A podcast about failure, mostly in startups and emerging companies, and how to avoid it. Visit us at https://failure-thepodcast.com
If Memory Serves ...
Before starring as the criminal mastermind, Wo Fat, in the CBS television series Hawaii Five-O, Mark Dacascos emceed the Food Network hit, Iron Chef America. Though he probably never uttered the words himself, Dacascos will forever be associated with the iconic opening line “if memory serves me correctly …” that launched the Iron Chef brand into camp TV lore.
If memory serves us correctly, it was a sage podcast that brought you the trials and tribulations of a travel startup in the post-pandemic epoch. (Perhaps, it’s not an epoch yet, but if you vote this November like you did last time, it may turn into one.) “Timing. Timing. Timing.” wasn't Failure - the Podcast’s finest hour, but none are. Today’s episode is no exception. Still, if it stands for nothing else, it’s that the pandemic offers succor to no business.
Welcome to the world of pick-up sports. No, not leagues. We mean ad hoc pick-up sports. Let us explain …. Imagine you are a Gen X’er, in Canada. Your pick-up volleyball games are routinely canceled for lack of attendance. Sure, on Sunday, they told you’d they be there promptly at 5:30 p.m., the following Wednesday. But hump day rolls around and nada. No quorum. No game. Sure, you can practice your digs and jousts, but that’s not the same.
Flagging attendance got your game down? There has to be a better way! And, of course, there is. It’s an app, and it’s by Bloxo, a social-networking — or should we say, a sports-networking — startup from Halifax of the great colorful north. No, Bloxo’s app doesn’t post compromising pictures of AWOL team members to the Internet. It starts from a different premise: that every pick-up game can be a winner, if the players plunk down the cash to ensure they’ll show up. With an adult amateur sports market of over $1 billion, how could a startup in that market-space possibly go wrong?
Well you know where this one goes… COVID-19. Yup. But any business resilient enough to survive the Canadian winters, can certainly tough out the perils of a humidity-loving pathogen. And, Bloxo is no exception.
Join the team from Failure - the Podcast in a scintillating discussion with Jennifer McHattie of Bloxo. You probably won’t get the urge to do your own pick-up sports startup, but you might learn a thing or two about weathering a pandemic.
Time for a shameless plug: did we mention that Bloxo was one of the winners of the MIT Enterprise Forum Startup Spotlight for 2020?
The View from On High
Have you ever looked out over the Midwest farmlands while taking a cross country flight? Just another pretty view, you ask? The guests of today’s podcast think not.
Whether the swamp lands in our nation’s capital or a cornfield in the Midwest, a picture can be worth a whole lot. Sure, a satellite photo might give you some insight into the corruption that is Washington DC, but a cornfield from on high is the real money shot. Imagine, if you could identify rows of maze ripening ahead of schedule or under siege by the infamous corn borer. (Yes, unlike earwigs, corn borers do really like corn). Yields might go up and costs down. And, while most city dwellers can size up a garden in seconds, gauging the health of a mega-acre factory farm is another matter entirely.
You could send out dozens of workers to survey the land, but as the team from Failure - The Podcast is apt to say, “wait, there’s gotta be a better way!” In fact there is, and our guests from Cloud Agronomics have found it. They propose launching microwave oven-sized cameras into the clear blue yonder to diagnose the ailments of our farmlands. Wait a minute, you say. It’s 2020. Hasn’t this already been done? Yes and no. Bits and pieces. Cloud Agronomics is banking on the fact that nobody’s come up with a solution as robust as theirs.
Join the team from Failure - the Podcast in one of the few level-headed discussions they’ve had since college with the management and science gurus behind Cloud Agro. Your dinnertime salad will never look the same.
It takes a lot to rile the team from Failure - the Podcast — especially, when they’re recording an episode. So much so that one wonders whether they spend more time listening to themselves than to their guests. (Yeah, we get it. It’s a process, and at Mark’s age, a slow ship to turn.)
But riled they were. In fact, Dave almost had a conniption arguing the benefits of angel investing over, what, equity crowdfunding? Whose heard of that? Come on raise your hands. Higher, please…. There. That proves it. Not a single hand up in the audience.... Oh, that’s right. We have no audience.
Irregardless (take that, grammar hounds!), equity crowdfunding is a thing. You know, like Kickstarter, but instead of the hope of receiving a bauble, you get a piece of paper and a dream. It’s just like investing. In fact, it is investing, but ooooohhhhh sooooo much cooler. (Yep, the keys were stuck. Chocolate.)
But who are we to judge? Our guest says traditional investing is done with. Kaput. No more of those age-challenged, ethnically-challenged, double-X-chromosome-challenged homo sapiens telling startups what to do and when to do it. The old guard is out. The people are in. (Failure - the Podcast is all for that. We are with the people one hundred percent. It’s the electoral college that scares us. Chads, too.)
Join the team from Failure - the Podcast in a punchy session with Mike Burtov, serial entrepreneur and author of The Evergreen Startup — The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Everything from Venture Capital to Equity Crowdfunding (Wow, you’re right: that was a long title.) Mike’s says he’s got the answer to funding-raising for the next generation of entrepreneurs and, hey, he just might be right.
Scratch the Itch
We were curious. Just what is a skeeter? In the midwest it’s slang for mosquito. Perhaps, everywhere. Wikipedia thinks so. It lists “skeeter” as one of the top off-book expressions for the little disease-carrying buggers. Regardless, nobody seems to like them. Nobody, except the birds and the bats. Fish and frogs, too —- though, the latter might not be with us much longer, if the chytrid fungus has its way. So, forget the frogs. Turtles like skeeters, and so do dragonflies. None of these little beasties vote, so let’s forget the lot of them.
