LA Business Podcast

47. Isaiah McPeak, Co-Founder & COO Of Pinwheel

Isaiah McPeak, Pinwheel
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We talk to Isaiah McPeak the head of product and design at Pinwheel about healthy tech for kids and tackling the challenges of kids and phones.

www.pinwheel.com 

Intro: [00:00:00] Welcome to the LA Business Podcast, a form for business owners and senior executives to share the experiences about the elements that drive their success. Your host is Robert Brill, CEO of Brillmedia.co an Inc 500 company delivering the power of hyper-local advertising.

Robert writes for Forbes, Inc. and add trade publications. Our goal is to bring you the stories about successes and failures of people who are making big things happen in marketing, entrepreneurship, and management.

Robert Brill: [00:00:36] Hey everyone. Welcome to another episode of the LA Business Podcast. Today our guest is Isaiah McPeak, head of product at Pinwheel.

Thanks for joining us today.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:00:45] Thanks for having me. I’m so thrilled to be here.

Robert Brill: [00:00:48] So tell us a little bit about what you do and what a pinwheel it is.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:00:52] Okay. I’m a screen zombie Hunter. So, we, we are tackling the challenges parents face, when it comes to giving their eight to 12 year old, a phone, which is number one plan right now is wait until as long as possible.

And, we’d like there to be a better solution than. Throwing the car keys to a 16 year old, when they’re ready to drive, you probably want to teach them how, but it’s sorta hard when you have to disable adult smart phones and, you know, keep the disabling bandaids working or, give them a flip phone and they

Robert Brill: [00:01:27] hated.

So a parent of an eight to twelve year old will download Pinwheel or what’s, what’s the actual application?

Isaiah McPeak: [00:01:34] They actually purchase a phone. So we built from the operating system up a smartphone for kids, and it switches modes through the day to match their rhythms of life. School mode, night mode, free play mode.

Things like that. And it’s safe as a hundred percent tool, 0% toy. So there’s no games on it, no entertainment. It teaches them that technology is to help them in their lives and backs up the parent with making that really easy to, to pull off in their household.

Robert Brill: [00:02:08] And what’s the science behind the design of the tool.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:02:12] Yeah. So, there there’s a ton of actually, so one of the country’s top experts in, kids and tech, who’s a therapist and author of, Tech Generation, Dr. Mike Brooks is on our design team and we have a whole therapist design council and built 10 principles for what creates connected media and healthy tech.

And that’s behind every decision we’ve made.

Robert Brill: [00:02:36] And so you’re the, you’re the head of product and design. What is your. How, how old is the company? Tell us about how you’ve grown it and what, what the milestones were along the way.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:02:48] Yeah, so my co founder and CEO and I are both veteran entrepreneurs and he started this last September as an exploration in family tech and did about six weeks of intense ethnographic market research.

Which I didn’t really know what that meant. So I had to say, you know, break that down for me. What does that, that means a researcher calling some families multiple times a day and asking them what brands have you used in the last three hours? Take me around your home. Talk to me about this, about that, about decisions.

And of course, tech and running by some early wireframes. So I’m convinced that there was a market he called me and said, all right, let’s, let’s do this. We need to make a phone for our kids. That was when I started to say that was last October and, you know, we can dig into all the milestones, but the quick version is we made an early prototype on what we thought would work and learned.

We’re going to have to customize the OS if we really want to do this right. And not be victims of Apple or Google policy changes and that’s going to be stinking hard and nobody’s really done it. So let’s do it. And then we released that MVP prototype in April in closed alpha. We went to a closed beta in July 1st.

And now actually this week we’re working on going from closed beta to open beta.

Robert Brill: [00:04:13] What kind of growth, can you talk about publicly for, for this? And I’m also really interested in how you built a phone or how that process works.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:04:23] Yeah, I think we’re, we’re pretty happy to share in pretty much any and everything.

So, growth wise, as you know, with a startup, you always are balancing the desire and appetite to grow faster with, what kind of operations cost that means for you and that you also don’t want to spend marketing and sales dollars when the power of that dollar goes a lot less if you were to, work out more kinks in the product.

Right. So, so we had about a seven person, seven user alpha testing program. We figured like that was probably enough. And if you’ve ever read Marty Kagan’s, how to build help products that customers love. He’s like six reference customers. That’s the magic. I kind of agree with that. And so we started with those seven and then we found out there’s two really big differences in use case.

