Michael Brandt is the CEO and Co-Founder of HVMN.com, creators of Ketone-IQ. Bringing ketones “nature’s superfuel” from elite performers to the mainstream. Backed by a16z and $6MM from the US Military.
Ketone-IQ – The first 100 people to visit and use promo code FIRE at checkout will save 20%!
3 Value Bombs
1) Be un-busy. A little secret is that most successful people have dead time.
2) You’d rather have a niche of people who buy your product everyday and you can spread out from there.
3) Don’t litter in your temple.
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: Ketone-IQ: From DARPA Lab to a Gym or Cafe Near You. How to Build a Movement Around a New Technology with Michael Brandt
[1:21] – Michael shares something that he believes about becoming successful that most people disagree with.
- You want to be as un-busy as possible. A little secret is that most successful people have dead time. They allow themselves to have time to just think.
[3:13] – So many people dream of leaving their ‘corporate job’ as soon as possible… Should you wait until you have your “big idea” before doing so?
- It’s just like being in a relationship. If you know it is not going too well, you just need to get out of the relationship. Give yourself space to think.
- Michael really wanted to be an entrepreneur, so he saved up and gave himself space to think of what business he could build.
[4:48] – How do we know if our product/idea is innovative enough?
- Build an audience and you will see signs if your idea is good.
[7:26] – I live for the phrase “the riches in niches” Do you believe this?
- YES! I’d rather have a thousand super fans than hundreds of thousands of people who kinda know me.
[8:35] – How can we expand from niche to mainstream?
- They launched the world’s first Ketone drink in 2017 and their first customer was the United States Department of Defense Special Operations Command.
- They got a 6 Million dollar contract and had a ton of work to make the product better.
- They were able to expand their niche into grocery stores, to gyms, to influencers, etc.
[10:22] – A timeout to thank our sponsors!
- ZipRecruiter: Outstanding talent is crucial for a successful business. And if you’re hiring, you can find talent for any role at ZipRecruiter. Try it for free today at ZipRecruiter.com/fire!
- HubSpot: Customer expectations are at an all-time high, and making things easy is how you’ll win. Learn more about how HubSpot can help your business grow better at HubSpot.com.
[12:26] – Research and development can get EXPENSIVE very QUICK… How can we leverage government grants and contracts to fund our R&D?
- There are grants from the United States Government. Find an area in the government that will be interested in investing in the research that you’re doing.
[14:34] – There are technology companies and product companies… What are the differences?
- Most consumers don’t like technology.
- The difference between a technology company and a product company is that the product company covers the gap; the end product is frictionless and user friendly.
[17:12] – Usually being new and unknown is a disadvantage, as you haven’t built know/like/trust yet from the consumer base…How can we use newness & consumer unfamiliarity as a marketing advantage?
- Ketone-IQ used the ‘unfamiliarity’ as their secret advantage.
- Because it is new, it became very interesting to people.
[19:40] – Talk to us about Ketone-IQ
- Our body makes Ketones every time we are in a low carbohydrate state.
- Ketones create a very pleasant feeling; they lessens stress
[23:22] – Michael’s key takeaway and call to action.
- Focus on your health and well being. Our mind is completely connected with our body. Our body is our temple; don’t litter in your temple.
- Ketone-IQ – The first 100 people to visit and use promo code FIRE at checkout will save 20%!
[26:36] – Post Roll Sponsors
- HubSpot: Customer expectations are at an all-time high, and making things easy is how you’ll win. Learn more about how HubSpot can help your business grow better at HubSpot.com.
Who's ready to rock today. Fire Nation. JLD here and welcome to Entrepreneurs On Fire brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network with great shows like Duct Tape Marketing. Today, we'll be chatting about Ketone-IQ: From DARPA Lab to a Gym or Cafe Near You. How to build a movement around a new technology to drop these value bombs. I brought Michael Brandt to EOFire studios. Michael is the CEO and Co-Founder of HVMN.com, creators of Ketone-IQ. Bringing ketones “nature’s superfuel” from elite performers to the mainstream. Backed by a16z and $6MM from the US Military.
