Too many inventors fall in love with the idea. Pro inventors fall in love with the idea that others fall in love with. My guest today is Perry the Inventor, Perry Kaye, who has invented everything from the ShapeSHARK, a colored marker that allows children to cut paper into shapes simply by drawing them, to 3-D CAD software. He’s been awarded over 50 US and Foreign Patents, won Good Morning America’s Shark Tank Your Life, was featured on World News Tonight and The Home Shopping Network. His products have sold all across the globe.
Through decades of research and working-in-the-trenches, Perry has learned the best ways to move a product to market, and lucky for us, in today’s episode he shares all that wisdom with us. We talk about what’s involved in making your idea a reality. We talk about the patenting process, and why getting a patent is not the end of the road—it’s more like the beginning. Perry wants to change the world by helping other people change the world. What can you invent, what can you innovate? He’s got so many on-point tips and his energy is infectious, so stay tuned for a fun and enlightening show!
In this Episode
- [00:29] – Stephan introduces Perry Kaye, aka Perry the Inventor. He has been awarded over 50 US and Foreign Patents, won Good Morning America’s Shark Tank Your Life, and was featured on World News Tonight and The Home Shopping Network.
- [06:00] – Perry talks about a memorable moment when he experimented by introducing himself in different ways to people at conferences.
- [12:42] – Perry points out the significance of not fitting in with the crowd and presenting yourself to the world of how creative you can be.
- [17:52] – How can you ignore the negative comments and feedback from people but still listen to the positive intent behind it.
- [22:58] – Perry talks about one of the successful demo strategies he has done with his inventions that piqued people’s curiosity.
- [28:08] – Stephan and Perry discuss why people fail to calibrate when pitching their ideas or companies.
- [35:14] – How to execute Perry’s PUNCH technique in creating presentations?
- [41:30] – Perry explains the C, which is Customer Focus, in his PUNCH technique.
- [47:24] – Perry tells one of his 40 innovation techniques, object cloning and combining, and he also shares his experience in doing it publicly in a Maker Faire event.
- [53:02] – Connect with Perry Kaye through email at [email protected] or visit his website at perrytheinventor.com to check out his innovations and more.
Perry, it’s so great to have you on the show.
Oh my God, I can’t believe I’m here. This is the pinnacle of success. When you work your whole life for something, and you end up on Stephan Spencer’s podcast, that shows you finally made it. Thank you so much for having me.
You’re quite welcome, and I’m really happy that you’ve finally made it.
I had to cancel a lot. Only Stephan and I know there were about 1000 cancellations between now and today, but today is the right day. We’re going to have an excellent podcast, lots of cool information, some interesting stories, and we’ll have some fun.
Parables. Will we have parables?
We will see. We don’t know yet.
Because this is completely unscripted.
Very good. What’s up with no last name? Why is it Perry The Inventor?
I had been doing some work that kept me locked in a room and when the work was done, I needed to get out of that room and start mingling. I said, all right, no problem. Let me go buy perrykaye.com, but that was taken.
Then, I said, okay, let me google myself. When I googled myself, to my surprise, I found a whole bunch of people doing really bad stuff. On the first page of Google, there was an obituary for someone named Perry Kaye in Miami who died, so I figured, okay, all my friends are going to think I’m dead. There’s a name for somebody that had divorce proceedings, spousal abuse charges, and all these other stuff. Completely not me. There’s a chemistry professor in Rhode Island.
The side effect of having this moniker was there was a deep interest in finding out more.
Anyway, they dominated the search, so I said there’s no way I’m going to be able to claim my own name. You know what, let me think about this for a while. I’m always interested in an innovative solution. I said, if it’s good enough for Alexander The Great and his dad, Peter The Great, it’s good enough for me. I’m Perry The Inventor. I bought the domain name and never looked back. Now, that’s how everyone knows me. That’s how it came about.
One great side effect to this is people—when you introduce yourself as Perry The Inventor—ask you a question. What’s that question?
This was the funniest thing because I started going into all these network events. They would say, “Hi I’m Lisa Alexander,” “I’m Harry Masterson,” and I would say, “I’m Perry The Inventor.” They would go, “Wait, what?” Then suddenly, the spotlight was on me and they’re asking me, “What did you invent? Where do you work? What do you do?”
I found that the side effect of having this moniker was that there was a deep interest in finding out more. I opened this door to help them come in and ask about me, which also is way more interesting than saying, “I’m Bob. I sell insurance.” That cuts the conversation immediately. But if you say, “I’m Bob and I pay people when they die,” something like that makes people think, what does that mean? What do you do? They ask you to pitch them.
Initially, it was to make sure people could find me, but it turned out to be a really positive thing for me. After that show up at events, everyone would introduce me as that’s Perry The Inventor. I said cool, way to go.
That’s easy to remember. It makes you memorable. For our listeners who probably won’t know where we met, we met through Neil Strauss and his top-secret mastermind, The Society, a “secret society” that actually had a website so it wasn’t that secret. We learned all sorts of interesting things in that mastermind because Neil is mostly known as one of the top pickup artists in the world.
At the time that I joined, that was something I was interested in. I’m happily married now, but a lot of those techniques are very applicable in business and in marketing. One technique that we learned about, you probably already knew it from reading Neil’s book The Game, but peacocking. That’s essentially what I think you’re doing when you’re saying, “Hey, I’m Perry The Inventor, nice to meet you.” It’s a verbal form of wearing a furry hat with a big feather.
