#3 Innovating Life Podcast with Scott Olson

On this podcast I talk with my best pal Scott Olson about how innovation happens.  Scott is best known for creating Rollerblades.  More recently its SkyRide, Rowbike, Kong Pong, the Crusher, and many many more.  When Scott is not innovating he is engaging in fitness and the great outdoors. Scott and I have shared so many adventures and fun together, it made this podcast more difficult than the first two – where to start – where to finish.  I hope to have Scott back as a regular guest – he has a lot to offer in how to stay in the “now” focusing only on that what is most important.  I hope you enjoy my conversation with Scott Olson.

Podcast 3

Jon Sabes: Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the Jon Sabes Innovating Life podcast today. Here with me today, I’m challenged to introduce my guest here today, my best pal in the world, Scott Olson. Welcome, Scott.

Scott: Nice to be here, Jonny. Good to see you.

Jon: Yeah, great to see you. So on my last podcast, we had doctor Brian Chen, who, we closed that podcast out talking about introducing to him to Minnesota. You were there that day. You wanna kind of pick up the conversation? You were just mentioning Brian Chen.olson

Scott: Oh, yeah, yeah. It was a great day because, one, we were out iceboating, and I was setting up the iceboat, the Nite, the N-i-t-e iceboat, and you guys come rolling up. And I was like, ahh, ‘cause you gave me the heads up, saying hey this is Scott, we got some visitors coming, and then it was like, nah, we don’t want visitors today when we’re iceboating, ‘cause you never know when the whole iceboating season’s gonna end, you know.

Jon: Right.

Scott: And then, I’m thinking, ahh I can’t be selfish. They’re Jonny’s buddies, they gotta be pretty good guys, so let’s, let’s entertain them. So I’m pulling up the mast, and here you come pulling in, and you guys come ripping down to get on the boat, and you take out, Steve was the other guy?

Jon: Tom Nodine.

Scott: Oh Tom.

Jon: Tom Nodine, yeah.

Scott: Tom, the figure skater. So meanwhile, Brian and I were up talking, watching you guys ripping around the lake and found it very interesting that the guy was working with you, and just came in from California, and here we are sitting on two feet of ice, you know. And that’s when he told me about the whole story of him getting held up by gunpoint, which I found really fascinating because I’ve always envisioned myself being in that predicament. And then later finding out he wants to come out and shoot some deer in Minnesota. And I said, just come to my place, I got them running around all over the place. So we hit it off really nice. It was a really, really fun day.

Jon: Awesome. Yeah, I know. That’s a great story, where Brian talks about, you know, he’d envisioned being held up by gunpoint and how he handled that situation, and sure enough, he found himself in that very predicament. And I think that’s a great point as to be careful what you think about, you know. So, you’ve been thinking about innovating a long time, haven’t you, Scott?

Scott: Oh yeah, I’ve been innovating. I’ve been lucky to be innovating since a very young age, and always coming up with ideas and products to service my sporting needs, and making golf clubs before, you know, other people were making golf clubs. And making goalie equipment ‘cause I didn’t like how it felt to get hit by a hockey puck. So, you know, that’s what it’s all about. You know, coming up with a better idea to make things a little better for everybody.

Jon: So that’s just always come natural to you, just always just sort of a natural inquiry process for you? Were you just recognizing a problem, going, oh this could be better.

Scott: Yeah, yeah, it was a natural thing. I think I was, you know, fortunate enough to be able to, you know, move on it. And the more I got into it, the more I realized really how special it was, you know. I grew up here in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, and really working on, working with other people, you know, just really growing up in an environment where, you know, things were always changing, like they are now, but growing up at a young age, and realizing that, you know, a lot of the things I had to make for myself, you know. ‘Cause I didn’t have maybe the money to go out and buy the equipment, you know. So then, yeah, just always innovating. And then I luckily had a skill for getting the idea built, and then, another skill of, you know, getting the product, you know, into the market. You know, so, been very fortunate to be able to capitalize and on some of those ideas early on iimg_7241n my career. So I don’t want to let it out of the bag yet.

Jon: Your next innovation? I mean, congratulations on Sky Ride, a best new cruise attraction, cruise attraction for 2016?

Scott: That’s what I read, and that’s what just came out recently. The end of 2016 that was published. So yeah, I came with a, I innovated an idea, maybe 20 years I came up the idea of being able to have a piece of fitness equipment right on a track, you know, a monorail track. I thought would be really cool to really take that fitness experience to a whole another level, to new heights, so to speak, to new speeds.

