TMBA 044 (LBP44) – Biz Failures: Crashed Crotch Rockets, Blowing $6K, and 30 Days in China

TMBA 044 (LBP44) – Biz Failures: Crashed Crotch Rockets, Blowing $6K, and 30 Days in China post image

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Ian and I have both been manufacturing products in China for over 5 years. In this episode we talk in detail about our plan to be a distributor of sport bike replacement fairings and why the whole thing fell apart.

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  • Global Sources
  • Constant Contact
  • Phoenix, 1901 ROCKIN!!
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  • HEYTEL iPhone AP!
  • What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

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Episode length: 31:50

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Oh hey there Manila! Good to be back…


Published on 10.20.10
  • Really great stuff as usual. I dig hearing more about the offline business stuff. Can't wait to hear Dan's $15k fail story.

  • TropicalMBA

    Thanks Ian! Ohh man its going to be painful to tell how much of an idiot I am… I loved the photo you shared on twitter of you and your lady btw, super cute couple!

  • Haha, thanks man. I been building web apps for years, I am sure my idiot fail stories will make yours look like minor errors. I recently made a $10+k blunder on an iPad game, that I was luckily able to salvage and am sitting on a $20k app that has taken me over a year to develop, that I still haven't shipped yet.

  • So there I was, driving to work and listening to my favorite blog and totally getting into this story about ferrings (which, by the way, sounds like the offspring of ferrets and lemmings). I totally forget that you guys started by talking about failures and I'm like “YA! They're totally telling us about a business and I'm excited for them and this is cool and AWESOME!”

    Then I remember you were talking about failure…and Ian said all of that work was sitting in a folder on his desktop.


    THOUGH…I will say, that I highly doubt you can consider that a failure since you guys learned hella lot from it and even used the story for a podcast, even if it wasn't as lucrative as you'd had hoped.

    Oh, and I hear about TropicalMBA #3 and think “I wonder how willing my wife would be to go live on an island with (soon to be) three kids. Hmmm.” ;)

  • TropicalMBA

    haha dude I smell an interview. I'm sure I can relate to that heartache. my story is embarrassing. Bottom line: money doesn't stop Dan from sucking at stuff. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the next story!

  • TropicalMBA

    David– if you think its a good idea man its all yours :) !!! Agreed we are just swingin' for the fences and who knows we might hit something good? If not, at least we can podcast and have a blast talking with other entrepreneurs. I don't want to sound crazy, but that just might be more fun than being a millionaire. :)

  • Buisch

    The one day I shoot out the door without syncing my iPod, I go to the cafe only to find my favorite podcast has a new episode and I can't put it on my iPod!! Now I get to think about its awesomeness all day and know that I have to wait. Delayed gratification fail.

  • TropicalMBA

    Oh shaz! Dude, to be honest its not that great. Whateves you up to today is way better. This is just candy. If you find the time to take listen we'll appreciate it !

  • I say we shoot for both…fun AND millionaires. Ha!

    I know one entrepreneur who would jump at the chance to be on your podcast. Some dude that's always talking about heroic stuff. ;)

  • Good episode, guys! I dig the changing close-out music.

    Put down my vote to hear about the $15k web bomb! Managing web app/mobile app development can be really tough. I've done web app development as a local and remote employee, as a freelancer/consultant, and with and without other outsourced developers, so I've seen it all! As a developer, the single biggest problem I have to deal with consistently is ambiguity in direction and desired outcomes. Many people seem to not know what they want out of their apps, and the trouble is they don't realize that they don't know this. The solution is learning how to think like a developer yourself (without actually spending all the time it takes to become one). I could elaborate on this for anybody who's interested.

    Also, in the realm of mind-blowing books I submit “Consciousness Explained” by Dan Dennett. It might not make you rethink all of reality, but I've always been fascinated by consciousness and this is one of those books that makes your brain feel like it just spent a week at the gym. Plus, when you're done you get to drop words like “homunculus” into everyday conversation, which is always fun.

