Such a profound statement from Joe. So right. What happens when you make it? Are you going to sit down and watch Jerry Springer (still on?) all day? No, you will want to do it again, do more, get more, be more. You see you thrive on the process. So maybe you can forget the end and enjoy the process, maybe it never ends, maybe you do a reboot like Joe and find out that is where the fruit of your labor really is? Maybe you find happiness?
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Transcript: (note- this is a new tool I am trying out so it is not perfect- it does seem to be getting better)
New Speaker: 00:00:00 Brought him my situation, I’m sitting out at his house and we’re having a fire and a kind of sitting out back and I’m talking for hours about this whole problem with Amazon and everything and every I my latest, my latest massive failure and very quietly he just looked at me and he goes, do something even if it’s wrong, and that’s the key right there, and I thought that was.
New Speaker: 00:00:22 I’m excited to talk about my sponsors today, Gaye Lisbey’s million dollar arbitrage group. Amazing, amazing group. This is a teacher. This is Gaye, she was a teacher. She is a teacher. Still. You need to learn. This is the type of environment you want to be in because she’s gonna help you understand why, and I think that’s the hardest part of this business is understanding why. Why is the red one popular when the green one isn’t? Well, there’s usually a reason and what Gaye does is probably parse that better than anybody and she’ll explain the reasons for those things. I think that’s really powerful. Yes, she puts out a list. You’re going to get a good use of that list if you get in the group. Now, here’s the deal. The group isn’t always open, right? So you get on the waiting list and you can join the waiting list through my link.
New Speaker: 00:01:08 Doesn’t cost anything to get on a waiting list. And if you like her service, which I find that most people do that, that’s why there’s not so many openings. Um, you’ll be with her for a long time. And so it’s amazing. Freedom Dot com. She’s part of Andy Slam. It’s group, amazing freedom.com, forward slash momentum. And you’re going to get in the waiting list. That’s all I can get you on right now. You can use my name and see if that gets you anywhere. But what I like about in the, uh, what I like about what they teach in that group or the things that are going on, you know, the current things. I’ve seen a lot of stuff going on about stores going out of business. Well, here’s where an opportunity is, here’s why you want to do this. Hey, be cautious about this, you know, with toys r US coming out, you’ve got to think about this and that’s the learning that you need to do and gay is better than anybody else I’ve seen, so I’m amazing.
New Speaker: 00:01:55 Freedom Dot com. Forward slash momentum will get you to the waiting list. Then hopefully we can get you in the group and then you’re gonna. See me in there and we can chat anytime you’re ready. Karen lockers, group solutions, the number for ecommerce solutions, four ecommerce.com. Forward slash momentum. It’s going to save you 50 bucks. Karen’s our account manager. We recommend her to everyone because she’s done so well for us. I mean that’s quite frankly the reason we’ve been paying her for last few years, but she’s become an important part of our team. Her and her team are so involved in our account. I just see the emails coming back and forth, hey, we did this for you. I just saw two listings today. I’m like, wait a second. Why did they show up? I didn’t put any listings up. They got a. They got a set off to the side by Amazon and they reactivate them for me.
New Speaker: 00:02:40 You know what I mean? That’s the stuff that just happens when you have a strong team and I can’t recommend Karen enough if you use my code momentum. Karen pays me. I don’t want to hide that. Of course we all know that, but you’re going to save $50 and it’s a great opportunity to really, really build out your team with somebody you trust. It’s why I recommend them. So solutions four ecommerce solutions, the number four e-commerce dot com forward slash momentum is going to save you $50. Oh, and by the way, she’s going to do an inventory health report. Why is that important? Well, guess what fees are going up. Is your inventory health number declining like ours is? Well, here’s why, and here’s what they can do. What I like is I get a spreadsheet from them and it says, Hey, here’s a bunch of inventory.
New Speaker: 00:03:27 Here’s what we recommend. And I’m like, Yep, refund. I mean a delete a return to us, blah blah blah, whatever it is, and it’s or destroy. And it just happens. That’s what I like. The other thing that I have Karen helped me with a lot is creating new listings. You know, we do a lot of the research ourselves. We upload our images and then boom, magically the listing goes live and I don’t have to worry about it. Those are the services that Karen offers. CanNot recommend her enough solutions. Four ecommerce.com forward slash momentum. Save 50 bucks. Use My code. You save $50 a month every single month and it’s a great service. Plus you get that free inventory health report. I think it’s a really powerful way. So I can’t. I’m so excited how many people have been joining her because I see it and I’m excited because the messages I get from people saying, hey, this is great.
New Speaker: 00:04:15 I finally feel like I can focus on something else because Karen and her team are watching this for me and you know, I highly recommend her. Next up is a sellerlabs and scope and we’ll set it wrong. It’s amazing. I mean, it really is amazing when you sit back and think about, hey, I want to get this product up and it’s similar to this product and that product does well. Well, therefore, if that product does well, they have the right keywords, they have chosen things correctly, so guess what? You scope and you could see all that stuff and that’s what the most powerful thing in the world is to copy somebody who’s done it right. That’s what you want to. You want to take advantage of that, right? I mean it’s, it’s fair to see and so therefore you could take and apply it to your listing and immediately get that same benefit.
New Speaker: 00:05:01 That’s what scope does for me. Seller labs.com, forward slash momentum. It’s going to save you $50 on the surface. Oh, by the way, it’s free to try, so sign up, try it and say, oh, this is how it’s done. Boom. And then you’re gonna the light’s going to go on and you’re gonna be like, man, I can get my products out there. I just can’t wait. Can’t wait. So are labs.com forward slash momentum? The other day I bought another domain, yes, I bought it the other domain. It’s almost like a I’m admitting guilt, but it’s because I had an idea and it was something that was a pretty good idea. I think it’s going to go pretty far and so what do I do? I go to try go daddy.com forward slash momentum and save 30 percent. So domains aren’t very expensive. You get a few services, it adds up a little bit and I usually buy three years.
New Speaker: 00:05:53 I usually by privacy, by the way, I recommend that to buy that, you know, it’s not that much money but when you can save 30 percent it makes it that much sweeter and it makes it easier when you’re buying domains and especially if you buy a bunch of domains. I am a domain collector and so I do tend to do that, but that 30 percent makes it a lot easier and I use go daddy because what I like is I can pop in and address. I’m thinking and it’ll say, nope, nope. Could try this version or try this extension and then boom, there it is. Hey, you better hurry before it goes away and they’re right, you know, and so try Godaddy.com, forward slash momentum save 30 percent. Also want to mention about grasshopper. Was that just talking to somebody the other day and they were like, Oh yeah, use this company called grasshopper.
New Speaker: 00:06:35 I’m like, Dude, did you buy it through my link and save 30 percent? Hello? No, they missed that. So save 30 percent. It’s try grasshopper.com. Forward slash momentum. No surprise there, but you’re going to save 30 percent. And what the real cool part about that is they’re using it for their private label business and it gives them virtually a second phone on their current phone without having to get another number. They can make up a vanity number. They don’t have to go and do all the grief and sign loan contracts. Pretty easy stuff. And so if you’re creating a brand that you want to identify, you want to look professional, you want to look like a real company. Grasshopper is a great tool. It’s an app you put on your existing phone and boom, you now have a customer service or you now have a sales department. You’d have a manufacturing division, you could forward it to somebody else. You can have it go to different voicemails, different departments, and it’s all included. So try grasshopper.com, forward slash momentum. Save 30 percent.
Cool voice guy: 00:07:35 Welcome to the ecommerce momentum podcast where we focus on the people, the products, and the process of are selling today. Here’s your host, Steven Peterson.
New Speaker: 00:07:49 Welcome back to the ECOMMERCE momentum podcast. This is episode 325 Joe Rooster Fan man. Oh Man. This is a great story. It’s a story that weaves. I’m ebbs and flows, goes in, goes out, there’s a lot of couches involved and I’m not exaggerating a lot of couches, but they’re so critical to the story and I know I don’t know a good metaphor to use for couches other than to think about these, these turning points in your life and then the advisors and the people that you trust, the people that you love, that you go to and sometimes the people that you respect and then you lose some respect because there’s a lack of the ability to ebb and flow for you. Right? You can ebb and flow for them but doesn’t work the other way around and that stuff, it’s doesn’t sit with you well and you’re going to hear some examples where that doesn’t sit well with Joe and um, it’s very cool to me his story.
