Posted on December 6, 2012
How Did You Get Started?
I got started about 4 years ago. I had a bad back and the doctor told me that I should not carry all of my every day items on my back. So I tried carrying some of the smaller items in my front pockets like my keys, my wallet, my phone and stuff.
But it made me feel clunky. I figured their had to be a better way to carry around all this stuff. I wasn’t going to rock a fanny pack and I had a messenger bag but noticed that a lot of the space went unused; especially if I wasn’t carrying my laptop. So I created something I could carry around all the time and I called it the Runnur.
Did You Make Blueprints?
The concept came pretty quickly. The layout and where things would best be placed was all pretty much decided during my first sketch of the Runnur. I think the sketch overall took me about 10 minutes.
However, there were a few modifications to the design once the product was made and shown to people like the carabineer or the pocket for the passport.
How Long Did It Take For This Idea To Become A Tangible Product?
The sketch sat in my closet for about a year or so before I actually did anything with it. When I finally found the time, I showed it to a friend of mine who was a business guy and we developed the prototype. Lucky for me, my friend just so happened to share an office with a guy who helps develop new ideas. So we went through the whole process of getting it manufactured in China and what not.
Did You Study Business Or Marketing In College?
I went to college in New Orleans. Tulane University, Go Pelicans! I studied Political Economy which is more of a macro view of business.
What I learned most from undergrad is how to have a good time. Which is really important. When you go to music shows, trade shows and conventions you have to have a good time. If you’re not having a good time their not having a good time. This kind of mantra is definitely beginning to become apart of my companies culture.
Do You Manage Runnur Fulltime?
Yup, I work on Runnur full time.
What Was The Most Useful Thing You Learned That Helped You Start This Company?
I opened up a sandal store on the beach in Austin, after I graduated college. In fact, I was the first person to sell sandals online even before Zappos. I would go to trade shows a lot because I had to purchase for the store. And I learned a lot while I ran that business. I saw the highs and the lows.
And I eventually closed the doors on the store after about 5 years. And I learned a lot of invaluable lessons. I made a lot of mistakes but I definitely figured out what not to do.
What Was The Reaction From Your Peers, Family And Customers, When You First Created The Runnur?
The general reaction from almost everyone was like “Oh wow, that’s pretty cool. That would be great for Festivals or traveling or hiking.” So, I would say the overall response was really positive. I could tell that people liked the design a lot for its functionality.
When Did You Know You Had Something?
Well, I went to college with the guys who created Bonnaroo. Them and I are old buddies. So, I contacted them and told’em about how people were saying Runnur would be great for festivals. He liked the idea but we weren’t able to get a Bonnaroo branded Runnur in time. So instead, he gave us a discounted booth and we spent the weekend at Bonnaroo. We sold about 100; which allowed me and the friends who came with me to break even. We covered the cost of the booth, gas, and our hotel stay. I think seeing the reaction of people at Bonnarro really solidify the idea that I had something people really liked.
If You Could Give An Up & Coming Entrepreneur Advice What Would You Tell Him Or Her?
I have heard a lot of people say to me “Oh I had that same idea.” So, what I would tell a young entrepreneur is don’t just have an idea.
You have to follow-through. The idea is easy. The story really gets long when you have to get things prototype, brand your company, create a name, understand your demographics, product distribution, marketing plan and so on. Having a concept is simple. But growing the idea and company takes real work and determination.
Also, don’t be discouraged. I’m 37; this probably wouldn’t be happening if I were freshman in college. I had to experience my first business failure to really be where I am today.
Maximillian Garland| Bright Futura Columnist
Posted on May 27, 2012
In 2005, Young Zuckerberg had a narrow vision for Facebook.
“I mean, I just really want to see everyone focus on college and make a really cool college directory product,” he told the interviewer. “There doesn’t necessarily have to be more…Part of making a difference and doing something cool is focusing intensely.”
What do you think Facebook is?
“I think Facebook is an online directory for colleges…If I want to get information about you, I just go to TheFacebook, type in your name, and it hopefully pulls up all the information I’d care to know about you,” Zuckerberg said.
Watching this video it appears Zuckerberg is no genius.
