Negotiating in Business With Richard Thalheimer
Well I have learned that, the, key to negotiation. Is politely, and, without, insulting people, weren't, defined, in the conversation, where, is the best price or the bottom where's the rock-bottom deal. You're. Listening to business, lunch, with. Roland Frasier. This. Is your seat at the table. Hey. Everybody it's Roland Frasier with, this, episode, of business, lunch and I'm very excited, to, have as our guest today, Richard, Palmer Richard, welcome to the show, thank, you Roman fun to be here I hope. It. Will be fun so. You. Have quite. An entrepreneurial, career I know that you. Went you. Had a few different businesses that that. Eventually evolved, into the, sharper image grew, it to I. Think. It was hundreds, of stores right to two to three hundred stores, and 200. Or four thousand seven hundred and fifty million in sales that's crazy. Yeah. And four, thousand bite it quite a ride yeah. It. Started, for. Me it's, pretty much my only job I mean I had worked a few times, for other people during college but I, got. Out I want to start a business of my own and, so. I did I was selling paper and toner. To offices, in. The, financial, district of San Francisco, but. I was 23 years old I thought. I gotta figure out a way to make it bigger and grow it into a big business now. You. Have in common with. Me the the. Unfortunate. Or fortunate depending, on your perspective. Thing. Of being a recovering attorney so. You went, to law school as, as I did and then you practiced, writing for a year right were you doing the paper thing while you were in law school yes. I figured I had to learn and, get a law degree in passed the bar because I wanted to know how, businesses. Worked. And a lot of businesses, have legal. Conflicts, with. Other so. For example the, first product I ever found was. A runner's lunch so, running so we could talk about that if we want but the, point is I was, putting ads in magazines trying, to scale up the business and that's what you taught in. Your lifetime, is you got to have a way to scale, your business up right, so I thought if I could make a meal at or ad that makes money prisoners, runners watch for. Milder sales back, when there was no internet yep. Then I could place more ads and scale. It up quickly yeah. And the first thing that happened was, I jumped, from a thousand dollar ad in runner's world magazine to. A $60,000. Ad in popular. Science magazine. And the. Salesman, promised, me you would be in the front fourth of the book right hand side which, is where I wanted to be and, when the magazine came out it's buried, in the back of the book left-hand, side oh my, god tell them no I'm not saying this so before I know it the editor. Of the magazine calls, me up personally, and tells me I better pay, the $60,000. Invoice I said. Look I don't know much I just got out of law school yeah. I know, it's over by contract, front a book right. Hand side it's, on the purchase order so, great go look at it buddy I'm not paying this and so. They gave me a free rerun. So that's a kind of example of how long I agree, I I my. Father was also an attorney and he, told me when I was really young he said you know if you know accounting and you know law then, you'll. You'll do great with business because you'll you'll help you'll always have an idea, of what the facts are and so. I got that I did, accounting and then lon way, I used, both of those every single day so, you. You had now I've read a couple of different things so I know you had the paper, company and then you also had the you. Were wearing the watch and I guess a lot of people ask you because you were running with it and then that's, what caused you to kind of come up with the idea to run an ad for it is that kind, of what happened, well. There's another one of your principles, I had. This watch that I found, at the Consumer, Electronics, Show in Las Vegas, these, are somebody told. Me I should do that go, to the Consumer Electronics Show maghreb sounds, great watch it competed and replaced. The, $300. Seiko, with, a $69. Product. That. I had the exclusive on for the US if I wanted it nothing.