One is a split home and the other is a not split home. And when you’re looking at a split home. You’re looking at some pretty different motivations for getting your kid a phone, but a really big reason, which is I want to stay connected with my child. And so that was something we learned as we went to the beta and the beta is about 20 and we decided to go from Genki unpaid, and we’ve done a lot of different advertising experiments to clamp it down and say, it’s gotta be a paid beta.

So we have to prove to ourselves as some people are willing to exchange. Money for this. Now the prices may have been wildly all over the place, but the average to know about what the price is, which is 200 bucks for the device and then 30 bucks a month for service and the operating system.

That’s been our growth strategy so far is actually try to get to where we’ve got that referrals or, the, I would be super, super disappointed to not have this product in my life anymore area. And we feel confident enough there to do a trickle of growth, but we’re not going to spend 10K a month on ads or blow up a Kickstarter campaign.

Because, we still want to be. Learning, we have a lot more to learn before we spend those kinds of marketing dollars. We don’t think they’ll be the most efficientyet.

Robert Brill: [00:06:29] It’s really interesting. So like with your, with your beta phase, when you were charging for, for the prouct, what were the channels that were driving some of those sales.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:06:41] Yeah. So we had, let’s see, we did a little bit of Facebook advertising in the spring and we did this $1 reservation model, and then we tried to convert some of those into these paid beta. So a few of them did that. we also, had a little discounting experiment running that had some motivation to go ahead and preorder the phone.

And a few of the paid betas were from there. And then, we had a few. That as we unveiled our website and started doing just real basic posting about it in places and referring our friends, some links or things to share, that, you know, our goal was to have second degree connections use it. And if you came from there.

Robert Brill: [00:07:28] That’s amazing. So, for the, rest of this year, what are your goals for the for the rest of this year?

Isaiah McPeak: [00:07:34] Yeah, so over summer we’ve been building out the marketing growth infrastructure and, for me that means marketing automations, you know, active campaigns up and running. We have a couple drips that are a few emails deep that need to go longer.

We think our by time is about, 20 days from knowing about it, to talking to your partner about it and kind of deciding. And so, this fall, we’re trying to optimize that nurture cycle and really help it be easy. So we’re building out, retargeting campaigns on Facebook, Instagram.

And YouTube, and then we’re building out, I guess you still call it retargeting when you have email drips. But to me that’s an email drip, you know, a nurture, right? When it’s people that you know, that you’re trying to push them through the process with case studies and things. So, we figured out by now how to advertise for what I consider pretty cheap.

So over summer, we’re able to get people to give us their email on a form in Facebook for about 92 cents to 120 cents pretty reliably. We’ve got that throttled really low right now. It’s like spending about 20 bucks a day on that while we improve the next stage of the funnel experience for greater conversions.

And then we’re going to be ready to push some gas, I think.

Robert Brill: [00:08:54] Yeah. I was going to ask you how important email addresses are to you, because what we find is generally like the more direct contact you have to a customer, the more ROI you can get over the longterm.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:09:05] Yeah, I think the email address are the key for us because this is a considered person.

And so while we do have some contacts in other methods. I don’t think we’re going to see as much through Facebook messenger or chat bots or things like that you know, it’s, it’s different than buying a Sonic toothbrush to buy like the phone your kid’s going to use for the next four years that your partner also has to reliably agree on if that makes sense.

Robert Brill: [00:09:33] So, you know, Are you relying on testimonials? I imagine that’s a big part of your process, right? Like you get initial users, you get the customer. Are you using testimonials in your ads?

Isaiah McPeak: [00:09:45] We are, we only have a few testimonials so far cause we only have a few users so far. Right. So it being what mid August is, we’re about to go to our beta group who started over.

The month of July. Right. And right now for me, the testimonials are more about the product then about the marketing. And if the testimony is aren’t where we need to be, then for us, that just says, keep improving the product, figure out why. And until those testimonials sing, we have a few already that we’re using.

But, the, you know, the dance between product and marketing here is definitely product first. Instead of growth priorities, but we believe that that’s an investment in greater growth.

