Ooni: Darina Garland and Kristian Tapaninaho - Transcripts

November 07, 2022

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When you think of pizza, the first place that comes to mind probably isn’t Finland…or Scotland. But that’s where the two founders of the outdoor pizza oven brand Ooni grew up. In 2012, Kristian Tapaninaho was experimenting with making his own pizza, but he couldn’t get his home oven hot enough to produce an authentic, Neapolitan-style crust. With no background in product design, Kristian decided to design a portable, wood-fired outdoor oven. He used some basic 3D modeling software, enlisted a nearby fence-maker to build a prototype, and raised about $26,000 on Kickstarter. Since launching in 2012, Kristian and his wife Darina have grown Ooni into a $250 million business, accelerated by the home baking boom that happened during COVID. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, and sold in 90 countries, Ooni has defined a new product category that has helped transform home pizza making. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

Transcript

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not only did I not have a manufacturer for this product but also I have to make this thing many facts durable

as well and

so I asked within a few months so that I promised at the Kickstarter campaign backers at the states that Hey it's going to be there for you Judy wow so just six months after the campaign

I'm not mentioning like you're starting to call numbers you know kicking a pizza oven so sorry can't be seven oh no sorry I can't imagine there are many metal fabrication factories in the U. K. at all

no this it turns out there's not very many that want to talk to you if you've got a Kickstarter campaign cook it

welcome to how I built this show about innovators entrepreneurs idealists and the stories behind the movements they built I'm guy rise and on the show today how Christian toughening up ho built up for double wood fired pizza oven financed it on Kickstarter and along with his wife grew into it two hundred million dollar a year brand I grew up eating what I would now describe as cardboard pizza get out your standard home delivery pies made by the usual suspects but I remember a moment in my late teens I was in college I was visiting a friend in New York and she took me to Patsy's and then to Grimaldi's it was at those places when I first understood why people are obsessed with pizza the crust with them but not like a cracker with crispy and chewy it was smoky and charred but not burned and by the way it took about ninety seconds for that pizza to cook the pizza yellows were Italian Americans the sauce was a simple combination of fresh tomatoes and salt and on top a few dots of fresh mozzarella and some Basil leaves and from that point on I joined the legions of people around the world obsessed always seeking out the best pizza wherever I went even during times of my life when I went gluten free or paleo I secretly made an exception for good pizza how can you not really but the one challenge I always had was making them at home for years I would do what most home cooks do I slip in a pizza stone into the top rack of my oven a crank the oven up to five hundred degrees Fahrenheit and then

an

hour later let's look at a pizza and while the pizzas were fine they were never as good as what you could get at a pizza restaurant and the reason you need really really high heat to

get

that char on the crust and home ovens can't get that hot you need an oven that can get up to nine hundred degrees Fahrenheit and to do that you have to build an outdoor pizza oven which for most of us is

both

impractical and prohibitively expensive and then about six years ago I came across a product that promised to solve this very problem at the time it was called the NY pizza ovens spelled U. U. N. I'd today it's still called Looney only spelled

O.

O. N. hi and the product was created by a man born and raised in the place no one listening would ever associate with pizza Looney was invented by Christiane top by Nina who is from Finland and lives in Edinburgh Scotland and he came up with this idea to solve the same problem I described a minute ago he wanted a relatively affordable portable home pizza oven that could reach five hundred degrees Celsius R. nine hundred Fahrenheit the pizza oven that could bring Naples right to your backyard no matter where you live so in twenty twelve Christian

who

at the time ran a small educational consulting firm with his wife Kareena decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to build the first mini pizza ovens a lot what happened over the next decade but today Christian and arena have built a massive brand a company that sells over two hundred million dollars worth of pizza ovens a year now if you're trying to figure out how to finance a multi million dollar idea but you have no money you will definitely want to hear this story Russian as I mentioned

grew up

in Finland he came to the U. K. as an art student to study photography and that's where he met his future wife Karina who was also a student at the university for the creative arts in Kent which is just outside London

there wasn't much to do there is a log house parties I'm and I went to law of host parties that there is lots of Spanish people and Scandinavian people generally and the first impression I met was at at one of these parties like a really tiny chat in the kitchen

M.

that's the goal of keeper cost so in our house that was a gift I gave him on our first wedding anniversary which the paper and it's the first lane each changed where I said at a liquor glasses at the which Christian completely panicked and said I'm sorry like to back up I like your hair and so that Scots are in favour and as our in our house

do you remember that Christian saying I like your hair

I A. I do remember the situation but I thought and I think the I'm no more articulate since the day that works best for

all right so you guys meet at a party and that's it you kind of become a couple I guess

yeah I think we became a couple maybe six months after that we've got to see each other at that different things and then spring two thousand four we got together

that was it

yeah

so so the two of you basically stayed around a camp for for awhile awhile after you graduated and I guess there was this like a a British government initiative called creative partnerships and I'm I I don't know if I've got all the details right but from what I understand it was this this initiative to bring all kinds of creative people to schools and to work with teachers to kind of help them think more creatively back teaching and and you guys kind of got involved with this somehow

yeah we did M. I. S. it was really an excellent initiative so you've got that right it was I guess the idea is that everyone's inherently creates if both Dennis it's a tricky to dive or certainly the because the system and the pressure

yeah

M. and so we were trying to set empire the teachers to do things differently and we were both creative practitioners so forcing us to tell differs ands and yeah you might be paired with scientists and then a couple of school classes so that was eight it's really helpful for us in the physicians of all of our business that ticket to experience this really unique M. essay into school communities because teachers aren't really used to having other adults in their classroom they are unless they're being judged or you know or to say so that was a similar interest in and say and then when you could work with them and you're helping them to their stuff they want to do anyway and B. invigorate their love of teaching because as a vocation M. and it's just really sad when that furnace source after day by you know the the pressures from external

yeah and and and I guess this kind of expired the two of you to to start a business that focused on doing this kind of work is called surplus and I guess it was a good educational consultancy that you left for for quite awhile Sir Thomas things to you that that it did I mean you would basically go to a school and and do what

there is absolutely masses which is generally to help people change how they did that things so with that I have of classroom projects where much like when we run a workshop you know you tend to move the chairs and tables I of the space and designed the rim I should like for that session so we had really flexible furniture that the kids kids move inputs into position based on high they thought the lesson should gore had a teacher that lessons ago M. and basically had some white board double walls so we took the budget at the school would have for renovating M. classrooms anyway didn't spend any more money but works with them to design a really flexible space so that the kids genuinely be adopted so those kind of things both practical and and change based

so am I imagine many of the groups who work with like non profits right and and you would too if you sense you consult with them but as a business was it was a good business was as a sustainable business