So I gave. It to the president. Of our, running club that he was this crusty, old guy named, Walt stack this. Crazy he, was covered in tattoos, he's, 70, years old he's, running, every, day across, the Golden Bridge everyone, sees him and he's wearing my watch so. This. Is like the number one principle embedded. Strong storyline embed. A strong, storyline right that's your idea yeah, I broke, I said myself. It said. Finally. A chronograph it, keeps up with the amazing Walt stack I have. Extra, memory, yeah. That a picture of him running, with the watch on and I told the story how he goes 13. Miles a day he. Jumps in San Francisco Bay then he goes Masada and the watch takes all this punishment for. Far. Less than half the price of the only competitor, the Seiko and. So all of a sudden aged about 26, I'm a millionaire, selling. One product, this watch that. Is crazy, so now now let's talk about that a little bit so you, you, had. The initial. Discovery. You, somebody said you were like, you were looking for something to sell because that was why you went to the CES is that what took you there the from yeah yeah. Just. Real quick while. I was going to law school and try to run my business I was so busy I decided, to try and do it by mail and, so pretty soon before I knew it I had a tiny mail-order. Business selling, my copier, supplies. So, then I thought if I could find other products. Mail. Order can be scaled up so. Quickly, and. That's, your. Number five principle, get. A business you can scale up get, an answer makes money and place, the ad a lot more and so I had to branch out of the consumer products that's. Really cool so now you did the the, first watch and the rate card on the, ad, that you placed that, they kind of jerked you around a little bit with was did, you know. To negotiate, on that or did you kind of cuz you were you, were this, was way back when you weren't really experienced on the other stuff right. Well, I have learned that, the, key to negotiation. Is politely. And, without insulting people, weren't. To find in the conversation, where, is the best price or the, where's, the rock-bottom deal and there's different ways to ask that question, often. With magazines they didn't negotiate too much but. Yeah you always got to ask what the bottom is so. I know negotiation. As one of your favorite things to do as mine so I'm gonna hop around a little bit as we go through here and I will eventually, hit the linear story being good attorneys and always coming back to that right the, right. So that negotiation. Wise I, have. Heard that you are a very, good negotiator can, you share with us some of your your, thoughts about how to do that I love the politely. Fine because I think that you get so much far have you're polite than if you're not. Well. Negotiation. For. Me has. To be a. Final. Result that the other side likes, also. If. It's a once-in-a-lifetime, transaction. Like buying a house maybe you don't care so much if the other side's unhappy but, in business we're. Going to be dealing with the same suppliers, over. And over you. Want to work to get to that best price you don't work to get to that bottom but you also want, them, to believe the negotiation. Equally. Pleased or displeased head so some people ways say a good negotiations, when both both parties are not pleased passes. But. Let's. Make this positive spin let's say we wanted to be a win-win I want to think I got the best deal I could and, I want them to think that they're still satisfied, supply. Me at that price because if they're not they're. Not going to do a good job for me yeah. And that's a huge, takeaway, I think that so so many people miss and I know in my, in my younger, negotiating, days where I was trying just to get the best deal best deal Amer hammer hammer. I would. I would find that I get the deal but, that people would commit to things that they either didn't think was fair or that, they couldn't even afford to do they would actually agree to do it even they couldn't afford to and then it just screws, you up because they, can't perform and you're. Putting out kind of that bad karma. Of of. Having unhappy people out there so I love, that that's such an important point. It. Is especially if its international like if you're dealing with the supplier for, the Far East let's say sometimes.
They'll Agree to a price that can't quite really afford to do, and then like you say you, lead you get a bad product or the quality will slip a little bit or they'll be real light put you at the end of their schedule, so as, you're saying there's different reasons you want the other side to light the deal also right. And and if you if you could quantify those, kind of soft costs, of what, happens when you get put to the end as you said right the then, it can ultimately end up costing you a lot more and you didn't really negotiate the great deal you fought. Right. So. But. You're catching on which, I saw them they agree with is that treating, your suppliers, of us is if their customers is. Important, in. Other words you want your suppliers, to be satisfied, working, with you just. Like you want your customers, to be super, satisfied, and so, to me it's all the same I call. Your. Customers. Your, customers your employees and. Your. Suppliers. Are all, people. Who should be treated with, the same care that you would treat your best customer, right, right. You said, the word employee sometimes. You're negotiating the starting salary for an employee well, you might be able to twist, their on and get them to come in for less is, that even what they're thinking, but. You don't want to do that because you don't want them to come in with a chip on their shoulder, on day, one but, you exactly pretty cheap. Yeah. It's it's really funny how often, that happens so. Now you're, you're. You. Got walks, back and you've, run the ad and I. Love, the copy there did you know by the way did you study copy or did you just come up with that headline. Or how, did you how did you get into that, my. Mother liked to say everybody's, good at something. This. Is mine I'm gonna copy you and and. My advice to people who want to learn to be good copywriters. Is, read, it over to yourself over. And over and. Over and each, time reduce. It to its simplest, terms or, simplest words take, out unnecessary, words and, believe, it or not that is not so different than Steve Jobs at Apple would use design products, he, would keep going over and over them and reducing, them to their simplest form because. He believed that was better and I, believe that in copy you, know you're paying space you're, paying for the time for people to read it you got to make it incredibly, efficient, and get, your thoughts across in less space now.