New Speaker: 00:08:48 He’s very humble. He’s so approachable. And at the end he gives his email, he likes to questions because he was where you are, meaning me and you and everyone else listen else listening. And so, you know, take advantage of that. If you got real good questions for him because he’s done it, he’s been there, but he’s done it and you’re going to hear how he’s pushed through it has not been easy. It will not be easy for you, but the other side is so bright when you take and look at the process. Let’s get into the podcast. Alright, welcome back to the ECOMMERCE momentum podcast. Very excited about today’s guest because it’s time. We have some fun on this podcast. We need to up the fun level. We need to go a whole nother. I mean, it is another level with joe is different. Welcome Joe. How are you? I’m not as good as you. You are like the happiest toy guy I’ve ever met in my life. I mean you are meant. I mean when you sit back and you’re honest, this is where you’re supposed to be. Is that true? Absolutely. One hundred percent. I mean, are your. Is your parents like say you were always a kid. You’re never going to grow up. Is that what they say?
Stephen: 00:09:59 Now they do. They questioned and whole adventure, but now they look and I always say that they say that’s, you know, where it belongs or that’s what he, that’s what he was talking about all these years. So yeah,
New Speaker: 00:10:12 but that’s actually, that’s funny that. But the whole time of your life, they were looking at you like, what the heck is wrong with this kid? What’s he gonna do with this life? But you know, here’s, here’s a question for this is an honest question. When your kid does the same thing, are you going to look at them different?
Stephen: 00:10:29 Not yet. Right now that you understand it and see a looking gets easier to connect those dots, right?
New Speaker: 00:10:35 It sure is easier to connect those dots because in your parent’s generation, Oh no, you got to get a job, Joe. You’ve got to get a career. Thirty years, go to the salt mines, right? Absolutely. And you know, you can’t do your own thing. What are you talking about? Toys who does toys? You know, you can’t compete with Barbie Barbie’s, you know, but it’s funny now that whole world, your whole world and, and I think you’re a good example. Like me, I’m, I’m, I’m old, little older than you, but my whole world has changed because I just didn’t know any better. It’s like a never saw that side of it. I never was exposed to it. Um, in your family, did you have entrepreneurs in your family?
Stephen: 00:11:15 I did not, so I had a traditional, um, my mother is a nurse and my father is an electrical engineer.
New Speaker: 00:11:22 Oh, Jesus. Oh, you got to go to college 100 percent. That’s it, right? I mean, that’s it. Yep. If you don’t, you’re not going to be successful. What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do, right? Yeah. So when you think about that now, um, when did you go to school?
Stephen: 00:11:39 I did. Okay. Yep. What was your, what was your major? So I have two degrees, my bachelor’s in mathematics and a master’s in applied mathematics.
New Speaker: 00:11:49 Oh, Jesus. I know you’re in toys. Oh, they’re definitely thinking you’re crazy, man. They’re definitely thinking you’re crazy. What are you doing though? Although the toy story gets better because there is a math to this madness. There is something connected. But, but it, I mean, I’m, I’m still stuck on it though. I just think it’s so cool that you had to go to school. You had no choice with a nurse and an engineer. I mean, you’re, you’re going to school it, then you’re going to be in working for a company and you’re gonna work your way up and Joe, you’re gonna make it. You’re going to be the success of the family because you’re going to put your head down. You’re smart, you’re gifted, boom. Thinking about backwards, did you know that you didn’t want to work for somebody? Honestly, when you, I mean, what point in your life did you realize, you know, I’ll do it because they say I gotta do it and they are, let’s face it, they’re successful. But there was something wrong in that world.
Stephen: 00:12:45 Well, I think, um, I definitely was, um, one of the people who questioned every step of the way. So even like funny you mentioned with college and that was the standard and that’s what you have to do. I remember to this day, sitting in the living room with my parents are both college educated and explaining to them saying I don’t know that I want to go to college. And that was just silence and Oh my God, that was terrible. And I said, I don’t really understand it. Uh, I don’t really get the whole picture and I don’t really know what I’m doing. This is my senior year and that’s kind of how that whole started. I didn’t go straight directly into college or I’m sorry I didn’t go into a four year college. I, uh, just opted out and decided to go into a two year community college to figure it out. And I was not a four years in and out. It was definitely a long, a old whole stretch of the way math was my not even on the radar. I started off in the health sciences. I’m doing physical therapy. Then I even took a gander at physics and chemistry and look to that route. Went to five different colleges. I had no idea what was, which way was up, so to speak,
New Speaker: 00:13:56 but yet, were you gifted in math your whole life and you just didn’t want to admit it?
Stephen: 00:14:01 I was gifted in math. Uh, I didn’t necessarily understand to that extent what my gifts were or even men. Uh, I understood in other majors what you did, but to me I didn’t understand how does one go to school for math and what are we going to do? Just equations all day. I really didn’t understand it, so it never dawned on me to just start taking it math
New Speaker: 00:14:21 and doing that. And it makes sense though. I mean, what would you think? Right. I guess now you would say a scientist or something like that, engineer or what have you. I’m now in the computer world. Of course math would be pretty important. Right? But the back then you weren’t thinking about it, right? I agree with you. I think that’s a good example of that’s one of those, you know, that’s almost like art history. What are you going to do with it? Go paint. You’re going to go, right. I mean, it’s like, but you realistically, our world has evolved quite a bit. All right, so you get out of college or you’re in college and kind of jobs. Did
Stephen: 00:14:52 you have. So that was the piece. Once I decided to go for mathematics, a lot of just the majority of people around me in college, we’re going for teaching and I quickly learned that, um, I’m sorry I’m queer. I quickly learned that teaching mathematics and a mathematics major or two entirely different things. So once I kind of honed in on thinking, well I don’t really know that I want to teach this. That was when I kind of got into the open water of studying mathematics. The school that I was in was very small, so the classes and the other students who were doing this was a also very small. We had, I went from classes and lectures of 100 people down to four and five and just kind of staring at the other four saying, what are you doing with this? So, and then from the family side, everyone that I spoke with a really didn’t necessarily know what to do with a math major.
Stephen: 00:15:46 They said, well, you could teach it. They didn’t know because engineering was the route that you went to get into corporations and whatnot. You know, they’re like, at least he’s going to school. Right. That’s what they were happy with them. He’s doing something right. He seems to be. Yeah, exactly. That’s funny. When you get out of school, what happens? So this is in 1999 slash 2000. So the job market in regard to engineering and stuff like that was not that strong a. So I really had with little direction. The one common thing was to become an actuary. So I looked into that and I then did cover my basis looking at the job market and whatnot. So when I was graduating my bachelors degree I decided to at least minor and be able to have the ability to get these certification in teaching. And that’s kind of.
Stephen: 00:16:38 Yeah. So I graduated with a bachelor’s in mathematics and I did have New York state teaching credentials and it’s a big deal, right? I mean at least you had a b plan. Now your parents are breathing a sigh of relief because there’s some pride, you know. Oh, he’s a teacher. Okay. You know, he, he went from math. But man, he’s a teacher. So. Cool. Alright. So they’re back. You’re back in good graces. You’re back in the normal seat right there thinking. Okay. He’s not lost it completely. Um, did you start teaching before you went for your master’s? I did, no, I, uh, I actually, I taught, so I started to kind of outline my little journey into where the that led me is. I started teaching on a high school level and I had a knack. I studied in high in college rather I started taking classes and just dropping in on discrete mathematics. And I found that that was one of the areas that they were not a lot of classes that were not a lot of undergraduates really kind of specializing it in it. And I had a very good knack for it. So it’s more of a, basically from a standpoint of, um, of what the mathematics section would be. It would be like pattern identification and abstract, uh, connections with like modular division and things of that nature where they would use those. Yeah, we did. We were just talking
New Speaker: 00:17:50 about that the other day. Yeah, right.