Jon: Yeah.

Scott: And I always had this drawing in my mind, well actually, I had it on paper from somebody else that drew it up for me, and then after a bunch of years of looking at it, and I was doing other products before that. I finally, you know, thought to do something, because you know I would hate to see somebody else do it and myself thinking, ah I should have did something. So I finally made a prototype, and got it off the ground, you know, and starting, you know, nurturing it, and getting more and more people involved in it. And really came up with an experience. I had no idea whereimg_3028 it would go, not like it really mattered, but I just really felt it could go someplace, and that’s what kept me going. The someplace where it was going to go and could maybe have some value really to the special needs environment people, you know, with people that are physically challenged. So that was really one of the motivators of really creating that product, along with, you know, making it a new fitness product. But you never know where it’s going to go. And all of a sudden, Carnival Cruise calls up and wanted to come test it out. And then, prior to that I had some disgruntled employees that came out and ransacked my property.

Jon: I’m laughing only because I remember that, yeah.

Scott: Well you were the one that helped me call the guy on the whole thing, and that’s, you know, every startup’s got its own challenges, as you know.

Jon: Yeah.

Scott: And every start up basically fails for one reason or another. And course you don’t think about that going into it because us entrepreneurs like to think of the big picture, and that it’s going to be a huge hit. But anyhow, I got ransacked, and the guys came out and destroyed everything I built. It took me maybe three years to build, and then Carnival called like a month after that happened, and we were still just coming together and putting everything together. And I told my guy that worked with me, I said, don’t have them come out because, it’s not ready, you know. And he says, oh, it will be ready. Well anyhow, long story short, they came out, and I’m leaving the driveway to, because I didn’t want anything to do with the deal.

Jon: You know.

Scott: Yeah, I didn’t want to be around, ‘cause I hated seeing the product not really performing to my expectation.

Jon: Yeah, well that’s always a challenge, the expectation you envision it to be versus the reality of where it’s at, right. So, Carnival shows up and…

Scott: And my coworker calls me up and he says, hey, they loved it, Scott. I go, ok, yeah I’ve heard that before. And most people did, once they got on it, because it was a really cool experience being in the air, and you’re moving, and you’re working out.

Jon: I can testify to that. It’s a pretty damn cool experience.

Scott: Yeah, well you’ve been on every one I’ve built.

Jon: Absolutely.

Scott: Every prototype, you know. And so anyhow, long story short, Carnival bought into it. So now we’re on Carnival Cruise, and just got on that ship just in the last. And that was a barn burner and sure enough, who would’ve thought, a simple idea being able to have a buyer basically on a track right, would create this much excitement, that it still amazes me that it came together the way it did.

Jon: It’s incredible. Congratulations.

Scott: I’ve very lucky.

Jon: You mentioned that you had a drawing a couple years ago. I remember you showing me that drawing. We had, it may have been maybe one of the first couple times we were hanging out together, and you showed it to me. And I’m wondering two things, first, having a visualization of that, how did that help keep you driving forward, just to have that picture? And then, ultimately, what did it look like twenty years later when you built it, how closely did it resemble that picture?

Scott: Good question. God, you’re good at this, Jon. You are really good at this, man. But that’s a great question, man. You know, I’ve always promoted, you know, really getting your ideas on paper, just written out your goals. But the actual drawing wasn’t anything special to most people, but it was to me. Not to mention one of my very good friends drew it for me in like 15 minutes, but I always come back to it, thinking the drawing, and we could maybe post that too, but it was a drawing of the SkyRides hanging from the ceiling, you know. And then there was a running track below it. So that gave me the motivation to at some point to know that I can do it, I wanted to do it. So it was a big motivator to have that drawing. So I highly recommend, and you know, when you got that idea, you know, get it drawn up, and I can’t even draw. So I always have to rely on other people to, you know, pull that off for me. And the beauty of that is that some of these artists take it to a whole another level, and David did that for me. So, I mean, at the end of the day, he’s actually created more drawings, more futuristic drawings to make this thing even more futuristic. Because that’s really what this thing is going to evolve into, a really futuristic fitness machine, and futuristic means of transportation. I mean, it’s gonna go so many different places, and, you know, time will tell if that will happen, but I’m willing to bet on it.

