Meet the man Behind the Instagate: Tailgate in a Box
Instagate: Tailgate In A Box™ is the easiest way to tailgate, BBQ, or picnic anywhere, anytime. The, patent-pending, Instagate, has everything you need to keep the party going including a 60 quart cooler, a grill, 3 grilling tools, 3 fold out table platforms, condiments, cups, plates, utensils, napkins, ping pong balls, a lighter/bottle opener, recycling bags and trash bags. It’s made of eco-friendly recyclable and biodegradable materials so you can just bring the fun, and leave the mess when you’re done.
Invented by Matthew MacLean, a Kickstarter campaign to raise $25,000 was successful earlier this month. Last week, Matt pitched his product live on ABC’s Good Morning America. Afterwards, I spoke with him about Instagate.
My questions are below in bold. Enjoy!
Hi Matt – Thank you for taking the time to answer my interview questions. Why did you create Instagate?
I started this business because it is something I am passionate about. I want to make people’s lives easier anyway I can, and my first product, the Instagate: Tailgate In A Box, does exactly that. The Instagate came naturally as a solution to a problem that myself and many people face. Tailgating is a lot of fun, but planning one is also a lot of work. Instagate makes tailgating and barbecuing somewhere easier and more affordable for everyone who wants to spend less time packing, prepping, and cleaning up and more time having fun.
How did you bring it to life?
It took a lot of work getting to where we are now, and I foresee even more work ahead, but it mostly involved a lot of phone calls, clear communication, a ton of meetings with manufacturers, doing market research, working with designers, and putting together the best product we could come up with.
Where do you see the business in five years?
I have big dreams for Instagate. Most of which I will keep to myself for now, but I really see Instagate as the future of tailgating for a certain demographic of the market. We will not try to be the solution for everyone, but for the people who want an easier and more convenient way of tailgating, barbecuing, or picnicking we are focused on providing the best and most creative turnkey solutions for them. We plan on the original Instagate, which we are in the process of launching now, to be the first of many creative solutions.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
There are only so many minutes in a day, so getting this product together in time for our Kickstarter launch was a matter of prioritization. That being said, there are things that we had to spend more time focusing on and in turn, had less time to spend on other things. Other things I would like to spend more time on include promoting, advertising, and marketing. It’s hard to get the word out on a new product coming to market. Luckily, Kickstarter was a great platform to launch on and I believe we will have more opportunities to make improvements in our business model going forward.
What does your typical day look like?
The first thing I do every day is make a list of my top 3 priorities for that day then underneath the top 3, I list everything else that is on my to do list. I always try and make sure I get the top 3 items done first, and then try to accomplish as much of the rest of the list as possible. I try to prioritize my e-mails as much as I can and not let them bog me down too much. I typically spend most of my day on the phone, putting documents and ideas together, getting feedback from people that I trust, thinking of new opportunities, and staying as organized as possible. I am learning that prioritization of tasks is extremely important and knowing what must get done first is key to being successful. Staying on top of things and making sure you are moving forward at all times is extremely important.
What is one trend that really excites you?
I am a big supporter of the so called “entrepreneurial revolution”. The idea that in today’s society the individual has exponentially more resources to help them start their business than he or she had 50, 25, or even 5 years ago. I believe if you have a good solution for a problem that a lot of people have, there has never been a better time than now to bring that idea to reality. It is really a very exciting time to be an entrepreneur.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I cleaned bathrooms at one of the biggest dive bars in the country when I was in college. I learned many things from that experience that you would probably not want me to share, but one I can share is that it taught me that there is no job that is too small and even the littlest jobs are important to the success of a larger business.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do, too?
Establish a productive daily routine and stick to it. Live in day tight compartments. Plan for the future and learn from the past, but focus on what you can do each day to make yourself better.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Our go to market product for Instagate is the 8th iteration of our prototype. The original design had problems, but I just kept focusing on solving each problem as they arose and it led to the product we have today. I believe every problem has a solution, and each obstacle you face can be overcome in one way or another. It may not be the way you originally planned on things working, but adapting and overcoming these obstacles is key.
What is one business idea that you are willing to give away to our readers?
I am a big believer in using technology (in the right way) to making people’s lives easier. Instagate is what I am focused on now, but I have a bunch of ideas on the back burner that do just this. A very abstract idea I have is some kind of technology that I can best sum up as “Pandora for your lifestyle”. Pandora is great at recommending songs that fit your mood and your taste in music. With all the advances in biometrics and neuroscience that are going on today, I would love to develop some kind of product that brings this idea to your lifestyle, recommending things to do, people to catch up with, new products, etc. that increase your overall well-being and happiness. I know it sounds out there, but I am still working on it.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I would reduce the negative feedback loop that seems to pervade media channels throughout the world. There is too much negativity in our world today. We live in an amazing world, yes there are things that we need to improve upon on as a society, but we also need to focus more on all the great things that happen every day in the world.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
I love anything that helps with productivity. Some apps that I use right now are Trello, Todoist, and Wave Receipts. All these help improve my business efficiencies and help me get the things that I need to do done.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
That’s a tough one. I am a fan of so many books and have taken bits and pieces of advice and information from so many that are so important to me. One book that I can say was literally “life-changing” for me would be the “4 Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss. It is a very interesting look on work life and although I do not believe a 4 hour work week is really practical or even good for you or society, it does provide a lot of resources and advice that helped me transition from the corporate grind of finance into entrepreneurship. I believe the key for all of us is finding the right balance of personal life and work life. An added bonus is if you can focus your work life on something you are passionate about.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Last night, when my girlfriend and I were commiserating on how terribly our Fantasy Football teams were doing. She gets more upset than I do, which I find hilarious for some reason.
Who is your hero?
I have so many role models. Lori Greiner, Marc Cuban, Richard Branson, and so many more, but I have to say my heroes are my parents. I am lucky to have two amazing parents who have taught me so much and have supported me no matter what I do.
Do you (or did you ever) have a mentor?
I’ve had various mentors throughout my education and professional careers. I believe finding someone who is experienced in your field is not just important, but imperative to success. They can teach you so many things and help you avoid making the same mistakes that they have made.
Where can we find out more about your company?
You can find out more about our company at www.instagating.com.
Where can we find your business on social media?
Thanks again for taking the time to talk to me today!