:45):
Right. And in a way we preemptively did that, right. We preemptively did that with high design skill, right. Because we know what we’re doing. We’re we were in the marketplace, we know how to design furniture. If you have the lo bunch of lawyers come in and do it, they don’t know. They don’t know. Yeah. There there’s like, there’s a path maybe, but they don’t know if that’s physically possible, you know, they’re not creators. So yeah, I, we think, we think patent portfolios, portfolios of intellectual property. And with that, we say more than patents patent, trademark, you know, uh, it might be proprietary technology. You could have copy rates in there. Like there could be a whole bunch of things that you put together. We like to look at every single entity that we do or every single project that we used to do with our clients. We would look at that as adding to the portfolio for them.

Rich (10:28):
Yeah. I love it. And you know, like I said before, when it comes to IP, give me a run for my money. You know, you have so much experience in like create and creating value for your clients through IP. Um, and, uh, uh, you know, and, and knowing when it’s appropriate and not wasting money on the wrong IP at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons. Um,

Tracy (10:50):
That’s such a good point that you’re just raising right there. Like the, the entrepreneurship view of it or the business owner’s view of using intellectual property has to be considered because look, lawyers can only recommend to you, like this is possible. I think we can achieve this. I can’t guarantee it, but I, you know, there’s a path and, and you know, you’re, we’ve done our search, we’ve done all the due diligence and all these things on that. But at the end of the day, if you’re not going to use it, if it’s not gonna be useful to you be a part of your business strategy, then is it worth the money you’re spending on it? And the time you’re spending on it, is it gonna achieve the value you need at the end of the day, we always look at that. Sometimes we have gone against somewhere, an attorney, a client’s attorney said, we don’t think we should file that patent. It’s not really strong. And we’ve recommended that they do it because it’s a defensive strategy. So there’s sometimes some of those things that you do where you’re defending your territory on a shelf in case of retail, which you really need to do. And so even if it’s not strong, it’s just the idea that that’s, there is kind of help give you a little bit more shelf life than you would get before the knockoffs start coming in.

Rich (11:58):
Yeah, absolutely. And, and, you know, what’s, what’s interesting, like, um, even those not strong patents become valuable when you go to exit. I mean, not all businesses make it to exit, but those that do will get an, a ROI even on the crappy IP.

Tracy (12:15):
Right. Well, I mean, in this case, like one of the, one of the chairs we designed had a, it, it kind of had a unique herring bone, which is kind of like a, you know, stripes that go into each other, a herring bone design out of the leather in the back of the chair and the company didn’t wanna bother to four different, which is the way we usually recommend it on a, on a three dimensional product, like a, a piece of furniture or a chair. We would recommend four different design patterns rather than one. So you have your face because there’s one pattern there you have, the side might be your arm or something that you’ve got on the chair, the back and the base. And so we would recommend all of those views because anyone can change, uh, you know, some amount of the patent.

Tracy (12:56):
I think it’s up to 10% or something. If they change the design up to 10%, it’s not an infringement from a design patent Strat situation. And that’s just too easy to do, create a different stitch pattern, do something. But now we created it where, because they’re, we’re, we’re highlighting four different parts of it. They have to change more, more of the product. So it doesn’t tend to look exactly the same when it goes in the market. So we, you just to use this strategy, but this company just decided they didn’t wanna spend the money. They didn’t wanna, you know, they were being a little bit cheap about it, cuz design patents aren’t terribly expensive. And what happened was is that this chair got, went into staples and was amazingly and sold really, really well in staples and staples direct decided to knock the company off and make the chair themselves. And that was a $4 million a year chair. Like that’s how much it did at retail. And they lost $4 million because they wouldn’t, you know, spend a few thousand dollars on patenting. Yeah. Really shortsighted at the end of the day.

Rich (13:56):
Yeah, absolutely. Um, and I understand like a lot of times when an entrepreneur is launching many products in their bootstrap, that they might, um, not know if, if this particular product’s going to really go anywhere and so they don’t want to invest in it. Um,

Tracy (14:13):
That’s why I’m a big fan of provisionals, to be honest with you. Yeah. Gives us the time to figure that out.

