Secret Academy Episode - Stephen Key
About:

Stephen Key attended business school in college, but found that he didn't enjoy it. Surprisingly, he fell in love with an art class that he accidentally signed up for. He loved the freedom of creating something that people would want for themselves, so he started selling various handmade goods at art shows and fairs and eventually designing his own plush toys. Stephen then decided to apply for a job while still freelancing to boost his income and ended up in Hong Kong learning the ins and outs of manufacturing. He started his own toy invention and licensing firm called inventRight to pursue his passion for bringing ideas to life. Today, he has authored two books, is a regular contributor for Entrepreneur and Inc., and has an impressive list of highly successful inventions including the Spinformation label, Hotpicks, and the Michael Jordan Wall Balls.

Lesson's in Today's Interview:
  • Why he considers himself a product artist
  • What is licensing
  • The first invention that catapulted his career and earned him $100k in royalties in just the first year
  • Speed to the market is very critical as products have a short life span
  • Every idea he has, he will send out to about 30 different companies
  • Large companies do not steal ideas
  • Concept of open innovation
  • Get into the business because you love the products, NOT because you want to be a millionaire
  • Steps to see if your idea can become a real product
  • When not to sign an NDA form
  • Stay in one industry for a while and form relationships within the industry
  • What is the multiplying effect
  • Whether you have to have a patent to sell a product or not
  • The biggest mistake people make when licensing a product
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