And today Fire Nation, we'll talk about leaving your corporate job as soon as possible, or should you wait until you have your big idea? We'll talk about your idea being innovative enough. We'll talk about expanding from niche to mainstream. We'll talk about leveraging government grants and contracts to fund your research and development and so much more. When we get back from thanking our sponsors business made simple hosted by Donald Miller, takes the mystery out of growing your business. Recent episodes, like how to attract and retain top talent and how to make more money with your current products are straight fire. Listen to business made simple wherever you get your podcasts. Michael, say what's up to Fire Nation and share something that you believe about becoming successful that most people disagree with.
1 (1m 31s):
What's up Fire Nation. It is a honor to be here, excited to share my story. One thing that I believe that most people don't is you want to be as unbusy as possible. I think there's this rat race of be as busy network connect as possible. A little secret that I see from the most successful people I know is they just have dead time. They have days with zero meetings where they are allowed to be in thought space and really dive deep and get to novel, new, exciting areas of thought that you're not able to do. If you're on the hamster wheel all day be unbusy.
0 (2m 9s):
I love that being unbusy mindset because so many people are just on this hamster wheel. They're just always being reactive to everything. They're just reacting, reacting, reacting. They're never taking the time to step back, take a deep breath and say, what problems am I solving? Am I producing the right content? And I remember asking one of my mentors back in the day, what is most valuable actions? Where every day he's like the time that I sit back in my chair, close my eyes and just think, and I was like, whoa, that's not what I expected, but that's pretty darn cool. And today foundation, we'll talk about how to build a movement around a new technology. And of course the new technology that we're talking about today specifically is Ketone-IQ.
0 (2m 51s):
And they are our sponsor for the month. I can tell you I've had firsthand experience with it. It is a delight for those you that are health conscious and really want that clean boost of energy in your system. So you can sound like you are loving life, as much as people like myself and Michael, when we're having conversations like these around awesome topics. So many people, Michael, they dream of leaving their quote unquote corporate job. You know, whatever their version of that might be as soon as possible. Should we wait until we have our big idea before we leave this job?
1 (3m 28s):
That's a great question, John. One way I think about it is like being in a relationship in your personal life. Sometimes if you know, it's not going well, you don't necessarily know the next person that you want to go and date. You just need to get out of the relationship. That's not working. Give yourself some space to think. So personally, I had an awesome job at Google checked all of the boxes except for the big one for me, which was, I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and I saved what I could. I left. I took the leap and that gave me the space that I needed to co-founder date, concept, date, ideate around different topics before actually starting.
1 (4m 11s):
What is now HVMN you know, multimillion dollar business. We do business with the department of defense. We have a booming business on Amazon direct consumer retail. We've raised over $10 million. And I did not know what I was going to do the day that I left my big corporate job
0 (4m 27s):
By our nation. This is something I want you to think about here. Michael had a fantastic job. A lot of people would have envied what he had created with his life thus far, but he had a big idea. He had a big idea and he said, you know what? This is a problem in the world that I want to create a solution for in Fire Nation. A lot of you listening right now have big ideas, but a question I want to move into next, Michael is how do we know if our product, if our idea, if our service that we're thinking about, how do we know if it's innovative enough to make it
1 (5m 1s):
One way? I think about this and another way to smooth out the bumps from maybe leaving your corporate job and as well as answering the question, how do you know if what you're doing is too innovative is I always recommend to people build a following, build an audience, get the blue check mark on Twitter or Instagram, become a thought leader on LinkedIn, build an audience around a certain topic area. And it start floating out to idea or ideas that you have. And you'll start to see, like, if you invent the flying shoe or you start talking about how you're building the flying shoe and you get 16 Gillian responses on LinkedIn, every time we talk about it, that's probably a good sign to go and actually launch the flying shoe, quit your job and raise some money and get a Kickstarter going around the flying shoe.
1 (5m 50s):
If what you're talking about is too far in the future, and this happens with entrepreneurs and unfortunately, sometimes happens with some of the smartest best ideas is if you're 16 steps ahead of reality, there is such a thing as being too early and you want to be the right amount of out ahead. You want to be like half a step out of head of where the culture is at. If you're too many steps ahead, you're going to lose people. People might not be ready for it. It's like launching the first computer in 1974. Like it took a decade or two decades before people even knew what a computer was. So, so you want to be the right amount out ahead. And again, one way to test that is by building an audience, a community content, cause that's very lightweight, right? We're not talking heavy machinery, supply chain.