Hey

yes and M. is still going and I think this is very different from you need today in the sense that the majority of almost everything was based around advertisement and we did projects for next us the national endowment for science technology the arts

in

really big projects that we're

on

and for multiple years that we're you know relatively lucrative for ma are put if you hello I remember we won that overseas auch big organizations and basically said that they just loved our patches Bouchard's color and visual and like excitement that that source today so they could listen for anyone pitching is him go hard on the on the M. A. J. S. but yes a it was dead well it really washed its face and so we had good earnings I think for the stage we're at in life

all right so basically by the you know from what I gather it because I think the two to get married in two thousand ten and Sukkot is doing well but your two time is really the challenge right because people want you involved and it's hard to scale the two of you

absolutely it's going to be a little bit further back on the idea of how much of our time and our sales are maybe sort of almost not a limiting factor but it's it's definitely mean to service business look back to around two thousand eight two thousand nine remember dream that I wear in in fronts for for like a weekend to and I remember speaking with her about this that I'd love to make a product business something that doesn't require the same kind of daily involvement of delivering the work but actually could focus on building something that could be could be scaled out

so all right so you've got to close this business is happening at a certain point from what I from what I understand what I've read shortly after you had your first child which is around two thousand eleven I think yeah you decided the both of you decide you need to just kind of reduce the amount of hours that you were working because you wanted to be with your child

yeah it was it was actually well that's that it's a good way of looking at it as well so childcare is incredibly expensive

yeah

so but actually really great things came out of that we were both doing about three and a half days of working and then spent the rest of the time do you notice things asked well S. I spent time with our newborn

and when you were living in Kent at the time

this is C. in London already so we moved out of can't quite soon in two thousand seven and stayed in London all of about eighty years in the end

all right so you're you've got a baby at home you've got this consulting business and Christian I gather I mean from what I understand like you are a Baker and and also cook like would you do most the cooking at home

no I think which we share cooking quite a lot definitely I think we're quite different types of kooks I'd say I'm more of the type that I'll get a recipe out and I'll follow it and maybe put in a twist here there but I'm I'm pretty good with kind of going to court with what's suggested where street is incredibly creative and been able to take a number of ingredients and just throwing something really tasty together but I would also do some baking my mom refused to run the bakery in Finland in the mid to mid nineties for about five years so baking and cooking is always been really massive Spotify now my child to day and growing up and I don't know where it came from exactly but I cut into making pizzas at home and dad just learning the craft of making pizza dough and pizza by hand and this is now twelve years ago and I was just thinking about it how different of the world was back then with you to post really distance such an early stage

yeah

being able to know you can go in and you can find instruction for every single type of pizza you can ever imagine

yes

but it was quite a different world back then so there's a lot of trial and error but really fell in love with making pizza

and you have like a like one of those stones in your oven like this P. systems

yeah it had it had a pizza stone finally at some point in the open and I I sometimes invite people over for pizza and and make a few pizza and realize that well the first pizza takes like six minutes the next beat size eight ministers falling pizzas twelve minutes days like you're waiting for twenty minutes for the third for speed

right every time you open the oven that he comes out right you get the old arms out any pizza pizza and that that cools it down so

I wasn't really happy with the experience that I was getting with it and started looking into this stuff is there a better way of cooking cooking pizza and at the time Jamie Oliver was cooking with his stone opens on on TV and well one of those would be really useful getting up to very high temperatures and I didn't really have the money to invest we're renting as well at the time so it wasn't really an option to spend thousands of pounds into into an open like that

but I guess I should we should pause here to explain something which is a home other than for very good reasons does not go above five hundred because then they'd be just the home fires all the time people people could just like burn the houses down so so it's good it's a good thing it is a good thing when you go to a pizzeria like that does he's Neopolitan style pizzas they're cooking them in ovens that are geico seven eight hundred degrees Fahrenheit nine hundred yes right what's your home oven can't do engine step that he creates this chemical reaction that builds that charred bubbly beautiful pizza crust you just can't you can't do in your home

it is it exactly that you need that incredible heat for the pizza dough to react in a way that actually makes plenty of pollutants style pizza you just got out to eat at a lower lower temperature the best way that I like to explain this to people who've never met before the staff is a little bit like trying to sear a steak on a medium warm skillet

yeah

just doesn't work it just doesn't he contemplates the temperature with more time to use the same thing with pizza temperatures very very important

all right so you're you're thinking this is annoying but to install a pizza oven it's thousands of dollars and it's a lot of wood in the end you're renting a place you can't you can't you can't do that and you have the money so did you start to look around for like another option

yeah I started looking around that surely someone has made something like this someone's already thought of the same problem they've gone and built something and something cheap that you can make a hot like a trash can of it or something yeah you know at the time but this this is guy you have to decide who's called Frank and way better use kind of hacking a kind of kettle grill well he called it the Franken Weber so you can imagine

he would take a Weber like Weber grill and try to hack in trying to beat up

that's it that's it and right okay so I I try to I try to get to acrylics well myself and it it wasn't really really there so

because cooking the pizza from the bottom right

it's exactly and from the bottom so it's not the same and you've got to get the both the balance has to be right you've got to get it up from the bottom and then also from the top down so I started thinking that well I mean if no one else has made one I still want one and I start doing some sketchy somebody like that I think I spent probably about four weeks of just going to quietly do some sketchy something sent it was December twenty eleven and I remember this very distinctly sitting down in our living room in London and set to dream of that I can I can I beat you this idea that I've got what about making very small pizza L. S.