Stephen: 00:17:53 Oh, like literally those people or more into heavy encryption. So if you code writing and things of that, not necessarily computer science but code coding for encryption. So I just found a school that just put up a job application that they needed someone to teach discreet mathematics. So here I thought that I was going to go into the high school and teach discreet mathematics based on what I was just studying and I found that that was not the case. I found that it was more um, heavy disciplining and also found that seniors who are taking discrete mathematics or not taking it to major in discrete mathematics but are just taking it to kind of get that last credit before they checked out for a college.
New Speaker: 00:18:35 Well, let me ask you this because I think this is an important point. You went in all in a enthusiastic, you’re gonna make a difference. You’re going to make a dent in the universe, what you’re going to teach these kids, it’s going to be exciting because you’re excited about it. It’s really what did you, and you mentioned, um, was it rigid? Is it by because are they, is this school district where the, you know, whatever that would be, are they just so rigid in their format that you’re only allowed to do this way and this method is that, is that part of it?
Stephen: 00:19:03 Uh, as, as far as the school that we’re talking that it would be teaching and so a local high school,
New Speaker: 00:19:08 right? Right. Yeah. Where they were they so rigid though with you’re not allowed to be creative with it. You, this is the format. You must do this, Joe and followed this way. Is that what happens?
Stephen: 00:19:17 It was more of this is really not a New York state required course, so we’re not really going to put too much effort into it. So just kind of do what you want and just, um, follow these guidelines and don’t really rock the boat. It was that, it was more of that. It was kind of like, Eh, this isn’t Algebra one. They are graduating. Just kind of keep the, keep the lights on until June. That was the situation.
New Speaker: 00:19:41 So you couldn’t stay inspired in essence then. I mean, that’s where I was going to you. Your, your fire was dying.
Stephen: 00:19:47 Fire was dying quickly. Um, to the point where I left that job after two years I was kind of knew that I didn’t want to do that and that was a big to do again. So now picture us back on the couch with God. We’re back to the parents. Joe, what he comes on show. So that kind of led to the same kind of talks to years. You get three years in New York state for 10 years. So now I was leaving.
New Speaker: 00:20:14 What are you doing? Thirty years of pension? My God. Your separate life.
Stephen: 00:20:17 Yeah. That was kind of it. And, um, I decided at that point I bounced around and uh, I used the term bouncing around. I didn’t really know what to do. I was going on interviews for actuarial science and whatnot and uh, wound up on a road trip with a buddy of mine who was headed to San Diego.
New Speaker: 00:20:39 Oh wait, wait, wait, wait, hold on. Did you have a surfboard with you in any way?
Stephen: 00:20:44 I did not. He was heading for the navy. So was just the stars were aligned because this is a movie. I mean, this is going to be a movie. I could see this. Your life is going to be a movie. The way it’s set up is actually you couldn’t align these storyline any better unfortunately for him. The uh, he was moving. He was my college roommate, so back when he knew me when I was up, I went to school upstate New York and writing equations on the wall and he heard me for years talking about discrete mathematics. And then he was just rolling his eyes saying, okay man. But he wound up getting a divorce unfortunately. And so the navy was relocating into San Diego, but they had issued the papers and said that, uh, you know, they had an all expense paid trip for him and his wife.
Stephen: 00:21:28 So he literally called me up and say, Hey, do you want us to shotgun? And we’re going across the country. I got to move my house to San Diego and I, that’s what I did. But wait, wait, wait. I want to go to this conversation with back with your parents on the couch. Mom, Dad, I’m going to San Diego, but I’m going as I’m going as Dan’s wife that, that was it. I’m going as Dan’s wife. And off we went. And um, oh my God, it was just literally him kind of going over his life. And if you’ve been on a cross country road trip, this was my first one. It was amazing. And we’re just bobbing around the country getting there and talking for hours and hours. And I’m stood up. Omaha, Nebraska was one of the cities that I learned was a huge hub for actuaries. And uh, in our couple of days there learned all about that.
Stephen: 00:22:16 And you know, still, that didn’t settle too well with me and it wasn’t until we bumbled our way down through vegas and I remember, yeah, and we were there, but this actually has a good ending because it led into where we are now. Had A conversation with a couple of people and it just turned into something and I was literally, you could picture it in a movie. I’m sitting on the rails looking over the Bellagio fountains and I just looked over to the left of Dan and I said, what in the heck am I gonna do with this math degree? And his friend to his left turned around and said, we hire mathematicians all the time. You’re in the right spot. And I looked and I said to do what? Because I don’t want to be an actuary. And Lo and behold, he says, well, come down and we’ll show you, you know, our office and what we do.
Stephen: 00:23:00 And what I found is in Vegas, there’s a humongous, um, job market for mathematicians, for writing game engines. Whoa. So now you’re going to go have this conversation, Dan. I’m going to vegas. I’m going to work for the casinos. Well, no, I. What I actually did is it just stuck with me. I started reading through the job application, started looking at what they were doing and it fascinated me that it was, it wasn’t doing equations and stuff. Some of it was, but what? It was more, it was the mixture which I enjoyed of the psychology and the mathematics. So for example, um, why do you put red at the eye level and green below it, or why do you put on this slot machine, the numbers seven highly, you know, above their head, but only even numbers below the waistline and things of that nature.
Stephen: 00:23:49 And why is the words always written in gold and pink, closer to the door and all of this math that went into the flow and thinking of what goes through a person’s mind in addition then was the mathematics of how close can we get someone to winning that? They’ll stay at that table until we have to give them something to win. And all of that was just. It was almost like this beautiful mind moment when all of this math came back, still didn’t know really necessarily how to apply it, but I said this was just fascinating and interesting, but the job itself, the ones that they were offering for entry level, uh, didn’t appeal to me. So Lo and behold, I kept driving and I kind of rattled around my head, went to San Diego and as the Mrs. Dan got on a plane and, and eventually just flew home to New York and kidney.
Stephen: 00:24:39 And, um, again, now with the parents back on the couch, I said, uh, and now I was getting a little bit older. I didn’t really want to be on that couch. So I said, I’m going to take a job. I’m going to experiment and maybe I’ll give it another shot and I’m going to go. Now though, we’re not going to do high school. We’re going to go to the middle school and we’re going to teach middle school kids because maybe those seniors were too far along in their education and I need to reach the kids a little bit earlier. Maybe that would be more fun and.
New Speaker: 00:25:08 Well, let’s stop there second, because to me there’s two points that I want to make sure that we don’t miss here. One, back to the vegas scene. The fact that your boundaries were expanded, because I talk about this on Amazon all the time or Ebay or whatever. I don’t care what it is, the fact that your boundaries, because you didn’t even know these jobs existed. The fact that you saw this took your world from this narrow because all you knew was actuary or teaching, right? We already said that. That’s it. Yep. And now all of a sudden you saw this whole different world that existed. I mean, does the world look different from that moment on in your whole world and purpose? All of a sudden it’s like, oh my God, there are people still out there doing this because they love it and they’re really affecting change and they’re doing things not just sitting in a little corner counting people to die. Right?
Stephen: 00:25:52 Absolutely. It affected everything. Every interview from that point on, was that
New Speaker: 00:25:57 switched Joe, that switch? Absolutely. Oh my God, that’s powerful because I think it’s again, your boundaries. You can’t see my hands, I’m blowing them out, but your boundaries just went away. And number two, I guarantee your parents because I’m a dad, right? You’re dead now. But um, I’m a dad who looked in my son’s probably not much younger than you and I would sit down and think to myself, yeah, that middle school is probably about the same maturity level my son is, so they’re probably going to get along really well and I’m teasing you, but it’s, it’s what’s fun is that gives you back the ability to affect change. Yeah. Not when it’s jammed down your throat. It’s too late. There’s nothing filled the time and push them through. That’s a problem with education. You get to really make a difference. Oh, you gave me the chills. All right. I just wanna make sure we make those two points because I think it’s very, very powerful for people to write. We’re also close to what we’re doing. We just don’t see how big this picture really is. Oh, all right, go ahead. Sorry.