Did You did, you test that because that finally. Headline. Is pretty strong did. You do any kind of testing split test run different ads with different headlines that kind of stuff or just, kind of got it right off the bat yeah. I'm not much of a fan of testing, but I am a big fan of running, things past people, whether it's a product idea or. A marketing, idea or, copy show, it to five or ten people and what, you'll find is after about the third or fourth person the same comments will be coming up and you'll quickly figure out the answer is what's best that's. Cool so, you found, the one product now a lot of folks that are listening might have found a product. Or they may have written an ad that has performed, well for him and now they're, either getting into ad fatigue where enough, people have seen it enough of the audience their marketing to seen it or they're thinking about adding another product and and you went through that, as well would you share some of your insights or, a story on on kind of how you approach, that and how you would recommend people that are listening to that right. Well the guiding principle, because this area is. Put. Your money on the things that are working. Identify. As quickly as you can what's working and what's not working don't. Be afraid and try new things you, have to but. Identify, the ones that work and then pour more money into what's, working don't. Make a mistake of, sort of coddling. Every ad they can oh I love them all no just, go with the winners. And. What about finding those extra products how did you go about that after, you had to watch it as a hit. Well. That's the only other thing in life I'm very good at I'm good at. Not. Good at much, but. I could tell you right away what products you sell or not so I remember, so well when were the most rich. Venture. Capitalists, in Silicon, Valley called. Me up and asked me if they should put a lot of money into the Segway scooter. The. Segway you recall was the first two-wheeled, sort. Of platform with handles, oh yeah. That's inaudible everyone. Knows what a Segway is so. I said them you know it's a really cool product of course I've seen it I see everything at the, by tronic show they come to me but.
I'm Telling you it will never ever sell for. $4,000. Because, as, you pointed out in your life there, has to be a benefit, to the consumer that's worth more than what they're paying for it mm-hmm, the Segway is the opposite the benefit is far less and that you're paying for it right, well product I vote two of them but they're not worth $4,000. So. Anyway he went ahead and put his money into it they lost about fifty, million dollars of it Jenna go, I remember. I. Can tell you're, the it's, gotta be a good product but. It's often the Segway was a good product but it's also gotta have that benefit, that caught what I call. Cost-benefit. Relationship, where, the cost is less with the benefit to the customer could. You give an example of in your business where you followed. That advice and it was amazing, and Orpen may be surprising, and then a time. Maybe when you kind, of forgot, that advice to yourself and, and it, proves that you're. Right about what you're saying. Well. I don't know that I've ever fallen. For a product is that, a wrong. Cost-benefit. Relationship, I'm pretty good at doing that what, I what. I had done know is my lifetime, is tried lots of things and, I've even sort of used the phrase you'd, have to fail your way to success because. In, my lifetime is a sharper image I was able to sell. You. Know literally thousands, or tens of thousands, of different items man. Son became really, successful, and others. Flopped. Right away and so I just kept putting my money on the winners and, expanding. Into new ideas not. Being afraid to fail, well. One of my most one, of my most successful and, they came at a time the company was having a terrible year the, only year, we lost money in like the first 20, years we. Had one last year so we needed something to really jumpstart, the business and, I went to a little. Expo. On the street in, San Francisco, and, I saw a guy selling the blue. Gel, souls to, go in your shoes, and. Sharper. Image had never sold a product for, $19.95. Or. Now at about forty 95 is 49 but we had never sold a successful, product made millions on a product at a low price but what I did at Tessa was I set, up chairs, in the sharper image front, I trained, the salespeople to, be shoe demonstrators.
And To invite people walking past them all to, sit down and get, a massage in, their shoe for, free try, it that's. Little Adele close their shoes they'd, immediately fall in love with it and we were selling, literally. Some days half, of our business in the store was, gel soles, it was crazy monkey it was a fan, but. As possible, yeah, so that's a really good point, to talk. About a little bit so what how does that come. In like how did you assess the cost-benefit there, because there's not like a financial. Benefit and there's really not like a corrective. Health. Benefit, as, much as it is just, something. Really great under your feet how did how did you identify the or. Calculate, the ROI. Equation. There yeah, so. I see, the guy selling the gel soles in the expo. On the street and I've seen his selling them regularly, at 1495, so, I figure. It's. Already proved it's. In a way right there he's got breast tumors he's busier to the other booths in this fair and then, I tried for myself with, my little just, Seoul, station in the sharper image store and, we tried in three or four stores and, it was phenomenal people, went crazy over his products for that price so, I come back have a company-wide meeting and. Everybody's, down bees around a bad year we've had a few layoffs now I tell everybody I've got. The. Long past. Got. It right here in my coat pocket, here. Idiot is going to save the company and, I pull out this blue gel sole and. I think people practically. Fainted, they thought I had lost my mind but, I. Already knew it, was right not successful, because we already tried it so, we rolled it out it was very successful the, couple he was profitable the next year it saved us and it was the biggest fat until the, Razor scooter. Came, along, seven, years later moving, that aluminum, kids, scooter with two noodles absolutely. So. Just. Like I had the us exclusive, for the gel soles for a couple years I negotiated. The u.s. school with, razor for. That scooter and for, the first couple of years of its existence it, was only in sharper in stores it brought in a whole new customer base of, moms and kids and. It sold literally, millions of units that's. So cool, so where where, would you say today, people should look for products. If they're looking for that, next thing to sell we're, good places for them to look for that