When you come right down to it, nobody or nothing that matters likes the little flying blood-suckers. There’s nary a good one out there. Let’s get rid of them all. As to the birds, bats, turtles, dragonflies and (for now) frogs, they’ll have to fend for themselves. If our public schools can call ketchup a vegetable, than surely our non-voting planetmates can eat those white floaty things from dandelions instead.
All of which brings us to today’s guest. Hanan Lepek is the CEO of Senecio Robotics, an Israeli startup that’s using AI and robotics to help rid the world of skeeters. Just the disease carrying ones, of course. (The garden variety biters get a pass, so don’t throw away that 1960s can of DEET you inherited from grandpa, quite yet). Join us in a post-pandemic conversation that tested the limits of both Skype and Bluetooth. It’s vaguely informative, a little scratchy, occasionally worth a laugh and, certainly, better than watching a coronavirus plume waft up from a political rally at the foot of Mt. Rushmore.
Don Henley was already on the map by the time he released his debut solo album in 1982. Still, it had to have been a boost to the former Eagles drummer that his hit song, Dirty Laundry, made it to the top of the charts and sold over a million copies as a single.
The tune was catchy enough, but the lyrics put the song over the top. Capturing an anger that followed sensationalist media coverage of Henley’s indiscretions, the chorus of Dirty Laundry foreshadowed the sentiments of a future U.S. president toward the Fourth Estate. Henley’s primal “Kick 'em when they're up. Kick 'em when they're down. Kick 'em when they're up. Kick 'em when they're down” might as well be the 2020 RNC battle cry as that of overly-imbibed Reagan-era celebrities.
All of which brings us, oddly enough, to today’s podcast. Jennie Nigrosh’s epic failure on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2013 is the stuff of legends. The rising entrepreneur and founder/CEO of eco-friendly laundry-bag maker The Green Garmento got her legs cut out from under her during taping of the ABC reality show. Though she walked away without a penny from “the sharks,” her business took off. The Green Garmento, a multi-use alternative to plastic dry cleaning bags, is used by dry-cleaners and hotels worldwide.
Why Jennie deigned to take the call — much less, suffer through a grueling hour of questioning by the team from Failure - the Podcast — is a mystery. Perhaps, it’s our listenership. The statistics are hard to come by, but good authority has it that all three regular subscribers to Failure - the Podcast frequent dry cleaners. (Mark, can you check that statistic? I think the consultant we hired meant to say that all three of our listeners complained that they had frequently been “taken to the cleaners.”) Jennie’s no dope. She knows that, in the battlefield of business, marketing and sales are the hand-to-hand combat of success. (Hey, Mark, pretty catchy, eh? Adam Smith would be proud.) So be it, if it takes an hour on Zoom with a few knuckleheads to reach another potential customer or three.
But wait, there’s more. To seal the deal, Jennie has offered to YOU, our three loyal listeners, a deal of a lifetime. Click on https://thegreengarmento.com/ and use the coupon code FAILURE to save 30% on your next purchase of Green Garmento bags. Best bags in the business, Jennie tells us. Who are we to judge? And, don’t ever say you didn’t get something from Failure - the Podcast. Perhaps, Jennie’s offer will make up for all the wasted hours and broken marriages. Hey, Failure - the Podcast isn’t the Joe Rogan Experience, but it didn’t cost $100M, either.
This episode has nothing to do with Amy Cooper. In fact, it doesn’t mention any Karens or their victims. Amy’s dog was named Henry. He’s not in this podcast. Last we heard, he was back with the cocker spaniel rescue league. They are not mentioned in today’s episode, either.
This episode also has nothing to do with coronavirus. Nor, vaccines, anti-vaxxers or Betsy DeVos. In fact, although the episode was recorded at socially-acceptable distances on the order of miles (and, in the case of our guest, a continent’s worth of them), you will hear no discussion of health today. Not a memorable one, at least.
The Beatles. The Stones. The Who. The Grateful Dead. R.E.M. Not today.
Architecture. Philosophy. Music history. Art history. Cosmology. English literature. Filmology. Engineering, science or math. You’ll hear nothing of the sort.
Do you want to learn more about Mitch McConnell? Nancy Pelosi? Donald Trump? (Where is he, by the way?). This is not, as Obi-Wan Kenobi would say, the episode you are looking for. Ditto re RBG’s health, the upcoming elections, or the end of civility as we know it.
Did we mention X Æ A-12 — or Little X, as Grimes more affectionally calls the tike? We might have, here, but not in the podcast. Speaking of Elon, the Gigafactory is in Nevada. Neither come up in today’s episode. Nor do the Kardashians, Kanye West, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner or Blitzen.
What is this episode about? What are they ever about? Think of it as a tree falling in a forest with nobody there to hear it.
For inquiring minds who have stumbled on this episode and can’t find the way out, Tim Forbes is in sports management. He worked his way up through the PGA, became an acclaimed author and now runs his own sports business. Tim has quite a story to tell, and if you listen to today’s episode you might catch a little of it.
Customer ReviewsSee All
i love this podcast! it’s so interesting to hear people’s opinions and hear this perspective! i also kinda have to like it because it’s my dad’s podcast.
This whole series is wonderful!
Great selection of guests and the stories they tell about failure and how to avoid it are key to any entrepreneur