When I think of inventors, I think of shy, calculating geeks that lock themselves in their basement laboratory with Pinkie and the Brain lab rats, and a refrigerator full of low- quality beer. That’s why I was really surprised when inventor Peter Ginzburg asked me via email if I’d like to interview him.
His willingness to self- promote is probably because Ginzburg doesn’t classify himself as an inventor. No, if you ask him, he’s an entrepreneur.
Ginzburg created the Ginzvelo, a prototype human-electric hybrid vehicle that effectively blurs the line between riding a bike to work, and having one of those over-priced miniature electric cars. This is just one of many ideas he has – but, it is the first one he is trying to sell. What motivated his entrepreneurial aspirations? It was a combination of public support and blind optimism.
Why In The World Did You Make This Device?
I’ve always liked fast stuff. I used to race Go-Karts and make mini bikes and get in trouble for them not being street legal. When I got to college, I built a 3-wheeled go-kart that went really fast, but I knew it was going to need to be street legal.
Cool, But Why Did You Decide To Sell It?
Well, at first it was something just for me, but then I entered an entrepreneur competition at school. I didn’t win, but I did pretty well with the marketing aspects. Plus, the judges really liked my design.
What Were Your Plans Then?
I was planning to sell only a couple hundred, but they told me I was thinking too small-scale. So I considered their advice and thought big. I took it to the Internet to get more publicity and funding.
Is This Your First Business?
Sort of. It is my first product-based business. I had a landscaping business when I was a teenager.
So You Have No Formal Business Training, Do You Think You Are Being A Little Unrealistic?
Well yeah – to many people think my business idea may seem a little far-fetched. But I looked at the people I look up to, and their ideas seemed far-fetched as well at first.
So You Need Publicity; Have You Been Doing It On Your Own?
I have a Kickstarter campaign that has done wonders for my publicity because freelance journalists read about it and wrote stories. Now, I am even being casted to appear on Science Channel’s All-American Makers. I’ve . I’ve realized though that my lack of media is limiting my success and I’ve hired help to get me more exposure. They are going to be re-doing my Kickstarter really soon.
You Seem Like A Smart Guy, Couldn’t You Just Get Some Well-Paying Job?
I thought about the alternatives. I could have spent 60+hours per week working, but I would still be creating my Ginnzvelo on the side – and for what? So that I could hang out with my friends and drink beers in the bars? That would have been a waste of my talents.
But Being An Entrepreneur Is Not Easy….
It has been so much more difficult than I could ever have imagined. I came close to quitting multiple times.
Why Do You Still Do It, Then?
People don’t do anything anymore. They don’t go outside. They are only thinking about what other people are doing. I don’t want to think about what other people are doing. I want to be the person that other people are reading about.
Do you dream big and take chances? Well, you might be an entrepreneur.