wait so to Rina what do you remember about how he told me about this idea

I remember it probably have been a baby in my arms wealth making pasta wealth with a headset on you know Brennan multi skill project of light okay yeah M. I. lakes the easier from the beginning but I was like okay go for it I am I think that's the biggest segue between our first president and this one is that it generally we always talk about creativity in problem solving it and he was really frustrated that it made sense to me that he would advocate the space it was a great a challenge here I was positive I definitely was a bit distracted thank

you

yes so Christian let me understand how you what were you sketching

so the problem with these large insists that they weigh hundreds and hundreds of kilograms and with a traditional and you have to spend a huge amount of energy first off would feel looks to get that whole thermal baths to certain temperatures so very hot so you spend hours and hours to heat it up so what I was getting was really just kind of thinking about well how do we get rid of that terrible bass but still have a great cooking experience and one of them was really just to bring the fire closer to the food that's cooking so you don't have that sort of a middleman off hundreds of kilos of stone in the anybody bring the fire and so it's very in energy efficient in that way

I'm trying to understand how you started to figure that out because you didn't have a background in engineering or even physics or chemistry I mean

yeah

so how did you kind of educate yourself about what to even begin to sketch the designs like the dome shape or or how the fire would would work how did you even know how to do that

but of it is that just to see it as a problem to be solved and the I think the other side of it despite a man of didn't have education as an engineer or product designer but I'd always been really into science and engineering and ao site subscribe to science magazines when I was ten or eleven and to direct those out was really into that I was making fireworks with my uncle so actually

fireworks homemade

fireworks with this

homemade fireworks with your uncle with an adult

kids

and adults was supervising this

dealt with supervising amount making fireworks that blew up and flew to the sky

my gosh

hi

this is Seth this is Finland in the nineties I kissed

yeah

and maybe still knows

very permissive environments

yeah absolutely wait we'd buy the ingredients it's from from a drug store and which makes the ingredients to make fireworks and died and he had an engineering degree and so that's sort of influenced me the other parts of it that I think influence was that stuff always had ever since I was a spark back as I remember anything that I really got into I've always started to kind of trying to figure out if there's a problem to solve for is their business here that could be taken forward or an opportunity that no one's no one's found yet

so already at the beginning when you're just sketching your thinking yes there are opportunity here

absolutely so I was really into at the time listen there's a podcast called dak critical path and through that I've been introduced to Clayton Christensen

yeah famous Harvard Business School professors no longer live but the road to the innovator's dilemma right

yes dilemma and and innovative solution and I was I was reading those books and really kind of like the same time realizing that maybe there is a connection here that has repeated itself over years and years and years in other industries that they are these large machines they used to be mainframes and then there was the personal computer things happened between there as well but what about what if this is similar situation where we can take a traditional pizza oven and shrink it down to the size of a suitcase

wow and so you so when he talked about this you you're thinking this is the same kind of analogy with the pizza obviously the technology is not as complex but still like massive P. seven small pizza I'm

very fortunate that the technology required this is not to that level

all right see start sketching these ideas and thinking all right I've got this concept you bring this to Torino and she's supportive right away

yeah definitely I was excited it's

your lego you're like I love it yeah but when he came to he said he said I think we can make this and you're like yeah I'm excited there's a lot of details to work out

what is the

excited there's a lot of stuff that not like that's the easy part you may the sketch awesome

you're making is a much neater than it was it was definitely stretched out hello and

M. eight we dads have tight and she said look we had a baby we're working because compare tonight we had so much time M. six tanker and to to mess about with that and he definitely did that

yeah

so Christian once you had these sketches right and you're working on them what's the next step

is the next step was I E. I tested out a few concepts in the first sort of half a year of that and I don't think one of the breakthroughs for it was in the summer of twenty twelve when my father in law treatise dot day mentioned wood pellets and that he'd come across the system heating fuel

wood pellets which is compressed ever and if you'd like a trader you people know these compressed

exactly but yeah these at the time especially where much bigger in the U. S. veteran really known here in the U. K. so I got a hold of some of the center started thinking about this idea that what if we take like at jet engine but instead of injecting fuel like liquid feeling to it we sort of got elect wood pellets flow into it as of the original Warney has this little fan at the back of it that blew air out through this kind of called him off with ballots that would just gravity feed into the system and then you light them up and get this intense flavor that then flew over over tia beats

how did you get to fabricate this prototype for

said there was I found a small with metal workshop down the road from us in an area called cat for it in in London and there was under these rail way our cheese that was this small metal workshop that predominantly just mate like guarded fancies and things like that yeah and is this guy there and I said Hey

which should be able to fabricate something like this and he was not much more than that sort of back of a napkin kinda sketchy such use this program will ask at chop yeah on my my computer to draw lines and and they would then sort of fabricated

based on those and you greedy said yes I'll take time away from making garden fences to do this

yeah yeah no he I basically just asked him how much would it be like well I think the first prototypes were like forty or fifty quid or something something silly

forty or fifty pounds that is it and it was just he basically took sheets of steel and like well that them together based on your design

yeah the that's it

all right so for five days later you go to this welder and he can do this basically a metal box and there's like a there's like a a hole in the back where you can just put in the the wood pellets and level up like what to describe it looks like

yes Sir it was a rectangular metal books at the stage and this is where this idea of sort of a jet engine but it's boot fired came from so it was this metal cylinder that's such horizontally at the back of the old man yeah not take a computer fan sort of PC fan that I power with a nine volt battery that just sat at the back of that and then there's a article two that then licked pellets into it and you get this really cool quite a long flame that flew into the open and then the flame with and just come in and cook the pizza from top down

all right so from the time you brought this home until the time you were able to cook your first Peter experiment how many more days is that

it was pretty quickly I was quite quick to then tried out with with pizza itself but a lot of the testing would be actually with just a thermometer in there to see how what is it getting and kind of trying to get to these these days we do soul much just pizza testing where we just run through new products use like enormous amounts of pizza but at that point it was just myself doing it so I don't have to rely on yeah also just gonna measured temperatures and these kind of things

all right so you knew and you knew how to make pizza dough because we we know that from the story but but now you get this thing you're like okay let's go here's here here goes nothing Jim do you remember the first pieces that you made

I thank speaker said don't remember too much of the first ever pizzas that I was making so focused on the product itself and getting it better and better at that stage and getting it to states that I could actually launch it