I agree with you 100%. I’ve done actual experiments where I would be at an event and I would introduce myself in different ways. There was one that was really memorable. I was with my wife and somebody was at the bar. We were waiting to go in. We’re at Nobu in Miami.
The person said, “What do you do?” I said, “Oh, I own a small manufacturing company.” The guy said, “Great!” He turned his back to me and started speaking to the person next to him on the other side. It was like, get out of here. I don’t want to talk to you.
Then, the next person who showed up said what do you do? I said, “I’m an award-winning product designer, and my products sell all over the globe.” They went, “Oh, nice to meet you.” Then they said, “Hey, I know the maitre d’ here.” Next thing you know, we’re at the best table in the place. Everything opens up.
I’m still the owner of a small manufacturing company, but by putting the bow on it and just describing it in a different way, it changes how people see you. By putting some inflection in your name, I think it’s a really good way to peacock.
Describing yourself in a different way changes how people see you.
That’s awesome. How about other techniques that you might have learned through Neil and through the whole concept of pickup that you were able to apply to your business, to your marketing, and to sales?
A lot of this comes directly from the book, The Game, which we both read and enjoyed immensely. There, peacocking was something that I said I need to experiment with because I honestly think it’s malarkey. I don’t think this will work. I was going to a conference that no one knew me at. It was the first time I was going there. I didn’t know anyone that was going to be at this event. I said I am going to be just insanely peacocking.
At the time, we were designing these really high-tech scissors. I had a prototype with me that cost $20,000. What I did was I got a gold rope and I put that as a necklace. I was the Flava Flav of scissors. I had a fedora, and I had these really crazy-colored sneakers. It was a business shirt, business tie, scissors, a hat, and then these crazy sneakers.
As I walk into the hotel, there are two really nice-looking young ladies there. In the book, they say if you want to have the attention of a female, then you should give them a backhanded compliment which they call a neg. I read the book and I said I’m trying everything in the book. I’m going to see what happens.
I walked into the entranceway. There’s this beautiful brunette lady and this beautiful blonde lady. The brunette says, “Oh, hi, how are you?” I looked at the blonde, and I said to her, “Wow, she’s a bit mouthy. Does she always talk?” The brunette was like, “What?” She came out. She grabbed my arm and she started having this conversation with me.
Anyway, by the middle of the second day, everyone at the event knew me. The people running the event knew me. They invited me on all these extra things I wasn’t supposed to go on. The top people at one of the companies stood in line. I got a line of people there to give me cards, get a card, and talk to me. I see one of the vice presidents from a huge company meekly standing in line waiting his turn to talk to me. After that, I said, okay, put a checkmark next to “peacocking works.”Make some noise and get out there! You can have the greatest invention in the world, but if nobody knows about it, you're not going to sell a single thing. Click To Tweet
You need to make everything appropriate. As a marketer, you need to be appropriate. Cheech & Chong, someone asked them one time in an interview, “Why do you do drug jokes?” They said, “Because our audience are druggies.” They said, “If we were going to a plumbing convention, we would have plumbing jokes.” That always stuck with me. Make sure the audience is getting what they want.
What I found was that you can’t go into a business meeting wearing a pair of scissors unless you’re selling scissors. If you’re not, you need to be crazy but to a point and in the right way. What I started to do was I started to get really loud shirts. I bought expensive shirts and I got them on sale. I would buy them in bulk on sale. It may be a $500 shirt and I would get it for $150 or $200. They’re built so well, they last a long time, and they always look good for years and years.
When you walk in a room and you’re wearing some crazy-patterned shirt, people tend to notice, and because you don’t care, it’s your marketing, you’re not self-conscious, you know that that’s your business card and that’s your marketing. You’re being your own billboard and you can own a room simply by doing that.
After I learned that, I just set up my whole wardrobe to market myself. I walk up. Who are you? Perry The Inventor, who are you? What did you invent? Pretty soon, everyone knew me. Expensive shirts that are not subtle at all. You’ve seen me in them. If Where’s Waldo was wearing these shirts, it wouldn’t be a game. You’d find them immediately. That’s what I try to do when I go into an event.
Really smart. I can think of a few people who had signature outfits, very memorable apparel, or accouterments. One of them who’s also a guest on this podcast, Christoph Cemper, has a signature suit that he always wears. It’s orange. It’s a bright orange suit with orange pants. He wears it everywhere—to all the business meetings, conferences, networking events, and so forth. That is how people know him. That’s part of his brand and that makes him very memorable.
He doesn’t just have one of these suits, he has a whole bunch of them. He doesn’t have to wear this same exact suit every day. I thought that was really clever. He does that quite purposefully and it works for him.
You just melt away with the ocean of other people who are doing that.
I agree 100%. That’s a perfect example of using a minor tweak to get a major advantage. If you’re going for a job interview or you’re going to do a presentation to a client, they always tell you to wear the same clothes that the other people are wearing, to fit in. When you do that, you just melt away with the ocean of other people who are doing that.
If you walk into the room and you say, “I’m the most creative person here and I will do great things for you,” and you’re wearing a white button-down shirt with a blue or red tie and some slacks, no one should ever believe you. You may be that person. You may be the one that they should have there, but the way in which you’re presenting yourself to the world says that you want to feel okay fitting in.