Stephen: 00:26:58 Um, so I guess, uh, you’re talking about middle school with your parents talking about middle school and I decided to take this, um, well I guess to reiterate again, uh, or I’m sorry not to reiterate, so just kind of go a little bit more into detail of that story. I decided to come out on the eastern end of Long Island and I took a job, but again, I was hired for my expertise in mathematics, so I had a or I have a skill set which in terms of teaching and things of that nature is in high demand to teach the upper level classes that I can very easily communicate. I understand high level mathematics, a logic based and I can communicate that with these were a lot of the younger teachers that takes years and years and years of that skill set to really master calculus, advanced calculus, things of that nature. Things like that come almost second nature to me, which is a big skill set when you’re trying to hire for that in, in a high school setting.
Stephen: 00:27:50 So I went out to the high school and uh, I got another job and literally I again went right back to my first school and I said it smelled the same, it looked the same and on the ride home I just said I’m not taking this job, but he offered it to me on the spot and I wound up calling the superintendent and said, I’m just going to quit on you again. This is just not for me. And she said, well, hold on. What about Middle School? And that’s Kinda how it went into my head. And I said, well, I’ll try that. So she really kind of redirected and then it got in my head and I took a middle school job. So I explained to my parents, this is what I’m doing. They were happy. Again, it’s a tenure track, correct. Um, I have a job that I’m going to every day and I’m sure my dad behind my back was a popping champagne and said he might actually leave the house before he’s 30.
Stephen: 00:28:38 This is, this is high fives all around two more to go. A emptiness is coming, honey. I swears coming, you know, Gosh, Joe, and he’s on his way. This is great. Um, so, um, I wound up taking that job and I was now teaching middle school, so I taught middle school grades sixth, seventh, and eighth and the. So these are, um, for parents listening is, as you probably know, kids ages 11 to 13. That was the age range that I was in. So it was teaching very early mathematics, the very beginnings of Algebra and whatnot. But to me it was the earliest stage where a person’s or a young, um, young child’s brain really gets turned onto mathematics. And that’s really where it’s moldable. Not so much in the earlier ages, but that kind of breaking point in that middle school is what I identified as the turning point where that kid or that child is going to feel comfortable and confident going into high school and taking a math class or completely dejected and shying away from that.
Stephen: 00:29:43 And it was really in those years. So I was happy to do that job and really got a kick out of it. But again, I was in this system that had a lot of rules and a lot of ways that you had to do things and teach them and get them ready. So, and that went on. I taught for nine years. So to kind of explain how this all happened is I was teaching these kids and I got to be honest, as much as you know, you hear the excitement in my voice as we’re getting to the culmination because I’m very excited about this and excited about games in general, but getting up and talking to a bunch of 12 year olds, um, for 80 minutes, these were block level classrooms for 80 minutes. Trying to make adding excess together sound fun is really hard. It’s very difficult.
Stephen: 00:30:27 And to keep that kid entertained, um, and what I quickly found or maybe not so quickly over the course of a few years of teaching, I started noticing that it wasn’t that the kids were failing at math because they weren’t good at Algebra or they weren’t doing the work. It was a, it was actually a very key point that I identified that they couldn’t problem solve. And not in the abstract way, but for example, myself, I always use this, use this as an example. I went to Catholic school growing up and I was defiant because I questioned everything so I never learned my 12 times tables because sister pat told me to do it and I just wasn’t going to do it. But because I have problem solving skills, I don’t need to know necessarily the 12 times tables because I can very quickly assimilate eight and six and fours and threes and very quickly to the point where sister pat never really knew that I didn’t sit and remember her facts to this day. And hopefully she’s not listening.
New Speaker: 00:31:19 She listens to. So you know, I’m just letting you know she, she’s going to call me and I’m sitting here thinking about this as you’re sitting here and you’re still working in the rigidity, you’re eight. You’re seeing that you’re starting to see something. When you think back to when you were in this math, when you started and it started to get fun for you, that whatever it was that got turned on in you, you weren’t seeing turned on in a lot of kids it sounds like. Right. And so that sounds like because a, that’s your lane, right? Do you think, you know, and this is, this is just a philosophical point I want to make sure we get in here is that, you know, is that the time that schools should go all in and double down on those kids, you know, those ages, that was really impressionable ages when they’re really trying to figure things out and really invest the most amount of time and money and him and then when they decide and math is not my skill, right. That person says this. We helped them figure something else out instead of jamming it down their throat and then being disappointed with the results because our test scores aren’t high enough. Joe, we really need to bring up our test scores. Right? Well, no, that’s not his lane or her lane. Right. Is that the place when you think about fixing education?
Stephen: 00:32:31 Yes, I would say wholeheartedly that and, and again, so a jumping to the end of the story. I taught 11 years so I can say I was in the trenches and I taught high school until middle school and I got to see elementary and these kids coming up and I would most definitely say that in that middle school range is when you need to keep all the lanes open. That’s not the time or exactly what the way you said it is, not the time to close down lanes, but more so double down on opening all the lanes and letting, finding out where that kid excels and where that skillset lies and it’s going to be different. It’s going to be different. Absolutely. When that artist, why does that, artists need to learn all that other stuff that quite frankly isn’t going to help their art life because that’s not going to fuel them.
Stephen: 00:33:15 Yeah. They need to know how to balance a checkbook, but they don’t need to know how to do whatever you, you know what I mean? That’s my point. Yep. Totally. Alright, well I love, I love the fact that you’ve gotten to this place because you personally have recognized that there was something missing and you know, and I, I, I believe you go back in your life and you see that that was whatever it was that you saw that got you through it is probably what you saw missing. And so this is where the story gets even cooler now we get pool now. You actually are cool. I mean did it. Hey, you got a cool name. That’s cool. Right? And your name though. I mean it was like a meant to be thing. And when you think about your name, would you agree it was meant to be that name?
Stephen: 00:34:00 Absolutely. Crazy. Weird, isn’t it? I mean it’s like crazy weird. Absolutely. All right. So go ahead, keep going. I’m excited. So yeah. So moving down towards the story more. I identified this, this situation and then again it was back in the back of my head, the Bellagio fountains are going and I’m thinking, well we have to. How do I get, how do you entertain and get these kids hook? Because you gotta teach them problem solving and it’s got to be on the simplest level to get that to work. So my head went back to everything that I had studied with these casinos and when I say studying, after I left that trip, it was not a matter that I just forgot it. I, I have to this day have kept my notebooks. I went on a deep deep dive into discrete mathematics and all of the number theory beyond, beyond the psychology of how to get someone to do something in terms of gambling and playing cards or a or I’m making certain bets, but then also working out the, the, the calculations that go into that.
Stephen: 00:34:57 And I just went on way beyond what I’m sure the average person may be, sits down and writes equations on. So having that kind of knowledge and background, I started legitimate, like literally making games that I knew were, um, addictive in nature. So I basically give us an example to make because I think this is important because as you said, right, when you go back to that example, they put red at a certain place in gold and certain things. So that all makes sense for somebody, not me somewhere. You now understand that. Give me an example of what I mean because you could have just made up some, you know, mimeograph. Let me drop that line, right? All the old people are like, Ooh, that mimeograph machines
New Speaker: 00:35:38 smell. You could have made copies of a certain thing and just printed that thing out and say, here you go. Here’s some worksheets for you, Steve. Here you go, right? That wasn’t gonna. Cut It, right? That’s the difference to me right there at the fact that you’re saying, wait a second, if I put a seven up here and I make it goal that I make it red. So give me an example that you did.
Stephen: 00:35:56 So an example is the two problems that I was identifying to kind of lead to where we wound up is that in going back to my upbringing and whatnot, is first of off that you need this problem solving set and the chances and odds of me actually developing this problem solving set for this child in the 80 minutes that I have them at day while they’re distracted with everything else is not going to happen. So I need this to happen and be reinforced at the home. Uh, I happened to be teaching in a lower income district, so I knew I was dealing with lots of parents who were either divorced or working multiple jobs. So it was definitely something that to send them the kid home with a Dildo or a worksheet was not really an option because they would just look at it and say, I am beyond dealing with this right now after my third, uh, hour on shift or third job on shift.