Jon: You certainly have bet on it. It appears you’re winning. So, when you built your prototype, what does it look like today, relative to that drawing? How closely, even though it wasn’t a very detailed drawing, but just in general, you look back at that, what is it?

Scott: I think it’s pretty similar.

Jon: Yeah.

Scott: I don’t have it hanging from the rafters yet, you know I’ve got it hanging from towers that are, you know, 20 feet off the ground, and in the Carnival case, they’re maybe even 30 or 40 feet off the deck, you know. But for the most part, it’s very similar. It’s not really performing like I envisioned it or how I previously envisioned it, but that will come tomorrow.

Jon: Yeah.

Scott: We’re always working on making it faster and more streamlined.

Jon: You mentioned a feeling that you had, you know, that it was going to work, you know. And failure, right. I don’t know every startup fails how many times before it actually works. Somehow you succeed through failure, you know, being persistent towards it, but that feeling, you know that you kind of kept going, that somehow this is going to materialize itself and have a role and now you’re seeing that, and you’re getting the chance to see people on Carnival, you know, love it, and then history acknowledge it as being the coolest new thing out there on the ships.

Scott: Yeah, expand on that question.

Jon: Well, I just think, sometimes this feeling. You mentioned, you know, you were saying somehow it was going to be there. It was intuitive to you that it was gonna happen. And so when you said a feeling, it cued to me that there’s something almost physical about that, or emotional, or something, within you, that cues you. I think that’s a big thing for entrepreneurs and innovators, where, you know, what is it, what’s that feeling that you have when you’re out there on the fringe, that doesn’t exist, just in your mind, and you somehow continue to push forward in spite of all the challenges, guys trashing your equipment right before you get the call from Carnival. Yet you knew it, and there it is on the ship and there it is, it gets best of show award in 2016.

Scott: Well, I’m glad you expanded on that, because the feeling, the feeling I had was that I knew it could be very popular and potentially profitable, even though that wasn’t my motive. But at the same time, the feeling that this thing could really be for real. And I really wanted to make that happen. And then the feeling of being able to experience the ride, was, you know, an experience was one that pushed me on to keep it going. I suppose if I had the feeling of, that first ride, wasn’t good, what would I have done. Even though it wasn’t really that great, you know, but it was enough just that being vertical, being in the air, with that movement. I realized that this thing could be something really exciting and special. And that’s what’s been keeping me going, is that feeling of the rides I had before these guys, these jerks came out and trashed me. Because one of the earlier prototypes I had was, and you never got on that one because it got trashed, was amazing, it was like so fast, so quick and responsive and so quiet, that I haven’t really got back to that until just recently, when we launched it on Carnival, almost there, and but not like it was. The Carnival ride’s great, but it’s not really as fast and exciting as it’s meant to be. Carnival didn’t want it to be fast and exciting.

Jon: Yeah, you’re, what, 300 feet off the water, the top of a cruise ship. It would be an incredible experience putting it in New York City or Istanbul or one of these famous ports, and cruising around on the top of the ship, all the way, 360 degrees, and they don’t want you flying around there too at mock speed.

Scott: Well, they could, but they didn’t want that, but I have to believe that they’re gonna want that on the next ship, you know, ‘cause why not. What better place to be able to go, you know, faster than you could ride a bike, and being able to be in a controlled thing, like this track. So I think at some point they may not know it now, they’re going to want it, creating, you know, in the background as they’re happy with what they have. So I’m creating, you know, the next generation of this machine, because that was my goal for day one.

Jon: Right.

Scott: You know, so.

Jon: The feeling of flying around in the air, and what that feels like, in a controlled environment. I think you told me, 20 years ago, the fastest human powered machine.

Scott: Exactly, that’s the goal, whether biking, recumbent style, or the way you like to bike upright on a road bike. I prefer, you know, rowing. You know, that’s kind of, whatever you can do in the club is what you’re going to be doing on this track. As you just referred to, referenced, you know, mock one, you know.

Jon: Yeah

Scott: You know, why not. Let’s make it accelerate quickly and just fly around and just get people really excited through their workout, where you know, people, that’s what it’s all about for that application, fitness, is to get people really excited so they want to keep coming back and they want to do another lap, you know, they want to keep going, that’s what’s going to keep, you know, that movement gets people engaged, and when they’re engaged in their workout, they’re going to see results, and so, little do people know that they’re going to be rowing around on the Sky track, getting in the best physical shape that they’ve ever been in. Because rowing is the absolute, finest, probably the most effective workout a human can do, but, you know, not too many people do it yet. But when they can be flying around wherever that track may be, so whoever’s out there, get ahold of me, because we can get these tracks going, you know, around the country. People of all ages, that’s the beauty of the Sky track, you can, you know, be a senior, and you know you don’t have to worry about, you know, balance, you can just be moving.