I’ve noticed this very interesting thing in life. There’s a certain age at which people just stop giving a crap about anything. What will happen is when they hit this age, you’ll notice. It may be an old man or an old lady—usually, it’s somebody who’s very old. The idea is to be able to do that when you’re as young as possible. What’ll happen is you’ll see somebody who may pass gas in public or whose fly is open. You’ll tell them, “Hey, listen, here’s this issue.” They’ll be like, “No problem. We just fix it and move on. It doesn’t affect me emotionally in any way.”
That confidence took them seven decades to figure out, but it’s very empowering and in part because they don’t have time for nonsense. When you’re a young kid, if you had a piece of toilet paper on your shoe, you would think it was the end of the world. “Oh my God, I’m so embarrassed. Everyone knows that it was me”—all of this nonsense that goes on in your head. When in reality, what you need to do is just buck up and move on. The whole thing with dressing differently inoculates you to that emotional hit. Wear stuff that people may make fun of.
We were at an event. I don’t remember if you were there because they broke us up, but it was one of the Vegas intensives. I was wearing this insanely flowery shirt. It was goofy. We were doing some fun things with pellet guns and we had all these military people around us. One of the military guys looks at me and goes, “If you were working with us, your nickname would be pretty shirt.” I know he was laughing at me for wearing it, but I was thinking in my head, yeah, and you will never forget me out of all of these 200 people here. You’re going to remember pretty shirt.
It worked. You need to have the confidence to wear it and know that when you stand out, people will remember you. That’s the whole peacocking thing and how I use it.
I would think—the way you described it—of somebody who’s in their 70s. Let’s say they’re wearing shorts with black high socks and a very out-of-date pair of sneakers. That would be cringe-worthy for younger people, but the older gentleman just doesn’t care. He doesn’t give a hoot. That kind of confidence just exudes out of every pore of the person. I agree with you. The sooner you get to that, the better off you’re going to be, and the more you’re going to make a difference in the world and with the people around you.
I agree 100%. I found very early on that people make fun of new ideas. When I was much younger I would take it to heart. I would get emotional about it. I wouldn’t understand why it would happen. Oftentimes, it would be the upper executives in a company.
I worked at this one company and the president would publicly make fun of you if you had an idea. Of course, everyone wants to be on the side of the president so they jump on that bandwagon. It really bothered me. Until one day, I started thinking about it.
I try to relate things to a metaphor in the real world to see if my thinking is in line. I realized that if I was sitting around a campfire eating off a tin plate of beans with a bunch of cowboys and I said, “I have this idea. I’m going to take a motor, put it in a metal tube, and fly it across the sky at 500 miles an hour.” They would all be yucking it up and telling everyone how stupid I was.
It’s not that they don’t think air travel is good. It’s that they have no experience to understand the benefit of some of these ideas. They have to make fun of something to make themselves feel good.
They have to make fun of something to make themselves feel good.
What I started to do was I would ignore the negative stuff they said unless it actually was valid. If they said, “Oh, that won’t work because the battery is too big.” All right, maybe that’s valid. If they said, “That’s a dumb idea because nobody would buy it,” I would look and see if they were right. I know they won’t buy it, but are they indicative of my target audience? If yes, scrap it. If not, then I need to ask the next person.
Evaluate the ideas that you have based on the target audience and just ignore all of them laughing and all of the other things that happen knowing that every great advance has been laughed at. Fulton’s Folly, the light bulb—everyone laughed at these greatest inventions ever. It’s just how it goes.
What is Fulton’s Folly?
Fulton invented the steamship. He made a paddlewheel steamer. Everyone said this is ridiculous. It’s not going to work. You got to get a whole bunch of people with wooden oars to row. That’s the latest thing. We’ll make bigger oars. He said, no, let’s put a steam engine on there, just shovel coal into it and go like that. They all laughed at him, but he turned out to be the one to watch. That’s what we all need to do.
It’s easy to be a critic, isn’t it? Everybody’s a critic.
Yes. I was in a meeting one time. I showed him an invention, and he goes, “Nobody does it like that.” I go, “Man, you got the right words. You just got the wrong intonation. You’re supposed to go, ‘Oh, nobody does it like that.’” He just didn’t get it. I laughed and then we went and sold that invention to another company, one of his competitors.
The whole idea is that you can’t please everyone, so you need to get good at having thick skin but also listening to their positive intent. What are they trying to say? Are they saying there’s a real problem with the innovation or the product? Are they saying they’re jealous? Are they saying they don’t get it? Are they saying they ate a bad lunch and they got an upset stomach? You have to understand where those negative comments are coming from, use the good ones, and ignore the bad ones.A great demo not only gets the person to pay attention to you, but it gets them to want to understand more about you. Click To Tweet
Good advice. You’d shared with me before we started recording a poem that was really instrumental in your marketing career. As a business owner, marketing is one of the hats that you wear. You’re wearing a lot of other hats too, but the poem was quite clever. What was that poem?
This poem, I don’t remember where I read it, but I read it and I never forgot it. It must’ve been about 35 years ago. The poem is this. It said:
“He who has a thing to sell,
And goes to whispers it a well,
Is not as apt to catch the dollar
As he who climbs a tree to holler!”
What I started to realize was that you can have the greatest invention in the world and if nobody knows about it, you’re not going to sell a single one. You need to make some noise to move your products out there.
The best kind of noise is the noise that people want to share.