As he drinks his beer barefoot in an office atop a Chinese food restaurant covered in graffiti, you begin to think
He got into Harvard, not an easy task but also not impossible. He wasn’t the only high schooler to do so and he wont be the last. He lived in the dorms and attended lecture just like you and I.
What made Mark Zuckerberg different?
The video gives insight into a Zuckerberg many of us don’t normally get to see. It shows a bright young mind just trying to make a difference.
What really set Mark apart is that he actually tried. Something many of us would never even dare to do.
We so often only see the end product that we forget that at some point it was just a simple prototype. And before it was that it was just a tiny little idea in someones head.
The Mona Lisa, The Taj Mahal, the Pyramids, equality for all race and creeds, and even Facebook were all just ideas in someone’s head. What’s in yours?
Posted on May 9, 2012
So Mason how did you get started?
I got started while doing laundry in college. I didn’t have anything to do while washing my clothes so I started writing songs.
At first it was more rock n roll but once I realized I couldn’t sing the songs became more and more hip-hop.
Did you always want to work in music or is this something you only discovered you could do while doing laundry?
I actually only considered music while I was doing laundry. I wasn’t one of those people who had always dreamed of being a rapper or musician. I always loved music but I never wanted to work in music until I discovered I had a knack for it.
What did you study in college?
I was a psychology major for two years. I left when I decided I would pursue music whole heartedly.
Most people wait until after they graduate to begin their passion, how did you overcome that obstacle?
It wasn’t that difficult for me to overcome because I’m a pretty fearless person. It also helped to know that I was always really good at school. In high school I took my education very seriously and I did the same while attending college classes. School just wasn’t very tough for me personally.
I decided if I was going to go for something outside of education, I was going to do it now. I figured if I fail now, I could always go back to school afterwards. I don’t think it will ever be a problem for me. I also understood that more schooling wouldn’t get me that far in this business. I needed to build on it and take it seriously. I think it is a person-to-person thing though.
What kind of reaction did you get from your family?
I was actually really afraid to tell my parents. Education had been the center of my life for my entire life, so telling them was a big deal. Instead of telling them directly, I told them I wanted to transfer schools. So I continued taking classes at a community college for a while. Then after I had a couple tracks recorded, I presented it to them. I figured first impressions are everything and I wanted them to see how serious I was. And lucky for me they were very supportive.
Where does your content come from?
Life and I read a lot.
Who are you most influenced by?
Eminem. I have been listening to him since I was a kid. I remember when his videos would come out, I would watch them nonstop. I’m talking hundreds of times. I love how he continues to evolve as a rapper.
What was touring like?
It’s been so fun. Seeing the fans reaction, the hands in to air, the cheering, it’s amazing. Even seeing those people who are reluctant to be into it and slowly winning them over is exhilarating. My friend has this saying, which is
“whatever part you’re doing in the music industry is the best part to you at the time; whether it is recording in the studio, writing, or touring and performing.”
When the music resonates with the audience honestly there is no other feeling like it.
Who are you interested in collaborating with?
I’ve always wanted to work with Tom Chaplin or like Hayley Williams, but I would also want to work with some of the newer artists like J Cole and Big Sean. The list could go on forever.
How do you feel about aspiring artists going to school before they start their music career; did it slow you down, did it help you?
For me personally, it slowed me down and it was a waste of money. But than again, would I have begun if I weren’t stuck at that laundry machine?
I think if you are not the type of person who is able to dream big and put every aspect of your life on hold to go after the music, than you shouldn’t do it.
You can always go back to school. You can always take online courses. I mean, I’m not saying you shouldn’t get a high school diploma but at the same time you have to be willing to jump head on into it.
If you could give someone starting out some advice, what would you tell him or her? Did you have any regrets?
I don’t have any regrets; as for advice, I would say you need to stay humble. People in the industry can smell cockiness on you. Remember even if you are awesome there are tons of people who are even more awesome and still don’t make it. That is why it is so important for you to be polite and kind to people because you really never know who people can connect you to. I would also say constantly work hard and write!
Outside of music who are you?