I will I will say I remember them being fantastic actually looking back at the video footage Neier of of ten years ago they're incredibly anemic and things don't look funds I think we were just so excited that it works and it was decent

yeah

but with that early prototype from the welder that was the one you were going to go to Kickstarter with as the demo product

that's right and that's that's really the the next maybe six seven months up probably the kind of but I even think about this period of time in the world is history to skip because my palms sweaty case is quite quite risky I had this prototype that was working and all along this time of developing it I knew that I wanted to launch this thing on Kickstarter right I've just got to get this off the ground I was really keen on being this Kickstarter was launching in the UK so it was truly the kind of the essence of Kickstarter in terms of like okay here's an idea let's get this group of people together back it and see if we can take this forward

when I come back in just a moment how Christian gets lots of early orders from the oven but then discovers that the fence maker down the street is not going to be able to fill them stay with us I'm guy rise in your listening to how I built this here how I built this we like to feature brands that are doing things so differently they're changing entire industries and when it comes to furniture borough is setting a whole new standard with their beautiful durable and easy to assemble designs borough is a new kind of furniture company with its own in house design studio they select materials that will stand up to everyday life from stain and scratch resistant fabric to solid hardwood frames and best of all every order no matter how small or large is delivered directly to your door for free now available is Burroughs new union collection it's the biggest deepest plus just widest modular seating designed to date the unique fabric is soft and comfortable plus it's stain resistant and easy to clean listeners can get seventy five dollars off their first order at borough dot com slash built that's borough B. U. R. R. O. W. dot com slash built for seventy five dollars off borough dot com slash built American giant chooses to manufacture all of its clothes in the United States with our high quality long lasting goods they make sure their products stay local and state out of landfills American giants close have amazing functional details for example they craft their classic full zip hoodie with pre shrunk cotton reinforced elbows structured side panels and custom hardware it's quality you can feel immediately and you'll wonder why all clothes are made this way in fact I've been a huge fan of American giant for a long time I happen to be wearing a hoodie right now I love so many of their products and their socks their teachers their genes one of my favorite things about American giant is how their products are built to last the high quality makes everything extra comfortable and durable you can find out more about their story and shop the classic full zip at American dash giant dot com slash built and get twenty percent off when you use code built at checkout that's American dash giant dot com slash built promo code built welcome back to how I built this I'm guy rise so it's twenty twelve and Christian has just launched a Kickstarter video for his very first portable wood fired pizza oven and the goal for this first campaign is pretty modest he's looking to raise about ten thousand dollars

that's it yeah around ten thousand dollars so the original idea there was that address just about enough money for this the sad metalwork shop down the street to be able to produce maybe I don't know fifty of these units to fill fill the backer song on Kickstarter and then have a few more to sell

said the idea was you would have that same metal shop that made your prototype you just have him do like fifty of them

at the time that was that was the idea

right

it's important distinction because they weren't like this is the business at this point it was like this is cool well can you taste the call and say it's Christian I really wanted that and I thought this will be early next week to test proof M. I. there in the world so and else we were really naive we worked in education we weren't used to big budgets or thinking on that kind of global scale we think today

yeah all right I've seen that video anybody can go watch it it's that first any video it's

it's

look let low production quality which is fine it should be I mean I hope at that point you don't have a slick video because you didn't have any no production budget have no audio is terrible barely could barely hear you there's a like a weird music soundtrack in the background that's kind of there and you're like not sure if it's coming from the video or another part of your house I was like is that my kid playing musicals at the video anyway it's you

play ins there's a plane flying overhead at one point

and you don't show the whole of and because you're like Hey you know I'm trying to like protect the I. peace I'm not going to show you the oven so it's a little catchy is you're like who is this guy in this thing and then you kind of make a pizza and he was there part of it I mean Kickstarter was still so new but was part of it also like maybe I'll get some media attention on this

yeah I was really hoping that they would be something that came in the back of that and during the campaign there wasn't a ton of breast so anything that actually I don't know if there was any press at that time but what what was the topic driver what's that about three or four weeks after the Kickstarter campaign closed went with sort of at the time it really big sort of fat gear website called Jack hunting dot com not because it up and noticed it on the back of that quite a few other different blocks including one really big one called on a great dog called pick it up and Barclays to post about it and sent a ton of traffic coming to the website

and and you ended up raising seventeen thousand pounds from that first Kickstarter thank

yes so the Kickstarter raised seventeen thousand problems yeah and this was the kind of funny part of it was that okay that was ninety two opens with soul through the campaign but we sold another two hundred on the back off the extra press that happens in the following month

wow but once you have raised the money you gotta deliver and people are like where's my thing

yeah

there's my pizza oven

yeah

and now you can go to this guy this metal shop guys are right can you make these and that's personally what you do

so that was definitely the bland however what happened was that we kind of outgrew that that makes a workshop really quick and this was kind of clear by the end of the campaign that okay well I've got to make at least a hundred off the east to fulfill all the backers yeah I need something else I need an actual proper manufacturer for this and does so straight after the campaign I basically started scrolling through the end today and finding different metal workshops all around outside of London and also reached out to a few places in Finland

but what were you at all stressed out about this I mean

you

were promising this to people and you didn't actually have a manufacturer you were thinking I'm gonna have this metal shop do down the block to make and he was like are you kidding I can't make pizza ovens I'm making yard fences and and I'm not mentioning like you're starting to call numbers you like taking a pizza oven no sorry can't be seven oh no sorry first of all I can't imagine there are many metal fabrication factories in the U. K. at all

no this it turns out there's not very many that want to talk to you if you've got a Kickstarter campaign that now

they're like yeah we'll do a million dollar order not seventy five hundred pounds

it is quite a fast education there but it was not only did I not have a manufacturer for this product but also I have to make the thing many facts durable as well so in fast within a few months so that I promised to via Kickstarter campaign backers at the states that he's going to be there for you in June so just six months after the campaign

wow

yeah I mean the good thing was that the order had grown because of the extra press on the back of the blokes in the so I'd actually build up an order pick off I think around three hundred units this point in terms of orders for manufactured this maybe twenty grand or something like that so not a huge amount but and I asked my dad this well to do a little bit of searching again in the in Finland and he found a place in not far about a hours drive from my home town that was a metal fabricator and hot the spring Z. stick it to full steel in the right way and tap the right contacts to do some sub contracting and and that's where I found the first manufacture

that's actually amazing that in Britain which is a country of like I don't know sixty seventy million people you couldn't find and in Finland a country but like four or five million people

yeah

there was a metal factory they could do this

yes yeah it was so I think this fitness like little bit more isolated so maybe some things would be made more locally they're then flown in or shipped

right

but others have pals these manufacturing industry they're still

a Christian when you went to Finland took this factory I mean you had this crew welded of then but obviously wanted to look nicer and did they have like an on staff designer or somebody who could help you kind of smooth it out make it look a little nicer