The best kind of noise is noise that people want to share. When we do a demo, we set our demos up such that we can show the demo while we are getting the no. We make them see the demo while they’re in the process of saying no. It’s because people are just generally set up to say no.
If a kid walks up to you outside of the store with a bucket, you know that they’re going to ask for money. If somebody knocks on your door to sell you something, you know they’re going to ask for money. Everyone’s primed to just say no.
When we do trade events, we’ll set up a three-second demo, and then we’ll set up a tag phrase to stop the person. Most people are polite. We’ll say to them, “Would you like to see something new?” Then, we’ll demo the product so before they could even say no, they saw the demo. So many people have stopped in the middle of no and then they go, “Wait, what was that?” Then, they come to the booth. Lots of tricks in wanting to trade your booths.
I know it’s not that relevant right now, but we would get linear booths that were 30 feet by 10 feet because they gave us 3 times the amount of time to talk to a person as they passed to our booth. We would do the demos like that so that eventually, they would stop, pull in, and then see the product.
Very interesting stuff. You want to have fun, you want to be entertaining, and you want to have people have good positive experiences when they’re getting the demo. Those are some of the tricks that we use.
What would be an example of a very successful demo that you used? Whether it’s at trade shows, out on the street, at networking events, or whatever.
One of the products that I made that we sold millions of units of is a magic marker that when you draw the shape, it cuts out the shape. It’s safe. If you accidentally run it on your skin, it doesn’t cut you. Really interesting product. I developed it because I was designing scissors. I got a whole bunch of stories about scissors design, but this was a product that came out of it.
What we would do is when we would do the demo of somebody asking for my business card, I had custom business cards made that had a section I could cut that had no information on the front or the back. I would pull out the business card from my back pocket, I would cut the first one, and hand it to them. Immediately, they would go, wait, what is that?
Any presentation you do that has the person ask you to give them a demo, ask you what the price is, and ask you for more information is perfect, brilliant, genius, and amazing. Most people pitch to people that have no interest in the product, so if you’re pitching, “Hey, let me tell you about this,” they tune out. But if you pique their curiosity, now they’re interested because they have this open loop in their brain that needs to be closed. That type of demo is the demo you want to set up in order to get your product out into the world.
It reminds me of Steve Spangler. Do you know who Steve Spangler is?
I believe we’ve met.Every inventor thinks they need money to get their invention out. If you have a great vision, you can build a cheap prototype, and the money will flow to you. Click To Tweet
He’s a phenomenal guy. He’s an inventor as well. He’s invented a lot of science toys. Steve Spangler Science was his company that he sold a while ago now. That was a client of ours—Steve Spangler Science—for a number of years. We really put him on the map on Google for keywords like science experiments and so forth.
He had this amazing way of introducing himself. He was so clever. He whipped out a leather business card wallet. He would pull a business card out and it would catch on fire as he was pulling it out. I don’t know how he managed to do that, but it was a trick wallet. Then, he would shake it to get the flame to go away and hand it to the person he just met.
Any demo like that not only gets the person to pay attention to you, but it gets them to want to understand more about you, to learn how they can get some of the coolness of doing whatever it is you’re doing. That’s really what we’re losing a lot in the translation of business to online.
You probably get this, too. Most people listening probably get this, but I get 3–4 messages from people on LinkedIn either every couple of days or every day. They all say, “I saw your business online and I want to get to know you. Will you make a 15–30-minute call with me?”
I’m like, why do you want to know me? There’s no reason why you want to know me. I typically say, “What are you going to sell me?” Some of them will respond back with, “I sell web development, this, or that.” Oftentimes, it’s not even something I use.
Sell what people need and want.
One of them was a restaurant distributor and they wanted to sell me restaurant equipment. I’m like, “I don’t have a restaurant.” There’s this lack of understanding about how business works that I find very odd because it’s a very basic thing. You sell what people need and want. Most people are now just at the point where they’re just trying to sell something to anyone without that care for it. An excellent example with Steve. I think I was at a trade show once near their booth which is why the name sounds familiar, but I’ve been to a lot of trade shows.
He would go to the toy fair.
There was a toy fair that was really, really good, and then there was an education fair that was really good. We always have fun at those events, but we go there to play and then we sell stuff. We’re just there making noise and causing a ruckus.
We almost got shut down because the first show we went to, we didn’t know how to manage the booth properly. We had 150 people trying to put their orders in, we lined them up, blocked everyone’s booth, and closed off this aisle. The fire marshal came by and told us we had 10 minutes to fix our problem or they’d be shutting us down. We’re like, no problem, fire marshal. We will fix it. We lined everyone up down the aisle. It’s interesting the promise you run into when you play.
Quality problems though. When you were talking about these horrible pitches that came in from LinkedIn that are not even relevant to your business (many of them) I get those all the time as well. I’m sure our listener has gotten those kinds of pitches as well.
For me, that seems like not only a failure to research the person they’re pitching but a failure to calibrate where they’re at, why they should care, having the right, genuine, authentic lead-in, conversation-starter thing, and all that was missing. The failure to calibrate is something I learned about from Neil Strauss. I’m curious what you see in the marketplace and with marketing that are extreme examples of failure to calibrate.
I see that so many people have good intentions and don’t have an understanding of what a good method to get to the end result is. A lot of it I see relates to the millennial generation. They’re not bad. I’m not bashing them. What I try to do is try to embolden them. They’re very interested in not causing a problem, not interfering, and not doing anything negative.