Rich (14:18):
Yeah, absolutely. Um, you know, for on the utility side, on the design side, you can’t do it provisional, but it’s still relatively inexpensive to file. And so it’s usually worth it. Um, now let’s talk about potties because this was, you know, you spent a, a good deal of time and, and have had a amazing career designing products for yourself and other people, uh, with amazing successes. But then now it’s almost like you’ve, you’ve got the, the, um, the, kind of the little crowning achievement here as I see it with potties. Like, so what was the, what was the need that you saw that led to you creating potties and just tell, let’s talk a little bit about what you, what you really have have created here.

Tracy (15:03):
Well, you know, we wouldn’t be good designers and good innovators if we weren’t paying attention to shifts in the marketplace. And so what we were seeing was a tremend to shift in the design consulting market, there were less and less designers being involved in the process. It was harder and harder for us to onboard clients and we would have to start charging them more and more because we, they were few and far between. And so this, we, we are really seeing something that wasn’t gonna be long term viable. So we started our first podcast, which was WT FFF, 3d printing, which you mentioned earlier. And so we started this 3d print podcast as a test saying, we see this market disruption happening. Is it gonna be 3d printing? We actually weren’t that confident that it was be, and I think we were right, because I mean, it’s incredibly hard to design for 3d print for a 3d printer.

Tracy (15:48):
And so unless there’s really great design libraries out there, nobody’s sitting that home going, this isn’t gonna take me hours and hours to figure out how to use it. It does take a long time to use one. So we were providing information around there and the way we sought it to do it was just a podcast because it was super simple. This was early on in podcasting, 2014 to 2015 when we were, when we were setting this up and it was just a really easy way, lives streaming wasn’t as big a deal wasn’t big. So that just wasn’t, uh, the case that it was easy to do that. So the audio seemed accessible inexpensive and just really easy for us to test out whether or not there was a market for this. What we clearly found out was that it was a good thing. We didn’t shift our entire business and go into 3d printing.

Tracy (16:30):
It really wasn’t a market for the part that, of, of the, of the market that we wanted to participate in, that we were really great at. Wasn’t gonna pay enough money for that. It wasn’t going to be a good offshoot to our business. But what we found was we excelled at designing the process of podcasting. So just like designing a product, we designed podcasts and in almost the same way, following our same systems, our same processes that we’d always use to design product, do a little research, understand your market, bring them together, put a strategy in place and then implement and execute out on delivering that as an end result product, which is how a products, how a podcast looks sounds, you know, how it, how it’s found in search engines. I mean, think about just all the products today that we put on Amazon.

Tracy (17:14):
If we don’t optimize our listing, then we don’t get found on Amazon. It’s the same thing with podcast. It’s just content that needs to be found somewhere. And so we just treat our podcasts like products and it turned out that other people were begging us to do it. And that’s literally how it happened is they were saying, you’re doing this and it’s so amazing. Can you do for me, here’s my credit card. And so we started this business five years ago. Um, it had already been in, I’m gonna call it the sort of side hustle phase for a year and a half where we’d been doing it, amid our product business. So we were still taking podcasting clients and product clients at the same time. And then we phased out of it because it, it had, it, it, when we saw the path for where it was gonna go, we saw we can do the same thing that we teach our clients used to do with our clients, which is start stacking innovation, start building a portfolio of, of intellectual property, start products and services to the market together.

Tracy (18:11):
And in this case, products happen to be software or a physical microphone, which is coming out soon. So we had all these things that we could bring to the table. And lucky for us, it was, we were at the right timing in the marketplace. So we were, we were at that cusp of where it was headed up in the wave. So our thought leadership, our position within that was just at the very beginning of that, but not too early, right. Where you’re, you know, you’re teaching everybody else how to do this. And then it fades before you’ve made enough money. And so for us, we were just at that right moment in time, but we built an amazing process system software that everyone can use. And we’ve been really focused on how to achieve that goal and get it to its high valuation.

Rich (18:57):
Yeah. And so, um, in terms of getting it to that high valuation, so like right now you doing something really unusual with a company like this and using crowdfunding. So, so tell me about that.

Tracy (19:08):
So equity crowdfund is not like Kickstarter, so I just wanna be clear out there. So those of you that might be familiar, cuz you’re product people about Kickstarter equity, crowdfund is actually, you know, get letting people buy into your company. They’re buying to be a part of the community. It’s they buy something in what’s called a crowd safe vehicle, which is a agreement, a shareholder’s agreement, but there’s no shares. You have to have a triggering event that occurs to where there’s actual stock exchange going on. So you’re buying in basically almost like an option. Think of it that way you’re buying in an option. So you could get bought out or you could end up owning stock in a unicorn. You never know. Right. And so that’s how that works in, in so the crowdfund model, but I’d spent 18 months prior meeting with investors that were private equity investors, uh, institutional banks, I’d been meeting with, um, venture capital firms.

