May 19, 2014

Ear Holes and The Reddit Army on Habanero Sauce

I've got issues.

Often, the best solutions to my problems are offered up by creative entrepreneurs over at  This is where I go to get the scoop on products before they're released to the wild.  Below are a some of my 'starter goodies.

Custom Fit Phones
All brands of earbud headphones I've tried are terrible when trying to bump the beats on a run.  They bounce around and fall out of my ear holes when prancercising.  Cords tangle and my high hats sound like sissies.  

After nearly giving up on trying to listen to Tiësto on my trots, I browsed Kickstarter and found a fix.  Decibullz are a set of custom-molded 'phones for $39, claiming to stay in place on a 10 mile tempo.

Waiting is the hardest part, I forked over the bucks last November, with an expected ship date of March. Kyle is in charge of Decibullz, he raised $112,000 in 30 days.  He kept contributors up-to-date on progress, sharing photos of his trip to the factory in China to help configure molding machines and finalize design tweaks.  I love watching the details of a product growing from idea to production.

Headphones showed up on my doorstep this week, roughly two months behind schedule.

The packaging looks pro' to me:

The red pieces are what you heat and shape to your ears:

Soak the molds in boiling water for 5 minutes to soften:

Let them cool for 30 seconds, they're like putty and ready to be fitted:

They harden to plaster as they cool to room temp:

I immediately headed outside to work them over a sweaty trot.  They stayed in place, offer up punchy bass and feel great with a custom fit.  There's a remote on the cord to control your tunes, and a mic' for handling calls.

Keys Consolidated
Orbitkey also arrived on my stoop from Kickstarter.  This one buttons down your keys into a tidy package, covering them to prevent your phone from getting scratched in your pocket.  You can add a USB stick, taser or bottle opener for emergencies.

A couple of young Asian gentlemen from Australia are running Orbitkey, they raised $210K in 30 days with this campaign.  Here they are with a manufacturing update at the Chinese plant, discussing a design change with engineers:

These dudes know what they're doing, my bounty arrived on time and of high quality.  The locking snap-ring gave a satisfying schlack as I fitted my keys:

Turns your keys into an expandable Swiss Army knife.  Clip your car remote to the metal loop on the end if you want.

$25,000 in 24 Hours, Saucy
This short story shows how marketing and business start-ups work in 2014.  And the power of the Reddit Army.

Dane Wilcox lives in Portland Oregon.  He likes to garden in his backyard.

Last summer, he had a bumper crop of hot peppers he needed to use up.  Dane decided to experiment and boil up a few pots of hot pepper sauce.  After tuning the recipe, he shared samples with friends and family.  The feedback was immediate and unanimous:  everyone loved the hot punch, coupled with a sweet aftertaste.  They told him he should create a hot sauce business.

Dane turned to and offered free samples.  Readers e-mailed him their snail mail address, and soon received small glass viles of hellacious habanero.

More than 2,000 Redditors took him up on the offer:

He shared photos of his grandma and family helping prep the free sample sauce.  Note above in the comments people noticed the cardboard cutout in the bottom pic:

Redditors offered positive feedback on the samples.  Burned twice they said.  Dane now had the assurance his sauce would do well.

A few weeks after mailing the free booty, he opened a Kickstarter campaign to sell his sauce.  Wanted to raise $5,500 to cover glass bottles, labels and packing materials.

The Reddit Army came out in full force to support Dane.

He raised $25,000 the first day.

Three weeks to go and currently at $45K, he'll pull over $100K by the end:

Watch for it, I bet FYM sauce will be in grocery stores in a few years.  Dane will become a millionaire.

I ordered a couple bottles of orange fire.  Let me know in the comments if you'd like a hit...I'll ship a flask to one of you when it arrives in July.



  1. Anonymous5/20/2014

    Those are some amazing products. I think those headphones might work on my motorcycle. And I know the hotsauce will work for my mouth. Sign me up! -MAhlers

    1. Currently you are 1 out of 1 entered for the sauce. Pretty good odds there.

  2. Anonymous5/20/2014

    Beard, my husband wants a good set of headphones to wear while he does his morning run (um, I think I'd DIE if I saw someone prancercise down my street). He is a minister and gets a ton of phone calls throughout the day and it seems they happen a lot while he's running. He wants headphones with a mic so if he has to take a call he doesn't have to pull his headphones out so he can answer his phone. Do you think these might work? I haven't seen a bunch of reviews regarding the mic part. Everything else sounds awesome, but if the mic won't work well (doesn't have to be AMAZING, just work!), then these won't work for him.

    1. I used the mic to dictate to Siri to check the temp and order a pizza. It worked well, but haven't tried it on a run yet. Because, well, eating pizza while running is more difficult than you think.

      The mic is located on a small stalk high up where it picks up your voice well, so I think it should work well for what your husband needs. Go for it!

      Do you like hot sauce?

  3. That's amazing. I'm most interested in the hot sauce 'cause he's in my hometown. I'll have to watch the stores and farmer's market for it.

    1. Off on a tangent here, the HI trip is off for this summer, so we are looking at California or Oregon instead. Do you think we'd like the Portland area?

  4. Laurie W5/21/2014

    I think I might have to check out this site, I'm always down for trying something new and I wouldn't mind a hit of that sauce!

    1. You got it, easy odds on the sauce.

  5. How much outside noise do the earbuds block? I worry about safety and being able to hear cars & people while out on a run.

    1. Good question, the answer is yes and no. Yes, the buds block more outside noise. But no, I don't think they are more dangerous. I can keep my music volume much lower than with other headphones, still hear the music and just enough horn honks to know what the traffic's doing.

  6. I had a really hard time finding earbuds that would stay in my ears to run too. I think we tried 5 pairs before we found one. Yours are much fancier than mine!! And I'd love (or really my husband) to sample some hot sauce. Love seeing people realize dreams like this!

  7. I enjoy reading your blog.. thanks for taking the time to write.. you sound like a great dad!!!

  8. Beard, I've had a difficult time with running headphones, these look great. How long is the chord? I cannot find that spec anywhere on decibullz website.

    1. 45", low profile jack and flat wire to minimize tangle. Good stuff, I've taken the phones on several runs now and they work great. Drop the bass and they stay put when hammering the trail.

  9. silly me, I keep seeing the title 'ear holes' and keep reading to see the story of pigtails getting ears pierced... oy.....happy summer beard and co

    1. Here's the one


Thanks for the note, check back for my response!