An example is related to somebody I knew who said that they were getting a job offer. I was on the phone with them and the job offer email came in. It was a little bit less than what they wanted. They had a friend of theirs in the same room with them and I was on speakerphone.
I said, “Okay, here’s what I want you to do. Tell them that you love the offer. You can’t wait to work there, but you want more. You’d like to know if they could increase the offer.” I said, “What you’re going to do is explain it to them by saying, ‘Hey, I know that every time an offer is made for a job, there’s a range. I’m presuming the range that you offered me now is at the bottom end of the range. I’m going to be a really good worker there so I feel like I could earn the top end of the range. Would you mind making me the offer at the top end?’”
Her friend heard that and said, “Don’t do it. They’ll ghost you. I’ve done this before and they ghost you.” I said, “Hold on. If you draw a line in the sand, then even your mom will ghost you. We’re not drawing a line. We’re making an inquiry. An inquiry is professional.” I said, “Give it a try. This isn’t the only job offer you’re going to get.”
The person gave it a try and they got thousands and thousands of dollars more than they were just offered. There’s this fear of asking for more and it is a problem when you do it the wrong way. The biggest failure I would say is doing things in the wrong way, drawing these lines in the sand.
I demand to bring my cat into work is something that shows, wow, when you get here, even if we don’t mind the cat, you’re going to demand other stuff. Maybe we can’t give you that other stuff, so now you’re going to be the pain in the ass who’s always demanding the mushroom coffee that nobody else likes that we have to buy in small packets. That’s going to be you so they want to avoid that. The idea is that you want to have it where you’re showing how things will work, you’re showing the way in which they’ll work in a nice way.
I have this really funny thing I learned to do with top people. When I was working for companies, I would start off at the bottom of the ladder, the lowest of the low. Then, within two months, I would be working directly for the president or vice president of the company. It’s happened in multiple companies I’ve been at.Make sure the audience is getting what they want. You can't go into a business meeting wearing a pair of scissors unless you're selling scissors. Click To Tweet
Typically, what I found is that when you’re dealing with many people, they don’t want to be told they’re wrong, especially publicly. A lot of people who are really high up can’t code in C++, they can’t build things, and they don’t know how to write copy. They’re visionaries managing things, but they also don’t need somebody pointing out that they’re wrong.
What I would do in a lot of these meetings is when they would tell me to do something that I know was wrong, I would just say, okay, you pay the bills. That’s exactly how I’m going to do it. If it were me, I would do it a different way, but it’s not me so I’m going to do it exactly the way you wanted it.
What they would do at that point every time I did this is they would say, “Well, how would you do it?” I would say, “If I do it your way, I’m concerned about these five things happening badly. I would do it this way, these five things are addressed, and you’d get the end result you want.” Then I would say, “But I’m going to do it your way.”
They would say, “No, don’t do it my way. Let’s do it your way.” By me giving them that confidence that I’m going to do what they say and looking out for the end result, we were able to do multi-million dollar projects and have the higher-ups have confidence in us.
It’s almost like you made it their idea.
Everyone knows it’s my idea because you have to build credibility. If you say something that turns out to be wrong, you’ll apologize and take the lumps. But when you do something that’s right, the people that decide things need to know that you’re the one who’s doing things well, otherwise, you can’t move up. I don’t do it to get the credit, but I make sure whatever I’m doing is public enough that if it succeeds, I’ll get the credit. If it fails, I’ll also get the credit, but I try to make sure my successes outpace my failures.
I try to make sure my successes outpace my failures.
I guess the way that I would reframe my comment isn’t really making it their idea, but you’re prompting them to ask the question—asking for more information—almost like at the beginning of our conversation. You get people asking, well, what do you invent? Instead of you having to pitch the way that you would do it versus the way that that higher up is telling you to do.
You’re giving them the impetus to ask the question, how would you do it? I think that’s really powerful. It’s a way of building rapport and also making the person that you’re talking to feel like they’re still in the driver’s seat.
Yes, and the whole goal is to show that you have mutually aligned goals. I want to shift a person’s mindset from their goal being that I’m the boss, do what I say, to hey, let’s get to this end result. What’s the best way to do it? By having that collaborative feel, it works much, much better.
One thing that you had mentioned just briefly and passing about 15 minutes ago is the concept of open loops. I want to circle back to that. I want to close that open loop where you just glossed over this really important concept.
I leaned open loops from Neil Strauss. I’m guessing you probably learned it initially from him as well, but I would love to hear more about how to create open loops in conversations whether they’re sales conversations, in marketing copy, in your story-telling, when you’re talking to people, friends, family, et cetera.You can't please everyone. In this industry, you need to have thick skin. You need to take criticism with a grain of salt and use it to fuel your desire to become better. Click To Tweet
I’m going to tell you if we have time. I use this technique to make my presentations so that they’re engaging. I call it the PUNCH technique.
What I found was that there’s that rule 10-20-30 for PowerPoints—10 slides, 20 minutes, 30-point font. That’s complete malarkey. Don’t listen to that. If you look, TV doesn’t keep a shot on any single frame for more than three seconds on average because everyone’s attention span has been shrunk down to about three seconds, like a goldfish’s way to do it. In order for you to get your presentation done, I’m going to tell you the right way and the wrong way to do it.