no no they didn't actually I I still continue to use sketchup essentially to draw these got models and that I would then prints out into sheets and they would they would translated onto their machines and be able to kind of cut to be seizing that right right way but one of the defining kind of things of making this and what the spec of it would be worse actually this shipping office product to customers so because I knew I'm shipping this from Finland at the end of the manufacturing I had a hard limit of ten kilograms that the product would have to go under and he says a bit of a funny kind of reasons why this three lakes or an order the fourth leg would have taken it over ten kilograms

yeah because it's got it's a tripod writes three legs under a hundred yeah

it's right but yeah and I mean it turns out that makes a lot of sense okay of course was that Billy Dee to do that

yeah

all right so you get this fabrication place in Finland a star making them you've got the cash to do it and and you've got to fulfill those orders and by the way these are orders presumably not just from the UK but from overseas to from around the yeah

absolutely so there was a lot from the U. S. I think maybe about forty percent rate from the U. S. and because I was so desperately keen on getting this into people's hands that summer and not to have this experience off months and months of delay in getting to see into people's hands so I actually decided to ship these bites just regular parcel mail from Finland jutel's backers in the US so great and I and my mom and dad which take them up on a small trailer from the factory was like our way yeah and then take them to a local post office and just ship them one by one basically

my god he just stood in the post office and just slapped all the labels on

yeah

here you go here's one here's another one here's another one

yeah

his mother P. seven

that's it wow that's it

Doreen is like holding a baby and slapping labels on with the other hand

I think that the

whole some

variables I mean he was over one at this point so he was working as well

it's like saying they're like slapping a pizza crusts

your sister

yeah you need to either she just had pizza crust half

thirty is raised

I'm all right meantime Serena you are

just paying the bills

you got his bill so what do you do to pay the bills I mean are you you got it can you could do this consultant work right

yeah we're working hard with the clover it later I think we're meds nesta projects will a multi school projects and doing fine M. and during the Kickstarter campaign though clearly I was excited anyone who's ever run a crowd funding campaign AS sees her obsessive they can be over that period

yeah was anybody in your world in the educational consulting world like hate doing that what's a pizza oven thing that Christians doing like wait what is this

I think people are pretty excited we had say like look you see we're part of treats partnerships and had all these like happy very creative friends that you know so people are generally quite buzzing and

yeah

I'm not saying we didn't get some push back so we had to A. M. friends who were and are like baby grips her slave

who are you to

get a proper job and that we we definitely had some people challenge us as as a business

man all right so you get these first opens out and the backers get them and what's the feedback that you're getting because you know again this is still twenty thirteen there aren't that many you tube videos on how to make pizza so what was the feedback

I mean it's it's hard to say what was the feedback I mean we've never had a return but I think there's also something about the total life arc for company well that's a you start with those early adopters and they are so much more willing to bid in a little bit more effort into learning how to use a product and yeah well it doesn't do this but it actually does this thing really well so actually I do really like it and so I think that really helped it really helps that the campaign didn't blow up to be one of these I don't know million dollar campaigns overnight successes that I think at that stage would if invited so many more people that the product just isn't ready yet

but you knew that you were going to continue this and now you were getting just organic orders and from some media and by twenty thirteen you know you're getting old orders are trickling in every other day or so

hello orders are trickling in I think we did something like a nine dollars about a hundred seventy thousand in the first year of operating which is compared to what we've been working on previously it was really really really good of course when you work in a product company the economics are completely different to working in a service call so much of it goes into him to mentor in if you're growing more of that goes into inventory

all right now meantime it's just you and and I guess Torino's helping out too well she's trying to earn more money but also helping you out so you're the product guy you're the manufacturing you're the customer support guy legal Steve

logistics everything

and entering your still very much involved in

in

in this other business that you guys had this educational creative consulting business which stars amount like events yeah and conferences and meantime like just tell me you were managing all that stuff in your personal ID to trial he get two kids by then maybe

yes we were really busy looking back on it though it was just really fun it was super fun it was very fast paced for used to I think some of the you know running the festivals and conferences and making things happen was an R. D. N. A. from all of this to clockwork M. carrying favors and be in a jail I guess you'd call it today but most was definitely Hey we operated and M. also because we've sort of been freelancers before then designed suit clad to be a bit like that we were used to put in on different hats

so I guess by your second year in business to it which is twenty fourteen you can serve are already rolling out your next Avenue is that the click I guess with all the you need to and yeah and you also decide to make an accessory called the loonie stack

yep which is

which is cool it's out it's you know it's like these three like stacking glass bowls you can put the pizza dough into to rice

yeah

but I guess it turned out to be a pretty major stumble for you right because I I read that shortly after the only stat came out you sent a letter to your Kickstarter backers because there was I guess there was some people are not happy with certain elements of it in the letter I would have read it says you know we've been going through some growing pains lately you know I'm just off of time I can't keep on top of everything just a few of us are making this happen and I know like if he even said the feedback for the first production run hasn't been all good

yeah

what what were you hearing

so probably the first really traumatic event that we had was when these first production run of the SUNY stacks arrived at our south London office we had this is

slightly worrying that manufacturing them

these were made in China so by this stage I've moved manufacturing for warning itself as well too southeast China

right because you had to say it was scaling you couldn't you could not do all this in that place in Finland presently

couldn't do it in Finland you couldn't get the quality and the materials and the parts in any western country really unless you paid a lot and at the same time we were able to bring the cost down to something that was gonna more aligned with the original version of this being affordable

yeah

so the stacks six yeah we had I think two or three or four pallets of them a rifle in the back of a lorry at our office I remember treatable stay with both the kids and we were all there we had two part time employees at this stage and we take these ballots down off the lorry we'd carry all the stacks in sight the well office that we have to and we opened the first one of them and they didn't fit together they were it old shapes and size size sees somewhere broken already at the stage yet

it was pretty horrible I would say that like when we saw the samples that we approved they were perfect they were you know they all sat together that really nice quality thick glass there was no a bubble in sight and unfortunately when we open the books it was you might be lucky if there is kind of one or two that were any kids and it was so depressing because we paid for all of us and they were it the whole concept was that they stuck together

yeah

so we had quite a fun at wasn't until we had M. attainment kind of putting together could we salvage some or some kids enough to stick together and be packets