Jon: Cruising around.

Scott: Flying around.

Jon: So rowing, right, there’s another innovation. And I know rowing has a been a passion fitness, a passion for anyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to hang out with Scott Olson, most super fit guys you’re ever going to hang with. But rowing and the row bike, there’s another one. Let’s just touch on that for a minute. You’ve actually created a bicycle by rowing, and you could spend all day with all of the amazing things that you have come up with. You might even want to mention the Punisher, there’s another fitness one and that’s to be, we’ll leave you wondering just exactly what that one is, that one is awesome. Maybe I’ll post a video.

Scott: No, you can’t do that yet, that’s too new. But let’s get back to the rowbike.

Jon: Yeah, let’s talk about that.

Scott: ‘Cause that’s how you and I got connected. And even though I love promoting the row bike because, you know, I love it, probably one of my favorite inventions, more so than probably one of the first ones I did. But that rowbike, I remember you and I got going on it, and you took to it much like I did, and then about two, three weeks later, Christine, you know, my pal, your wife, says, geez, have you seen Johnny? His body is changed.

Jon: Yeah.

Scott: You know, it didn’t surprise me because, other people’s bodies changed in a matter of weeks because it was an activity, a fitness activity that people really, really enjoyed. But, the rowbike is basically a rowing concept to a rowing show on two wheels. That was another idea that I dreamt up, and I had a lot of people tell me it could be done, you know, a lot of engineers said, you can’t, you know, balance on a bike with two wheels and the seats sliding like 25-30 inches back and forth and your handle bars are moving back and forth.

Jon: Right, imagine a concept to rowing machine set atop a bicycle. Now that’s pretty reasonable a proposition for your engineers, can’t be done, but I’ve been on it, it can be done, and it’s awesome. Go ahead.

Scott: Well thank you, yeah. They said, you’ve got to have three wheels, Scott, you’ve got to have four wheels, and it’s like, I said, no, there’s no way in hell I’d even do it three or four wheels. I’m not even going to go that way. But I kept knocking on doors, which is what I do, try to find the right engineers, the right inventor, the craftsman basically, to build it. I found a guy who said, you know what, I can make that work. And we started working on it and sure enough, we worked and worked and worked it, and we go it to, kind of, two wheels, and went through all kinds of different prototypes. I can’t tell you how many different prototypes we built on that thing with that concept. But it is something new to be reckoned with that, it’s an amazing experience just to be rowing around with your whole body on a bike. Most people just peddle on a bike. Someday, hopefully within my lifetime, we’ll see, you know, we’ll see it become a whole new category. You know, I haven’t given up on it. I just got sidetracked with the SkyRide deal, and now I’m getting back to the rowbike.

Jon: Well, these things take time, you know. That’s another thing that, again, you’ve always amazed me with your patience. I mean, I’ve learned so much from you over the years. One of those, is patience, you know. Innovations take time. You have to take action in furtherance of them. Sometimes you can’t force them, you know. You’ve been with SkyRide for 20 years, again, since we saw the picture, and there you go. And you know, you keep driving at it, you know, you’re persistency is at a pace that seems to allow you to get further than most inventors or innovators do, you know. You have persistency and nothing seems to set you back, I mean, even though you get the setbacks. You just keep driving through them.

Scott: Yeah, luckily it is. It’s nothing but setbacks for any entrepreneur, you know, you’ve been there, any inventor. You know, there are two categories, two different types of people, the inventor and the entrepreneur. It is just nothing but setbacks. It’s all you know, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to experience a lot of setbacks, and live through it, but at the same time not really affect me too much, other than, it’s just part of the whole process. And obviously, you want to minimize as many setbacks as you have, because every setback’s money, you know, and that’s usually what puts a guy out of business, is because they run out of money. And then they have to go out and find the money, and they lose business because the investors come in, and they take it over. So, the SkyRide’s been a really special venture of mine, innovation of mine because I didn’t want time to be a read big factor, because I wanted to kind of do it on my own time. So I’ve been able to do that, and move it ahead. If I had to do it because I needed to, you know, put food on the table, maybe I would’ve got it done quicker, but who knows what the outcome would have been.

