Staying focused: The Case of Scottevest

Sometimes Shark Tank is good for a bit of entrepreneurial strategy. Here is a video of Scott Jordan of Scottevest. This is a company that has gone all in on the idea that people want pockets for their gadgets. I love this stuff and have their vest, jacket, pants etc. What was he doing on Shark Tank? If you watch this video from 27 minutes in you’ll see.

OK, you’ve watched it. I think we can all agree that his appearance has nothing to do with getting funding and all to do with getting exposure in prime time for no cost.

That said, the whole pitch was a little odd. Jordan said that he wanted funding for a new company that would license his technology that is patented and successfully so. He apparently wanted connections to help him. Sadly his potentially connections either thought he was morally horrific or wanted a stake in his clothing company (which was pretty successful).

It seems that Scottevest is doing well with an architectural strategy — that is, trying to control a unique product and compete with it. But at the same time, wanted to pursue an intellectual property strategy. Suffice it to say, his potential funders saw some conflict in having just one part of that set of businesses. More importantly, it wasn’t clear if Scottevest could compete and cooperate with other clothing manufacturers at the same time. It is possible for larger established firms to do this but a firm still growing at 100 percent a year? There just doesn’t seem that Scottevest has enough market power to get license fees on its technology to match potential loses if others enter his, more or less, unique market space.

By the way, in case you are wondering, the patented part of his clothing — the whole wired headphones thing — I don’t use it. Why? I have one good pair of headphones and don’t want to re-wire them into different garments each time. In other words, that patented thing is pretty valueless from my perspective although I guess other clothing manufacturers decided it was valuable.

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