Apr 11 2012

Software Sage

Clear is an iPhone app and it’s awesome. They were the #1 downloaded iPhone app in the whole store for a week and were making $170k per day.

This guy coded it and he is also awesome. On his personal site he gave some software-building rules to follow. From what I have experienced so far with software he is spot on and I want to obey his great advice. Behold, and it came to pass:

Screen Shot 2012-04-11 at 12.36.45 PM

Yup. That’s the stuff. I just signed with a local marketing firm and bought plane tickets for a very cool, very well-known actress friend to be in our commercial. So PUMPED! This is really, really exciting and a bit scary. It’ll be good stuff, though. We’re going to get noticed and the app is going to kick some tail.


Feb 21 2012

Water Foul

thug-goose

We can learn from them. Sorta. On twitter I saw someone post this quote:

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Love it. It’s very true, you see. As unique as we all are, humans share many, many tendencies.

Parker Planners works because there are a lot of people like me out there who aren’t satisfied by the current planners on the market. The Parker Planner app is going to kick some booty for the same reason. So many people who are extremely capable are afraid to share their innovations with the world because they think people won’t want their products. Man, just put it out there! Let the MARKET decide whether your product is useful, not you alone!! Crazy person! You’re not so unique that only you would like your work and you’re certainly not smart enough to know how many people will want to buy your invention.

It’s a humble and humbling thing to present your work to the world and give a solemn recommendation that they buy it. I’ve struggled with that from day 1. Still do. Most of the time I don’t want to release new products or designs for fear of what people will say and worry if it will sell. You just do it, though. That’s entrepreneurship. Anything else is ‘want’trepreneurship. You gotta spend your own money and get your stuff out there.

I’ve met with the BYU Cocoa Heads a couple times now and there are some seriously talented people that attend. Tonight I was paid a really kind compliment when someone said they were going to release their first app into the iTunes App Store because of something I said two weeks prior.

I’m really excited about the first release of the Parker Planner into the App Store. Mostly I just want to use it on my own personal phone.


Dec 17 2011

The Jobs

Steve Jobs was one amazing dude. I can’t believe the amount of impactful things he helped develop in such a short time. Including Pixar! Nuts that he founded Pixar after Apple let him go.

In honor of beards everywhere, I give you bearded Jobs:

MACWORLD

Today I was looking at old Apple product presentations he gave on Youtube. It was really inspiring. I have a great opportunity with my next move with Parker Planners and getting some inspiration from the Jobs really helped. He’s definitely someone who trusts himself. More so than your average dude. One thing I found very useful in a video about the iPod Nano was that he said you have to start with the human experience and work backward toward the technology. I think his products really do that. Steve said he’s tried it the other way around many times and failed many times; having the scar tissue to prove it.

That’s so awesome. Thinking about people has to be the first step in product development. It’s about how we live, think, feel, observe, and interact with our surroundings. Our lives are improved so much when designers take a second to consider the human experience. I want to be one of those designers.

Here is the original iPod intro video. Mimic this thought process with another product and you’ll make money. After the first 4 sentences it’s clear they know what they’re doing. Bam.


Feb 25 2011

College Market Expo specialness

I’m at CAMEX right now. It’s the yearly college market expo of glory and wonder. So far so cool. I just saw Blake Mycoskie speak- founder of TOMS shoes, he’s way cool.

I’m really hungry and I gotta pee really bad but I’m so pumped to get out stuff to our booth!!! I just want to get this thing rolling!

I wad considering buying some kinda junky trade show food but I just asked this guy where to get good food and he told me about the spot. Literallly, it’s called “The Spot”, ha ha. He said it’s real good soul food :) we’ll see how it goes.

Be said “yeah they even got a steam table goin” probably 4 times. I promise to document said steam table. Maybe I’ll give it a hug.


Feb 25 2011

College Market Expo specialness

I’m at CAMEX right now. It’s the yearly college market expo of glory and wonder. So far so cool. I just saw Blake Mycoskie speak- founder of TOMS shoes, he’s way cool.

I’m really hungry and I gotta pee really bad but I’m so pumped to get out stuff to our booth!!! I just want to get this thing rolling!