Jon: Well, yeah, I think when you’re innovating something, sometimes you’ve heard the phrase ‘you’re ahead of your time.’ Right, so sometime it’s easy for visionaries, for innovators to have their time. If you are ahead of your time, you know, you won’t find a market. It’s not ready for you. I mean, okay, we’ve been talking about SkyRide as a means of transportation, as a means of getting people, moving people around, I mean those things are maybe ahead of their time. They’re certainly on the forefront of what cities and what people are thinking about, which is how do we move people, get them up off the street, get from A to B, and experience, and make it entertaining, and/or fitness. So just being persistent and allowing for the conditions or the timing for those innovations to take hold, or maybe years in advance, I mean.

Scott: Well, I think the SkyRide is really right for a lot of that. Obviously fitness, fitness products change everyday because everybody is looking for a better way to get fit. If you can market that idea to the public, that you know, you use this product to look like the person on TV or magazine. A lot of fitness stuff changes more quickly than a lot of things. The whole transportation part of this product is right because of the way all the cities are becoming more congested, so if there’s a way to get people above that, or in Elon Musk’s case, below.

Jon: Oh yeah, boring Elon.

Scott: So yeah, whether or not it goes up high. He just took that bar down a little bit, just put it down below. I think the SkyRide for the most part can become a transportation product.

Jon: Yeah, well maybe we’ll have to talk to him at some point about that.

Scott: Yeah, well he’s coming into town, I heard.

Jon: Oh really? Wow, what brings him, do you know what brings him in?

Scott: To check out the SkyRide.

Jon: Awesome. Elon, come by our office please and say hi

Scott: He will because, if I get him for more than a couple hours, we’ll come down and see you.

Jon: Well that’s, you know, that’s a common hero. We’ve got common heroes. We talk about Elon a lot, right?

Scott: Oh yeah.

Jon: ‘Cause Scotty was a version 1.0 owner of the test class.

Scott: 2013

Jon: Wow, yeah.

Scott: It was amazing to get in it every day. Just drove it down. Yeah, from Duluth, jumped on two super chargers and of course it was zero degrees, and that really affects the batteries, and I’ve got the small batteries, so I had to hit the other super charger. No big deal. You know, you pull in, charge up, and go, but yeah, it’s really been a fascinating ride to be a part of this whole movement with the Tesla car.

Jon: And I want to go back to rowbike for just a second, and even SkyRide, where you’re putting on electric power on either of those. I had the opportunity to ride an e-rowbike the other day, which was fantastic. You had put a bionics motor on the back of a rowbike, and it was phenomenal. We rode all over Minneapolis on that thing that evening.

Scott: Yeah, we didn’t get done until about midnight, you remember that? Yeah, it was a hell of a ride. We’ve had many great rides, and that certainly was a wonderful experience, and then you’re working your whole body, you know. But yeah, I’m all about, you know, taking my rides, jacking them up with the electric battery. In fact, our motors are coming out of Israel right now.

Jon: Wow.

Jon: And really a highly tuned motor that is going to take the rowbike and the SkyRides, you know, like the Tesla. You start working out, it’s going to just accelerate quickly and be quiet, and take you, you know, instead of cruising around doing 20 miles an hour on the SkyRide, for example, you’ll be doing 40 or 50, getting the same workout. And that’s the same thing I want to do with rowbike too, is really get the speed moving even faster. E-biking, we’ve got a buddy who is setting us up on some e-bikes. We’ve been having fun on e-bikes. Scott and I have fun on just about everything that we do. If you go to my website, there’s a little picture of Scott chasing some charismatic megafauna, that’s a ram, over at Glacier National Park. We did that one, and then we were riding in some iceboats the other day. We just have so many great adventures. Iceland biking, by the way, that’s Scott in one of the pictures there too. I just can’t think of how much fun we’ve had over the years together, and really innovative, cool things together.

Scott: Yeah, I can’t agree any more than what you said on that, but what I found interesting about our relationship is that we hung out for like two years before I ever found out what you did for a living. Because we never had time to really talk about business, and then I find out you’re this supreme entrepreneur yourself, and then we just like, I think all of our best friends, they think that we’re from the same parents, you know.

Jon: Brother from another mother.

Scott: Yeah, so that’s been really special to like, oh yeah, do that, oh you love that kind of music, and you think about doing it this way, and we really share a lot of similar commonalities there that’s been really cool.