Robert Brill: [00:10:31] Yeah, absolutely. It’s like, it’s interesting because I experienced the same thing with my business. I didn’t want to go out to the market talking about, you know, doing actual marketing and advertising until I was really home.

Until our product was really defined. And I haven’t heard a lot of people say that, but I think that’s such a critical part of the process.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:10:48] Yeah. I think, I think the difference is like if you’re being category to finding versus regressive and commoditized, right. So, you know, there’s a lot of advice out there of no, just sell, sell, sell, And then build the product underneath.

And I agree with that to an extent. But yeah, at the same token when you’re doing something, you know, if we were the fifth, if kids watch out there, then yeah, we would just describe a better kids watch that we had imagined. And try to get preorders of that and then go build it. But with what we’re doing, kids operating system, it’s so new and unexplored, we really have to have a lot of users and learn from them, not just describe what we have imagined in our heads, as a reliable growth strategy at first.

Robert Brill: [00:11:32] How did you tell us about how you, I mean, to me to manufacture a phone seems like might as well just be asking me to like, figure out how to get to the moon.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:11:41] Yeah. I can actually, I’m pretty much in the same boat. I’m lucky here because of my co founder, Dane, his last company was an internet of things company.

And so they did software plus hardware. And he ended up selling that company and did it for seven years. So he’s really bringing the hardware smarts here, but, what we’re not doing is really manufacturing a phone instead it’s operating system. And then you just have to tie that operating system to the firmware of a phone, which that is hard work, but it’s not as crazy as I thought. So today, for example, we were just looking at our kind of final options for our next run and there’s about seven options and we’re just waiting things like, can it be a LTE. You know, can it be CDMA? Does it come with Android nine versus Android 10 as a default before we go and bust it to pieces, and you know, and Google it and install our own operating system.

So there’s a lot on Alibaba and, you can even take performing phones that you find on Amazon or whatever, and go find the manufacturer. It’s just a question of going back and forth until you find that minimum order, quantity, the MLQ. And if you want to launch a 500 or a thousand phones, then you’re going to have to do something pretty magical to, to spend that much on inventory.

Right? And so those are the choices we’ve been having to make, but it’s more choice and less figuring out on the hardware side. The hard part is the operating system.

Robert Brill: [00:13:14] That’s fascinating. How did you, how, tell us about how you started getting into design and I see you graduated from Patrick Henry College.

You’ve you have a fair bit of experience going on here, right? So tell us a little bit about how you came to this, this point in your career?

Isaiah McPeak: [00:13:32] Yeah, I couldn’t have started further from tech actually. My dad worked in government and still does. He was a career military intelligence and then, came back to the same job in a suit, which is where he still works, in the DC area.

And I sort of follow those footsteps. We didn’t know anything about business and, as an intelligence major, I started out creating information products is what I now know. I, the language I use now is very tech oriented, but the language I used to them, it was not, I created reports. Right. But it turns out I was pretty inventive in terms of the information products that I created.

And, a lot of that had to do with. Sort of just a general classical liberal arts background and critical thinking from speech and debate for years. But bridge that over into, you know, step one was work for an it contractor, that focused on government and. Doing that and building a business unit from the ground up, I learned, Whoa, I think I’m wired for this business stuff.

And I started reading Inc magazine religiously for almost a solid three years, just cover to cover. And I picked up the language of startups and tech startups, which I didn’t even know. And it became just a goal. Like I have to get out of government work. And into a tech startup and nine lenses on an, on my, my background, there was that where I started working for a four times CEO who restarted a company from his basement.

And I was his first employee really and the product manager, I was the product when we had to fudge it three years and we built a, I had all the way through series a $4.1 million growth round and scaling. And I was, you know, I stayed the product manager. During that whole experience. So that was, that was my cut, my chops teeth, whatever you cut in in tech world bridging.

But I still is the same thing. It’s the same thing as being an intelligence analyst, which is. How do you see all the big moving pieces, synthesize them, integrate them, create actionable intelligence or actionable steps that lead towards execution and faster learning so that you can outsmart the enemy and military or, outsmart the, not really the competition so much as the consumer, in and technology.

Robert Brill: [00:15:48] So when you’re reading inc magazine and you realize you have, I have this great deal of knowledge from the intelligence community or the intelligence, the government, how long does it take you to really understand that? hat you’re doing has a direct corollary. To the business world, right? Like you said, that happened as you were working, but how long did the things start to, to map from the intelligence and government world to the business world?