We were at a meeting one time. A guy shows up 10 minutes late. He goes to pitch his invention, but he starts setting things up, and then he spends 30 minutes telling us why he was late for the 10 minutes. There was a traffic jam. There was an ambulance coming by. He couldn’t get through the light. He made a wrong turn—all these different things.
By the time he was ready to pitch, we said, “We’re really sorry but we can’t see what you brought because we’re out of time and the other person’s here on time.” The guy just packs his bag up, he’s all mad at us and he leaves. He completely missed the whole point of the presentation.
P in PUNCH stands for Prioritize your presentation. You show the absolute most important thing first. The way you get to that, there are some things you need to do to not seem like a maniac. It’s okay to seem brilliant, but it’s not okay to seem insane.
At the beginning of your PowerPoint, have about 10 slides that tell your story that you go through in about 10 seconds. If you look at my pitch deck, it’ll start off by saying thank you for having me. That’s on the screen. When I hit the button, it shows a picture of me and it says, “Perry The Inventor.” I go through it in about 10 seconds.
Prioritize your presentation.
Hi, I’m Perry The Inventor. Click. I’ve been awarded over 50 U.S. and foreign patents. Click. I won these different awards. Click. I’ve been looking at this particular industry for this amount of time. Click. I’m here today to show you a solution that will affect 38 million people. Click. Let’s begin.
By me going through very quickly and saying all of those things, there’s no one talking in the room. Everyone’s attention is trying to watch what’s going on on the slides and listen to me. And I prioritized myself as having information that will be relevant and valuable to them. That’s how you start off your pitch.
The next thing I’ll do is I’ll have unique reveal stages. If you ever need to do a presentation, I love Apple Keynote because it lets you do movie-grade transitions, movements, and things.
One time, there was a pile of money that was from a drug seizure. It was millions and millions of dollars in this big pile. I took out the DEA agents that were in there and I put some people in there from stock photography. I said we’re here today to talk about money. Then, I click the button, the flame transition burns all the money away, and there’s nothing there. I go, we’re going to talk about money, click, and how you lose it. Everyone’s like, wait, what? Okay, let’s talk.
When you’re giving up opportunities to market your product and when you’re not using your time effectively, you lose the sales that you were going to have. You have to have these unique reveal stages that keep people’s attention just like they do in entertainment.
N is Nonchalant. There’s always somebody in that room that needs to explain to you and everyone else publicly why your idea is garbage and why you’re a loser and you should be thrown out. That’s how they get their power. That person is in that company to moan, complain, and shoot everything down.
I used to hate them, but if you ever listen to Robert Dilts‘ Disney Creativity NLP model, you’ll see that that person’s the critic in that model. What that person is there to do is to actually make sure you dotted all your I’s and crossed all your T’s.
I will intentionally leave stuff out of my presentation that’s glowingly needed. It’s stuff that should have been in that presentation. I’ll have the slide made for it, but I won’t bring it up during the main run. As soon as somebody does one of those terrible questions, I’ll go, “Oh, I think I have a slide about that.” I just go to that slide and nonchalantly show the answer. By not getting agitated at those major questions, you show this confidence to the decision-makers that is priceless.
There are two more letters. Do you want to go through them or do you have questions?
Let’s do it.
Always make sure you do the customer focus.
The next letter, C, is Customer focus. I can’t tell you how many presentations I’ve been in where they focus on the wrong thing. I was in one presentation where they spent a lot of time telling that they used blue in this presentation because it reminded them of their aunt Rebecca’s eyes. I’m sitting there going, I don’t have an aunt Rebecca. I’m sure she’s a wonderful person, but this doesn’t relate to me. I don’t really want to see aunt Rebecca or your kids’ photos. We’re here to learn about what your pitch is and you’re just missing the point.
There’s always more than one customer. In that situation, the customer was me for the presentation of what they were asking for. I’m also concerned about the end-user of what their product is. I want to see that there’s going to be a profit that the product will work, and then I want to see that there are people in the world who will need and fall in love with the product.
This particular individual was telling me about aunt Rebecca. Complete waste of time. Always make sure you do the customer focus.
Then, the last thing is How. After you go and you do your amazing pitch—you show all this stuff, you have your unique reveal stages, everyone understands the concept, and they all wonder will this work—you show them how. If you can do this on one slide, great. If you need to do a couple, you just need to simplify it.
I showed you how it works. Now, here’s how we’re going to launch it. You go on and show we have the factory in China. We got the production prototypes made. We teamed up with this company to do an initial marketing launch for it. Here’s how everything’s going to fall into place. Then, you end on a slide that says let’s talk about it and have some questions answered. That’s how you do it. I don’t know if it’s the best way, but it’s the best way I found to do it.
That’s really awesome. What’s the biggest deal that you’ve closed using your PUNCH formula?
I actually hadn’t used it multiple times but I invented this lottery game. I was building a workshop for a company in Dallas. I don’t know if they’re still in but it’s a pretty neat place. They run classes every week and they ask me to teach a class on innovation. I’m mapping out all these different innovation techniques. I have 40 of them. They’re no good if they don’t work. I would take each technique and I would use it.
During one of the sessions, I came up with an invention that we ended up getting a lot of patents on and ultimately sold to a government lottery. In that system, what we did was we had poker machines set up.
The way this patent worked is the ticket controlled the outcome of the game, but not how it got to the outcome. If you played the same ticket as me and it was a $5 winning lottery ticket, we both know we won $5 but we would win in different ways. A better example to describe it would be we would each play a poker game. We made poker games, pinball machine games, bingo games, and Pachinko games. We had all these different games.