1 (6m 33s):
We're talking about LinkedIn posts, Twitter, Twitter threads, get the concept and the content and the community going around, what you think you want to do. See what's hitting or not. And let that guide your innovative journey,
0 (6m 43s):
Such great valuable insights here at Fire Nation. And I love the whole aspect of crowdfunding. I've used crowdfunding multiple times. I mean, in 2016, I thought people wanted a physical journal to help guide them through their goal. Something that they would actually physically write in every single day to hold them accountable. But at the same time, it's like, do people really want something physical? I mean, everything's all digital. These days ran a Kickstarter campaign $453,000 in sales of a potential $39 journal later. Yes. Validation. Yes. I went and created it. Yes, I made it happen. And then I did that the same, same thing again, the following year and the following year, utilizing that let's prove it first and then invest.
0 (7m 26s):
Now I do also love the phrase, Michael, the riches are in the niches. Do you believe this?
1 (7m 32s):
I believe it through and throughout, especially for that early phase of an entrepreneurship, you'd rather have a thousand super fans than a hundred thousand people who like, kind of know you and have kind of heard about you. You'd rather have just a niche of people that are buying and using your product every darn day. Cause from there you can spread out, you need, you need power in the niche. You can not go mainstream and dilute too early. I think that's, it's, fool's gold.
0 (8m 6s):
I mean, one thing that I definitely say over and over again is you cannot start broad and then try to adjust and go more niche after you've already launched. You've already lost that potential, that momentum. But what you can do is start Uber niche by identifying a serious problem in this world and then creating the number one solution to that problem. You can't do that in a broad niche. You can't do that in a broad area, but you can do that in a micro niche. You can become the number one solution to a real problem. And then Michael, like you just mentioned, if you're able to get some momentum, some traction in that micro niche, you can expand that niche to mainstream. Talk about how we can do that.
1 (8m 45s):
My company health via modern nutrition, H V M N. We launched the world's first ketone Ester drink in 2017. And our first customer on that was the United States department of defense special operations command. So the highest performing folks in the entire world, that was our first customer, but I'll also say our product was very expensive and crazy tasting. Like this was not going to go on the shelf at target, but we got a $6 million contract with SOCOM and have done a ton of field testing, have innovated on the product, brought down the price significantly, made it taste significantly better. And now we are in grocery stores and we're on Amazon.
1 (9m 26s):
And we're everywhere where we started with that super specific high-performing niche. And what we were able to see is that, Hey, if this is working for, for green Berets and Navy seals in the field, well, you know what, we're all doing metabolism all the time. You know, if you're sitting at your desk thinking if you're going on a jog, if you're trying to lose 15 pounds, you're doing metabolism, starting from the learnings of what we learned with the highest performing operators in the world. We've been able to broaden out that story. And you know, I'm still in the middle of my journey here where the novel is not complete, but we are seeing that that niche is now expanding out. It's like, yes, we still have the high-performers. It's a core part of who we are, but we are taking the learnings.
1 (10m 7s):
They're broadening out into, you know, the nice grocery store near your house, the gym, the fitness influencer, the Peloton coach, et cetera,
0 (10m 16s):
Fire Nation. We have so many more important things to talk about all around this topic. When we get back from thanking our sponsors, I can't wait to travel this summer, but I know in order to make my trips great, I'm going to need help from those who know best the locals. Having a hotel concierge go above and beyond to help with transportation or getting the inside scoop on the best menu item from the waiter. These are just a couple examples of the people who can make your trip better. You know, outstanding talent is crucial for a successful business. And if you're hiring, you can find talent for roles like these and more at ZipRecruiter. When you try it for free at ziprecruiter.com/fire. Here's how it works. ZipRecruiter uses this powerful technology to find a match the right candidates up with your job.