Isaiah McPeak: [00:16:15] It was, it was probably a two and a half, three year journey for me. And most of it was putting language to things I’d already done. That I didn’t know. I mean, even, even take product manager, for example, once I finally learned what a product manager was, I went and I talked to my CEO and I was like, Hey, can we talk about some of my past experiences?

I think I may have been one before and we dug into it. He’s like, Oh yeah, you’re a product manager, this manuscript of that technical publication of this and this that’s all product community. Right. I didn’t know that. So that for me was a big piece of that two and a half ish. Your journey. And then the other piece was just being lucky enough to work at a, at a government contractor that had.

Won a new contract vehicle that it could bid on. And it was in Homeland security and, the company had all done national security and she ended up till that point, Hey, Isaiah, try to figure this out, see if you can do something with it. And, two and a half years later, I’ve got 55 people in for government sites and I kind of.

By did our health insurance. I learned how to do bids and proposals, and then we won contracts and I learned how to set them up and negotiate with government officials and then run them. And, that whole experience was, you know, combined with the ink magazine stuff. I’m like, this is really cool. I think I understand what I’m doing now.

Robert Brill: [00:17:33] And, and it seems like you, you realize how much power you have. With the experience that you’ve had and the imagination that you have for what can be, what can happen in business is I can only imagine how excited you, you must have been at that point. Like, wow, there’s a whole world of opportunity available.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:17:49] Yeah, I just saying that the feeling of what I noticed is that it’s rare for someone to be able to see both big picture and small picture at the same time and fluidly bounced between them. I’ve also learned that since then, that the way to discribe, that is product manager, right?

Where you have to be able to be at the 50,000 foot view and all the way down to the. Tactical ticket level, this engineer view and back, at every five minutes of the day.

Robert Brill: [00:18:20] And it’s a different, you know, if you, if you do that, if you’re not the right person or you don’t realize that that’s happening, it’s okay.

Often very difficult to be able to go to oscillate from high, high view to low view, very, very quickly, or alternatively to go from writing and interpersonal communications to like coding.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:18:39] That’s right. Yeah. It’s just nonstop context switching and there’s nothing. There’s nothing superior about being able to do that well, in, in one way, because it also means you’re probably less likely, I’m less likely to be the person who sits in the same code for two weeks, some major problem, and like loves it. I don’t get in flow that way. I get in flow by bouncing around between things. Right. And yeah. That’s not everybody’s wiring and that’s just, you know, we’re, we’re wired different.

Robert Brill: [00:19:08] Going back to pinwheel when you started, when you, when, when you, when you and your cofounder made the decision to move forward with the business, what was the, what was the impetus? Right. Like you didn’t, you didn’t just go into the market and say, Hey, we’re gonna, we’re going to do product testing.

There was some thesis prior to that. Was it, is it a personal story? Did you like, was it market research? What’s how did you get there?

Isaiah McPeak: [00:19:32] Yeah, no great guesses. Those are the two. So it was a personal story followed by market research, followed by personal story. So the original personal story is actually my, cofounder Dane’s, seven year old son’s best friend.

He’s also seven getting a phone. And it being this, what my kids have to have phones, what is this sort of thing moment for him. And as he went out there and researched this, coming up dry with real solutions, you know, decision adult technology is not a fun thing for a tech dad to really get into.

And so he starts noodling on that and starts the market research, which I already described was intense, but it led to a, you can actually see this poster behind me. That’s actually the word cloud produced by the market research expert that he worked with a consumer brand person in New York. This is all she does.

And we came out with, we understand motivations and really what what’s involved here. And there’s a space for a brand. That I mean, I’ll just ask you, you, you may not have kids, so I don’t actually know who, what brand would you turn to? What big tech company would turn to you and say they have the best interest of kids in mind.

Robert Brill: [00:20:44] I will tell you the answer. I have a 20 month old. And the answer for any question you can ask me is The Wiggles.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:20:53] Wait for Caiou. You’re going to go brain dead.