yeah, well, we have to start by realizing you, need an original, special. Product, mm-hmm, it can't read something they can go over on Amazon and find the same thing from five other sellers for. The same price or less right yeah. Point. Is it's got to be original mm-hmm. Like. I read an article this week that. The woman who invented poo. Pourri who. Per, reads know what that is Oh anywhere. She's awesome yeah yeah. So, she's got a net worth now of a couple hundred million dollars the article said and, then came up with a truly, unique product. With a unique thing, so. The originality, sorry, I love. It but so as, far as like places, are there if, you were going out today and you had to find a product to sell what. Where. Would you look what would the steps be. Wow. I honestly. Think, and I hate to be so blunt but, I'll just throw it out there again a day is probably harder. Than ever because. So much of our consumer, dollar is. Spent on, products. That relate to microchips. Digital. Products so. A lot of that stuff is a lot more challenging, to find than. It was when I started 30, years ago mm-hmm. That. Makes the other hand there's, new areas to explore like, who, would have thought cooperate, and ahead. Of this other wild ideas out there and there's, no digitally looper either place not that I know of right. Right. I'm, not quite sure the, where of, where you go but, I do sort of understand, the. How which is to say you've. Got to keep. Away from the, digital probably you, got to keep away from the Amazon commodities, probably, yeah something. This special. So now what is you, have your company now as Richard solo is there a han Solo reference. In there. Well. We. Did sell Han Solo a sharper image that was a beautiful, sculpture. We. Sold this week and. I. Remember, I remember that, what.
Do You say that well, Richard solo is a small, hobby. That. I thought I wanted to do when I left sharper, image but, as it turns out I really, haven't. Developed. It into a going, concern it's, more just a ego. Hobby thing and we decided. Well. We saw mostly products, that relate to. IPhone. Or iPad, and typically. Their accessories, and. Typically. Their, power solutions, often. Because. There are a lot of backup. Type battery products, on the market but Richard solo sort of specialize in that niche area, it's. A good little website but honestly, I don't think selling, products. That you can find similar. On Amazon I don't, think that's gonna make you a couple hundred million right. Right, so, if you were looking. Today, to kind, of build. Some. Couple. Hundred million dollar business, is. There anything that any path, that you would kind of look at and say I think, that would be an interesting, way to go. Well. My entire life, role, in what I tried to do was. Look at people's everyday lives their, activities, their habits and think. Of something that might be a solution. To a problem. Which. It's, a moment that he's putting up with the problem everybody, you could go invent, a solution, and, that could be something for your car you can be somebody for your home for your office for your personal. Accessories. I think, there's always some little, niche things and if you study people and think, about what you do it's your own life every day you, might come up with that idea and you could get it made or. You. Can make it yourself there's. Different approaches, of any other type of product is. Since. When this was yeah. I'm cutting back two to three per second that's why that was important, that, ladies thought here's, the problem, I'm, gonna solve it no one else is really solving it and she probably goes to a fragrance maker or a household. Cleaner maker, and comes up with the formula so. You find, the problem you'll, find the solution, so. The. The. Path. That you did basically, from the first ads that you ran in the, magazines, to then going. Into your own mail. Order and and and. All those catalogs that. I used to be excited to to, get to read when I came and then the stores you. Could, you talk a little bit about kind of that path, from the. The, small you to starting to hire people because I know you you did a great job of building an, amazing. Team at. Sharper, image and then you also expanded. Into so many different channels can. You chat a little bit about how that all evolved. So. I start, with the phrase, management. By opportunity. Mm-hmm. And what I mean by that is an, opportunity presents themself, and you're. Supposed. To recognize it when it comes knocking on the door and then, respond, to that by managing, your way into. Capturing. So. For example I'm, going to use military as I've got my address on the milder is all, of a sudden people are knocking on the office door in, our office, looking. For that product so I, say gosh they're gonna come to the office all day why, don't I open old store put the address of the store the Miller had great, and before you knew it had a little store in a street that had no foot traffic and, that store was jammed, all day. And, that's was a perfect example, the opportunity, was infected, people were knocking on my door to buy the product time that knocking on doors again and the, management, was to say let's up in those stores so. One. Product selling a lot military is why, not try other products. So, I go to the Consumer Electronics, Show again I find five of the products literally, introduced, the world's first. Cordless. Telephone, not, so the world's first quarterly stuff right okay for granted today introducing. The first car, with radar. Detector, so police radar. Introducing. The first telephone answering mission. So. Again. Management. Management, my opportunity, find something it's working, look. At an opportunity and, now take advantage of it so, opened. A second store and I'll never forget the realtor taking me to Orange County - the best mall in Los Angeles they, asked me if I want to pay high winds to be in the best mall and I said no I want to go downtown and, he said there's no traffic in retail. Downtown. Nice. So I don't care because. The real sore doesn't know my, customers, are coming in from the address on the, millirads of the catalogs so, the store was nervously successful, that was our second store and, we just kept going, told. Exactly 200, stores now. There was a time I, think when you. Had the stores were had, about a two million dollar net, worth and you, were trying to make a decision on whether. To expand, and how much and you made a five million dollar bet, can, you tell us a little bit about that what what, you were thinking then and I know, it obviously worked out amazingly, well but that's that's when, you're thinking about an investment that's two. And a half times your current net worth that's, got to be pretty hairy, for the folks, that were working with you right.