The way it would work is the game would be made so that the play was actual real play, but the award of the prize was set up to match the ticket. For instance, in the poker game, if I played and I’m a poker player, I get two aces and some other junk cards, I get rid of all my cards, and I’m hoping to get a third ace or a full house, if I’m supposed to win, it would give me maybe the third ace, maybe another pair, and then it would say, “Oh, you won. You get to spin the wheel.” Then, I’d spin the wheel and see I won the $5.
If you were playing and let’s say you just didn’t care, you got just random worthless cards, and then you kept all of them. At that point, you would definitely lose that hand, but you always got one spin of the wheel. When you played, you would still win the $5.
We had this very interesting way to do it. We would take that and we would say, “Play this poker game, try and win the prize.” The person would play it and see that they won $5. Then, we’d still get to play this bingo game and they would win $5. Then, they would play another game, win $5. They went, “Wait a second, it doesn’t matter what I do in the play.” We go, “Exactly. It doesn’t matter. The ticket’s the ticket.” We would say, this ticket was printed with 64-color security ink. There’s a holographic overlay on it.
We would detail all of the things that made it a secure system, then we would show them that it’s legal in every state. At the time, video lottery was not legal in any states. But because ours just showed that the ticket was the winner, it wasn’t actually part of the lottery. We came up with ways to describe that. I think I may be getting off base. I’ll just tell you this one other part.
There’s this general rule that I’ll never believe what you say, but I’ll always believe what I say.
That is so cool. It’s really, really clever. You’re quite inventive.
The whole point is we need people to experience and learn what we’re saying. There’s this general rule that I’ll never believe what you say, but I’ll always believe what I say. Whenever we’re doing marketing, we want them to say it, not us. We don’t want to tell them. We want to encourage them to say it and then hear it from them.
Very good. You have 40+ innovation techniques. Can you give us a couple of quick examples or a couple of the 40? We’re running out of time, but maybe we could just do a quick run through a couple of them.
We’ll do one today and if you want to have me back, maybe. Who knows, right? Depends on how many people like and share this. If you’re not going to do it for Stephan and me, do it for our moms maybe so they have something to be proud about.
Anyway, this is a really interesting thing that is so fun to do and it’s funny. We do a thing called object cloning. The way it works is it’s based on the fact that people understand certain objects very, very well. But what we’re looking for is objects that don’t really exist.
What we do is we do object cloning and object combining. The first time I did this publicly was at Maker Faire. It was the first Maker’s Faire in San Mateo, California. It was hysterical because the audience was very skeptical. It was almost like we planted people in the audience because they were all being cantankerous enough to make it seem like it was done on purpose, but it wasn’t. It was just a random thing.
Let’s say you’re trying to innovate a new type of motorcycle. Typically, what a designer does is they get all kinds of research documents and information on everything that was ever done with motorcycles and then they try to find some little edge that lets them edge out a new motorcycle. You can’t really take a recipe, use all the same ingredients, and get something completely different from it that doesn’t relate to that in some way. You need to have injected into that some newness.
What we do is we take something that is completely unrelated to it and apply it towards that object. The first one we did in San Mateo, we just randomly asked people to call something out and somebody said, “An MP3 player.” We said, “Excellent. Somebody call something else out.” Somebody said, “A Victoria’s Secret bra.” We say, “Great. We’re going to make a new MP3 player that’s based on a Victoria’s Secret bra.”
By the way, we didn’t try, but maybe this would’ve gotten us hooked up with Victoria’s Secret models. I’m not claiming that here.
Anyway, what we did is we listed all of the attributes of the MP3 player, the volume controls, storing the songs, they’re difficult to clean, they break—all the different features of it at the time. Then, we do the same thing with the bra. We list all the features of it. It’s soft, stretchy, lacy, conforms, and expensive for that type of item.
We started to say, “Well, what if our MP3 player was squishy?” One of the engineers said, “Well, I would make it where you hold it in the middle and if you tug it up, it increases the volume. If you tug down, it lowers the volume. If you pull to the left, it goes song back. If you pull to the right, it goes song forward.” That would be the interface. We wrote it and everyone agreed. “Okay, that would be cool. What else?” Somebody said, “Oh my God, I want to be able to wash this thing. My MP3 player is disgusting. It’s been in the glove box with all of my tools. It’s got cracker grease on it. I got to go wash this thing.”
By the end of the session, we had this really cool, unique, much different item. That’s object cloning. Very simple to do. You just take one object that’s really well-defined and then apply all the features of that to your new object.
I like that. That’s fairly cool. Do you have some book or video going through with these 40 innovation techniques, maybe an online course, or something?
We’re putting that together now. I have been really reluctant to work with people because I know from first-hand experience, we’re just pains in the ass. I’ve been really reluctant to do that, but I have had a lot of people ask for it and I think now is getting to be the right time to start teaching it. We’ll see.
If people send me an email asking to learn it, then we’ll go ahead and put something up. I think that we have the smartest generation of people ever on this planet, and we have the absolute most horrible system that we’ve jammed them into that crushes their innovation, makes them feel bad about standing out, and doesn’t really help them move their ideas ahead.