0 (10m 59s):
Then you can easily review these recommended candidates and invite your top choices to apply. No wonder ZipRecruiter is the number one rated hiring site based on G2 satisfaction ratings as of January 1st, 2022. So traveled to this easy to remember web destination, ZipRecruiter.com/fire. That's where you can try ZipRecruiter for free. Again, that's ziprecruiter.com/fire. ZipRecruiter. The smartest way to hire this year feels like the official return of conferences and in-person events. And I'm very excited to be speaking live onstage at this year's inbound 2022 events in Boston, inbound 2022 is happening in person and online September 6th through the ninth and Kate.
0 (11m 42s):
And I would love to see you there this year. The in-person experience will include festival style stages, including the podcast age what's next stage. In the main stage, aside from hosting a live interview on the stage for Entrepreneurs On Fire, I am fired up about the connections and inspiration. That'll be all around us at this year's event. If you can't join us in Boston this year, there are several other paths options available like the startup pass, which is your free ticket to the spotlight talents. Prices are increasing, and there are only a limited number of VIP tickets available. So be sure to check out Inbound 2022 today. Inbound 2022 is built by you powered by HubSpot. Learn more or get your tickets now at inbound.com. Michael research and development can be expensive.
0 (12m 30s):
It can get real expensive real quick. So how can we leverage government grants and contracts to help fund our R and D our research and development?
1 (12m 42s):
Yeah, that's such a good question. And it's something that not all entrepreneurs know about, but it's a great little secret to know about the entrepreneurs that have caught onto this. It's almost like they are playing in a different league, or like they have th they have different gas fuel fueling their company's balance sheet because there's these grants, there's these contract vehicles from the United States government. There's one that's called SBI R it is a small business innovation research grant. There's another one that is called S T T R. That is a science technology transfer research contract. And these are ways that you can take what you were already going to do.
1 (13m 26s):
Find an area of the government that is interested in the research that you're producing. So if you're doing AI or you're doing something novel in nutrition or any kind of technology, that is, that is novel and interesting. If you can find a part of the government that is interested in investing in to that, you can connect the dots there and basically get your innovation to be covered in part or in full by the government. You're going to have to produce certain paperwork, right? And like, you're going to have to, there's an end point there where the government maybe wants to buy it from you, which is, which is also awesome. But you're going to have, you're going to have to document your work and produce a deliverable report at the end of it, but it can be six, seven plus figures to be able to get a contract that is paying for the research and development.
1 (14m 16s):
So instead of R and D being this expensive cost center at your business, it's cashflow a creative, like you were making money because you are basically doing R and D for uncle Sam. It's valuable to the U S government U S taxpayer. And you're also holding onto it for your business and moving that forward.
0 (14m 34s):
So, Michael, there are technology companies, there are product companies. What are the differences between these two companies?
1 (14m 43s):
That's such a good question. What's a technology company versus a product company. I say, you want to be a product company, a product consumers. Don't like technology. It's like, you don't consumers don't actually want like a GPS chip with XYZ, whatever in their phone, like you want Uber or Lyft, like you don't want like the mega pixel, this, that, whatever you want, Instagram and Snapchat, like you want the product that has a really frictionless user experience. A lot of times with entrepreneurs. And I've been on this journey personally, where you start out is you, you invent this really cool technology.
1 (15m 28s):
Like we, we figured out how to make the world's first ketone drink. And it's really interesting for metabolism. And, but that's, that's only where it begins. That's not where it ends. It's like, okay, well, how, how is that as a product? What is the dose size on that? How does it taste? How does it look? How do we communicate about it? What channels of trade are we in? The technology is it's like people don't just want a bunch of engine parts dropped on the floor of their garage. So you want a full and complete car that drives smoothly and has air conditioning and feels nice. So I would say the difference between technology company in a product company is a product company covers the gap.
1 (16m 9s):
It, they, they closed the hood on that engine so that the end product is frictionless and fun and easy to use where someone's not directly exposed to their GPS chip or directly exposed to all the parts inside of their engine. They're just getting, you know, the, the nice car that they're getting the BMW, or they're getting Uber on their iPhone. They're getting the experience that just works. So technology is cool. It's a great place to get started. It's a great place to fundraise. It's a great place. You know, you want to invent something new, but that's where the journey begins. And what you want to do is land at a really great product experience.
