We all have those “lucky” people in our lives…the ones who always seem to have everything going their way. They land the big job, they get picked out of the audience, they win the prize, they get upgraded to first class. I’ve never been one of those people. The only thing I ever won in my life was a Paula Abdul cassette tape at a bowling alley. Straight up now tell me if you think that’s fair?
So when I learned about a concept called “Creating Your Own Luck” at StartingBloc, my ears perked up. Rather than sitting around, waiting for luck to come your way, you have to make it happen for yourself. Shamelessly. One “lucky” guy shared his story of how he went after his dream job. He didn’t know anyone at the organization, so he started guessing what their email addresses would be through first and last name combinations. email@example.com. firstname.lastname@example.org. etc. He emailed every combination he could think of. No response. Did it again a week later. No response. Then AGAIN a week later. Finally, a woman replied begging him to stop emailing all of them and offering to meet him at a coffee shop for an informal interview. He got the job.
GoldieBlox had one of those big “Create Your Own Luck” moments last week. We’d been trying to figure out a way to take our ramshackle home-made prototype into something more refined for our next round of user testing. We kept meeting with industrial design students who weren’t right. Or big toy industry people who seemed more like middle men. Then on a whim, we decided to crash this “Industrial Design Society of America” happy hour that Sydney found out about. Her friend, Pete, a Smart Design engineer, was going to be there and offered to make some introductions.
My plan was to get all dolled up beforehand to increase my chances of woo-ing a potential industrial designer. Instead, Nicole and I got into so much traffic that we had no time to get ready. My hair looked like Albert Einstein and she was wearing like a hoodie and a giant backpack. Nicole and I got there before Sydney and Kat, so we went up to the bar and tried to force ourselves to strike up conversations and meet our future design partner.
Standing at a very crowded bar, this young guy comes up next to me to order drinks. Now is my chance. I look over at him and (very awkwardly) say, “Hi! Are you an industrial designer?” He replies, “Um, not exactly, I’m a design engineer. What about you?” I stammer a little and say, “I, uh, I’m a product designer. I studied Product Design at Stanford in…” He interrupts, “Are you Debbie?”
It was Pete. Out of over 100 people crammed into the bar like sardines, I find Pete. Sydney and Kat show up 5 minutes later and can’t believe Pete and I are already talking. He introduced us to Ben, another incredible designer with a new prototyping workshop in Oakland. Once they heard our story, Ben and Pete instantly became GoldieBlox believers. They agreed to turn our homemade craft project prototype into real CAD files and 3D print them in plastic.
In literally a few hours, Pete whipped up CAD files of all our pieces and sent them to Ben, who printed them on his machines. The printing took one day. Then, Ben sanded all the pieces and painted them in our beautiful brand colors. While the paint was drying, Pete introduced us to another friend with a laser cutting machine. We brought our biggest toy piece to him, explaining what we needed. In 30 seconds, he recreated our design into a file on the computer and even added our logo. It printed beautifully! We picked up the pieces from Ben afterward. The entire process took less than a week.
We are so LUCKY to have found Pete and Ben. We are so LUCKY to have Nicole, Sydney and Kat helping us achieve the impossible. Luck will continue to shine on GoldieBlox. I will see to that.