I’m pretty wild. I’m the kind of guy who goes a bit crazy at the bar and I’m very outspoken. Everyone who knows me also knows that I am a very friend oriented person.
If someone were just hearing you now, what song/mixtape would you recommend most?
‘The Rush’ is a single, which can be found on iTunes. The track is going to be on my debut album coming out under Doghouse Records. You can also check out my mixtape Looking Forword To The Future, which can be found at GOTMASON.com
Everyone be sure to
- Download Looking Forword To The Future
- Follow him @gotmason
- Like Mason at https://www.facebook.com/masonofficial
Interviewed by Maximillian Garland | Bright Futura Columnist
Posted on February 20, 2012
How did you get your inspiration to start CollegeInfoGeek?
If you have ever been to a college you have seen the people who walk around giving tours of the university. I happened to have been one of those people at Iowa State University about two summers ago.
A major part of that job was learning everything there is to know about Iowa State University and college in general. We had intensive training where we learned everything we needed to know about helping students become acclimated to college.
I decided that in addition to doing my job, I also wanted to share my experiences with people who might not be able to come on my tours. And one of my favorite sites, Hackcollege.com, happened to be looking for writers at the time. I was like Alright! I’m going to submit a guest post and they’re going to hire me and I’m going to be a writer for Hackcollege.
“Screw them, I’ll just make my own website.”
So I sent my guest post in and they said NOPE! Not good enough. At the time I was like “Screw them, I’ll just make my own website.”
I have been building sites for people since high school, so I figured I would just go for it. I bought a domain, randomly came up with the name College Info Geek and figured I would just post 2 or 3 times a month. I obviously post more than that now though.
Do you find maintaining College Info Geek and going to class to be a challenge? Does one ever get in the way of the other?
This semester, not really. Last semester, when I was a Resident Advisor, Full time student, working 10hrs/week and running College Info Geek I didn’t have much time for anything. I also pulled a lot of late nights but when you enjoy what you are doing it isn’t so bad. What I really learned was that I enjoy doing this a lot more than class.
What is your ultimate goal for College Info Geek?
I am still trying to answer that for myself. I know that I want to build the biggest and best college blog that there is. I don’t want teams of writers, writing 10 posts a day. I want just quality posts with me as the voice. I want people to connect with me and my blog. One of my biggest goals for College Info Geek is to hammer home the importance of personal branding to students.
Hopefully the money from selling it could finance a trip around the globe or something.
As for my own personal goal, I am not apposed to selling it. Hopefully the money from selling it could finance a trip around the globe or something.
What do you study at Iowa State University?
I’m majoring in Management information systems, which is basically IT. People in my major usually work in business analysis jobs or even system development jobs. It’s very IT but also very business oriented. I think it fits.
Do you feel like studying Management information systems has helped or hindered your entrepreneurial aspirations?
I don’t think it has done much but honestly it hasn’t hindered it. I would say it is pretty good stuff to know.
I think having a degree is a good fall back and obviously it is a social standard to validate your competency in America, however what I’ve learned most from was actually doing. Doing and learning on my own and from work. Getting real experiences from books is like reading about running a marathon. I think a lot of people need to realize that coming in last is much more enriching than reading about getting 1st place.
What makes College Info Geek unique? What makes it standout from the competition?
I would say growth makes College Info Geek unique. The layout for example has gone through 3 distinct design changes.
I did a lot with both the design and the speed recently, which really improve user interaction. And in terms of what makes my blog standout from the ‘competition’… hmm, I honestly couldn’t say much on this because I don’t view other sites in my niche as competition.
Sites like Bright Futura or Hackcollege can all link to each other. I think the most important thing is that college students benefit from the information we are creating.
I suppose the most unique thing about College Info Geek is the content ideas. I remember Shep McAllister (the creator of HackCollege) said that I always have the most off the wall post ideas. I tend to avoid posts that are boring. Rather than doing posts on ‘how to improve on studying’ I do posts on ‘how to hang a loft bed from the ceiling of your room.’
If you had to give some advice to someone just starting out, what would you tell him or her? Do you have any regrets? Was there anything you would have improved on?
