October 21, 2021
“That’s where my passion comes from... I love getting that response of WOW!”
Rick Case, Founder & CEO, Nite Ize
Rick Case started Nite Ize with a single invention – an elastic band that would hold a small flashlight at the side of one’s head to enable hands-free lighting. Now, that seems obvious. Back in 1989 it was a new idea – and since then Colorado-based Nite Ize has created over 600 products based on solving problems that make customers say, “WOW!” How do you improve a bungee cord or a key holder?... or better tie loose cables or play with a flying disc at night? Rick and I talk about how Nite Ize has become a world leader in creating innovative products. Very cool.
October 7, 2021
“We’re doing something no one’s done before, and it’s really hard... with that comes a lot of friction...”
Nick Martin, Founder & President, The Pro’s Closet
Nick Martin started selling used bike parts out of the back of a van to support his racing ambition lifestyle. He turned that scrappy effort into Colorado-based The Pro’s Closet, the world’s largest seller of certified pre-owned bikes. An intriguing niche for sure, this conversation covers a lot of ground around disrupting a market. I appreciate Nick’s comments about “friction” and how The Pro’s Closet has addressed supply and demand imbalances during covid, shipping, guarantees, and more.
September 23, 2021
“We scream from the mountaintops about what our product is and how we make our product.”
Eric Foster, Co-founder, CEO, & “Lifter of Heavy Things,” Stem Ciders
If you’ve shopped for craft beer in the last year, you’ve seen alongside beer on the shelves, the fast and furious increase in cider products – the brands, the flavors, the total shelf space – and you’ve probably seen the presence of cider tap rooms. I’m a lover of craft beer, and fascinated by the growth of what it seems is a product on a “parallel” growth track. I wanted to know what’s similar and what’s different. Plus, wanted to understand Eric’s title, “Co-founder, CEO & Lifter of Heavy Things.” Thanks to sponsor 1stBank for introducing me to Stem Ciders.
September 9, 2021
"I could have cut off a lot of the time to get here by dreaming bigger earlier on."
Tim Reeser, CEO & Co-founder, Lightning eMotors
Colorado is about to have a real vehicle manufacturing factory. It’s hard to believe – and amazing and exciting. Lightning eMotors is a Loveland based company that began with technology developed at CSU, then adapted several times as its co-founder, Tim Reeser, and the team adapted and redefined the company until they found the answer for an important niche in the electric vehicle market – one that’s substantial enough to scale, yet small enough to be somewhat uninteresting to the major EV players. That in itself makes an interesting podcast episode. We also talk about going public via a SPAC – a special purpose acquisition company – all the rage right now.
August 26, 2021
“Our developers don’t need to know code – they just have to be smart people that know the business problem they’re solving.”
Kylee McVaney,CEO, Nextworld
An interesting episode about building a self-adapting ERP software platform in Colorado. We’ve all heard about ERP software systems that are so huge and so cobbled together with hacked fixes over time that they’ve become unwieldy and brutal to use and maintain – and massively expensive and painful to replace. Of course, when ERP systems are eventually replaced, they are on a new path to obsolescence. Nextworld’s mission is to solve that “locked on delivery” problem with a software platform that takes the business function blueprint and adapts it to the best technology of the day. Fascinating.
August 12, 2021
“There are accessible ideas that instantly make sense, are easy to invest in… then there’s our idea: niche, geeky, weird…”
Jenn Knight, AgentSync
It had been a while (Xero Shoes) since I interviewed spousal co-founders. Aside from a great story of a niche business born to solve a painful problem, I enjoyed hearing from Jenn and Niji about how they manage the business and their lives together. A point I found particularly interesting is how the established trust between them facilitates business decisions and progress.
July 29, 2021
Re customer experience: “We are the ultimate arbiter of truth.”
Mario Ciabarra, Quantum Metric
My interview with Mario Ciabarra of Quantum Metric was tons of fun. Mario is a high energy entrepreneur who built a few very small businesses before hitting on something BIG with Quantum Metric – in its last round of funding, Quantum Metric was valued at over $1 Billion. Now bestowed with “unicorn” status, I asked Mario how he feels about that. We talked lots about the problem the company solves, and the challenge of even explaining what they do to early customers who needed a solution they’d never seen before.
July 15, 2021
“We decided to tackle the hard stuff… which nobody’s replicated – and that’s because it’s really hard.”
Dr. Mark Prather, DispatchHealth
I begin this episode stating, “I thought that house calls disappeared in the 1950’s!” As it turns out, Dr. Mark Prather and the DispatchHealth team have figured out how to bring two technicians to a patient at their home more cost effectively, and with better outcomes, than if that patient had gone to a medical facility. During the interview I was struck by how Mark began the business, and with what looks like become an extremely fast-growing Colorado company!
July 1, 2021
“We’re focused on aligning all of those computing resources with the future of the climate and the future of the planet.”
Chase Lochmiller, Crusoe Energy
Sometimes when I hear about something that seems strikingly unusual, I remark, “Wait – WHAT???” When I learned about Colorado-based Crusoe Energy it was one of those moments and I was curious to learn more. Chase Lochmiller, an MIT grad with a background in plasma physics and data science, and co-founder Cully Cavness with a background in oil and gas and geothermal energy, put their skills together to create a way to convert wasted and polluting natural gas “flaring” to power Bitcoin mining. Creative, inventive, and now well a well-funded and fast-growing company.
June 17, 2021
“We hired business to consumer experts to do this (launch Ball aluminum cups) and left them on their own, without being pulled and tethered to the other bigger businesses.”
Dan Fisher, Ball Corporation
I’ve been a huge fan of Ball Corporation for years – its leaders are the real deal when it comes to a commitment to sustainability. Two topics I wanted to discuss with Dan Fisher, President, were: 1) the naming of Ball Arena (and WHY), and 2) the invention, investment in, and marketing of a new, never-before disposable – scratch that – RECYCLABLE aluminum cup. You’ll hear Dan’s authentic enthusiasm in this interview.