Every inventor thinks that they need money to get their invention out, which is wrong. If you have a really great invention, you could build a cheap prototype and the money will flow to you. Every inventor thinks that the patent is the end result. It’s not the end result. It’s not even the beginning. There’s so much to go beyond after you get that patent. We need to shift the way in which people think about innovation, solving problems, and bringing to life solutions. I’m looking for the right group of crazy people to band together with me and go and do that.
Sounds like a mastermind.
Maybe it’s a mastermind. Maybe it’s a club. Who knows? I don’t know. Maybe that’s what we’ll work on, Stephan, you and me. We change the world by helping other people change the world.
Awesome. You got to give your email address to our listener so that he/she can contact you and say that I want this really cool thing, this course, this mastermind, this coaching program—whatever you’re going to come up with.
If you want to email me, send it to [email protected].
What’s the Teri?
That’s my wife. When we got engaged, she said, “You have to promise before I say yes that you won’t want any rhyming-named children.” Because we’re Perry and Teri. She didn’t want Mary, Larry, and Gary. I was like, it’s fine with me. That’s a sweet offer. I’ll take it.
That would be fun. It’s a way to stand out.
George Foreman made all of his kids’ names George.
Really? I didn’t know that.
Yeah. Even the ladies.
For those of us who remember George Foreman, nobody was going to tell him it was a bad idea. That would not have been a good thing to do. He was a very capable boxer, for those of you who don’t know.
That’s your email address, Perry. What about your website? How do we learn from you and follow you on social media, all that sort of stuff?
On LinkedIn, I’m Perry The Inventor. On Twitter, I’m @PerryInvents. My website that I don’t update frequently enough is perrytheinventor.com. We have some toy releases that we will eventually put out that are going to launch Q4 this year at perryteritoys.com.
I’m always happy to answer questions that people have that relate to inventing or ideation. If you ask me for my opinion, I will probably say to you, do you want my honest opinion or would you like kudos for what you’ve done so far? I would encourage you to take your lump sum honest opinion.
I’m not saying I’m always right, but out of 1000 ideas, maybe 1 of mine is good. But I have to get through 1000 to get to the 1 good one. Most people have three ideas and think that they hit something. If you want an honest opinion, it may not be the opinion you want, but it’s maybe the opinion you need. If you really want to get the stuff going, listen to everyone, then make up your own mind as to what’s right.
Good stuff. I got to throw in one quick last question. Where does intuition fit into this process for you?
I do this very interesting thing. When I come up with a product, I do what’s called 1, 10, 100,000. I make one to see if I like it. That one usually looks like it was made by a kindergartener. It may only work once, but I have to see if it works and I have to see if I like it. Then, I’ll make several more, up to 10, and I’ll see if other people like it. What I’ll do is I’ll say, “Hey, check this out, I made X. I’ll do a quick demo and I wait and see what happens.”
If they say, “I want to try it,” then I’m like, okay, it passed the first hurdle. Then, I watch their faces when they try it. I don’t look at anything else but their face. I see if they have a smile, a grimace, or excitement. I take their emotion to help guide me to the outcome of the future of this particular product.
As my intuition, I understand that in order for a product to be successful, it needs to do one of two things. One is never sells but makes me happy. If I don’t sell any but I like it, that’s cool, I made something I like.
The second thing, it needs to sell a lot whether I like it or not. If I invent a new type of fedora—and I don’t wear fedoras but people who do are in love with it, they buy it, and I could do it profitably, then that’s a success. The intuition is spent in finding out whether or not other people like it and letting them guide me. That’s where I find intuition works the best.
Got you. Perry, this was really fun, enlightening, and inspiring. It makes me want to invent some cool stuff. Thank you for that.
Listener, I really want you to think of something that you can innovate or invent in your company or in your organization. Go out and do that even if it’s something really small because life’s short and it’s a big, beautiful world out there. You can create some value and have fun while doing it. We’ll catch you in the next episode.
Thank you, Perry. Thank you, listener. This is Stephan Spencer signing off.
Your Checklist of Actions to Take
Compose an outstanding and remarkable introduction. Then, find a way for people to easily remember me after I share my information with them.
Come up with a catchy tagline or nickname. Don’t be afraid to experiment with something fun and quirky so people will remember my name or brand.
Wear my brand to increase brand recognition. Printing my logo on just about anything can create good exposure. However, make sure it represents what I do and who I am in the best way.
Exude confidence, so I stand out in a crowd. Be mindful of how I speak and act in public. Make sure I showcase my expertise and authority in my niche, so I am deemed trustworthy.
Base my ideas on the best interests of my target audience. Always have them first in mind in everything I do because they have the most significant role in helping me become successful in what I do.
Understand where people are coming from when they provide negative feedback about my ideas. Take it as constructive criticism and a piece of information that can help me better my craft.
Create an impressive demo for my product or idea. Invest in my media kit. Having promotional materials such as videos, graphics, prints, etc. and sharing them will help boost my reach.
Thoroughly explain how my product or brand works. It’s not enough that people are aware of what I do. To buy or subscribe, they must fully understand or relate to what I am showing them.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions. The more curious I am, the more answers I get. Ask my team and my clients about their opinions. One of them might give me the key to my next big project.
Visit Perry Kaye, aka Perry the Inventor’s website, to find out what he’s been working on next.
About Perry Kaye
Perry The Inventor® is an award-winning product designer and serial entrepreneur. He won Good Morning America’s SharkTank Your Life. Received over 50 US and Foreign Patents. And is the Founder/CEO of Gizmo Enterprises, Inc and Perry Teri Toys LLC.