  • Great stuff, guys. Really interesting hearing about that business idea that ended up not working out in the end. What a great learning experience, though. Dan, looking forward to hearing your own failure story very much.

    I thought the call from Patrick was really cool – it reminded me of a video I saw on Tim Ferriss' blog a while back, it was of a guy who owned a concrete company and used many of the principles in the 4HWW to automate his business. It's the 5th video on this post…

  • Ian

    Isaac, great point. As a business owner/ manager it's key you understand core functions like accounting or seo but not necessarily be the one to carry out the tasks — same with understanding developers and development!

    Lemme help everyone while I help myself to homunculus:

  • I really dig this episode. Can't wait to hear Dan's story.
    Great that you're back in the promised land, Dan =)

  • Great Job Guys, Love the Failures, It's a lesson we don't need to make the hard way.

    I'm definitely a long term listener now. Keep it up, Can't wait for the next one

  • TropicalMBA

    Thanks ! :)

  • TropicalMBA

    David, I'm sitting right next to you now. Let's have a beer! :)

  • TropicalMBA

    Great link, thanks for sharing that. This is a story I'm not sure I've told anyone yet outside of those involved, should be plenty embarrassing…

  • TropicalMBA

    Yeah that sounds like me. Hell I'm not even sure if I ever got around to even “managing” it. :/

  • Biz Failures are a speciality of mine also,
    Try my best to treat them as lessons.
    Looking forward to Dans story.

    Excellent stuff as usual guys !

    I was looking at those bike pics and thinking 'bobbin round the islands' hmmm

  • Wow. Look at the comments.

    I think when it comes to talking about business online, admitting failure = credibility.

    Great story guys. Looking forward to Dan's epic fail next week. Also, big fan of the changing fade-out music. Keep it up.

  • TropicalMBA

    haha, I think everyone is ready to see me take a tumble!

  • TropicalMBA

    Yeah man can you imagine taking that thing out in Thailand? wow… what a rush, I don't trust myself to own one. You gonna be in Thailand in January? Where are you currently calling home ?

  • I'm stayin away from that thing. It'd end in tears for sure.
    In Kanchanaburi, Thailand at the moment and 99.9% I'm in Thailand for January.
    I smell a party coming….

  • TropicalMBA

    Great… I'm almost closed the deal on a TMBA Thailand tour in Jan. Looking forward to meeting up more and talking shop.

  • Awesome episode guys, one of the best yet. You guys are definitely on the lifestyle business all-star team, ballin!!

    Also I just have a little suggestion for the podcast. I think one of the reasons this episode was so great was that you could go in to detail about the market, products, and experiences. And I know you guys don't want to talk about your own markets or products and I wouldn't either. So my suggestion is to make up a market and products similar to your own or at least with easy comparisons and analogies and use it every episode to explain in more detail the things that have been going on in your business and the techniques or topics for the podcast. At least for me when I am able to visualize a product and market it makes more sense, easier to follow, and more entertaining. Just a suggestion no problem if you guys don't want to.

    Also Dan I've been diggin the book recommendations, great reads.

    Keep up the good work guys

  • TropicalMBA

    Hey Erik that's a really interesting suggestion, I've never thought of it that way. I'll talk about it with Ian and see if there is a way we can apply it. Thanks for listening!

  • Hey Guys, what's happening!!!!! I'm getting withdrawal symptoms. Where's podcast #45???

  • TropicalMBA

    Hey thanks for that! Long story…. we just finished recording it (like 30 seconds ago) and we'll have it up in 1-2 days :)

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  • Anonymous


  • giving a whole new meaning to the term “crotch rocket. … enjoy your STD (Seriously Tacky Distraction), and give some thought to crashing

  • Anonymous

    After reading it I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you taking the 
    time and effort to put together this article. 
    I think once again myself spending way to much time both reading and commenting. 
    But what, it was still worth it! 

  • In recent days, some Chinese microbloggers posted pictures of the national Olympics stadium, also known as the “Birds Nest”, taken on blue-sky days during …

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