Click Keep talking that's what. Is. The. Bigger the risk the bigger, the game yeah. That's right obviously, yes if you, take a chance and go, bigger than you really can afford you, also have a chance to succeed, bigger. Than you ever, thought you would but. The other side of it is if. You're gonna invest more, than you've got you. Have to know it's going to work. If. You don't know it's going to work then, what I do is advise, people invest. As, much as you can but. Be sure that if it fails you have enough left to start over that's. Great in my case though, yeah in my case I'm dealing with some stuff stores. Products. Sharp ribbons products where, I knew, as, much. As one could be certain it was going to succeed for, example you, do a small, mailing of catalog. Let's, say back wouldn't days before. There was internet you do a small mailing of the catalog and it makes more money and what it cost to mail. And. Now. You know I could multiply that, perhaps by, five or ten and. Yes it's adjusting, more than I've got, but I've already tested it I already, know it's going to work, as. Long as the next two lists are similar it's not going to fail so. There's a difference risking more than you got when you know it's going to work and risk, you more than you got when you're not sure and you, have to have a different reserve. In each case, and. When. You were looking at expanding, the, mailing, lists and and and. That that form, of marketing, how. Did you how did you identify your lists where did you go to find more. People to buy because that's. A that's obviously a big thing now you were advertising, in magazines and, things like that but you are also marketing by direct mail go through the catalogs right right. Tell, us a little bit about that lists, gross. Yes. Well, I think it's the same whether it's lists or whether it's ads. On. The. Web it's sort of the same the. One since you've already used a little bit of and they worked well you, know you'd end up ten, times as much into it and. Then once that you haven't actually tried yet but you want to try you. Do you stick your toe in the water do, do, a small budget and see. What the rate of return is on your investment so we're just testing with dollars, and. Did. You go to like mailing list companies, or how, did you find. The additional folks to mail to right. Well in the mailing list business there are brokers that represent, a lot of different mailing lists, and the biggest brokers have access to every list in the world practically and I'm, sure. The Internet's. Sort. Of organized in the same ways you have the option which people do every day to, test a new place a new website a new web placement, rather yep. And see. If it works if, it does put. Money into it management. By opportunity. I like. Management by opportunity, did you expand, I and I don't know did, you do move. Into other. Print like remnants and newspapers, or television or, radio or any of those kinds of things as you were growing company, yeah well. In, my career I had the fun and the opportunity. To test pretty much everything. You. Know before there was. Real. Shopping, channels there was startup attempts, its, shopping channels, on television. And. So we had our own cable. Shopping. Show, which. Was a lot of fun but after three, months I learned it wasn't really making anybody so I stopped doing that and, then I try to look catalogue and, and. I tried it a catalogs you know like. Furniture. Catalog or, a spa, catalog. Or. Just a exercise. Athletic, catalog, I've tried somebody, jury. And. Colored. Stones, was, another catalog mm-hmm. We tried everything, I'm a great believer in trying things and the tricky trying things is not to spend too much money right. Did you have kind of a budget, that, you would say would be ideal when you run a test like that I guess. The way I'd approach it is if it doesn't make any money or. If it loses a good rule of thumb is you might lose half your investment, it's really it's rare you lose all of the things with your testing marketing, ideas somebody's.