Stephen: 00:36:47 So what I came up with was a. basically, I needed to make a tool that was fast to play addictive in nature and that an adult, a parent would find it entertaining to do and they would recognize. So that led me to the idea of casinos and what I did is I created, for example, to teach a child or an adult, the games work both ways to teach a child to understand how to mentally, mentally segmate numbers. Uh, so for example, the, um, the common reference will be in the game of high low, or if you and your listeners are familiar with that, right? You flip over a card. And the next question is, is the next card going to be higher or lower? Okay, so that, that particular game has a lot of, a lot of math behind it if you understand the deck and understand the probabilities to that.
Stephen: 00:37:36 So in order to make it addictive in nature, what I did is I decided, I started hand cutting decks of cards to basically make what’s called. It’s a way to deck. And I created, I knew how to manipulate cards to make the probabilities. Not always add up where the person wants to keep going and trying to get it right and it’s not going to follow regular patterns so you actually have to learn the pattern. And an adult though would immediately identify that game as high, low and have no problem wanting to play it with their kid because now they can compete and due to the way the deck, we’ve now just made that game and even playing field. So I started hand cutting these decks and putting them in Ziploc bags and sending them home with the kids. And um, little by little I told the parents in the beginning, listen, don’t worry about the ditto there.
Stephen: 00:38:21 There’ll be fine on their state test. Just I need you to play this with it for a half hour with the kid. And little by little the parents started calling in and saying, you know, I started getting weird messages were not only were they playing with the kid, but then they were playing after hours when the kids went to sleep. And then, oh, by the way, can you cut me another deck because I’m going to bring this over for our night with the other parents. And it just kind of spiraled from there. I started inventing different ways to get kids the different skill sets that I needed. So it wasn’t only only high low, it was a memory skill, problem solving and logic, but all simple pub style games, um, that I needed, that I knew these skillsets would get the kids comfortable with thinking and abstractly problem solving, but they didn’t know they were doing it because they were, they were betting a high low.
Stephen: 00:39:08 For example, one of my games, rooster race is a way to deck high, low game, but the kids aren’t betting poker chips. They’re, they’re betting and winning corn so the kids don’t know what they’re doing and they don’t know that it’s a way to deck. All they know is the numbers go from one to 15. Um, and everything that in that deck and everything that is laid out, there was a reason why there’s one to 15 and it’s not a regular deck. And there’s reasons why, um, you know, there’s certain amounts of corn. Everything is from a basis of my studies of casinos, so I know how to make that game addictive.
New Speaker: 00:39:38 So did we not go to parents’ couch at this point? So now we’re not going home and explaining a bomb and down. You’re sitting now in the superintendent’s Office at some point the principal’s office on a couch saying, Joe, from what I understand, you’re teaching our kids to gamble and you’re sending home a gambling tools that really doesn’t go with the school district that we are trying to embrace. Joe, you know, after all we have state tests coming up, right?
Stephen: 00:40:05 Well that conversation was a little different. The conversation was more of the other teachers are complaining because every student wants to be in your class. And. Oh No. The other interesting part was, you know what, you’re in the top three teachers on their test scores. He’s not that far off. Although he’s not teach it. And you know, joe is not teaching anything according to a. We told him to. He’s still getting right up there, but the kids are lining up out the door and can’t wait to sit there for 80 minutes because he’s got them doing things with roosters and turtles and monkeys and they’re not doing the x, Y, z of the other classes. Now, what years was this? So this was in 2000, let’s say 2000. Three to 2000. Six
New Speaker: 00:40:46 pre, pre cell phone. Pre, pre, uh, pre. Uh, what’s the game that candy crush and all that jazz. Right. All those things. Right. So pre that stuff. But this is really, but you know, it sounds to me like you tapped into why those games are so popular too, right? I mean it’s, it’s, it’s an attention thing. And you were able to connect with them. Did you. So you did see test scores improve. Did you, did you get any, any sense of the parents kids working together more? I mean, I know you said you had some collins, but I mean it’s still one of those tragedies, especially if you’re in a poor district. Right. Did it, I mean, did it perform different things than you expected? In a relationship wise, you know what I mean?
Stephen: 00:41:27 Well, the most important part that I think it did was exactly that. It wasn’t necessarily when I kind of look and maybe put a feather in my cap on what that pivot in my life was. It wasn’t that I had decent test scores or whatnot. It was that when Johnny went home, he actually now have something to talk to, um, with his parents and do at the dinner table. And the parents didn’t mind doing it. That was the big piece because now we’ll play rooster ray said, and maybe while you’re playing rooster race, you know what Johnny’s going to tell them about the crush he had on tiffany that day or something. And all of those conversations that don’t have and all that bonding doesn’t happen when the kid is shut down because they don’t want to do that worksheet and they don’t want to do that. Didn’t they just want to get through it because you know, um, you know, Mr j applied this, uh, this homework assignment and this stinks. So that was really where I looked and I saw the, um, the big piece, but what I rapidly identified was that this was not going to happen in the school districts because I was in that couch pretty much every week where they were staying. We don’t do that,
New Speaker: 00:42:28 we don’t do that here. Joe, you’re back to your parents right back. They’re questioning everything and you’re like, wait a second, wait, this is, you know, that the ends justify the means in this case. I mean 100 percent, right? You want to help them learn, you want to help advance them. I’m doing that, but no joe, that’s not the way we do things here. Right. Okay. So that doesn’t work. Is there another way? I’m sorry, is there another way that you can get this out to kids?
Stephen: 00:42:55 So then what we did is then we went back though, are we not me? I went back to my parents’ couch and I said, alright, I’m tenured now. I’m working and this, that, and the other thing. And so now this little hobby of mine led to where I was actually cutting up games on larger scales where I was now maybe cutting up 100 games, you know, this was not any more small scale. I was actually getting, you know, reams of paper and boxes shipped to my apartment at the time. And this was all trying to figure this out and kids were losing their minds and this was, you know, in a good way. And then everyone was excited. So then I went to my parents and I said, okay, so hear me out. Uh, I think I’m gonna actually create a business out of this.
Stephen: 00:43:37 And uh, at this point now, it wasn’t any big deal to my parents because they said, sure, you can do anything on the side. And um, and that’s what I did to start. So what I did is I wound up dabbling from scratch, teaching myself the manufacturing process and how to actually set up and create a board game from scratch. And I had no prior knowledge in this. I did all the old in the early games that I did was all my own artwork, so I had to teach myself illustrator or photoshop, I had no understanding of any of that. Had to set up things for print setting and then talking. I’ve eventually, um, learn the manufacturing route by using someone in the US, but found out that they were actually a third party to printers in China. So then I quickly learned that whole, um, that you’ve ever asked him.
Stephen: 00:44:24 Yeah, no middleman needed. And that’s what happened from that point. Then it was getting bigger and bigger than what we would. And now when I say we, it was me and my girlfriend at the time, Kate, who now is my wife, she started buying into this and she’s seen me every day and, and now instead of maybe full dates on Friday and things of that nature, she’s coming over to the apartment and we’re adjusting boxes and we’re gluing and bagging things. And I had a shrink wrapper and, and all of this. I have no idea how to really run a business. But I thought this was entertaining and I had a passion for these games, so then it came time to like get these out into the world and again, had no idea. So
New Speaker: 00:45:01 that didn’t exist, right? The, the online world was not as far as it is today. Right? It was there. I mean, it existed.
Stephen: 00:45:08 It was there, but not to any extent that I knew about it. And what did they used to do right there? We’re still toy stores stores. So what I started doing was a locally just driving around to these toy stores and I would walk in with my Ziploc bags that uh, and I just learned from that level of, you know, how do you buy these games? And then there was something called wholesale pricing, had no idea. So I ran back to the car and then I had to learn that. And then I went back in the next week and said, oh. And then they said, well, we only buy in case packs, what’s the case pack? And all that. Um, until I started figuring that out and it got to the point where it was slowly growing. But I kept teaching and that was really what was getting in the way at this point.
