Pocket Wisdom: What I Learned from Building a $50 Million Biz

Pocket Wisdom: What I Learned from Building a $50 Million Biz

In 2000, I left my successful – but misery-inducing – career as a lawyer to start my own company based on a very simple idea: people who carry lots of gadgets need lots of pockets.  SCOTTeVEST started with one prototype of a multi-pocket vest and has grown into a pocket empire with over 50 different items. In the 15 years since then, I’ve appeared on Shark Tank, traveled the world, been covered in just about every news outlet imaginable and written a book.  This Pocket Wisdom comes from and is inspired by content from that book – Pocket Man – which I co-authored with Thom O’Leary of Fixer Group. Here are some of the unconventional things I’ve learned while leading the Pocket Revolution. ________________________________________________________________ About Raising Money… You DON’T need investors to start a business. When I started SCOTTeVEST, I did it to be my own boss… so why would I ever sign up to get a new boss by bringing an investor on board?  Make no mistake: when you have investors, you are not the one making all the decisions, which is to me the opposite of being an entrepreneur. Explore crowdfunding, bet your life savings on yourself, remortgage your home.  If you truly commit and put your own money where your mouth is, you’ll feel a lot more pride when you succeed. I bootstrapped SCOTTeVEST with my own money, but that was not necessarily my original plan.  When I figured out that I was spending 30-40% of my time looking for investment, it became clear that it was getting in the way of actually launching my business....
Shark Tank Part 3: What Really Happens In the Tank & After

Shark Tank Part 3: What Really Happens In the Tank & After

Please note: This is the third in a three-part article series recounting my experiences on ABC’s Shark Tank, adapted from my new book Pocket Man.  You can read part one – how I got on Shark Tank – here, and part two here. My episode – season 3, episode 7 – was the highest rated up to that point, and is still considered to be one of the most controversial episodes in Shark Tank history.  There is an unofficial version posted to YouTube here (while it lasts) and it is available on iTunes. The Sharks are Savvy The Sharks truly have no fore-knowledge of the people appearing on the show. They are very savvy individuals, though, and they have an intimate knowledge of how the rules work… both the on-screen rules, and the behind-the-scenes rules. At the time, there was a rule on Shark Tank that the production received a portion of your company just for appearing on the show. That rule has been changed in subsequent seasons, but it applied to my episode. I was pitching my smaller patent licensing company TEC-Technology Enabled Clothing® to the Sharks in an effort to grow that business, but the Sharks caught wind that I also had a much larger retail company.  The problem was that they wanted a piece of my retail company – SCOTTeVEST – and if I mentioned that name during filming, I’d owe the producers 5% of that company, too. This is why I believe that The Sharks were intentionally “baiting” me into discussing my retail business the entire time I was being filmed. The more I challenged them and tried to keep the...
Shark Tank Confessional 2: Producers’ Editing Painted Me as a Villain

Shark Tank Confessional 2: Producers’ Editing Painted Me as a Villain

Please note: This is the second in a three-part article series recounting my experiences on ABC’s Shark Tank, adapted from my new book Pocket Man.  You can read part one – how I got on Shark Tank – here.  My episode – season 3, episode 7 – was the highest rated up to that point, and is still considered to be one of the most controversial episodes in Shark Tank history.  There is an unofficial version posted to YouTube here (while it lasts) and it is available on iTunes.  Well worth the money.  Getting on Shark Tank was not nearly as hard as preparing to be on Shark Tank. Months of dieting.  Dozens of presentation drafts.  Hundreds of hours gaming out all the questions they could ask me, and how to redirect them in a way that would allow me to communicate the points I needed to get across. I’ve been creating videos as the face of my multi-pocket, gadget-friendly clothing company SCOTTeVEST for years, so I’m definitely comfortable in front of the camera… even for major interviews.  Being on Shark Tank is completely different, and while Shark Tank is in no way scripted (other than the entrepreneur’s initial pitch), there is A LOT that can be done in editing to tell the story they want to tell….  …which is why I am a hero to half the Shark Tank audience, and a villain to the other half.  This is how it happened.  As Seen On Shark Tank I would love to give you a blow-by-blow account of what happened on the screen in my episode (which is not...
Shark Tank Confessional 1: How I Got on ABC’s Shark Tank