I wad considering buying some kinda junky trade show food but I just asked this guy where to get good food and he told me about the spot. Literallly, it’s called “The Spot”, ha ha. He said it’s real good soul food :) we’ll see how it goes.

Be said “yeah they even got a steam table goin” probably 4 times. I promise to document said steam table. Maybe I’ll give it a hug.


Feb 17 2011

I like it

There is some super crazy stuff coming up in the near future for me, but I like it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Next Wednesday I’m going to Texas for another trade show but this one is bigger than the last- exactly 20 times bigger. At the last trade show we had about 50 potential customers and nabbed 18. At this one there will be about 1000 so the pressure is on. We sink or swim; excel or rack up a whole lot of expenses. My employee Boston and I have been at it hard these last 2 weeks calling potential customers and sending out emails to invite people to our booth and buy stuff from us. He’s only been with the company 2 weeks but we made the decision to bring him to the Houston show because it’s 3 days long and we will really appreciate the extra help. His wife seems to be excited about it, too- she said Boston comes home really happy because he likes his work. To think someone works for me and likes it is a huge compliment, more on that later. I’m excited Boston will get to meet my partner Benjie, too. Benjie (Benjamin and now Ben, but to me he will always Benjie Be) has been the best business partner a person could ask for since day 1; we’ve been working together since 2008 and he never ceases to amaze with his smarts, work ethic, and lack of anything that looks like fear. I’m really glad he and his wife are still involved with Parker Planners and I look forward to each time we get to see each other. He lives in Boise now, but we’ll see how long that last with the growth rate of the company :) (crossing toes). Kinda crazy to think other people are involved in my crackpot idea of wanting to sell a product to stores across the nation . . . and liking it.

My biggest fear when Parker Planners was super tiny was employing people. I didn’t want other people to have to rely on me for their welfare. I didn’t mind risking everything I had or failing myself, but to have someone else’s livelihood come strait from me or be affected by my decisions was something that I didn’t want to be held accountable for. I’ve since come to understand that everyone is responsible for their own decisions and someone taking a chance by working for/with me is just doing what I do- enjoying calculated risk. It’s not being reckless. It’s asking “what’s the best and what’s the worst that could happen” and if you can handle the worst and you REALLY want the best then why not go for it?

So the pressure is on, big time. If we see the same success from this show (percentage-wise) as the last, Parker Planners will be well on its way to becoming a legitimate concern in the college market. We might see things like bigger companies stepping in to compete or someone sniffing around at acquiring us. Either way it’s way exciting. We are very fortunate to be able to stay with my sister in Houston, that really worked out nice. Also one of the opening sessions of the show is a keynote by the founder of TOMS shoes, the company that gives a pair of shoes away for each they sell. I love inspiring stuff like that. Stories of people beating the odds are cool. It’s because that’s what we all have in us. We can all beat the odds if we have faith and are persistent enough. It’s in our nature and in our blood because of where we come from.

This is a story about a team beating the odds. They rock. Those guys are big role models for me in the entrepreneur world. Mick especially, ever since I found his blog and read every single post in early 2009 he has made me feel like dreams come true and you can kick as much butt as you choose. His 2-sentence bio blows minds: All-state athlete in 2 high school sports, chess club captain, sterling scholar. Princeton drop-out and founder of a VC-backed start-up with rapid growth and consistently making national news. On top of that he’s really personable and was on a hip-hop dance team back at Princeton. But I’m not just a looker.

I want to be this person for other people. I’d like to be someone that liberates people from their fears with my presence like Marianne Williamson’s quote says. Lotsa people think Nelson Mandella created it for his 1994 inaugural speech but I guess it was really from one of her books published in 1992. It is our light, not our darkness that most scares us. This makes lots of sense to me because knowing what we could be frustrates us a lot more than our failed attempts. We sometimes even dislike those that have worked harder than us to achieve their potential because we know we could have had the same thing had we exercised more faith or wasted less time. Tyler Haws is a great example of working on a huge goal and maybe not having all the natural ability in the world.