Going To respond probably to, your banner. Ad or to your email blast I think somebody's gonna not. Gonna lose everything so I think is a little something what if I lose 50% of, my investment, in this test what, does that mean to my total budget and if you answer, is well, it's bad but it doesn't mean a whole lot I can afford to lose $5,000. Then do it yes. I love it now, you are you. Are also I understand, quite the investment, trader. And. Have. Generated, some pretty stellar returns, and and I'm. Wondering if you'd share some of that magic and secret, sauce with us. Ah so much fun talk about that subject. Well. Yeah, the sharper image went, public on the Nasdaq, in 1987. And. So as the CEO of a, publicly, traded company, I saw. Firsthand, what. Analysts. Had to say about us how. The stock, traded, and how. We were actually, doing and. What I learned, is. That the market is just what they say it's, sort of a herd instinct. Analyst, analysts. Often are sitting in a rather, sterile, room in New York on the 32nd. Floor writing. About let's, say Tesla, even. Though they don't have a Tesla haven't. Even been into Tesla, and, don't even have a friend in has a Tesla, and yet they're writing the recommendation. I wouldn't buy this stock or not. Hey. Sorry, I guess they, can look at numbers but they can't necessarily look. At the story. The. Back story behind the product and as you talked before the. Back story to the product is often, one. Of the most important, things and it's certainly true in the case of Tesla for example people, love their, Tesla's, they, love the fact that he's the first electric, car to be successful, in a big scale they. Love the fact he's trying to save the planet and. The. Allegiance is. So strong that. It's. A story it's a little bit different than an analyst, sitting on the 32nd, floor in, a sterile office right. But. To make a long story short what I'm trying to say is I approach. Investing is trying, to understand, the product or the story, and. See. If it's got real. Heart to, it and that's. A difference that. Is male immediate, returns in my personal investing, that's, more like 40 to 80 percent a year which. Is unbelievable. Helping continues, I. Hope it does too so. He'll me, how you approach it how do you find the heart what, do you do. Like. How do you find the story beyond, the. Folks that are just sitting in the little box in the 30-second, bubble or in New York, well. In the case of Tesla, I just really took the plunge I went to the showroom took, a test drive bought. A Tesla now. I'm on my fourth Tesla. And so. I really lived the product went. To their meetings that they have some imitations. Down into the factory, so, I really, got into, it which, apparently there's. Another interesting story you're hoping is a high-fly stock four years ago Stein, was around 750, they had the food illness, bacteria, scare, a lot, of food poisoning stock. Goes down to like two or three hundred they. Bring in a new, CEO from. Taco Bell. Well, I hate to admit it folks I actually go in Taco Bell yeah, okay can. I eat my. Food and. I actually like it it's just food sort of sort, but, it's very well done it's very well thought out in the menus very excited and it's changing all the time so they take the CEO, Brian, Nichols and move. Him they tired away, and move him to, uh Capote, Lee and, so. There's a storyline there's the back story right there the, guy has done a brilliant job at Taco Bell, he's an innovative, marketer, he's shaken up the menu all the time and now, he's going to do it for Chipotle so, what happens the, food illnesses, go away they. Changed. A few places probably to make it better primarily, having a much more robust. Digital, ordering, platform. Add. Some new menu items and now, the stock is about, 750. A day I think back. From 200, so, I've made a fortune in Chipotle, by simply, understanding, the backstory, hmm. That's, great do, you look for, do you have any particular, places. That you look or things that you read or.
Subscribe. To they that help help, you kind of identify. This the next thing that you might want to do or is it strictly opportunity. Right, well I love Jim Cramer's, show man money on CNBC, every day at 6:00 Eastern Time, and when Jim Cramer all he says is do your homework and for, me to. Find the back story the homework is simply reading online. Three. Or four hours a day, look. Pretty glorious about can you read online. Oh I. Just go through everything from. CNBC's. Website, to. Even. UK mail online. Forbes. Online hmm. This pick a anything, arroyos online your, time pick. Anything just. Read a lot and what you'll as, long as you're reading about companies, or products, you'll. Sort. Of find yourself falling into stories. That. Lead. You to a product investment. Okay. So. I got. One more business thing and then I want to ask you a little. Nonbusiness, e stuff. So. You have. Had tremendous, experience, kind of going through the full range. Of owning, a business taking, the business public. Dealing. With a hedge, fund and, then, exiting. Out, what. Would. You tell people who. Are. Looking. At that experience that have a successful, company now like you did and they're, looking at taking say. Institutional. Private, equity hedge fund kind of money to make. That next leap to expand. And. What are we concerned, they might fall into so. I guess it's it's would you say I think, that's a great way to go but. Here are some things to look out