Stephen: 00:45:51 And I kind of went back to my parents one day. Oh No, here we go. With that said. Yep. And that’s exactly my father said. And I said, listen, I said, ah, I fully believe in this. And uh, I think that there’s a shot, but if, if I keep teaching, I’m not gonna be able to give this a shot. So I basically, uh, you know, again, they said, well, take it slow. You don’t really know what you’re doing. Don’t leave teaching. You can’t leave that job, Joe, that doesn’t, that’s not even an option. So what we did is kate and I got a, we rented a van and we loaded up all of these games and we stuffed them in a car and started driving. And I told my parents, I said, listen, we’re going to see how this goes. And uh, you know, maybe I don’t go back in September. And we started driving. Um, I remember like, our first stop was in Pennsylvania. We went to a couple of toy stores right outside of Hershey. We were in Pittsburgh and the reception at the time, I didn’t know how good it was, but we walked into a toy store, sold games, got to check, walked into the car and drove to the next one and it just started.
New Speaker: 00:46:54 Oh my God, this is, I’m telling you there’s going to be a movie. This is going to be a movie because it’s nobody does that. Right? That just doesn’t happen. And it doesn’t happen to you. Right? I mean, does that, the stuff that’s going through your head, I mean, when you get your first check, when they actually like, yes. And you walked out to the car, I mean, what’s that moment like?
Stephen: 00:47:13 Had no idea what to do and. Exactly. And we just kept going. So again, here’s another road trip. Picture this. We’re driving around and before you know it me and cater, we’re hanging out in Texas and all of a sudden we’ve made it that far across the country. And before, you know, it was sitting in stores in New Mexico and we just kept driving and letting my parents know. They’re like, when are you guys coming back? And Oh, we’re in here. And we did that for, um, that whole summer and then what happened was that, that was going to be my last year of teaching. What I found out later is we grew that and one toy store turned into two and then eventually we got that up to 500 local toy store is national kidding? Yeah.
New Speaker: 00:47:56 So when you brought back this big lot of checks and money to your parents and your rent, 500 accounts, I mean, think about that door to door, right? This is, this is real grit. You know, nobody emails. There’s none of that stuff. This is real door to door. Um, what did they say?
Stephen: 00:48:15 Well, they said that’s great, but then they set, we, then they took me to the couch and they said this is fine and all. But uh, there’s no pension in this joe
New Speaker: 00:48:22 for real. I mean, this is a nice hobby. All right. You got it out of your system, right? That’s what they’re thinking. All right, good. He’s out.
Stephen: 00:48:28 Is that right? He got it out of the system. So I went to teaching that year. So this is my 11th year and then we started bringing in, once I kind of learned the manufacturing, we were bringing in games, I’m at the rate of five, like we were just buying containers. So we were getting all of these games that I created, 5,000 out of shot were coming in. But now I don’t know any of this that we might talk later on the call of unloading and warehousing and three paid. None of that existed in the or not I’m sorry it existed. I didn’t know about it. So I would be teaching and there would be a call into my classroom. This happened one time that we had a colon was the secretary says, Joe, I have a, you know, x, Y, z trucker on the company and he needs to talk to you.
Stephen: 00:49:14 Oh No. And I picked up the phone and I said, what’s the deal? And he’s saying, you know, I’m at such and such a house and have your container and here I’m in the middle of my math lesson. And I had to solve and figure it out until my, you know, telling my parents, listen, can you drive there and keep this guy busy. And I had to unload containers where we would unload by hand and uh, it, it just got out of hand. We even had shipments sometimes this was entertaining my last year of teaching, we had shipments that somehow got mixed and missed because now we’re shipping games by the pallet and I’m doing this all by hand and the whole time trying to not let anyone know that I’m a full time teacher. So I’m trying to take calls in the parking lot and do this.
Stephen: 00:49:54 And one day the, I guess we missed a shipment or somehow the addresses got kicked and someone typed in my name and couldn’t find my apartment number, but found the school address. That’s how I came up on Google. So my principal calls me in and I knew I was going to have a serious couch time that day because as I walked into the office, I passed three pallets that were dropped off of my games. So then it was a little hard to explain to them that this was just a hobby and, you know, because I had a problem with them, I had quit this, this addiction. I quit this addiction of making games for kids to focus on my teaching career. So that turned out to be. I decided, um, that was it. And the reason really the turning point was when we got the call from Barnes and noble, that lead and we wound up getting into barnes and noble, that we just, me and kate, that now, you know, she kind of, we were looking at this same, we have 500 of these stores, we’re trying to do invoicing and everything and now barnes and noble is, is putting us into their stores.
Stephen: 00:50:51 So we said we have to give this a shot. This is definitely real or fake thing that’s just cutting up in boxes. So I opted to, uh, you know, we kind of decided and uh, I handed in my resignation and uh, at that point then the other. So the third and final cash that who is on was the couch with my principal when I handed in my resignation. She called me in and said, you don’t need to hand this in, Joe. You’re tenured, you’re getting a pension law. You can do this in 30 years after you retire. Just think about it. I’m not, I’m not going to submit this for you. And I said, no, I, I full heartedly. I mean, Dan said, I meant to send this to you. This wasn’t an error. And you know, she goes, I’ll hold it for three days. You’re a little heated. Think about it. And I said, you can do that. But that was it. And uh, I left and we never have looked back. That was seven years ago. So this is my seventh year out of teaching.
New Speaker: 00:51:42 Now everybody’s listening to you. It’s like this real. This is 100 percent real. Now, think about this. We’ve heard these stories, we’ve seen these true outliers. You solved a problem. You got through all the reasons you know. How many hurdles did you get through to get to this point? Take us forward. Go all the way to the end now, how many games do you have in your company now?
Stephen: 00:52:04 So I wound up and that’s another story within a story. So I wound up, uh, this actually could lead into my misunderstanding and the education into the world of Amazon and online. So we wound up at the time I invented six games. We had our catalog up to six and we were going to, all of the national toy show is when we were selling and it happened about four years ago, I believe it was. We were in, uh, in New York and we were at the javits center and all of our toy stores who were in all the time came up to us and they’re like, we can’t buy your games anymore. And I said, well, why not? And they said, no, your games are selling on Amazon for we are wholesale those games for $10. And they were selling on Amazon, I think for 12 or 14. And it turned out that some of our bigger partners wound up. They basically were riding our coattails on all the marketing we were doing around the country and dumped them on Amazon. So these were our distributors. They’re not wholesale,
New Speaker: 00:53:04 so these are distributed, which is usually 20 percent below wholesale. They could sell at a low price and still make a profit.
Stephen: 00:53:09 Exactly. And then any of your. When we had people on the mass market and slash or the specialty mass that would buy large quantities and then dump them if they couldn’t sell them at the end of the holiday season, that could be hundreds of games and they were just flooding into the market and uh, we didn’t have any idea and we prided ourselves, me and Kate, when we would drive around the country, we always told these stories that we did not sell online. We did not want to compete with them. We were going to be your boots on the ground to a company for a game publisher. And it was kind of an eyeopening. We sat down that day in the booth and it was sobering because we said, what do you, what do you mean? Like all these people, how many people kind of, you know, really behind our backs screwed us over. Um, so with that being said, I started looking into this Amazon world and started learning about it and um, realized that basically those six games that I had invented were gone. They was, there was no way that I was ever going to get those listings back or really figure out how to dig that through. So now picture this, I go to kate on the couch and after I gave all this thoughts, I say,
New Speaker: 00:54:14 man, do you guys, this couch is something else. But it’s really the point, that conversation point these giant moments of your life and there’s sounds. Well you’ve had a run of them. We’ve had a good run of them so far, but it’s just so cool that you ended up back there. It’s a, it’s a, you mentioned earlier about your communication skills and people can hear your enthusiasm, but I’m serious. That is, that’s a gift, Joe. I mean that ability to have these commerce, these tough conversations, right? Because none of them sound easy to me. That’s a. Oh, give me the chills again. You gave me the chills like four times. I’m telling you. I love it now. So tell us what she said, Darling.
Stephen: 00:54:55 So I said, okay, hear me out, but here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna cut those six games loose and we’re going to bring the catalog down to zero and I’m going to invent all new games and we’re gonna go get a new manufacturing partner and we’re gonna restart this entire company and we’re going to sell online because we have to cut out all the leaks. And I said, so we’re gonna start from scratch right now. And she looked and she goes, literally. She was like, well, that makes sense here. I’m kidding. Cringing. And I’m like, well, you know, and I, I have, again, I don’t do any knee jerk reaction. So I have binders ready. I have all of my cases and situations and I didn’t have to get to the second page. She goes, alright, that sounds good. She goes, uh, you know, I said, well don’t you want to see my?