Shark Tank Confessional 1: How I Got on ABC’s Shark Tank

This is the first in a three-part article series recounting my experiences on ABC’s Shark Tank, adapted from my new book Pocket Man.  My episode – season 3, episode 7 – was the highest rated up to that point, and is considered to be the most controversial episode in Shark Tank history.  There is an unofficial version posted to YouTube here (while it lasts) and it is available on iTunes.  Well worth the money.   I am currently planning a tell-all Shark Tank book which follows up on previous contestants and explains to fans of the show some of the hidden dynamics that make Shark Tank so compelling. How Did I Get On Shark Tank? As a passionate promoter, founder of a pocket-filled clothing company (SCOTTeVEST) and now an author, it makes perfect sense that I would want to go on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank.  After all, how many entrepreneurs are vying to get on the show and be seen in front of millions of viewers?  The answer: most of them. A lot of people imagine what it would be like to get on Shark Tank, and this is the most frequently asked question I hear (other than how someone else can get onShark Tank).  This is a brief account about what the months leading up to the airing entailed: It was the summer of 2011.  My hidden pocket clothing company SCOTTeVESTwas up and running, and the business was growing steadily, adding employees and products regularly.  I felt like we had an opportunity to pursue TEC-Technology Enabled Clothing® as a spin-off company on Shark Tank.  TEC was and is...
Move Over SkyMall… SKY2BUY Is the New Mall in the Sky

Move Over SkyMall… SKY2BUY Is the New Mall in the Sky

SUN VALLEY, Idaho, March 30, 2015 – After a difficult bankruptcy auction process, the purchase of SkyMall’s brand name was announced last Friday, March 27th. The new owners paid $1.9 million for the well-known brand. The purchase price, however, didn’t include any assurances from the airlines that the catalog will be put on their planes. In fact, all prior agreements with the airlines are void. One fact is clear: SkyMall no longer has a monopoly to sell in the skies. Scott Jordan, CEO and Founder of multi-pocket clothing company SCOTTeVESThas been both a supporter of getting SkyMall back onto planes and a critic of the mismanagement that landed SkyMall into bankruptcy in the first place. Jordan was the most vocal during the auction process and many assumed he would be the winning bidder for SkyMall. He explains why he let the SkyMall name go to another party: “At the most basic level, there are two things required to make SkyMall work: a catalog and placement of that catalog on airplanes. Producing a catalog is easy. The only way to get a catalog onto airplanes is with the cooperation of the airlines. SkyMall allowed every airline contract to lapse and, despite my best efforts, we were unable to come to terms with the airlines before the bankruptcy auction,” Jordan explains. “By losing the agreements with the airlines, SkyMall’s previous management team lost their monopoly on in-flight shopping. Since I didn’t like their business model, I chose not to submit a bid. I didn’t believe that the name alone was worth it.” About six weeks ago when SkyMall declared bankruptcy, Jordan...
Confessions of a Facebook Addict: What Does it Take to Quit?

Confessions of a Facebook Addict: What Does it Take to Quit?

I am an all-or-nothing kind of guy. So, when I tried to back down from my Facebook addiction, I quit cold turkey. I even wrote about it in this LinkedIn article, so consider this article to be my first follow-up. (And you know how important following up is to me.) I know that I am not alone in my attempts to cut back the time I spend posting, clicking, commenting and liking on Facebook. Lots of people – maybe you – have hit the tipping point where your social media time consumes a little too much of your attention. Perhaps Facebook has become a bigger part of your daily activity than it should, based on whatever subjective measurement you want to apply to that. The fact that there is a condition called Facebook Addiction Disorder tells me that a lot of lives are consumed with artificial relationships, mine included. About two months after my initial acceptance of my FB addiction, it feels like the right time to revisit what I experienced and learned in the hope that it might help other people struggling on the spectrum of social media addiction. Back in January, when I decided to take a couple of weeks off from Facebook, I didn’t know if anything would change in my life as a result of the experiment. It turns out, a lot changed. So, what did it take for me to get my Facebook addiction under control? I admitted there was a problem While I recognized my love-hate relationship with Facebook (my addiction), I did not recognize quite how much it monopolized my time and...