for or would you say that. You. Know gosh if I had it all to do over again I probably wouldn't have gone public or I probably wouldn't bring in that, extra money I would have done this instead just kind of looking for guidance. Because you've had such a great range, of experience, with so many different players. Right. You. Know the shopper image was unusual, and that even though we did eventually go public we, never had any venture, capital, fund money, mm-hmm. It, was all self generated, and we told Rarity's will it, really I was able to grow it from like $500 of initial investment, literally to, eventually, a semantic you million dollar business and the. Only time we ever took additional capital is when we went public about halfway through but, that's partly also, to diversify. You don't want to have every single part of your net wealth. Tied. Up in one stock so I wanted to diversify some but anyway getting back to your question I, think. People have no choice honestly, okay. So they want to get their business launched they have no choice but to invite. Some outside venture capital, and here. You can't we're back to the principle of negotiation, you've, got to negotiate as best you can some, entrepreneurs, are very successful and, keep the voting shares all to themselves. So. That even though sometimes, the story, doesn't pan out quite as rosy, as they'd expected, they're, still in control of the vote even. Though they may have given up. Half the equity so. That's always a thought is to try and negotiate to, keep as much control, which, could be special voting shares yeah. Yeah. I it's I'm, a big fan and have studied quite a bit of the. Different stories, of different people who've done that I know you've got I'm, one of my favorite comparisons, is to read little black stretchy pants by chip, Wilson from Lululemon and then, read, by. Phil Knight at the same time because. Phil. Basically, was in the process of going public and then at the last minute said you know I don't want to lose control so. Structured. It so that there was special. Classes. Of stock with additional, board, election, rights and chip. Didn't, really have that advice and ultimately. Was, forced out and so it's, it's interesting to see so I I, think that's great thank you for sharing that because it's such an important, thing for people to think about how do I get. The capital, that I want and give the finance. People the things that they want in terms of return and de-risking, but at the same time not, not put myself in a position where, I can, get you know I can get tossed out of my company because because. They will do that even, and. They just don't know because they don't know the soul of the company right you know the soul of the company because you're the founder, they're just you, know crunching numbers and so. They could miss out on the whole like you mentioned Elon Musk they can miss out on the whole Elon Musk story and, just.
Make Decisions based on what the numbers say and miss, a huge, opportunity. Or really in a really great company right. Right. So. That's a that's the like a, billionaire. Of several times over and did it with them the original Nike shoe, what, a great story then oh my. Gosh it really is it, really is so. Let's. Jump in out of the business world into personal, what were you doing for fun these days ah. Well. I'm a toy guy I. Know that I'm really curious. Celery's, was often excused to be toys for big boys and there's a lot of that in me and I couldn't been successful, at picking those products, some of which were quite useful, I might point out but many were fun, and so. My two favorite, toy today, and I'm enjoying them so much is I just enough I just. Got one of them about six months ago and, that is a Harley, Davidson. Trike. They've. Got one wheel in the front and two wheels in the back and, it looks like they're fancy yep. Yeah it looks like the classic, Electra, Glide you, think of how to do with, the badly fairing in the front but, you got two wheels in the back and. I wanted to try one because I've had so many motorcycles, in my lifetime I've never had a trike so I want to try it and I just adore, him so about every four today we're still having some good weather out here in San Francisco I'm, riding. 50 miles out to lunch and just enjoying it so much that's. My ride away like, is. A four-seater, airplane I like forcing, your airplane so I've had bonanzas, and I've, had Piper's. And my current one is a Cessna, 182. Okay. With four. Seats about the size of the toyota camry, insider. Corolla. But. It's, a sort of near the top in the line of, propeller. Planes that's. Great that's great how often do you fly. Well. Not as often as I'd like because the airport's a little far away but about once every week or two I get up for a couple hours that's. Nice just kind of flying around or do you have a favorite, place to get away to. Roland, I'm just buzzing. Around the, pattern and blowing, holes in the sky and, there are some neat little places. To go like Carmel, for lunch around here my. Right side, you. Know I love. It I love it well thanks so much for taking the time to be here today I understand, you've got a book that you're working on right, so. I originally, wanted to write a book and I put it out in, the sharp in the stores in 2004. Mm-hmm. But. It. Sort of been a little bit eclipsed by a million other books of that business so I thought why don't i refresh, it and nowadays, take.