Stephen: 00:55:46 And she’s like, no, we’re good. We’ll figure this out. And that was, uh, that was the beginning of like, I call it rooster fin. Two point. Oh, is a. So I went and had a good long, uh, I guess sit at my desk with my calculator, pen and pencil and invented. I’m six new games. And then I went out to this time I decided there was no, I didn’t want anyone else in control. Um, so again, as much as I can communicate, well I’m a big person, uh, in terms of boots on the ground. That was the whole reason how this business got started going to a store to door selling to the stores. So I flew out to China and I decided I was going to who’s on the ground and I’m gonna, I’m gonna shake hands and talk to the factories and figure out who’s going to be our, you know, who’s gonna be the, uh, the production facility for Rooster Finn.
Stephen: 00:56:39 And that’s what I did. I wound up a couple of years ago, went out to China for the first time, traveled around and interview different factories and basically decided on one. And uh, we went out afterwards once we decided to do this endeavor and they kind of didn’t understand it because this is not a toy manufacturer, so I had to sit and explain to them what in the world I was doing and um, once we kind of agreed on that, I committed to inventing six more games because I said I really wanted to invent a and get the catalog out quick. So in the next two years I invented a total of 14 games and went into production and all of them,
New Speaker: 00:57:16 you know, you wouldn’t have been able to go to China way back, you know, you wouldn’t have been able to, once you figured out there was an intermediate, you wouldn’t have been able to confidently go to China and really be effective. Let me say it that way. I don’t mean it that way. That was learning points all along. Each one of these bumps that you get through my poll pod podcast, just helping people get past the point of stuck. And usually my, my last question is always like, you know, give us a tip to get pest appointed stuck. You’ve given us 100 tips, you know, like every time we hit the couch there’s another hundred and then we got another 100. And I think that it’s so powerful. Um, the, the thing that I think that you do unbelievably well, you know, is you believe in what you’re doing.
New Speaker: 00:57:57 You know, you don’t just sit there and say, okay, here’s a game you demonstrate and we can talk about the youtube and stuff, but, but you really believe in what you’re doing as opposed to somebody who just, Oh, hey, we’ve got a, you know, a team designed a game. Okay, we got through that deadline. Okay, next week we’re going to be doing elephants. Everybody, you know what I mean? That, that depth of caring, you know, you’re back to those middle school kids. You’re right back to that group helped us shape lives. Tude oh yeah. How many people get to do this? Not many people. Alright, so you had been 14. [inaudible] six isn’t good enough and the original six that sold out that were selling like hotcakes weren’t good enough.
Stephen: 00:58:41 Well, we have to get forward to the late. Those original six, I call that, like my skeletons, but they’re not in the closet. They’re on Amazon. So still an Amazon. Yes. So floating around to this day you can find some of my older titles that are, you’ll see they have bad pictures, bad listings, no reviews. I’m 96 sellers and uh, you know, they’re selling used copies all but they’re there. That’s basically my reminder of where we’ve come from. And then I look at it, I don’t really mind they’re there and uh, it’s still kind of neat to see. Actually last year for um, just a little, uh, a fun. I ordered one and got it and I look at the copyrights and things like that nature and I show Kate, I’m like, remember when we did this was 2014 and look at this and even though it, even though 2014 doesn’t sound that long ago in our short history, when you look at it and we’ve been in business seven years, it’s like, it’s like looking at a time capsule and um, yeah, we uh, I pulled that one of those games. I bought it on Amazon. It arrived at the house and I’m like, this is hysterical. And some know some seller made eight bucks on me, but that’s funny and that’s fine.
New Speaker: 00:59:45 Rabbit, this question, let me ask it this way. I think about, you know, the people who are listening to this are selling on Amazon, Ebay, etsy, whatever. And they, they, they know how to sell. Right? But they’re struggling to stand out, especially the people who are creating brands and stuff like that. You absolutely have taken the bull by the horns with this. Who’s idea was it to play the games
Stephen: 01:00:11 and what do you mean by play the games
New Speaker: 01:00:12 to play the games where people can actually see games getting played
Stephen: 01:00:17 as far as the online are you, oh, you’re going to be
New Speaker: 01:00:19 youtube and stuff. But to me, whose idea was that?
Stephen: 01:00:22 Well, so that was, that came about. So a lot of these things and, and I do a lot of show his traveling because I like meeting people and things of that nature and I kind of, uh, you know, speaking to your audience as well as when everyone always asks exactly that, you know, how did you do this or was it, what’s the hack? And a lot of these things that I have are a little bit unique because it’s not a hack that what you’re seeing on youtube and me playing the games that is the basically fall out from what we had to do when we went to a toy store because that toy store owner didn’t have necessarily always the time. Um, we coined the phrase ambushing. So whenever we went to a toy store who wouldn’t take our appointment, we would just drive there.
Stephen: 01:01:02 Whether they were in a, we would pull into toy stores in San Francisco from New York and we would tell them it’s Joe Rooster Fin. And they would look and I would say, you didn’t answer five of my calls. And they were like from New York. And I’m like, yeah, we’re here. And they sometimes still wouldn’t take the meeting, most times they would, but the ones that didn’t, or we’re too busy that day because we ambushed him, you had to have some way to quickly demo the game. So we got very good at demoing games on the side of a building in, on, in a car parking lot, uh, in all a very small space. And then we translated that, translated it to youtube where we now can do that same presentation. And basically that’s one of our criteria is our games when we make them, the instructions have to fit on no bigger than a five by eight postcard whenever we design a game and we have to be able to present it and play it within a minute to show the person how to play it. Uh, otherwise we could never sell a game. So that was survival. So when you watch those youtube videos, I’m actually whisked away while I’m talking about those. I’m in on the street in Oregon or I’m on the Bank of, uh, you know, of some other street talking to someone in San Francisco or Texas selling a game because that’s how I used to do it.
New Speaker: 01:02:13 But again, the enthusiasm is there. I mean, to me, I sit there and I think about people are like, wow, you know, I got to figure how we’re going to do this. You, you’ve done it. I mean, to me again, it’s, it’s the lesson I think that everybody should take away from this. You heard Joe all the reasons he shouldn’t be where he is, right? Smart. We all get that. Right? But you didn’t know how to do one single thing, right? You didn’t know anything and yet you got through every single one and here you are out there playing games on youtube and demonstrating how to use these toys to make sure that, that your stuff gets used and seen. And I mean, I imagine it’s one of the best business cards. You could use these things. And I just think it’s so powerful. Um, it’s like twitch before twitch was there.
New Speaker: 01:02:55 That’s what it reminds me of. Loving Dude. It, it blows my mind. You have no reason to be successful. Uh, you are absolutely should be on the couch. None of this should have happened to you, but it did. And it’s got to blow your mind. I mean, it’s got us. You got to sit back and think to yourself, although my bed, this is, this is not an ego thing either. You knew that you were going to be successful. There’s no doubt in my mind because the math would have told you that. I bet you if you did it a formula for you and your x and your y and you put all their talents and all the rest of that, that formula would show that you would have your propensity for success was, was already determined. What about the failures? You know, because I, I, I know you mentioned a few, you mentioned challenges, but you didn’t mention a lot of failures. I guess everybody, you know, taking your games and selling them on Amazon wasn’t probably a highlight, but how do you push through those still because it can’t, not everything you do is a win, right? I mean, not everything
Stephen: 01:03:54 fair. Nope. Yeah, we had A. Sorry, not get hurt by that. I think it’s, and I, I, you know, when I talk about my story and I tell people and I, I think it has to be because even I cringe when I think back to some of the situations that happened. For example, imagine here’s a one that just pops in my head as I’m, as I’m looking on my bookshelf and I see one of my older games shuffling feet. That game popped up and win that game first arrived. We ordered 2,500 and the factory forgot to put the Barcode on. Oh. So we sat me and Kate and uh, on a pizza night and basically had some family over and my sister and her husband came over and we were sticker and barcodes. And unfortunately I would say, um, I wish I could say that that was the only time that happened.