Jon: Well I think it goes back to just the beginning, which is that, if I look at my background, I always just basic questions. Can I be better, and let’s make it better. Why not? Why can’t it be done? And again, you’ve been an inspiration to me that way, which is as an entrepreneur, that’s your primary job, is to innovate, make better. How do you do that? You’re innovative, persistent. You allow patience, although you keep moving forward. Just all of those things, you know, not let any setback along the way, you know, knock you off course, if at all humanly possible. And sometimes you don’t even know what is possible. You have to be tested pretty hard.

Scott: Yeah, you’re tested all the time. There are just so many things that come up, with personnel people, you know, product, you know, mechanical products. You know, people’s lives are at stake, so you’ve always got something that you’re overcoming. It’s just how you look at it, you know, so I’ve been very lucky that I can really take a look at it and not get too worked up about it, and then call on, you know, as I’ve called on you. You’re amongst, you know, 20 of my confidants, people that, you know, I’ll say, hey, how do we make this better? You know, what do we got to do to make this work? And then all of a sudden, you know, everybody’s chiming in. You’ve got all these great ideas, you know. That’s one of the things I like to do, just like, you’re out, cruising the countryside and you’re looking to find a place where it’s really located. What do I tell my friends? Just stop, pull over, knock on that guy’s door, and find out, you know, where is this place. The guy will know where it’s at. I’m always like, you can’t be afraid to ask for help and so I take that seriously. And you don’t know where it’s going to come from either, you know. I mean, I’ve had some of the best ideas come from people that weren’t trained as an engineer. In fact, that’s what I just told the people at Carnival yesterday. It’s like, some of the best people I’ve worked with, you know, they’re not aircraft engineers, they’re not rollercoaster engineers. We’ve used them, you know. Some of the best engineers are the guys who are building stuff in their shop, you know. I don’t care who it is, I’ll seek them out and listen to them.

Jon: That’s a great point. A lot of that comes from outside, outsiders, and seeking help and talking to people. No one talks to more people than Scott. I mean, he knows more people. I mean, you just befriend everyone, and you’re open to their ideas and friendship and how to make the world a better place. That’s really cool that, you know, in terms of engineering, some of those actual engineer ideas are coming from engineers not within the industry. And that’s really where it’s gonna happen, surprisingly enough. So don’t be afraid to ask for help and accept help and ideas from people outside the core industry.
Scott: Yeah, amen. Amen. That’s been a big, big part of my success, and in fact I just mailed out a couple different stock certificates to guys that, you know, really didn’t know it was even coming for them, but sure liked it when they got it in the mail, ‘cause they really, you know, helped make this thing a reality. You know, I can’t do it without them.

Jon: It is a reality. If you ever find yourself in Waconia, Minnesota, which is west of the Twin Cities, do stop out at the Sky farm, and take a ride on the SkyRide. It is amazing.

Scott: Definitely, even if you’re in Minneapolis doing some other business, give us a holler and just come on out.

Jon: See the swans.

Scott: Yeah, we got a lot of swans out there.

Jon: Scott’s recruited a whole cadre of trumpeter swans, a once almost extinct?

Scott: Yeah, they were down to 50. They said 50 back in 35, 1940. They were down to just about being extinct, and luckily that didn’t happen, like a lot of species become extinct. Every day species, wildlife, become extimg_7516inct, but for some reason these guys hung on. And when I first moved out to my place, this farm out in Waconia, you know, you didn’t see a swan, you know. And we started raising them out there, and I’m not the only one that was doing that, but all of a sudden to this day, you know, there’s thousands of them.

Jon: It’s incredible.

Scott: They’re going to be off the endangered species list.

Jon: Really, coming off.

Scott: Yeah, they’re gonna come off.

Jon: There’s just probably a couple hundred just sitting on your pond just the other day. It was amazing if you ever see these guys fly by you, like 747s in the air. It’s just incredible how big they are and what they sound like.

Scott: Yeah, I get goosebumps you just talking about that. I’ve been away from the farm for two days, so I can’t wait to get back out there because it’s just, like you said, the sound even. I mean these guys are going all night and they’re honking, they’re trumpeting, they’re trumpeters. There’s music in the air, and it’s just an incredible sight and sound to have them around. You know, we had six of them, I don’t know if I told you this. We had six of them just in the last two, three months die, and I had them autopsied, two of them, and it was lead poisoning.

Jon: From the shot?

