A leader in industrial design, entrepreneur Martin Keen is the founder of KEEN® Footwear and Focal Upright™. Sculptural form and natural structures inspire his design aesthetic, helping him create many of the market trends and innovative products used today.
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- Focal Upright Furniture – Martin’s website
- Keen Footwear – Martin’s website
- The Cool Hunter, Core77, and Kickstarter – Martin’s small business resources
- The Innovators – Book recommendation
3 Key Points:
- Reconsider the way you work in order to be more productive and creative.
- The next best opportunity for you may not be in an industry you’re familiar with.
- Believe in yourself and make the leap when you have a burning desire to accomplish something.
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- Allstate: As a veteran, I know how hard it is looking for a career after the military. But what if I told you there was a way to put everything you’d learned from the military to good use in a career where you get to help others? That’s what owning an Allstate agency is all about.
Time Stamped Show Notes:
- [01:43] – Martin is all about how people work from a physical standpoint.
- [03:37] – Main revenue stream is from Martin’s ecommerce retail store, focalupright.com
- [04:43] – “Gateway Drug”. The use of a small investment or free product to get consumers into your system.
- [05:15] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: worked as an in-house designer for footwear companies for about five years and finally broke out of the corporate world and started working for himself. September 11th caused him to question his priorities as he lost all of his clients. It left him wondering what to do next.
- [07:43] – Your kids can be your biggest asset.
- [08:16] – You can use your kids as a shield or an impetus to do something great (in the context of taking a risk).
- [09:30] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: In 1994 he came up with the idea of Focal Upright. Didn’t want to work sitting down and didn’t feel creative sitting down. Instead of buying a chair, he bought a drafting table to try working while standing. Just trying to get comfortable enough to be more productive and it was this idea that started his process.
- [13:30] – Biggest take away: Being aware that the next best opportunity might be in a different industry than you’re unfamiliar with.
- [14:54] – You need to grab that idea.
- [15:34] – Biggest weakness? Sometimes I march forward blindly and don’t think about the consequences.
- [15:56] – Biggest strength? Insatiable curiosity that drives my creativeness.
- [16:14] – What has Martin most fired up today? Helping other people find their flow and being as productive as they can possibly be. Loves helping people think about a different way to work.
- [19:53] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – Comfort is the antithesis of innovation.
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – Follow your heart and do what you love.
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – I take a lot of notes and sketch a lot. It’s important to keep track of your thoughts.
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Cool Hunter, Core77, and Kick Starter
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? Innovators
- [22:38] – Parting piece of guidance: “Believe in yourself. If you have an idea, and you believe in it, you have to put yourself in a place to understand the market and jump off that cliff.”
- [23:17] – Connect with Martin through his website
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