Stephen: 01:04:42 But that did happen a second time as well, so I think the end of the day though, or the or the thing was, or the thing is, is that I truly enjoy the whole process of making a game, playing a game and I do believe it has a tremendous value when it comes to family. So all of these things kind of lead to when me and kate talk about it and of course nobody wants to be sitting in the garage putting barcodes on or nobody wants to be dealing with the fact that half the ship and got wrecked in a, you know, with water damage or whatnot. Those are just things that happened. But if you truly are enjoying the journey and I think that maybe is the way to sum it up, not necessarily looking at only looking at a destination, it’s more of the journey.
Stephen: 01:05:28 And I didn’t want to be in that classroom. Looking back, I knew that if I didn’t try this 20 years from now, I’d be sitting in room 102 as the bell rang, wondering what could have been. So I’m not in that position was I expecting when I left, I’m sure all the teachers thought Joe left for his rags to riches story and they cannot imagine that I’m in the garage doing some of the things that I do a right or putting barcodes on or trying to figure out where it lost shipments are or, and the plethora of things that happens. But, um, that’s, that’s part of the journey. Yeah. I guess
New Speaker: 01:06:04 guarantee you they’re sitting back and saying, wait a second, you mean? And, and to be fair, you know, it’ll take another generation or two to kick a lot of that out. But it’s coming. It’s coming hot and heavy where people are saying, wait a second, my boundaries. I could do this when I go to Vegas and I see this whole world that never existed. So pull back. I’ve been in an event this past week in Philadelphia. I sat at a different table because there wasn’t enough room at the other table and I sat with this incredible group of people that just blew my mind. The business they’re in, I didn’t even know existed and it just blew my mind exactly in here. I’m a 53 year old guy who got my mind blown. This stuff still happens and it still can happen. You’re not a, you’re not a one hit wonder. But do you consider yourself extra ordinary joe? I mean it, it, it because I just want to see if somebody else can get inspired because they’re going to sit there and say, well, I’m not a math genius. I’m not. Okay. But do you consider yourself extra ordinary?
Stephen: 01:07:02 I think the, I don’t think so. And the reason that I say that is me and Kate often laugh about this and we say that we’ve gotten to where we are either because I’m not that bright or just really stubborn and that that’s really the cake. So it’s not that there was a silver spoon. So when I say actually, um, you mentioned the garage that I had read and, and I had a friend, I had a friend over literally yesterday and he walks in and I wanted to show them the garage. I’m proud of it and I can’t wait to start the live shows and I show him and he kinda just looked around and he went, Huh? It really does happen in a garage. And he wasn’t talking about the show, he was just talking about the business and he sees on the wall all of the things.
Stephen: 01:07:45 And it’s true for your listeners. Then it’s, it’s finding something that really interests you because again, like you said, it can’t just be a product or you can’t just say, I’m going to start selling on Amazon because I want to be rich tomorrow. That’s not gonna happen. Uh, it’s, it’s that a vision on something that you truly enjoy and then the willingness to see it through. And that’s I think where it’s not extraordinary. It’s just I tend to be okay with, not that I enjoy it, but getting kicked quite often, uh, in the beginning and just kept keeping my eye on the, uh, on the goal, so to speak.
New Speaker: 01:08:22 Yeah, it’s a long, it’s the long game. It’s the, it’s the process. I wrote this down. It’s the process that leads to a successful journey. And you know how many times if you follow Gary v, that’s what he keeps talking about. You got to keep. It’s just a process. You got to love the process, love the process because you’re going to win and you’re going to lose. But if you get through that process and it gets smoother each time you again, we’ll go back to China. You would have not been successful had you gone to China originally, but yet with all that extra knowledge and all that extra confidence, quite frankly, you were able to do it and now it’s, it’s probably second nature to you to blow my mind. He blow my mind. How could I not be motivated? How could you not be inspired? Anybody listening to this? This can be done in this day and age because they’re sitting here saying, Mojo. All the Games are out. Toys r us just closed. There’s nobody buying games. No, but it’s gone. The business has gone. How could I do this? Right? Uh, no. Would you tell them? No,
Stephen: 01:09:17 I would. Absolutely I would. I would go to kind of follow up on that, on a very short story, one of the, as I was a but back to bouncing around and trying to figure out what to do. I actually took again, back on the couch. I took a drop driving coach. I took a job on an 18 wheeler and I basically was a packer for Burger King and what that meant was, and a driver would drive me around to different burger king’s every morning and I would go around and unpack the 18 wheeler truck and deliver their whoppers and fish sticks. And I remember my driver was Jimbo and Jimbo. I still to this day have a great relationship with them. And uh, and uh, he was my driver and he kind of took me under his wing and just picture a big burly guy and he just was a no bs guy.
Stephen: 01:10:01 He said it as it is and he would just listen to me talk and talk and talk. And um, I remember talking to him and saying with this teaching thing, and it always stuck with me. I said, well, I don’t know what to do, and then I was Kinda on the fence. I’m going back to teaching and then years later now we remained in touch and I brought him my situation. I’m sitting out at his house and we’re having a fire and a kind of sitting out back and I’m talking for hours about this whole problem with Amazon and everything and every I my latest, my latest mess of failure and very quietly he just looked at me and he goes, do something even if it’s wrong. And that’s the key right there. And I thought that was at the time. I was like, what is is?
Stephen: 01:10:42 Even listening to me and he said, do something even if it’s wrong. And I think that’s a very powerful. His little advice there was like, stop sitting here talking about it. Just try something. And I found that to be true in everything that goes on with this business. As long as you keep trying things and moving forward it will happen. But you can’t just sit and say, you know, the urls didn’t come in. I don’t have the barcode. This didn’t, shipment didn’t happen, I didn’t get that right product because it’s not one thing that leads to failure and it’s not one thing that leads to success.
New Speaker: 01:11:14 It’s the crisis. The person’s always in crisis. They create crisis just to create crisis so they can solve them. Who never moves forward. It’s, it’s that again, we’re back to that process. Love it. Oh, alright. So the youtube channel was named what? Rooster? Fin Games. Rooster Fin Games. And when I have you come back, you’re going to explain that name someday. Facebook. Now where do you do your live shows at?
Stephen: 01:11:42 So we do all live show is on our website, [inaudible] dot com. And on facebook.
New Speaker: 01:11:47 Okay. So there are. And that’s the best place. If somebody has a followup question, what’s the best place to, uh, to get, uh, to get in touch with you.
Stephen: 01:11:56 So if they’re looking for information and whatnot, they can always follow us where we have our blog and our journey on our website and on our social media, on Rooster Finn. But I always, um, by all means, I appreciate any questions and I understand the struggle and everything else like that. So I would simply tell any of your listeners, it’s joe at [inaudible] dot com. Just shoot me an email and at least let me know where you came from. I was on Steve Show and I always take a special liking to. I get emails quite often and I always make a point of answering them just because I was literally where most of these sellers are and I still to this day I’m also sending out emails to where I hope to be to other sellers trying to figure some things out.
New Speaker: 01:12:43 So guys, I told you we were gonna have fun today. Oh Man, I wish you nothing but success. Thank you so, so much. I appreciate it. Thanks for having me. All right. How cool is that? Who wouldn’t like to play this game and who isn’t wanting to play his games? I mean, could you imagine a teacher investing in you at that age and making and making that stuff and bringing it to classroom? Who does that? Who does that? Those are the teachers that you want. Right? And to be fair, I think all teachers were those teachers at one time, but they’ve been contained and put into the system and told you can’t, you know, Buck back? Well that’s not gonna happen to a guy like Joe. Right? He’s willing to take a lashing on the couch because he cared and you know, I just, I just think it’s so powerful what he said about those age groups on how that’s the place where we need to double down. I mean, to me it makes perfect sense and I hope, I hope that stuff changes, but you know, with guys like Joe and teachers out there like joke because we all seen them. The world is a better place and man, I’m a much better person for this interview. E-Commerce momentum.com, ecommerce momentum dotcom. Take care.
Cool voice guy: 01:13:53 Thanks for listening to the ECOMMERCE momentum podcast. All the links mentioned today can be found at incomers momentum. Doug, come under this episode number. Please remember to subscribe and the like us on itunes.