Tracy (19:59):
And I went and angel groups all different kinds of ways I went around. And the problem was is that none of them fit the model of business that I wanted to do or their way of it. She, even their return on investment was not going to fit my model of business. So some of them, they wanted a really fast, immediate return. Others. They wanted to force you into a path that another podcasting company let’s say took this path and it’s all on user acquisition. And that’s the only thing. If we give you money, you’re gonna spend it on that do and only, but only get users into your platform. And I looked at that and just said, none of those fit, the model of company I wanna have at the end of it. And I would, I want a billion dollar valued company and that’s where I’m headed to.

Tracy (20:44):
And that’s what I’m going for. And I believe all along the way, these are going to be the segments and steps. And when they wouldn’t agree on them, they’d start to argue with me about them. Then I was like, this isn’t a right fit for me. So what I realized is that part of what it was that they were resisting is this idea that I’m building a community that is supporting a community. So my, this podcast is supporting the community of podcasters, who aren’t able to achieve Joe Rogan level numbers in their podcast show. They’re less than 2% of podcasts will ever make any money off of advertising on their show. They might advertise for their own things. They might have sponsorships like legal firms and other things like that, but they’re not make those general ad sponsors that make, you know, millions of dollars a year like Joe Rogan, right?

Tracy (21:31):
That’s, that’s just not gonna happen to 98% of the podcasts out there. So how can they do it? Well, YouTube is a great model for that, but YouTube, most YouTubers don’t make any money either, right? So how can we achieve a better level of that and allow people to be participating in that process as hosts. And so we have some plans for some blockchain and enabled, uh, algorithms and other things that are going to be like an employee stock ownership program for our hosts that are going to come onto our, that are on our platform and continuing to come onto our platform and that in and of itself just lended itself to the crowdfund community because it’s all a share economy at the end of the day. So we realized that if we could get the crowdfund community to say that’s valuable, then, and they invest. Then when we go out and roll out that into our, our model of business next year, they’re the hosts are gonna join too because that’s valuable to them too. So that’s what we realized is it was just a stepping stone to almost test out our concept, test out our strategy and it’s working.

Rich (22:37):
Yeah. It’s like creating lots of stakeholders in, in the success of, of potties. Uh,

Tracy (22:43):
Yeah, I think the biggest complaint I get from crowdfund investors are, are, you’re gonna end up buying me out. Aren’t you like, cuz that typically does happen where an investment bank might come in and they buy out all the stockholders. They’re like, I wanna own it all the way through to wherever it’s gonna go. So that’s what we hear. And so I’m thinking to myself, well, okay, well we need to hear that, that, that, that’s the question that they ask most is are you gonna sell me out? You know, they’ll make their return. So they’re happy with that. They wanna be able to stay with it. And so how can we create an environment where we can keep them with it? And that’s one of the things we do have plans for.

Rich (23:17):
Awesome. Awesome. That’s amazing. And um, uh, I mean, there’s just so many stories of innovation to tap into here, but um, another one I, I really like is with regards to the microphone. So you’re in the, in the process of creating a podcasting microphone, not just an ordinary microphone, like we each have in front of us, but a recording microphone, but there’s a, there was a, a painful story that you had it actually wasn’t painful in the end, but uh, there was a painful moment there which led to you creating the microphone. And I, I love that story. I’d love for you to, uh, tell it.

Tracy (23:49):
Well, I think, you know, this is, I’m one of my favorite things about talking to innovators and inve inventors over the years. And I wrote a column for in magazine for four years. And in that time, got to interview some amazing brands and hear their origin stories. And I love when you, you have that flash of genius, right? I love when there’s that moment where it just occurs to you that this is all wrong. And that’s exactly what happened here. So I was writing for ink magazine, had an opportunity to go to a blockchain and cryptocurrency conference and interview Steve Bosniac and many other people and was, was, was the reason because he was just so amazing and cool. And luckily his interview happened in a back room and was perfectly great and nothing went wrong there. But I went to interview Gary Vanerchuck, Gary V and I’m backstage behind the stage.