1 (16m 49s):
You don't want your consumer to even have to understand the technology. You just want them to know, Hey, I love this product. If they don't know your technology, that's almost winning, right? Like you want someone to be able to use Uber without even knowing that they have a GPS chip in their phone, right? You want someone to be able to drive their car without having any idea how like combustion works, right? You like good products abstract that away.
0 (17m 11s):
Usually Michael, and this is usually being new and unknown is a disadvantage because you haven't built that know like, and trust yet from a consumer base, how can we actually use this newness and consumer not being familiar with us as a marketing advantage? How do we spin that on its head?
1 (17m 32s):
We come into that all the time with our Ketone-IQ, where I would say 3% of the world that knows about metabolic health and how ketones can be this really premium fuel for just about anything you're doing in life. They're absolutely obsessed and drinking it every day. First thing in the morning, before and after workouts, nice energy boost throughout the day. But other 97% of the world is like, what the heck is this? Like, what is a ketone? Why am I drinking it? What, who is this for? Why does this taste crazy? And we use that as a, as a secret advantage where, when we were talking to buyers at retail, we flip it on its head to, Hey, this is new and different.
1 (18m 16s):
This is driving incrementality. This is not just another lemonade or another popcorn. This is not just another look alike to what you've seen before. This is something really different and interesting. Another way that we use it to our advantage is it's awesome. Beyond your podcast is probably the 50th podcast I'd been on in the last few months. And I'll tell you why, like having something that's a little bit weird, odd out of the ordinary is a lot better. There's a lot more just to riff on it, to talk about on podcasts. Then if what you're doing is, you know, less new, less innovative, like sure, maybe the average consumer will grok it quicker, but you want, it's like what we were talking about earlier, the riches and niches, you want that weird thing that kind of sticks out.
1 (19m 3s):
It doesn't make sense to the mainstream, make sense to your niche. And then there's like a story to tell around it. So when you talk, when you talk to other people, there's an hour material about what the heck your thing does and it's, and it's new. And it's interesting to people. It's not the same old thing that they've seen before.
0 (19m 18s):
Yeah. I'm not saying Michael, tell me what Instagram is, because everybody knows what Instagram is. And that's just a random example and it's not new. It's not interesting. And people don't want to get regurgitated stuff. They already know like this is new. This is exciting. This is cutting edge stuff. And people want to be part of the edge of the envelope, the cutting edge there. Now I want to close today with a conversation about Ketone-IQ. Now you're a sponsor of Entrepreneurs On Fire this month, and we really appreciate that. And you know, I've gotten to try your product and see the awesomeness and the results of it, which I do talk about as my firsthand experience within the sponsorship breeds. And you have a pretty cool opportunity as well for Fire Nation.
0 (20m 1s):
And we'll talk about that in a little bit here, but what exactly is Ketone-IQ? Why should Fire Nation get excited about that?
1 (20m 9s):
First of all, John, thanks for the opportunity to sponsor the awesome mission that you have here with Fire Nation. I know it's, it's a different breed over here, and I appreciate the opportunity to, to partner up here. What the hell is a ketone let's, let's start there. Your body makes ketones, anytime you do cardio, or if you're eating low carb, or if you're fasting, not eating at all, anytime you are in a low carbohydrate state, your body's making ketones. The truth is everyone has some ketones floating around in their system right now today already. And we have for 300,000 years, the human body is really good at making ketones and really good at metabolizing ketones.
1 (20m 49s):
However, when we eat too much sugar or too sedentary, our body slows down our ketone production, which is really bad. And it's really a shame because ketones are this really efficient, really pleasant feeling like that, feeling that you get when you're on runners high, or if you've ever done intermittent fasting, and you feel really clicked in that feeling is coming from ketones. Ketones are really efficient. They feel nice. They create less oxidative stress. So basically you age more slowly when you're fueling with ketones instead of, instead of sugar and other bad things. So what's cool about what we've done here is that we don't say, you know, eat a junk food diet and then drink ketones. But if you're doing a healthy diet, if you're active, generally trying to stay away from refined sugar, if you're doing all these healthy things and having the ability to take a shot of ketones, like a shot of Ketone-IQ is 10 grams of ketones, and you immediately feel it crosses the blood-brain barrier stacks well with caffeine or any other nootropics that you're using.
