QUESTION: Did you ever get close to losing  your invention because you did not make enough sales?

ANSWER: We sold 2 million kits. But one of the things I did was; Better Blocks, although we are looking at releasing it, it had a nine-year life span. And that’s because we sold it, the person I sold it to, Kelvin is very good at direct marketing on TV. And eventually, you needed to get into retail stores to make a success of the product. What we did was we never quite, although we get into the Toys R Us and the retail stores, we never really made as good a success as we could’ve. So eventually after about 9 years, Better Blocks had run its life by direct response selling and that’s the way that it was. Although we are looking at re-releasing it.

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QUESTION: You said that after the Better Blocks success, you then had a bit of self doubt. Is this the one hit wonder, basically you said. So how did you get out of that sort of thinking and selling yourself short to doing this? What was that lead? There must be something in your head that just went snap.

ANSWER: Actually, it didn’t quite go snap. But actually it was an evolution for me, what I started to do was to get, I was asked by schools to speak to classes of kids about inventing. And I went in and did that and I found that the kids would often lead me into entrepreneurship and finances and money. And I started to see that there was not a lot of good information, or information around that would teach kids about those things. So that was really the start of getting my next product. The problem I had was, I had an engineering background.,  Give  me a block to make and I can go off and do that, but give me an education program to build, I have to be honest, I had no idea how to do that. So I spent probably 15 years, researching  educational products. Like I mentioned before I did programs and whole series of things to find out how kids learn and how they learn the best. And that’s pretty simple. But the bottom line for me was; kids learn best from other kids and if the learning’s fun and entertaining, they’ll learn. And if you can get those two ingredients in, then you can build a program that will be great for teaching kids.

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QUESTION: There was stuff you weren’t comfortable doing like asking, which means that, usually people say ‘you know I’m busy’ but that’s a code for ‘I’m afraid of being rejected’ and turned down, isn’t it? So you actually took matters in your own hands and took on some personal development?

ANSWER: Well, actually thanks for bringing that up because I did have a few. I’m 55 now, when I was 28 I had quite a bit of success in motor racing and what I was doing.  I used to run an engineering business alone and when I was 28, I decided pretty well, my life sucked. You know, there was a big chunk of my life that sucked. Because I was an introvert. I found it very hard to go out and meet people and those kinds of things. And I thought, this wasn’t the way that I wanted to live the rest of my life. So I started to do programs that brought me out as a person and it was, and still is, some of the most challenging  things that I’d do but I also know that that’s what I need to do sometimes. It’s like with my kids entrepreneurial program I’m developing, BetterKidsTV, I’ve got some people who have enough faith in the product that they invested money in me. That’s what I find with inventions, people don’t necessarily invest money in their ideas, it’s mainly the person. Can this person make this idea work? And people will invest money into me so it’s up to me to do the best job that I can, to make the project successful. And if that means I have to get out of my comfort zone sometimes or speak up and do things  I go ‘Well, I’d rather be sitting back at home watching TV but this is what I’ve got to do. And I’m not saying I always do it. But at least, I bring that question to myself, ‘what’s the best thing in the best interest of everybody to do here? That’s how it works for me. Which involves stepping out of your comfort zone sometimes.

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QUESTION: So you also were receptive to the information that was coming through. So I believe that it’s a case of when you set the intention. Is this very much like the law of attraction? People, you know, we talked about this. And don’t put limits or standards on how it’s going to happen. And let it come into your life. Now did you feel at any stage that you were chasing your tail, and it was just one of those false leads or like some people do, they tap into their intuition and they get a gut feeling; is this the right path to go or I’m just wasting my time and you make that judgment call? So how did you go about that when you were told by John “go ring my mate, this kiwi guy lives in the States, and it will all be sweet?”.

ANSWER: My gut feeling said, ring him up! Because my attitude is I have everything to gain and nothing to lose. To be honest, I find it really challenging, to ring people up, even here on this RadioTV interview. I don’t find this easy but it’s part of what I seem to do that works. So when I get into it, it kind of works and it’s very much an intuitive thing. I do have the sense that I do what I think is right. And what I think will benefit myself and a lot of people. And that’s how BetterKidsTV.com came about, it was just something that I thought there’s a lot of benefit in for a lot of people and it just felt right, again, it hasn’t always been an easy road. But it’s a matter of ‘okay I think this is a good thing’, and off I go and do it.

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QUESTION: Is successful inventing about who you know, not what you know?

ANSWER: Very good question. Thank you. Let me tell you a little story. It is certainly partly about who you know. But with Better Blocks there was a pivotal point when Better Blocks became successful. I’d written a business plan, spent two years going around Australia looking for venture capital in all traditional channels of raising finance, but I was unsuccessful. And I realised that a part of the problem was the way I approached it and part was just that I didn’t have success. I was talking to my sister’s boyfriend at that time, he was a carpenter. He built and installed beautiful kitchen cupboards, probably not the kind of guy you’d expect financial expertise from, right? So, I was talking to John Wilkie and John said “why don’t you ring up my mate in America?”. He was a New Zealander but he was living in the US at that time. He was doing very well in the direct marketing field. So I rang up Kelvin and the end result of that call was a $45 million business. Now, you can’t write that into a business plan. . So, certainly it is who you know and what you know but it’s also speaking to people and being very aware and listening. People will offer you advice or opportunities just follow them and see where they go because my great success and opportunities have come out of doing just that. You know, you need your business plans and approach to kind of go down the track but be aware of what’s in left field because, like I said, who would have ever thought, a carpenter would be the key to Better Blocks becoming a successful business. So I thank John Wilkie from the bottom of my heart for that comment.

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