Robert Brill: [00:21:00] Okay. I think, I think your answer is you’re you’re. I mean, the default for phones and technology is going to be Apple followed by Android.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:21:07] Yeah, but you, but you would never describe that as a parent, as Oh yeah. Apple and, and Google have my child’s best interest in mind when they designed these. Instead, you’re going to say, yeah, there doesn’t seem something quite right. And if you dig deep, you’re going to say, Oh, it’s probably because YouTube kids make $750 million a year on advertising to children and is monetizing their attention.

And once you find that you’re like, ah, what do I do? and so that, that was pretty convincing to us. And then it was real for us. And I had the same problem. He actually, he literally called me and said, we need to do this. within 12 hours of me having my latest argument with my 11 year old as to why she doesn’t have a phone and despairing, like I, I want, I want her to learn technology.

I don’t like any options and she’ll hate me for a flip phone. That’s not even worth getting, but, I can’t do this smartphone thing. And he calls me the next day and he’s like, Hey, parents are stuck between these two options. I’m like, I know that I just had that argument like, well, you want to solve that problem?

Yes. So that was, that was what signed me up.

Robert Brill: [00:22:08] Well, and I also not, not knowing too much about your space in particular. I imagine there are with, with a fair amount of research, a parent can find tools that probably exist, but are not well-branded are not particularly well-designed are much more, I hate to say this, but probably much more of a money grab, just like an existing tool, an existing phone, probably no name brand manufactured. Elsewhere China probably. And next thing you know, you have a tool that is moderately good. Generally doesn’t do what you needed to do, but it’s marketed towards kids, but there’s no brand. So I think as you look, it makes sense to me that as you look at it, you see that there is no real branded tool in the marketplace to solve this problem.

And it could easily become your brand name can easily become synonymous with, with, with exploration, exploratory phones for, for young, for young children.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:23:05] Thanks for saying that. That is exactly how Dane described it. At first, he was like, Isaiah, the real play here. Yeah. We’re going to make a kid phone.

The real play is to become the brand that parents trust. And there’s nobody who’s really pulled that off and there’s only one or two people trying and, you know, more power to them. I think for us, this is like all boats arise as the oceans rise. So we’re pretty familiar with who else is out there.

And, we think that the depth of the therapist backing brain science, those things are probably better, but we really just want there to be more options for parents. And, there’s not.

Robert Brill: [00:23:43] How do you, you know, when you think about marketing, right? There’s the everyday the immediate need. I got to sell stuff.

And then there’s the brand. I’ve got to build a brand. So people have a great relationship with me. Tell us about how you make those decisions in your, in how you spend your time and your money.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:24:01] Yeah, so, this area has for sure, been a tension for us and we’ve actually burned through a couple of different folks on the marketing side that we thought we would be cofounder level.

And, for us, some of the traditional, you know, discounting. And gamesmanship that you can do in a business to consumer doesn’t really make sense for what we’re trying to do. And we know and believe that, wellness is at the core and there has to be a virtuous cycle here. And until we have that virtuous cycle ignited, we don’t want to push too much gas with, with other tactics, because then you’re going to exhaust yourself and, you know, we don’t want to be out there on Instagram using the same tactics as everyone else when we’re selling essentially an anti Instagram phone for kids. Right. And so for us, it’s unlocking the community referral networks is the number one challenge that we’re trying to break through and finding, finding who are those trusted voices.

Where are these people often not digitally that we can get to. So, the, the areas that are showing promise our schools for one schools are trusted sometimes to help select technology for children and bring parents together to hear about that. therapists actually, it’s becoming, you know, in the last five years, it’s gone from a dirty word to.

A great word thanks Bernie Brown and, you know, they love what we’re doing. And so that’s a channel. And then as you know, we’re looking at the split homes thing, which is really interesting to us and, even attorneys, family, attorneys may become a channel there for us. So we’re very much looking at the referral game as most important. And once that singing, we feel like we can back it with other standard marketing tactics.

Robert Brill: [00:25:48] I would imagine tutors are also very important.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:25:52] Yeah, actually, it’s funny. I was testing out a piano teacher channel. And can we get included in your list to your, you know, 400, 500 students in this town?

And, it’s neat because we’re actually, we have one going out soon, a soccer coach who he didn’t want to be paid. They didn’t want to affiliate or anything. It’s just, this is cool. This is needed. Yes. I’d be happy to tell my family is about this. So I think right now there’s a, Oh, there’s another competitor.