Scott: Yep, bb shot, it never goes away. They say as few as two bb’s, you know, will kill a swan.

Jon: Huh, wow. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but in duck hunting, the no longer use lead shot. In pheasant hunting, they use lead shot. Is that how it works right now?

Scott: Yep.

Jon: And so they’re out in the field, eating the corn in the field, and that’s where they’re picking up the lead shot.

Scott: Yeah, well, even in the water, the lead shot’s been there fifty, sixty years, and they’re feeding off the bottom. They’re picking it up anyway. And when you’re pheasant hunting too. You’ve gotta outlaw that even for pheasant hunting because people are always shooting over wetland.

Jon: Wasn’t the DNR saying they were having
row-boatsome problems this year with the eagles?

Scott: Oh yeah, definitely. The eagles are eating deer that have been shot that haven’t been found, and they’ll eat a bullet that’s been in the meat. So yeah, I gotta imagine a bullet that size will kill an eagle in no time.

Jon: So, Scott and I are always observing. One of the great things hanging out with Scott is that you’re always observing wildlife. He’s an expert in waterfowl. He’ll always be identifying the birds. You were just identifying a few species that showed up at the farm the other day.

Scott: Oh yeah, it’s an exciting day when you get your binoculars out and you see a different duck that you haven’t seen for a few months. So we had a couple green wing teal that flew in, and some gadwalls, some hooded merganser. There’s probably twenty different species of duck that’ll fly through the property during the spring, and it’s probably my favorite pastime, watching the birds fly.

Jon: Springtime is here in Minnesota, it’s coming. Iceboat season’s gonna end soon, so I’m hoping this weekend we’ll get a few final rounds in. We opened the show talking about the nite. I’ll post a picture of the nite. How old is our iceboat, Scott? You guess.

Scott: That nite was invented probably forty years ago, and it hasn’t changed, the design hasn’t changed at all. Our boat’s probably twenty years old.

Jon: Twenty years, yeah. Amazing. Beautiful design, again. Innovating fastest man-made machine before the invention of the internal combustion engine. I was having a debate too with someone whether or not it is the fastest, non-motorized machine out there today. They were trying to verify what was the fastest, non-motorized machine, and looks like it is the iceboat, but in terms of human speed, non-motorized, they’re also claiming a downhill skier is pretty fast too.

Scott: Oh, yeah, but I don’t think a downhill… Well, I guess those downhills will hit a hundred, or have they hit a hundred?

Jon: Yeah, it was fast, it was like one fifty.

Scott: Uh huh.

Jon: Just in terms of record speeds.

Scott: Gosh.

Jon: Yeah, it was pretty sick.

Scott: Yeah.

Jon: Well, I want to thank you for coming by, and doing our podcast today. It’s been a real pleasure as always.

Scott: It was great to be here, Jon. It’s great to see your company take off, and your new digs here. I mean, beautiful building your office, you guys put together for GWG. Congratulations.

Jon: Thank you. We left the ceilings off, we thought that was better. img_4635

Scott: Yeah, I agree, it’s more spacious.

Jon: Saved money too.

Scott: Good for you.

Jon: Do you like my bed that I can sleep in up here? My bunk that I built up here?

Scott: I love it. I love the whole idea of being able to take a nap. Well you work around the clock, so you should take a nap whenever you want.

Jon: That’s kind of what I figured, you know, I can stay here, or at least more in comfort when I crash out.

Scott: Yeah I’m looking forward to crashing out there one of these days.

Jon: Well, good. Hey, thank you, as always. Lots of love. Really appreciate it, and look forward to doing some iceboating this weekend with you.

Scott: Oh yeah, me too. Love you too, brother.

Jon: Alright, cheers.

Jon: Alright thank you, Scott Olson for being here and participating on the Innovating Life podcast. This was a challenging podcast for me. Scott and I have so much shared history and experience together. It was almost a challenge to find, you know, where we should start. So, I’m expecting to get Scott back here on a regular basis. We just have so much to explore with him. He’s really one of the most interesting, creative guys. Check out my blog. It’s jonsabes.com, where I’ve got some really interesting articles and photos of Scott and I iceboating, and links to where he was hosted at the Minneapolis Institute of Art in the DaVinci exhibit, and there’s just all sorts of cool stuff. I can’t say enough about Scott Olson, and how really great he is at being an innovator in life. So thank you, and check back with us. We’ll be back with another podcast in two weeks. Appreciate it. Be good, and keep innovating.

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