How do you enable your kids to create rather than consume? If you are a serial entrepreneur like Dan Shapiro, the answer is clear - make a device that can cut through any material with lasers, then put it in every household in America. Shapiro got inspired to create this company by his kids, and now he comes on Rad Dad to talk startups, kids and creativity.
Big companies have a great infrastructure for raising a family, but if your heart is in the startup world, the itch eventually gets too hard to resist. After founding two successful startups and selling one of them to Google, Dan had a chance to hang out, but soon enough he was back in the game. This is a pattern you might notice in successful serial entrepreneurs, a problem or challenge in one company often leads to a start of the next.
One sunny day in Seattle, Dan wanted to play a board game with his kids, but he could not find one that would be good for them and entertaining for him too, so he made one. Robot Turtles promised a challenging and engaging hour of play, where kids got to use adults as live robots, providing empowerment for the kids and engaging play for the parents. The game blew up on Kickstarter and the rest is history.
Making the game was fun, except for one part - the industrial laser cutter which Dan purchased to prototype the pieces. It was hard to put together, bulky, and really time-consuming to use. Sure there had to be a better way, but there was not. Naturally, game sales still in full swing, Shapiro set out to create yet another company. This time, it was much bigger than just one game.
“While growing up, computers were tools for me to use, and if something didn’t work, I blamed the computer, not myself. That gave me a sense of entitlement that computers were there to help me solve problems, they were working for me. I wanted my kids to have a tool which would enable them to create in a same way a computer once helped me.”
After countless hours of prototyping, Dan started Glowforge. The company took internet by a storm and in 30 days raised nearly $30,000,000 - in what has become the largest 30-day crowdfunding campaign ever.
Listen to this episode of the Rad Dad show and hear first-hand about Dan’s entrepreneurial journey, what you can do with Glowforge, how to start a company of your own, and how to manage you emotions and your family if you too have a lot on your shoulders.
p.s. If you like this episodes, you might enjoy the one with Chris Ballew - a dad who started creating something he's always wanted to exist, and it blew up to a national hit.