Advantage Of the digital, opportunities. And make it an audible, book make, it a kindle book because, I think those are so much more fun and I personally am a big fan of audible. Yeah, I'm almost all audible at this point and. I also like the two. And a half times speed option. Seriously. I just, finished, about. About a month ago I finished it one of my favorites of all times which I recommend to people which is Walter, Isaacson's. Book on Steve Jobs oh yeah, is a fabulous book all, of his books don't really matter not huge you learn so much about entrepreneurship. And persistence. By, reading that book, that's. Great any others that are particular, favorites of yours or that have shaped your career. Well. Right now I'm reading a lot bus story. Called insane. Mode right. Oh. I. Love, it that's a good point for your readers and listeners you, know people, learn, so, much from other people, who have already done it and those stories are out there whether, it's Sam Walton, or, Steve Jobs or you got mas those stories are all their freedom. Learn, they. Are. People. Ask sometimes you know who are your mentors and I say well this. Week it was Henry Ford and, John Rockefeller because I read their book you know and I love autobiographies. Because I I feel like if it if it's someone. Who's had great luck, and success in, business. And, you. Have the opportunity, to read, their their, story in their words that's. Pretty. Amazing because it's what they thought was. Most important, to tell about their. Story and I'd really feel like if you're, if you're doing that you're sitting down with Conrad Hilton and he's telling you how he started the hotel or you know or whoever you are or Sam Walton and and. I'm looking forward to your book because I'll feel like we we, have an, opportunity, to sit near sharing, all, of your best thoughts about the things that you found most important, can you tell us do. You have a title for it yet ah. Well. Not. Quite. We've been just the last few days and you know noodling, back. And forth but, you don't relate to sharper image you're Richard tall himer or something, okay. And then what will we learn from the book what are some of the things. We can look forward to ah. Well. Just like you thought in your career I felt, in my career I've learned, certain, things, whether. They're. In the area of selling. Or, negotiation. Or customers. Centric iTouch. On maybe 25, different points. Like that yeah. Each one of them's good and each one of them is generally. Applicable, to, almost any enterprise, whether, you're selling insurance or. Whether you've got a new app you. Have to persuade, people to, buy or, sponsor, or invest your, first rating people and, you're. Also managing your, income your expenses so. That's what makes business in the end and so, I'm, just like everybody else that's been successful trying, to share, some of those insights. So. When, is that coming out. February. March okay. Fantastic end and. It. Will be hopefully audible and and, Kindle. As you mentioned until, tell me this for people who would like to reach, out to you directly, to, get a copy or to. To. Find out more about you or connect with you what are the best ways that they could do that. Wow. What do you suggest personal. Email address well. Well if you've got a website or if you've got any. Social. Accounts, or if you have a podcast or, anything like that anymore anyplace that's good for people to look and I'll put it in the show notes. Well. You're awfully nice to ask. Go. To Richard solocom. And send. Us a message there's. A place to do that Richard it's one word Richard solo like a loan Richard. Solocom. And there's a place to send a message and I read all that's. Awesome Richard is there anything, that I didn't, ask that you think I should. Have asked her that would have been a really, good question. Well. The only thing I'd like to conclude with is the word.
Persistence. Okay. That is the single, word that probably, in my career, made. The most difference and when. I read a story like Elon Musk or at least story like Steve Jobs it, is amazing, how. They. Have to go to such great lengths, to, finally. Succeed and I. Use the word persistence. To sum it up I, love. That thank, you so much for being on the show today I will, put, in the show notes the. Richard. Solocom, site and then, if if, you guys have any other places, for for. People to contact you I'll share that as well I just really appreciate you taking the time to come, on today and and share with other entrepreneurs and thank you for taking, the time to write a book to share everything that's going to be in there I'm going to be looking, for those 25 points pretty early, and. For. Me I'm thrilled to be on the rollin crazier podcast, thank, you, thank, you all right, all. Right perfect. Thanks I really appreciate you doing that today is there anything. That I can do for you to. Help you in any way just, a. Nice to offer well. Today, things are going well let me think tomorrow and they call you okay. And when you get to launching your book please let us know and we'll you. Know I'll definitely let the social crowd know that we have a fair. Number of folks that follow and and, you. Know are always looking for advice and things to read and stuff like that and if if. There's anything else just just let me know I really appreciate it right. We are gonna have to, mine mailing list at Richard solo mm-hmm. An. Email campaign to give people the opportunity to. Buy the book, for a dollar ninety-nine. As. They preview, and. Eventually the book will be like $12.99, and so, if they want to sign up at the Richard solo website, to be on our mailing list will send you the dollar ninety-nine offer, which. Nice, price yeah. Definitely, send me that that, would be fantastic, and what's the goal in writing the book is it a strictly, a gift back is it is there some other project. Or thing that you'd like to do after that or any, plans that you thought of for that yet or just kind of play it by ear yeah, no. I just feel like the sharper image experience. In my lifetime was such a fun satisfying. Career, that. I wanted to know. Share, some of the antidotes, some. Of the stories and also some of the guiding principles that made it successful, just for the fun of sharing I think, that's great excellent. Well thanks again and I'll, touch, base with Meredith and shoot, me that offer when you get it ready and I'll definitely put it out to our audience super, thank you willin awesome. Thank you. You.