As with anything, if I knew then what I know now there would be lots of things I would improve on. But I can’t say I have any regrets.
I know that when I started out I had the silly idea that “if I write awesome things, people will find it and I wont have to do anything.” This of course is totally not true.
If could go back I would definitely have started networking sooner
So, if could go back I would definitely have started networking sooner. I also would have gotten more involved with social media and guest posting to improve on SEO (search engine optimization) of the site.
What are your plans after graduating? Do you plan on continuing the site?
That is a good question. I don’t think anyone who isn’t in college can fully understand college. It is one of those things you have to be immersed in to truly feel. I am currently a junior but I will be graduating in a semester. I think that if I do continue to run the site after college it wont be for very long.
In terms of long term plans for myself… I don’t really have any. All I know is I have built a lot of marketable skills working on College Info Geek. I now know how to run a business and I am open to becoming involved with other entrepreneurs. I’m also currently working on a book, I presently have about 11,000 words and when I finish I will probably sell it as an ebook for kindle or something.
Maximillian Garland | Bright Futura Columnist
Posted on January 25, 2012
Who is Tom Lohrmann?
I am from Vienna Virginia and I am in a band called Tom Lohrmann.
How did you get your start?
I started by just writing songs and doing acoustic open mics. After doing that for a while, it got to the point where I needed a backing band for full sessions and different shows.
Did you start in college or in high school?
I started playing guitar seriously in my junior year but it was never any of my own material till freshman year of college. I suppose the idea of Tom Lohrmann started freshman year.
Do you have an EP or an album out?
Yea, the first EP title ‘The One I’m After’ has 6 songs and the second is called ‘Night Lights’ has 5 songs.
Do you have a favorite song made by Tom Lohrmann?
I really like ‘Just One Night’. I wrote it in September and it sort of has special meaning to me.
Is Tom Lohrmann working on any projects at the moment?
We are. I began writing for the project just recently and I plan on finishing most of it down in Florida.
Tom Lohrmann got its official start in your freshman year of college. Do you still attend college?
I am actually finishing up my associates online through Lynchburg University’s distance learning program. I have about three or four classes to do and then I will probably do a music and business master certificate course from Berkley.
Did you graduate high school knowing you wanted to take online classes?
Well, I started off at Christopher Newport University in Virginia Beach. I stayed for a year and a half. I ended up coming home and deciding that I wanted to take online classes instead.
Why did you leave your first university?
I wanted to see if music was for me. So I gave myself 6 months to see if it would stick. And well it stuck.
What did you study before you left to pursue music?
Accounting. My dad is a CPA. Soo umm yeaaa. But I honestly can’t see myself as an accountant. It was interesting to me in high school before I knew what I wanted to do. But I just feel like I would get lonely behind a desk.
Was it scary for you to leave college?
No. I feel like not everyone has the same path. People can B.S for a while about wanting to do this or that but I think everyone owes it to themselves to breakout of their mold. So people will live perfectly normal lives without needing to know what it is like to step out of the box. That just doesn’t work for me.
When was your last performance?
Who are your top 5 influences?
Jimmy Hendrix, Jack White from the White Strips, Show bred, blink 182 and I dunno Britney Spears… ahaha. I really respect her but I don’t necessarily agree with her decision to shave her head. But then again I like women with hair.
Do you ever think you will go back to the traditional college environment?
In the traditional sense no. I don’t think I could ever go back. I don’t think I could go back to sitting in class. I am really a self-starter and I am really self-motivated so I don’t really need the in class lecturing. I do miss the in class discussions and group projects but online classes work best for me. I feel like I get more accomplished in a short amount of time.
If you made it today would regret your time spent taking classes?
Absolutely not. The time I spent at CNU prepared me for what I am doing now. I got my four years of college in a year and a half. I will always look back with found memories.
If someone were to be hearing about Tom Lohrmann for the first time today what would you tell him or her?
Come see us live. And if you aren’t in the area contact us because we will come play for you. I really really like live music.
Free Downloads courtesy of Tom Lohrmann
Listen to more of Tom Lohrmann on itunes, facebook or twitter.
Maximillian Garland | Bright Futura Columnist