yeah if there's enough here that we can fulfill the Packers again like thinking the speaker stuff good money in that trust in us

yeah

and weeds open every single box find the matching pairs and matching triplets I guess and back them up and ship them to our customers and if they have any problems then of course try to be as responsive as possible and but they vary in the quality at that stage just wasn't right up there

yeah

they did not look very good

when we come back in just a moment a Christian and arena start learning how to grow loony gracefully until and then the kids stay with us I'm guy rise and you're listening to how I built this recently I was in the market for a new mattress and I got mine online from Sakura the process of selecting a mattress was super easy supper has a handy quiz that you can take to find the best fit for you and for us it was super important have an all natural mattress and soft but I had a great option delivery was quick and the mattress is super comfortable sabar mattresses are just as good as the top retail brands but they are sold for a fraction of the price and with factories around the country Sabra can custom make mattresses to order and deliver them super fast and another thing that's great about sock but is that they will deliver your mattress directly to you not just to your doorstep but to any room you choose bill even remove your old mattress for you get two hundred dollars off your purchase of a thousand dollars or more at socked foot dot com slash build that's S. H. A. T. V. A. dot com slash built when building a business there are tons of moving parts one that's often overlooked is having a network that connects your business thankfully with Etienne tea business you can pick the best wireless plan for your small business and offer your employees the features they need plus AT&T business wireless plans include nationwide five G. that's fast reliable and secure wherever business takes you AT&T business has the features you need visit AT T. dot com slash get B. is unlimited five G. requires a compatible plan and device five G. may not be available in your area visit AT T.

dot com slash five G. for you for more details Hey welcome back to how I built this I'm guy rise so it's around two thousand fifteen and when he is going through a lot of changes for starters after the disastrous rollout of those glass stacking bowls Christian finds another manufacture for them in China an apprentice actually getting some traction to the point where Drina quits her job but there are other business so she can work full time and earning also around this time they decide to move their family and the business back to to Reno's hometown

of Edinburgh when we came up in twenty fifteen we were instantly able to connect since it doesn't scripts here there's one called Scottish H. and M. became part of this program called scale up Scotland's so empty of being over familiar and connecting was was easy for us here but actually because we had already shown some success M. we were definitely a bigger fish in a smaller planes were still tiny in relative terms but

yeah

Thursday insides in Scotland in the sense that as and credible modesty obey you know there's not that many companies here

yes

you think they can take on America and I just I I don't know why I think that it there definitely should be but yeah in terms of support was lovely

I think it's a British thing right because in America you start a company like we're gonna be the biggest in the world and take it over we're gonna be we are you know and and being ambitious is not something to be ashamed of but I think in particular in Britain it's like keep your head down and it's just culturally different

definitely yeah M. it was a good thing for us to move because as soon as we came up we won a Scottish edge awards and and

you got a grant to write

yeah it was fifty grand grand to spend exclusively on IP

yeah because it's it's this very unique design and shape and and once people start to see that it's working then you know we know what's gonna happen

yeah

so what's I need and I'm not the first to point this out but it is kind of amazing that this incredibly accessible pizza oven that makes Neopolitan style pizzas at home comes from a place I love Scotland my wife worked lived there for six years of her life so no I'm not dissing Scotland but it's cold and dark brain kind of lot of the year

that is true when you think of

outdoor pizza anything about like you know the a multi coast or southern Italy not as Scotland not it or not Finland and yet here it's coming out of Edinburgh I mean were people in the U. K. buying it or were most of your customers in like warm weather climates outside of the U. K.

the air we've definitely over indexed in the U. K. R. M. yet comparatively in the U. S. where people didn't need to be persuaded to K. five doors right it it was just about do you know about any so L. M. obake surf shift for us to try and emulate the success we had in the U. K. we've always sold in the U.

S. and on the point about Scotland's and I'm it's always been really interest me what we love about it is you can tell this authentic story you know our message and today is about making pizza and when it came to how much should we talk about Scotland's and you know people love Scottish accents yes that master or the finish US based people talk a lot but Nordic design and that's really thought of highly around the world I am badly when we interviewed most customers they didn't really know about that remember when that feedback but it's it's a consumer interview but he was like well if I knew your school so she would definitely put me off M.

he's like

just like that you wouldn't buy I don't know I race kicker from from somewhere that wasn't known for a split interesting we don't hate it but yeah I think it is a funny one it doesn't have a natural things called no it does

yeah all right so I think in twenty seventeen to launched another crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo think this is your third

yeah

I mean by this point you probably could have gone to outside investors and started raising venture money and stuff but really this was it was a privately owned company you were not going out to you know all these investors and stakeholders you were reading keep address

we still are so we have a skull cap table this is pretty clean so treat and I our own own most of it and we have options and share schemes for some of the expected demand and few friends and family investors from the very very early days of warning and

get out

early and we came to realization that actually we've always been sort of fairly fast growing so let's just continue doing what we're doing yeah we also none of us came from that sort of a start up environment or that sort of VC backed company environment so it wasn't really a driver for us to have to act as a stamp of approval on the door that he ate this is being backed by this PC company and they they raise this much money so it wasn't ever like it desire for us to half that it was more so that we really wanted to run this company that way we want to run it and not be not have this kind of clock ticking on that Hey well you can run this company for now but at one point you will have to do something that's might mean an exit or IPO or something that

yeah

yeah I think that's fair and the first Kickstarter and her subsequent trade funding campaigns we learn to law and I think humanity is absolutely key to any success and you know as incredibly fast you doing kick in the polls and in sixty seconds there's a real wild moment abates it these days is incredibly instagrammable and people get together over food so by the time we were ready to do our seconds great funding for an up and we had this wildly engaged community we felt confident that was a good business model and actually it wasn't until another couple of years that we thought do you people at scale this is the right thing to do to truly scale

yeah

getting excited basement N. but because of this we we did it with we really didn't need that

yeah so

yes

and it strikes me as a really interesting approach I mean you serve kind of hinted at this which is they're so passionate so they're like force multipliers you get people contributing to the Kickstarter then they're talking about it and then it becomes just like viral product like an and this is the thing like we've talked about virality on the show with like Tesla's work that way people go into someone else's Teslin I like I want this car

it's

on believable and I think that's the key the key to the growth of loonies like you're making pizzas and usually you have people over and they're like this thing is amazing and they're like houses working again just slide in and then soon enough there making pizzas and then they go out and buy one

