Why I HATE Knockoffs, but LOVE Competition

Why I HATE Knockoffs, but LOVE Competition

Let me make something clear: as an entrepreneur, I LOVE competition. It’s part of what drives me, and it’s literally what drives me when I’m racing a car on a track (one of my favorite hobbies). Competition ignites my passion for my own company.  Like most entrepreneurs, I put my heart into my work to step up my game, to innovate and to win.  Competitors require you to be sharper. Now, let me make something equally clear: knock-offs and copycats are NOT competitors… they’re cheaters. A competitor tries to beat you at your OWN game, or creates a totally new game.  They don’t undermine the rules of fair play in the middle of a match. A competitor tries to overcome your greatness by being even BETTER than you.  Innovation is their tool, not imitation. A competitor puts a NEW twist on what exists.  This ADDS to the conversation, it doesn’t take away from it. A competitor inspires YOU to be even better than they are.  They provide obstacles that challenge your ability to problem solve and improve. The only thing copycats inspire are calls to your lawyer, and maybe a LinkedIn article. Imagine speaking with a group of people, and someone in the group starts repeating what you say immediately after you say it.  They don’t get all the words exactly right, but it’s an almost verbatim repetition of what has already been said.  They may get some attention for it, but this repetition does not and cannot move the conversation forward. Innovation – and competition – are about advancement, and moving the conversation, the products and the industry...
The Importance of People

The Importance of People

Part One: Our “Bozo Explosion” and How We Recovered For the longest time when I was just starting out in business, I had a premise about people. I thought, ‘why do you need to wonder what makes people tick?’ It should be so simple. They take a job and get paid. Straightforward. I came to realize that I was completely wrong and this was a completely backwards way to think about people. As you grow with a business, you quickly learn you need more people to do things. It’s finding out how you select the best people for your business that is the hardest part. I am believer in the “Bozo Explosion”, as Guy Kawasaki referred to in a post back in 2006, which I still reference today. The premise of this is that as soon as a company achieves success, they’ll hit a downward slide which can completely be avoided. It even happened at Apple under the control of Steve Jobs and it happened to us. Many things play a role in the downward spiral; the hiring of less than competent employees, involving big name consulting firms who have no interest in your business, money not well spent, and the list goes on. Well, here’s the short version of my ‘SCOTTEVEST Bozo Explosion’… In 2010, our business began doubling year over year, and we were trying to adjust to some serious growing pains. People continued to tell me that as an entrepreneur, I needed to get out of the way and hire professional managers to run my business. I was hesitant, but ended up hiring a President for...
“Raising Money is Not Making Money”

“Raising Money is Not Making Money”

SCOTTEVEST continues to grow in the current economy. Right now, there are countless “entrepreneurs” trying to grow really big, really quickly, by “selling money” rather than building lasting value. It can feel like a get rich scheme rather than a solid business model, and it leads me to ask the question,  “Are you an entrepreneur or are you a small business owner?”  Try to guess which one I consider myself to be. This question leads to a series of more questions. You must identify what your goal is when you start a business. Is it to grow big and sell, or is it to make money every day? These are ultimately two completely separate business models, and I have taken the latter with SCOTTEVEST. I started this company with a loan secured by my house, knowing if I failed, I would go bankrupt. I had to hire people and provide them working salaries (myself included). I knew that everything I did, every activity I did THAT day, had to make us money, because if it wasn’t making money, it was costing money. My money. Thankfully, with a business run on the internet, I could easily find out how I did that day so nothing went unmonitored. Let’s look at the other business model mentioned; growing big to sell. Companies such as Bonobos work hard to keep their investors happy. We have a great relationship with Bonobos, but they have a different goal than I do. They are massively successful when you look at their valuation and how much money they’re raising, but that is separate to how much they’re...
Most Connected Traveler Contest: Enter To Win Prizes From Boingo and Scottevest!

Most Connected Traveler Contest: Enter To Win Prizes From Boingo and Scottevest!

Boingo and SCOTTEVEST are teaming up to search high and low for the “Most Connected Traveler!” Do you have more gadgets than you have pockets? Are you totally lost without a Wi-Fi connection? We want to hear from you! Big prizes from Boingo and Scottevest are up for grabs, so don’t wait – enter now! Whether you travel down the block or around the world, Boingo and SCOTTEVEST are committed to keeping travelers organized and connected without missing a beat. What are your tips and tricks? Contest runs from June 25th thru July 24rd.   How to win:   It’s simple! Write a Facebook wall post (be sure to tag TEC by SCOTTEVEST and Boingo’s Facebook pages) telling us why you’re the most connected traveler. Gadgets galore? Trips aplenty? Tell us more and you’ll be entered to win. Want to increase your chances? Get a BONUS entry by using hashtag #connectedtraveler in a tweet about your connected travel habits. Get TWO BONUS entries for posting a photo or video to Facebook or Twitter showcasing how you stay connected while traveling! Have a travel photo with an amazing backdrop? Great! Be sure to use the hashtag #connectedtraveler for Twitter, or post to either Boingo or SCOTTEVEST’S pages on Facebook and tag both SCOTTEVEST and Boingo in the post.   The prizes:   We will draw weekly winners, so stay tuned and check back frequently. Each week, we will give away one month of FREE Wi-Fi from Boingo and one SeV Travel Vest. The Grand Prize winner, drawn at the end of the contest, will receive ONE YEAR of Wi-Fi from...
Embracing Social Media

Embracing Social Media

Social media has been core to our company from the beginning. When I say the beginning, I truly mean the beginning. I have been engaging in social media before it was called “social media” and before the word “blog” came into our nomenclature. Here’s a little history. SCOTTEVEST was the first clothing brand formed on the internet as a direct to consumer channel. Check out the earliest version of my website here. Since we were the first, we had to figure out how to reach out to these people that could potentially be interested in my brand. It was simple, reach out to where they are. They are on the internet. Before Facebook existed I did this through blogs, forums, boards, or anywhere people were talking about gadgets online. I would engage on all of these gadget boards with the intent of contacting as many people as possible. Having the ability to engage instantly with these gadgeteers turned a big light bulb on. It taught me to embrace this medium of talking directly to these people, which is now generally referred to as social media. Then came along Dave Ciccone with Mobility Today. I’ll never forget it, like it was yesterday. I was working out of my home when I received an email from him, which looked incredibly goofy. In my mind, I am thinking, “Has it really come to this? Am I really going to be engaging with anyone who asks for a sample or reaches out to me?” And I said yes to myself. I will do whatever it takes to get the word out, no matter...