For those who missed it, the March 2, 2012 episode of Shark Tank was fascinating. One of the “contestants” was lawyer-turned-entrepreneur Scott Jordan. Scott’s company, TEC (Technology Enabled Clothing), had a patent that allowed the customer to “embed” various devices such as iPad’s, mobile phones, etc. in internal pockets and listen to them via a wire that ran thru the clothing. The patent was issued on the wire running thru the clothing. Mark Cuban went ballistic when he heard that a patent had been granted for this.
During Scott’s presentation, he divulged that he had a separate business that sold $12 million of his patented vest last year and that was not being included in the deal. As expected, all the Sharks went crazy and started attacking Scott for being greedy and getting a “dumb-ass patent” as Cuban put it.
My mission is to help entrepreneurs succeed. One of the ways I do this is by analyzing the entrepreneurs appearing on Shark Tank and pointing out what they did well and where they made mistakes. I give Sharky Awards to the best, and Shark Chum to the rest.
By the end of each show I always have a definite opinion of who I liked and who I disliked…….except on March 2nd. Did I like Scott or dislike him? I was conflicted. I loved the guy and hated him all at the same time. But why?
Scott made an hour plus video clip (no kidding!) explaining his actions on the show and the Shark Tank environment. I actually watched the whole thing. It too, was fascinating. I still have mixed emotions. Is Scott Jordan a Super Hero or Villain of Shark Tank?
Scott, the Super Hero
Scott Jordan is super smart. He is an excellent communicator. He has guts and is passionate about his business. He has achieved great results with his business. His Revenues of $12 million are forecasted to grow 100 percent a year for the foreseeable future…..and he’s very profitable! He and his wife have done this on their own without outside investment. I also love the fact that he didn’t let the Sharks push him around (he said in his video clip that he had heard Mark Cuban’s goal was to make him cry on camera!). Scott is to be applauded for all of these accomplishments. He’s the stongest businessman ever appearing on Shark Tank.
Scott, the Villain
Scott is a bit of a narcissist, but I suppose all successful entrepreneurs are that way. For example, in his video clip he said that he pointed at the Sharks and said “You’re Out. I don’t need you” because he “wanted them to remember me”. Didn’t you mean remember your company Scott?
Scott just can’t understand why everyone doesn’t think exactly like him.
He did, in my opinion, lose his cool at the end of his presentation. This is something that entrepreneurs should avoid at all costs. People never forget this type of behavior. It comes back to bite you “in the end”.
These somewhat minor flaws are over-shadowed by two villainous words that are associated with Scott…. “Patent” and “Lawyer”. Let’s take patent first. Any non-lawyer entrepreneur who has ever run a technology business, will tell you that US Patent law stifles innovation, adds a ton of cost, and favors large companies. That explains Mark Cuban’s outburst and my support for his statements. As a former CEO and co-owner of a mid-sized software company, I have been involved in some totally insane patent infringement lawsuits. They took lots of time, money, and accomplished nothing. Of course to a lawyer like Scott, patent law makes perfect sense and is simply a necessary part of doing business. Not so for the typical entrepreneur.
The second word is “Lawyer”. As an entrepreneur, if anyone on my staff ever said, “There’s a lawyer on the phone who wants to speak to you”, I would immediately expect the worst. If I received a letter from a law firm, my heart rate would instantly double…..and not because I was falling in love.
Simply put, when an entrepreneur hears the word LAWYER, the mind thinks PAIN. Scott, it may not be fair, but like it or not, this is the downside to your former profession in the eyes of the entrepreneurial community. Don’t take it personally. If it bothers you, eliminate it from your bio.
Finally, ABC must not be very happy with Scott after he posted his hour plus video clip. He said the network automatically gets X percent of the equity in EVERY company appearing on the Shark Tank TV show……even if they don’t get an investment from the Sharks! (Note: I had been previously been told by another contestant that X is 5 percent of the company’s stock) . This explains why Scott never mentioned his other company (Scottevest) on the show….he didn’t want to risk the producers getting 5% of his existing company that is probably worth millions.
Summary….Scott Jordan created some great TV. Although flawed, he is an excellent businessman with a nice business. I hope Shark Tank has more contestants like him in the future.