1 (21m 51s):
You're able to have a really pleasant day and you're able to compound on top of the other lifestyle and diet things that you are doing in your life. And so it's, it's really unique. And this all came out of the work that we do with the department of defense. They had a program called operation metabolic dominance to figure out the best metabolic substrates to help soldiers and cognitively and physically demanding missions. And we've taken that and we've brought it into the mainstream. So you can, you can buy it on our website. HVMN.com or on Amazon. And we're rolling out new grocery stores every week, grocery stores and gyms every, every week
0 (22m 31s):
Fire Nation. I really hope that you are taking to heart. The fact that you're a human being and yes, you can nose to the grindstone and just type away at your keyboard and just work from sun sun up to sunset problem. You're going to burn outs. I've been there. I've done that for me. I made a shift luckily about six or seven years ago to say health and wellness first, and then work a close second. But you know, I'm not gonna be able to put my best content out unless I am the healthiest version of myself with great sleep, great nutrition rates, focus on exercise and all that jazz. So this is why I'm always happy to bring companies like Ketone-IQ and products like Ketone-IQ in front of you Fire Nation, because it's just really an opportunity to see, Hey, is this going to work for me?
0 (23m 19s):
And it's worth testing out. So we do have something pretty cool. The first a hundred people actually who hear this, who visit Ketone-IQ.com and use promo code FIRE. You're going to get 20% off your purchase of your Ketone-IQ. And again, Fire Nation in the sponsorships. I talk about my first experience with it. It was definitely a positive one. So all around this topic, Michael, is there anything that you want to share before we bring this home?
1 (23m 49s):
I'm so glad you said that just the emphasis on health and wellbeing, our mind is really completely connected to our body. And you can't so many of these diseases of cognitive decline, depression, mood disorders. I don't want to scare people away, but these are happening increasingly amount in our society. And they are not this other separate thing from your body. A lot of times, these are linked to high sugar diets, insulin resistance, that if you don't take care of your body, because you're busy using your brain to solve, you know, high IQ problems all day, good for you. You can probably burn it for a decade, maybe a couple of decades, even, but you're going to burn out and your body is truly a temple.
1 (24m 34s):
You can only go. You can only go so far if you're not taking care of it. If you're littering inside of the temple, you're, you're not going to have the longevity and the longevity of mind that you would like to. So I think that's a great message to end on is take care of your body. Be a metabolically fit person. No, you don't have to be an iron man, Olympic athlete, whatnot, but you know, do something a little active every day. Cut back on the refined sugar, try to spend more time with elevated ketone levels. And you're going to have a lot better time. Week by week, year by year, decade by decade
0 (25m 8s):
Don't litter in your temple Fire Nation. I think that's a fantastic takeaway. And it, especially for those of us, by the way, they can't spend a ton of time working out every single day and exercising every single day because we just don't have a ton of time. We have some time, hopefully, but not a ton of time. You need the products and services like this to help boost you along. And again, the first a hundred people to visit ketone that's K E T O N E-iq.com. Ketone-IQ.com. Use promo code FIRE, get 20% off. Give it a try Fire Nation. It might not be something that you love and you want to continue with and that's okay. It might be though, and it could be a big game changer for you.
0 (25m 51s):
So it's worth an effort it's worth a try. And you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You've been hanging out with MB and JLD today. So keep up the heat, head over to EOFire.com type Michael in the search bar and his shows page will pop up with everything that we've talked about today. Michael, thank you for sharing your truth, your knowledge, your value with Fire Nation today, for that we salute you and we'll catch you on the flip side.
1 (26m 16s):
Thanks so much, John. It's a pleasure to be here.
0 (26m 18s):
Hey, Fire Nation today's value bound content was brought to you by Michael. Are you ready to rock your very own podcast? Check out our free podcasting course, where I will teach you how to create and launch your podcast for free. freepodcastcourse.com. I'll catch you there, or we'll catch you on the flip side. Business made simple hosted by Donald Miller, takes the mystery out of growing your business. Recent episodes, like how to attract and retain top talent and how to make more money with your current products are straight fire. Listen to business made simple wherever you get your podcasts.
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