When I was 19 I set a goal to become a millionaire by the time I was 26. I figured (as a 19 yr old!!! don’t take this as my opinion now) those that don’t get there until they are 30 didn’t use their 20′s right and those that get there before 25 probably stole it. It could still happen. I’m not saying it will but it’s possible my stake in Parker Planners could be that valuable before this June. I’ll be real here and say it’s not very likely but saying that it can’t happen would be to deny magic its magicalness. We could get into 400 more stores at the Houston show, have Office Max, Target, and Staples love us at the NY show, release a sweet iPhone/Android app at Techcrunch Disrupt in May, and poof! PP equity is worth a lot. I’d for sure sell some ownership, hire people, and stuff, but it would fulfill the 19 yr old dream of mine.

Yay dreaming on paper. For the year 2011 I would very honestly be content have this business pay my bills so I can still work on it. I love what I do and will fight like a rabid monkey to keep it going.


Dec 18 2010

Startups

I love start-ups. As in small, brand new businesses with ‘a’ or a few founders seeing what they are really made of. It’s like systematic excuse genocide. People talk talk talk talk talk talk so dang much that I love to hear and even seek out stories about people just making it happen. I don’t care how good your idea is. Everyone has good ideas. I haven’t met a person that had nothing but bad ideas. The difference is if you are willing to bet the farm on your passion and walk the road of extreme happiness and extreme pain.

So here is someone I normally wouldn’t quote but he said this very well. Mark ought to know a thing or two about business even if it’s just from listening to the other keynote speakers where he himself is begged to speak at conference after conference. Call me an idiot but I’ve never written a formal business plan. I follow my heart. Lame and emotional as that sounds it’s all I’ve done since I started this company. We haven’t “failed” yet and I don’t suspect we will. Even if the company goes bankrupt I didn’t fail. I gained an advanced degree on what not to do.

ZuckQuote


Nov 14 2010

Comment

thankyou

We had a great comment come in from our website recently, here it is:

“Dear Parker Planners,

I received my planners and they’re even better than I expected. I used to get the old ones, but these ones are far better!

I go to Weber State University. In 2009, I took 17 credit hours at Weber, along with 4 extracurricular classes, and a part time job. These planners kept the planks on my life’s ship from shuddering through the storms that semester. I came through with a 4.0 GPA and was asked to be an activities chair of a large student organization because they saw how organized I was with my planner! Thanks a million.

Respectfully,
Eric”

Cool, huh? At the Utah 25 another person came up to me and thanked me for creating a great product. It’s great to hear that from our users. Also good that you have to work long, hard, and unrewarded before stuff like that gets back around to you. It’s surely not the praise that keeps you going, though, or I would have quit a long time ago.

Ethan


Nov 3 2010

Weekend Update Part Duex

(see Weekend Update for the exciting pre-clusion of this post)

Benjie and I looked at her with blank stares. I’ve never sold anything at a trade show before. What do you do or give them? We didn’t have receipts or anything so we just got a stack of blank paper and started writing the order down and stapled her business card to it. She was from a college bookstore.

That gave us a lot more confidence and lessened our despair. From there people seemed to come right up, love us, our story, and our products, and we just kept on writing on pieces of paper until we had 19 of them. Going into this trade show we had 19 college bookstores on our roster so it was kind of funny that’s exactly how many stores we added. We’re thinking we’ll try again at this trade show thing.

Here’s our humble booth before the show started:

Tacoma Booth Oct 2010

Here’s to winging it! We were happy with the show and our income exceeded the expense of the show, good deal.


Oct 18 2010

Commute

Here is Parker Planners post # 2 everyone! Enjoy the randomness. Today I ran into my friend Bryan Bennett on campus and we talked for almost an hour. He co-founded Mealdrop, a company that produces software to allow people to order food from their college campus eateries and have it delivered to a designated location close by for pick-up. Pretty cool stuff! He recently graduated and is giving it all he’s got. Fun to run into someone in a similar spot as I.


Oct 11 2010

Dawning of an Era

Today marks the day of this blog also becoming a vlog. That’s a video-blog. Once a week there will be a video of the proceedings of Parker Planners. I pledge to be brief, random, and interesting. I was doing a weekly newsletter for my partner and accountant and employee gone Kraft marketer person but I’ve decided this is much more appealing. The blog is called “Living the Dream” right? Well it’s about time I show the world the ups and downs of running your own very small business with dreams of making it big.

Enjoy Living the Dream; Genesis:


Sep 22 2010

Vision

True that. If only girls thought this way . . .

zappos