yeah absolutely

one of the coolest things specially during the pandemic we decided to do this many campaign called star Stockholm everyone was stuck almost quite invisible tame and we've excites people that we just thought for FH a connected to and if they wanted to have an we sent and I'm literally everyone from beyond say Dolly Parton flower office Willis says would then it's come incredibly name trophy but one of my favorite times is checking that any Instagram and seeing and Jake Gyllenhaal go Hey I really like your oven's how can I get my hands on one

yeah

everyone in the team volunteered to help get him out at noon ET M. and from Christian's point of view has patients are very supportive and very lovely but they're they're finishing their their tactical and hearts impressed and they only you really made the show and the Christian sets you know Bruce Willis has one okay this is real

got a pizza oven to Bruce Willis okay we're proud of you

the first time

seventy three

that's a Bruce Willis apparently a great pizza hello yeah I did not know

yeah well I think I hope he is

yeah I hope yes I think it was in twenty eighteen E. changed the name from loony you you and I to me and I

yes

and I should mention loony means oven and finish

it does

literally means other because my first one I had was a U. U. N. I P. seven I remember I was like wait to get the right one but you guys had a brand and you had recognition and attention and you were growing but why did you change the name

yeah I mean we wouldn't recommend that you changed your name if you don't feel the need basically there is a few good reasons but one of the key things is that D. U. N. I. we need you to pronounce it any but now everyone's heads and or e-commerce is ruining ends and we wanted people to be able to search for easily and when you search for you and I often it would suck also it's great to see you Neil at university R. E. N. I. and so yet there is that and people didn't know where to say it so and we knew for a while we wants to do that and M. I think it was Greg he's our CEO who when he starts it's suggested Liverpool why not change it to be sort of the financing we would say it in English just turn those use and souls and that's what we that's relatively easy transition I am of the city of of time

I wonder as more and more people now you're like twenty nineteen you're selling to people beyond just like pizza fanatics on the people who are really trying to experiment and that means that a lot of them are going to suck at it at first most people need to everybody's gonna burn their pizza it's gonna get stuck to the to the pizza peel and some people writing like bad reviews of the products and the socks I burned my pizza but like yeah you gonna burn your pizza because it's gonna cook in ninety seconds part of what you had to do was to educate people around how to make pizzas right

yeah it was a brand new Cassidy we created so people hadn't they didn't a pizza ovens there might be a few kind of explicit people that would have you know high and five thousand dollars or plus installation in their back garden but even they and they're very different because it takes errors heats up the beautiful installations but they're not you know any he's up in ten minutes and you can keep the pizza ninety seconds and that was brand new and any can kick lots of other things as well as you know we can pick cast iron and into amazing roast vegetables salmon or steaks so we talked a lot about that so and the first two years we actually cold any door often we almost shied away from even though it was invented for pizza from leaning too heavily into that because we were worried that people would be so scared about that and then we notice our retailers Colin at Pizza Hut come on why did that and then we quickly learned that what are we doing obviously let's be confident in that and we learned the actually the vast majority of our consumers they already made peace so they didn't need to be told her to do it and fight for their love was the more geeky recipes so severed all ends here thirty six error proofs and salt levels and hydration and that was such a I opening thing for us because by sort of to say in our marketing content for actually a bit more technical and ordering pizza at this release focus

I wonder when you mean you're going into twenty twenty presumably you know you're on this trajectory growing you now I've got an office in Austin so you are you know confident but then Kohli hits right and yeah I have to imagine that initially you were expecting like everyone else a significant slowdown

yeah

it was quite an incredible time I remember I was in in the U. S. auto sales store in March of twenty twenty and I remember this one event that I was in in the morning people would shake hands and greet you chest normally in the afternoon no one would touch you and yeah I remember coming back from from the US and going on to play in and this was like the day before they stopped all flights between US and and Europe and thinking that I believe I have no idea what the world's going to be like when I land some of the first effects of this was our some of our retailers with canceling orders and we wear panicking because we have all these schools all this inventory arriving and at the same time all our retailers are canceling orders left right and center but the one kind of spark of hope right in the middle of it books that are direct to consumer sales through a website which is starting to go up and up and up and up to date which is trickling up up the way we certainly would be like a we're in March and we've just had the best day ever a website in the UK or how but this and

this was totally unexpected

totally unexpected this was just at the beginning of looked out and I think at that point people it just like okay what's next what do I do what I'm not allowed to leave my home and turns out that a lot of people especially in the U. S. U. K. euro turned into pizza makers

I read that your growth was like three hundred percent in twenty twenty

yeah we went from thirteen and a half million in twenty nineteen to fifty five twenty twenty

that's nuts I mean and that was surely because all of a sudden people are home and

they started to

cook at home how did you deal with the demand I mean

you've got

shipping delays you've got manufacturing delays and massive demand

I mean I think partly we just thought that the first bike was going to be a spike and that was that but it just kept coming I am there is lots of reasons that we were able to jump on it that we had and had invested heavily in our digital marketing team so in lots of ways we're kind of ready to share the news about any as well as the so much of it being a bit words of mice I am in terms of how we handle that our our operations team really that taken a beating M. people were kind of complaining a lot and the only thing never complain about is the one

that's

on any and they wanted a faster so AT and t's Hey you you know what happens and global logistics and cheering the fans I met ya we had a huge George or on board the ever given on the Suez Canal that was another challenge M.