That’s a real power. Sometimes I’ve experienced this before. Once is people do pick up the phone. They do, you like what you’re doing, and they’re willing to tell others without any compensation or, you know, quid pro quo involved. So we want to see if we can make that magic happen. Um,Iit’s called a halo effect sometimes where if you are spending, sometimes you don’t get that effect.

Robert Brill: [00:26:43] Right. It’s a question of scale. I mean, look, I was, I was having this conversation with, with one of our clients and the core of the conversation was no one would really do marketing, advertising, pay, you know, paid media PR promotions, any of that, if they could sell, I’m making it up 20 million chocolate bars for Hershey’s a day or whatever it is. The only reason Hershey is advertises and does any marketing cause they need to sell chocolates and they can’t do enough of it. It can’t scale enough.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:27:13] Right.

Robert Brill: [00:27:14] So if you, if you could run your whole business and never have to create a YouTube video, never run an ad. Yeah. Why would you, why would you.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:27:23] Yeah, exactly. I think, you know, one of the statistics that jumps out to me and I don’t know if it is exact or, I couldn’t give you the link, but still the majority of sales are done through referral and marketing. In my opinion, is still competing for the smaller half of total attention. So something like 60% versus 40% that marketing is competing for.

I want to make sure the 60% is up and running with a new product. And then the 40% is more of the scale, the scale opportunity,

Robert Brill: [00:27:55] Right? Cause you’re taking the risk to carve out a completely new product, not how would you describe not a new product, a new industry, a new vertical and new category.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:28:04] A new product category.

Robert Brill: [00:28:07] So you have the benefit of that, right? Yeah. For us, for example, there are many different average advertising and marketing firms, right. So we have, we have to yell out in order to get noticed, but also word of mouth. I mean, look, you know, the interesting part about our business is that word of mouth is still the most critical part of how we’ve grown up.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:28:28] Yeah. The people, as they’re inundated with information have to go back to trust as the primary way to make decisions.

Robert Brill: [00:28:36] How do you, this is kind of an off topic question. Well, two, two questions here, right? You you’re, you’re coming into this business in a very odd time for the world. I just read an article yesterday from the, I think it was either wall street journal, New York times talking about, you know, we are collectively as a global society going through a collective life quake, a big change that happens in one’s personal life. Usually it’s not usually global, that will have reverberating effects for the next five years of our lives. In, in the, in the decisions we make and the way we choose to live our lives and the way we work, where we live, all that stuff. Lots of changes happen now. With unintended consequences for our society.

I’m going on a tangent here? One thing I read, I think I actually heard it on a podcast. Was that after, a plague in the 13 hundreds, approximately inadvertently because of the situation with the plague. It brought down the whole feudal feudal system in Europe, right? So completely unintended, not even not predicted.

So the point is how have the last three, four months been been for your organization? I imagine in a time of growth, I firmly believe in a time of growth and change in a time of change, massive opportunity to grow. You know, in one way I can say this is incredibly advantageous for you. Tell us about how the last few months have been for you guys.

Isaiah McPeak: [00:29:58] Yeah. So it’s been a little all over the place as you’d expect, especially since early on, you couldn’t tell how soon this was going away. Right. and, but, but I think a couple of the most interesting decisions or thoughts are, first of all, we immediately killed our Kickstarter campaign. We were going to actually run that last sprint and, the second covert started to look, as dangerous, you know, as we didn’t even know, not even close to it, we just decided this is too uncertain for people to be taking this risk or to try to be a voice heard in this moment.

Right. And then, second thing on, on the very plus side is being tied you know, we’re closely tied to some of the startup communities and venture capitalists around here. And there’s a, there’s a notion that. Oh, people aren’t investing, but that’s not, that’s a misnomer. And it usually is. And so what actually is the most powerful thing for us, we believe is to be one of the last people standing and you’ll have a good opportunity worth backing with money.

And that actually is going to work in our favor as we go out and raise funds is people do have money sitting around and the people who have a lot of money sitting around what places to put it. And if it looks like you can survive and thrive during this sort of pandemic, then you.Re most likely to be a recipient of that and therefore be able to power through succeed and, and grow.

