“You’re so full of crap,” said Mark Cuban to the equally brash Scott Jordan, CEO of SCOTTeVEST, on ABC-TV’s Shark Tank. What Scott Jordan is really full of is passion, energy, ideas, and pockets – all of which are topics in his new book, Pocket Man: The Unauthorized Autobiography of a Passionate, Personal Promoter Who Created A $50 Million Pocket Empire, just released on Amazon yesterday.
Pocket Man takes us through not only what really happened on Shark Tank (he turned down a million-dollar offer for a portion of his company) but in real life. He made the leap to entrepreneur by following through on an idea that was ripe for its time in the year 2000 – developing clothing so people can wear or carry their electronic devices. Wearable tech. Simple yet significant, his inventive product has yielded $50 million in revenue. INC magazine recognized his cutting-edge company to be one of the fastest-growing companies in America.
In the following Q&A, Jordan shows us what happens when one follows his passion all the way to the bank while inventing a cool, practical product that serves the needs of our technology-engaged society.
MEDIA CONNECT: In your new book, Pocket Man, you make it a point to show that you are a passionate promoter. What advice would you have for other CEOs who want to actively get their company name out there and to be a core part of its brand?
Scott Jordan: If you don’t believe in your company and what it does, pack up your office and quit. You can’t fake passion, and if you try, all of your promotion will come across as schlocky and cheap. But if you do have the passion, then you need to put yourself out there. You need to be willing to take personal risks and develop relationships with press and the public. The more transparent you are, the more visible you are, the more connected to the brand you will be. That passion will resonate and it comes across in your communications. Being a passionate promoter goes well beyond being a CEO… even if it’s your first day in an entry-level position you can be a passionate promoter wherever you work.
You must insert yourself into the conversation by keeping your eyes open for opportunities, recognizing them as opportunities and acting quickly. Chances to insert yourself into the conversation happen all the time, but most people let them pass them by. If there’s a news article about something related to your industry, contact the journalist. If your competitor is mentioned in a piece, make sure the writer knows about you, too. The “how” is easy, but recognizing opportunities is trickier. Never wait, just do it. Immediacy beats polish when dealing with the press 9 times out of 10. Do it when you think about it or make a note to do it asap. The old Abe Lincoln quote talks about sharpening an axe for a few hours before chopping down a tree… in these cases, just start swinging.
MC: You had the opportunity to go on ABC-TV’s Shark Tank to strike up investment in your second company, the licensing of the technology behind SCOTTeVEST. What was it like having Mark Cuban yell that “you are full of crap” or having the other investors challenge you on television?
SJ: I love a good challenge, especially when I’m right (which I was and continue to be on the topics discussed on Shark Tank). If your business can’t stand up to real questions and challenges, then it’s not a good enough business to begin with. I thought Mark Cuban’s reactions were really disproportionate, but at the end of the day, it was a volatile combination that made great TV and some great Twitter battles after airing. It was a lot of fun and not a negative experience at all. I live for that challenge because it allows me to respond in a passionate manner. It’s who I am. It was a rush… like going to the Olympics and winning a gold medal.
MC: You and Steve Wozniak have a special relationship. The co-founder of Apple even penned your book’s foreword. He was also your lifeline call on Shark Tank. How did your friendship develop?
SJ: Like most things in my business and life, it started with an email… and developed through email. In fact, I think that’s part of what makes our relationship special, because we were literally speaking the same language when it came to communications from day one. I think there was mutual respect because we each appreciated what the other had created, and over time we realized how much we had in common. I’ve been told that my company SCOTTeVEST is what Apple would do to clothing. My relationship with Woz continues via email… he’ll send me emails from time to time about wearables and clothing and vice versa. We primarily connect through email, but we get together from time to time. His authenticity comes through and that’s what I love about him.
MC: As we get more gadget-dependent — and as these gadgets get bigger in size such as the new iPad and the Samsung phone – how will consumers come to see the need for clothes engineered with pockets that can keep up with the demands of our busy lives?
SJ: As we’ve seen with the iPhone 6 bending issue, it’s not a good idea to carry a phone in your pants pocket. We continue to adapt the sizes of SCOTTeVEST pockets to reflect the device trends, so there is always a place to carry big phones, phablets and tablets in a SeV. I think the trend will be toward SeV since we’re the only tech-enabled clothing line for men and women. My products not only carry the devices safely, but they extend the gadgets’ usefulness by making them easier to charge, access and use.