you were on that boat

yeah yet know us personally but I know you're on your knees

your own

loonies Ron that both that got trapped in the Suez Canal

yeah yeah we had fourteen containers forty foot container stuck on the ship

so the people had waited so long Rady and then had pre ordered the M. and others all sorts of challenges around that because we wanted them to have this oven at sooner yes it was it was a low

end and I mean how did you deal with the just like because you mentioned that before the pandemic you had staffed up around digital marketing which is the smart thing to do because you are expecting you know steady growth but you certainly didn't staff up in other areas because you know when anticipate the cold and what would have happened but I think you ended twenty nineteenth about fifty employees

there well in twenty twenty five forty five March twenty twenty and then for about three hundred fifty nine so yeah ethnic ethnic group and what was amazing about it is we weren't hiring people to work cars because people are fully empowered to work here I think a part of that was we learned early and Oliver cyclic speeds from zero all that tame beat and skills and seeing these little microcosm societies it's C. some teachers are incredibly impaired and others that were like depressed and broken and a lot had to do with the leadership and how much they trusted their team and the culture they designs and so it when we actively set any up or life K. let's make this a brilliant place to work and less genuinely build it with our team

all right I read that you said that the pandemic accelerate your growth by like three or four years and one year

at least

yeah the

other thing that began to happen is because you created a category and people are like I can make awesome pizza at home a lot of other people who are like this is a good idea I'm gonna make a pizza oven two and now there are probably thirty or forty competitive brands I mean even some of these older Italian you know pizza makers are making portable pizza ovens now you've got I mean just going on Amazon now

you see

brands that you know are clearly let's say I'm just going to charitable inspired by the design of

loony

yeah

and you know you can look at a multiple ways you could say Hey I'm flattered you know you guys have done the the tripod bottom I like that or I'm inspired by your dome shape where he can say wait a minute here this looks really similar to what we've done I'm so tell me about how you kind of approach competitors in this space

so first of all we start by focusing on what's really important for us which is our customers themselves

and yet

we have our sights on it that far into the future of really continued to develop this category and making a really awesome for our customers this is of course on top of that when we do feel like R. I. P. is violated tweet to do take course of action on those cases

yeah

and there's not actually any key brands that we're concerned about it's you know they're they're definitely a lot of copy cats which isn't great and we're choosing our battles but we definitely can be misdirected to the wrong time

yeah

yeah we've only got a universal team member so still such a tiny amount of resource right in the mix will positively belt

yeah one of the coolest things is I think last year maybe the basically the rock cheap pizza association of Napoli that's like the like champagne can only be made in champagne and this organization can only designate true Neopolitan pizzas to be like

right

you know double flower and San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo milk mozzarella and like Basil ****

yep that is

okay and then they approve your options like they gave it to C. stamp of approval

it is awesome I mean we we started this by wanted to make an old man inspired by Neopolitan style pizza getting to those high temperatures and cooking pizza there now the sporty that certifies all these restaurants and pizza Los and ingredients and professional bands gave us

yeah

that seal of approval it was just the most amazing thing

and I should mention because

you

there are restaurants all around the world that have the seal this is a V. P. N. seal and it's cool like you know that the pizza and there's gonna be pretty great I think and it's been reported that your revenues are now over to a million pounds a year I mean it it's it's pretty remarkable given if you started a Kickstarter

is completely

mind blowing crazy right like a Kickstarter to where you are today well I don't know do how often you just reflect on just that Christian you sought gap but that could have really been in each market could have been like just nerds who are really into like their pizza ovens

it really could have been just as needs but I know it really early stages before I have the product ready and knew that how to make this thing work there was this strong sense that look I think we might be on to something here I think this could be something a little bit bigger than just say let's make a couple hundred opens every year and nice living out of it I think there was this sense that hate these cute become something really really substantial something really really meaningful

yeah

and that's the thing about the outsiders coming into an established field that I think it they can look at a problem in with new eyes I guess and the fact that I'm not Italian I'm not of that that states actually have never visited Italy but just have this love for pizza and wanted to make better tools for it I think it's helped in terms of just looking at the problem with fresh pair of eyes and I think you you often see this in a lot of start up stories is that they use an immigrant coming into a new country and can combine those two cultures and into something new

yeah what do you think about this journey how how much of your success to tribute to the work you put in and how much do you think has to do is just getting lucky question first you

I mean it's so much oasis is lock it's a lack of timing coming up with an idea in the first place and block off both tree then I'd be the people who had this idea there's a there's a lot of hard work that's gone into it but I mean you can't deny the fact that I mean we have been incredibly lucky with with the original inventions lucky with the team that we have managed to build around ourselves so yeah we do have to re feel really really fortunate

yeah we didn't have to give up city jobs to make this happen which I think is a very important thing when you look it can on to nurse and really go over it you said awhile through that's fine we had a really nice life on very little money before so it wasn't not rest really were able to you know play a role in the business for so long and I think that has helped us as well that modesty I guess

yeah you know the thing is I was going to ask if you get sick of pizza but no one gets into you can't

no I mean I'm at the office here four days a week and I eat pizza here at least two or three times a week

I look forward to the day when the Italians come after Agassi

we have has a heck it's pizza I guess neeps and tatties pizza Sir but I don't know about that but who knows

I think one thing that connects UK and Finland is that I think that Italian ex prime minister perilous cronies been equally S. disparaging off the coast scene of these two countries

there's a pizza company and and Finland's cold coffee pizza that famously won the pizza world champions ships with their **** and it was a reindeer pizza and burgers Cody they were so excited that the kids are jet's apart is going into it we bet you at your own game so

yeah yeah the name to the pizza perilous Courtney to us a little while now farm okay tally and

ask for the death

that's arena garland and Christian top by Nina ho co founders of the loonie

also the great thing is there's so many other placers you know New York and Roman pizza and Detroit and yeah there's there many different

strategic peace are pretty great all that cheese and pepperoni so good I always think of Eminem on a track pizzas I don't know why make it easier to trade

it's really random

that Esso stations never gonna go away to

Hey thanks so much for listening to the show this week if you enjoyed it please help us spread the word tell someone about how I built this or post about it on social media and thanks if you want to contact the team aren't email addresses H. I. B. T. at I. D. dot one three dot com if you wanna follow us on Twitter our account is at how I built this in minus

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and on Instagram at how I built this in I'm

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dot ros this episode was produced by Christmas any music composed by Ramstein air of Louis it was edited by Neva grant our audio engineer was killing moon our production staff also includes J. C. Howard Casey Herman Liz Metzger Carrie Thompson Alex Chung Josh lashed St Paul St Catherine's safer delayed coats John Isabella and Carla Estevez our internet Susannah brown I'm guy rise and you've been listening to how I built this hi members you can listen to how I built this early an ad free on Amazon music download the Amazon music app today or you can listen early in ad free with one three plus an apple podcasts if you want to show your support for our show be sure to get your how I built this merch and gear and wonder we shop dot com before you go tell us about yourself by completing a short survey at one three dot com slash survey

Hey I'm JJ Redick hosted the old man the three my basketball career has taken me honest credible Reid from playing under coach K. at Duke trip to the NBA finals and NBA career spanning fifteen seasons now I'm bringing that same passion and insider knowledge

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