So, so for us, it’s a Phoenix ashes. Timing looks great. from, from that perspective. And then I think the last, the last bit is just, consumer behavior. The biggest piece that I’ve noticed us thinking about is we really thought of Christmas sales as the thing for what we’re doing. But as these timelines and pressures change. You know, there’s a great, that school is taking a greater role in every parent’s life than before. It’s not a place now where you send your child, so you can go to work. You know, it’s part of your, every life, decision and it’s still like all over the place. And so we’re starting to think that the timelines may be end of school and beginning of the next school year, as you know, competitively significant events compared to Christmas.

Robert Brill: [00:32:16] Do you have a, do you have a, an ultimate goal with his business, you know, writes out some founders start a business because they want to earn a living and have the lifestyle. Some people want to exit at some point I could totally see you guys getting massive and like Apple or Google or some Motorola or Qualcomm or whoever, whoever buys you guys.

Like what do you guys want to happen?

Isaiah McPeak: [00:32:39] Yeah, what we want to happen is obviously we want to build the family tech brand that people trust and be the intersection of family wellness and kids in tech. But you know, when you’re an entrepreneur, you have to plan for multiple exit pathways. And so of course we see acquisition as a potential pathway. But as we think about that, we do, we have a philosophy, right? It’s a very well-documented, this is our product philosophy and we are designing this for our own kids. And that’s not just to say nice. I really, I want my, I mean, I I’ve already given this to my older daughter, kind of give it to my next daughter.

And so we want this to be the right wellness backed, wellness centric solution out there. So I, I think the potential acquirers are closer to say an AT&T, who, you know, they don’t have a smart kids watch yet. the other, the other big ones do or a, Tech company that’s not making iPhones or Android revenue on apps, right?

So it would probably be somebody else. Qualcomm’s not a bad guess could be a phone manufacturer that direction. But I think there’s definitely a philosophical angle where you have to buy the sauce to want to, want to work with us as like this whole tool, not toy thing and not everybody’s gonna want to do that.

Robert Brill: [00:33:57] Right. Culture and DNA are important. You can’t, you can’t go work for, the enemy. Or whatever. Well, cool, Isaiah, I really enjoyed our conversation. Thank you for joining us. Let me ask you a couple more, a couple more brief questions. How can people find you? How can people find Pinwheel?

Okay. So pinwheel.com is out of do it, and there’s a fun story.

We just got that domain. and we believe in domain authority and. Backed it with some interesting investment.

Who had it before. What kind of business had it before?

Isaiah McPeak: [00:34:28] Okay. So we’ve been on pinwheel IO, for most of the year. And then we knew at the beginning, who had it was actually the founder of flicker.

She had the domain and she tried some other business called pinnacle.com and it didn’t really go anywhere. And she’s been sitting on the domain, wanted to sell it for $125,000. And, we didn’t have $125,000 and, said no way, but then what happened and is this summer, there’s another company we saw named Pinwheel that got a huge money raise. I forget it. It was like three, four, 7 million, something like that. And they’re a B to B company. They don’t do anything close to what we do, but they are called Pinwheel like, well, this is our shot. So we came up with this, this scheme. It’s scheme. It makes a lot of sense.

My co founder just bought the domain himself is leasing it to our company. So, you know, if we don’t succeed for whatever reason, then he can still sell that domain back. So we didn’t risk our startups limited resources on a domain like that. But, but set it up in a structure that made much wiser sense, for us, but that allowed us to still get the domain and immediately our Google web rank, whatever it is improved by 94 million overnight.

Yeah. It’s a good start.

Robert Brill: [00:35:54] So cool. Pinwheel.com. The story name behind a, what I think is going to be a fantastic brand. Thank you for joining us today. I look forward to watching you guys grow. Yeah,

Isaiah McPeak: [00:36:07] Thanks. It’s been real fun to talk to you. Great questions.

Talk to you soon. Take care.

Robert Brill: [00:36:13] Thank you for listening to this episode of the LA Business Podcast. If you like what we’re doing on this podcast, please consider subscribing on Apple or Google. Play, leaving a five star review and sharing with your friends. If you have any questions, comments, or recommendations for a guest you’d like to hear on this podcast, please email me [email protected]

Thank you. Have a fantastic day.

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Credits

Audio Production – Echegoyen Productions

Creation and Marketing – BrillMedia.co, a hyperlocal advertising company.