Tracy (24:39):
Common was also there. He was coming on behalf of Microsoft and he was gonna warm up and actually do, uh, a whole, um, musical, uh, segment for us, which was really amazing. And so he’s on stage warming up and we’re backstage with all this noise and I’ve got my microphones and what we call is a mobile zoom device. It’s not zoom. Like we take our videos and we’re doing that on zoom here, but it’s a mobile device that you plug your microphone into and there’s no place. I have no pockets and I have no place to put it. So I drop that device down onto the ground lightly. And I have my microphones, Gary V walks up, I shake his hand, we have three minutes because they gotta get us out of that backstage. And I hand him a microphone and we go, and I talk fast as you know, and you could hear here, but Gary talks fast, like real, really fast.

Tracy (25:27):
And so we’re going back and forth and back and forth three minutes. And everyone’s just, their jaws are just dropping because I’m asking hard hitting questions and he’s answering like such an interesting way. One of the best interviews I’d ever done. And I shake his hand, he was like, that was so great. Let’s have another interview in the future. And I was like, okay, yes. Now I’m gonna get him for longer. And so I go to pay up my device off the ground and the batteries had died and I didn’t get one second of my interview with Gary fee, not one second of it. So I do what all business partners and wives do. I called my husband and partner and screamed at him. And I said, Tom, this is so ridiculous. This device is so stupid. I feel like a bag lady with all this stuff, the batteries die before it’s even like four hours in you can’t possibly be a professional like this.

Tracy (26:17):
And you know, I’m, I’m done like, like I’m done. And so he too, he hears me. He lets me rant. And, but the designer and him said, opportunity, flash a genius goes off. And he starts sketching in a sketchbook. And two weeks later he comes to me and he said, Hey, what do you think of this? And he shows me this self recording microphone. Now it shifted over the two years we’ve been working on it, cuz we’ve been working on two years only because of the pandemic. But you know, so it’s just happened in that process there. But over the two years we’ve been working on it. I mean, essentially it’s the same. It’s got the same features, the same functions he designed into it. But you know how you accomplish something changes over time, but essentially you can go all day long recording microphone.

Tracy (27:03):
Nothing’s gonna happen. Batteries. Aren’t gonna die. And if they do die, you can stick regular batteries. And I’m not rechargeables, which I hate environmentally, but it was a choice because when you’re at an event, you need to be able to go to the like hotel store and buy batteries. You need to do what you need to do to get, get back and running and get back and record and lights that flash at you and give you 10 minute warnings. So you have plenty of time to wrap up your conversation before batteries die on you. Anyway. So like all of that is built into this microphone and we’re so close to getting it done. The final samples came from China, um, before Chinese new year. And we are in the little bit of refining the software that’s in it right now and the chips. And then the chips were a nightmare with the chip shortages to get done, but we’re really so close to launching it and we are gonna actually kickstart it just for fun. Not because we need to cuz we can afford it. We can bring in the inventory, but Kickstarter is a great marketing tool. And so for, it would be remiss of us to not use the tools that are out there and seeing, we already know how to handle crowdfunding and marketing campaigns for that because we’ve been doing it for the equity side. We can absolutely do that on the product side too.

Rich (28:11):
Yeah, no, that’s awesome. And so now once the microphone is finished, are you gonna send one to Gary V

Tracy (28:17):
I absolutely. I already actually showed the very first prototype to his brother at an event. So we were doing a super bowl in the beginning of 2020, and we had our very first basically working prototype, but I mean, it was kind of rough working and uh, and so we were testing it out at that event and he got to play with it and he heard the story and he said, oh yeah, Gary Love this. So let’s go into it. But we, we also all have some other great podcasters and live streamers, all lined up to, to, uh, to help us promote it and to test it out for us and give demos.

Rich (28:50):
Yeah. And maybe you can make a, like a, a Gary V microphone NFT or something.

Tracy (28:55):
Exactly. We’ll have to turn it into an MFT, but it does have like, cause if you, if you’re watching the video for this, you’ll see that I have a mic block on my microphone that has the branding on it. So it does have a branding on it. So we can certainly put Gary V’s brand on it for him.

Rich (29:10):
Yeah, no, that’s awesome. And uh, you know, something else that you’re doing, um, is, I mean, recognizing that, um, I mean, first of all, like lots of people are interested in launching podcasts these days and a lot of times they feel some barriers in the way of like, well, you know, what is the focus gonna be? Who is my audience going to be? How do I work out the technology? And, and so you’ve gone about to, to start to train people, to help, uh, others, to figure all of this out. You created a program for that. Like I really love to hear more about it.

