Some dads look upon their kid and see a budding athlete; some a rising scholar; others a blossoming thespian. I see a future honoree of the Inc5000. It started with surplus fruit. A few months later, the spark of entrepreneurship manifested itself as Starburst bracelets at his school's open marketplace event. Last week it was open marketplace time again, and Fury went straight for the elementary school jugular: Minecraft. In case you didn't click on the link I conveniently left you in the last sentence, the open marketplace is an event at Fury's school where they let kids sell anything they want, with school-regulated "Colt bucks" serving as legal tender.
If you don't know what Minecraft is, you haven't spoken to anyone between the ages of 7 and, well, dead. Simply put, it is a video game that puts you in an 8-bit world where you build and destroy things with your friends. That's it. It's like playing outside if you had access to earth-moving machinery, demolitions, were able to fly, and didn't have to secure permits or heed zoning laws.
Marketers (and my 10-year old) have not overlooked the merchandising potential of this phenomenon. Fury called me while I was at work the other day to discuss this.
While he knew he wanted to sell something related to Minecraft, he hadn't quite settled on the product just yet. He floated the idea of some sort of paper handcraft. However, as his entrepreneurial advisor, father and fellow Shark Tank devotee, I cautioned that this project would involve too much skilled labor and certainly wasn't scalable. We needed something that could be easily manufactured by exploiting low cost foreign labor. Always prepare for success.
We decided upon Minecraft Creeper necklaces. Creepers are the bad guys in the Minecraft world. I texted Lisa a list of items we needed to buy in order to make these. She took Fury to the store and bought a bunch of things that weren't on my list, but would actually make the manufacturing process easier and more efficient. Some things never change.
Then he got to work.
When I got home, my job was to figure out how to make those double slip knots that make necklaces adjustable. Never try to tie fancy knots via YouTube. You end up hating YouTube, string, and life itself. I finally found a simple necklace knot tutorial and we managed to complete all 23 necklaces. Of course, because I just threw them in a pile, they all got hopelessly tangled. After 15 futile minutes trying to separate them and reaffirming my hatred for string and life, I cut them all and started over. But we eventually got there.
When I saw Fury the day after his open marketplace, he was chillin' on the couch with two necklaces dangling from his neck.
"How did sales go?"
"I sold out in two and a half minutes. I made $35,000."
"Why do you still have two left?"
"One is for me, and the other one is in the middle of a bidding war."
"Nice! What's it at?"
"So far $25,000 is the highest bid, and I am keeping it open till Friday."
Future Inc5000 honoree? No, my imagination is far more ambitious than that. This is the image that flashed across my mind at that moment. Shark Tank, season 5.
While I could just end this post here with that clever display of Photoshop skillage, I couldn't leave out a conversation I had with Fury last night over dinner, because of course he has to top his own punch line. With one day left in bidding, I asked him how things were going.
"Well, I ran into some problems with a kid trying to scam me. He gave me half the money and he took the necklace and ran into the bathroom."
"He took it? Did you get it back?"
"Yeah, I paid my friend to get it back for me?"
"Why did you pay a friend?"
"Dad, he's a 6'2" fourth grader. I use him a lot."
"What, is he like your enforcer?"
"Yeah, I pay him all the time. $2,000 to take care of things. $5,000 to follow me around as my bodyguard and make me look awesome."
Maybe a different Photoshop and future ambition is in order here. And we might have to set up an Etsy store while we're at it. As a front.