Tracy (29:44):
Yeah. So we have multiple programs. So we have a free bootcamp. We made it free at the beginning of the pandemic because we wanted everyone to be able to access that. So we had this free bootcamp, you go on our website and it’s easy to find. And it’s, you know, six to eight hours of different content, depending on what you wanna consume in the, you wanna take to, you know, do your show. You maybe don’t wanna edit it. And so, you know, you can skip those editing videos, but there’s all these videos that are there to help you, of course, to completely help you set up your show, our system, our podcast syndication system, which helps you go out there and host takes care of all the one time things. Because you know, it’s a shame for, to spend a lot of time learning how to submit our show to apple when we do it once and then we don’t have to do it again.

Tracy (30:28):
Why should I have to watch a video to learn, to do it, let somebody else do that for me. So we’ve made our programs inclusive of those things. We don’t charge extra for them. We just make them a part of everything we do to make it easy for someone to start a show so that an easy side, but sometimes we need business help. Right? And Tom and I, this is what we know best we know strategy. How do you make a great product so that it sells itself on the shelf? How do you make a great podcast show so that when I’m scrolling through the app, I wanna click on it. What are those key features? What’s a part of it. And how do I make that happen for you? Well, sometimes we need one-on-one assistance. We can’t do it with making decisions. And I can’t prescribe something to you because it’s not one size fits all your business at, you know, your business rich as a law firm is completely different than somebody who is a TikTok influencer, it’s different business models and D results that they want from things.

Tracy (31:24):
Some people have FINRA or, you know, certification or FINRA regulations that are preventing them from being able to say things and do things. So we can’t have that one size fits all, but I also can’t grow a business and do that myself. I’m growing a multimillion dollar business, billion dollar valuation. Eventually I can’t do that and be the person that provides that. So how can I in the share economy model help others do that? So what we did was we saw podcast coaches and people offering set up and launch services and their own courses and programs popping up left and right. And we said, how can we support them so that their advice better informed by the fact that we’ve launched over a thousand shows? I think when you said your stats at the beginning was like 550, that might be last year’s numbers. We’ve launched over a thousand since that total. And so, you know that that’s okay because I should update my bio. Right? Yeah. But we launched

Rich (32:19):
Your website. I think the it’s

Tracy (32:20):
Probably on my website. Right. Cause we haven’t revamped it. Yeah. And so anyway, but yeah, with over a thousand there, we know what works and what doesn’t work and someone who’s just starting out, who’s off, who’s launched a dozen, doesn’t have that data and information. So we launched a podcast certified strategist program and, and what, it’s a certification program in that anyone who would like to add podcasting services, be able to help people with the strategy and the launch piece. We’re gonna teach you about the business side of being a strategist, but also give you our intellectual property to utilize. That’s why the certification is necessary for you to have a license to you utilize those intellectual properties. So whether it’s our checklists and our systems, or being able to access special pricing to use my team when you don’t have a team yet, like all of those things are in that program and process. And so we just launched it. The beta is two weeks into it already and we’ve had such great feedback on it. We really believe that this is gonna be a great way to, uh, you know, to help everyone grow, whether they’re independent, small business owners trying to start up their coaching business or that they’re the podcasters who are resulting from all of those things, everyone’s gonna win in that process.

Rich (33:33):
Wow. You, you do so many innovative and interesting things. I mean, you truly find all these opportu to kind of reinvent yourself, reinvent some, um, industry or field. Uh, it’s, you’re truly a fascinating person and I really appreciate you, you being here and if people wanna learn more about you or get in touch with you, how do they go about doing so

Tracy (33:55):
Well? You can find potties, potties.com, uh, easily on the website. And if you wanna learn any, you think about podcasting, it’s there. If you wanna connect with me personally, go to LinkedIn because that is the one social media platform where I participate in every single day.

Rich (34:09):
Awesome. Uh, again, thanks so much for being here, looking forward to seeing you again at an event someday soon. And, um, just thanks for taking the time.

Tracy (34:18):
Thanks for having me and for having such a great podcast.

outro (34:26):
Thanks for listening to innovations and breakthroughs with your host, rich Goldstein. Be sure to click, subscribe, check us out on the web at innovationsandbreakthroughs.com and we’ll see you next time.

 

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