Several weeks ago I posted an entry about the book “The Mouse Driver Chronicles” which I’d read and really enjoyed. Since then I’ve been in contact with the authors of the book, in particular John Lusk. In one of our last email exchanges I asked him if he would be interested in an email interview and he accepted my offer. But before I get to the interview, let me give you a brief introduction about John, especially for those of you who aren’t yet familiar with the book.
The book “The Mouse Driver Chronicles” is the story of John Lusk and Kyle Harrison, both graduates from the Wharton school of business, who decided to start their own bootstrap company at the very height of the dot com mania. At the time, to their fellow graduates, this seemed very odd (remember this was at the height of the dot com era). They skipped out on some very lucrative offers to start their company Mouse Driver, a company whose sole product was a computer mouse in the shape of a golf club driver. The book is their story of coming up with the idea, creating the product, manufacturing it, marketing and selling it, and all the possible road bumps they encountered on the way of which there were many! This story even became reading material for some college business classes. I personally enjoyed their story very much and I’d recommend it to everyone.
Now that you have an idea of who John is, although trust me when I say that a paragraph doesn’t do justice to reading the book, here are interview questions I sent him and his replies to them:
Hi John. I’ve been thinking about which questions to ask you and of course the most obvious is what’s happened since the book was published? How is company growing? Is there a Mouse Driver 2 product in the works? What’s happened to the two of you?
We sold the company to a large gift distributor on the East Coast in late 2003. Our exit strategy was always to sell the assets of the company and that’s what we did. Before we sold, we put together a few MD II prototypes that were a bit more ergonomic, utilized USB vs. PS2 and had a more sleeker design. At the time of sale, we turned over these prototypes to the acquiring company.
How has the book “The Mouse Driver Chronicles” impacted your lives and your company?
The book as been a very positive impact on our lives. Not only can we say that we’ve written a book, but our story continues to inspire, motivate and educate people all over the world. It’s been published in Korea, Taiwan, China and the UK and is required reading in over 100 universities/MBA programs in the US. We receive emails weekly from people who have been impacted by the book and just knowing that we’re helping others b/c of our story is just phenomenal.
Having read the book and the Insider Newsletters I found there was a lot of great information about succeeding and starting a business. If you had to give one piece of advice for someone going through it, what’s the one piece of advice you would give them?
You’ve got to believe in yourself and your company. As soon as you start having doubts, it’s time to get out.
Seeing you had a lot of difficulty early on in getting a mentor, what advice can you now give people in this regard?
Get a mentor or an advisor!! Do whatever it takes to find at least one person who can help you through some of the decision making. We never brought an official mentor on board and we paid for it.
From your book I gathered that you highly valued social networking. It seems to have been a substantial factor in your success. What advice can you give entrepreneurs in this respect?
I think that networking in general is always a good thing…but you’ve got to have a purpose in terms of why you’re networking and who you’re networking with. My biggest advice is to make sure that you make in networking ‘meeting’ beneficial for both parties. Put yourself in a position where you can also help the person that you’re networking with.
You mentioned to me in a prior email that you were planning on starting up the Insider Newsletter again, is this for certain? I know I enjoyed reading them, as I’m sure many of my readers here too did, which leads me to ask you when do you think the next one will sent out?
I’m still planning on it, but it needs to be the right time and moment. Right now, at Microsoft, what I’m doing from a work perspective wouldn’t make for very exciting reading (smile).
I noticed in the book you were fans of Guy Kawasaki (which I am too). Other than his online blog, what other online resources would you suggest your fellow entrepreneurs look to for getting information and advice (other than the Insider Newsletter of course) on running their businesses, marketing, sales, etc.?
What do you believe the future hold in store for you? Do you still see MouseDriver as just a stepping stone or has it grown to more than that?
MouseDriver as a company is pretty much done. The book continues to do well but overall, the entire experience was just a stepping stone. Both Kyle and I are taking reprieves and work at Google and Microsoft respectively. We’re both that the skillsets and experiences that we’re gaining will help with whatever career move we make next.
I’d like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book “The Mouse Driver Chronicles“. Is there any chance that we’ll see a second “The Mouse Driver Chronicles 2” book?
🙂 I plan on writing another book….just need to figure out what it’s going to be about!
Thank you John for taking the time to answer all of my questions, it’s very appreciated. I wish you and Kyle the best success in the future and many other successful endeavours. And please let me know when you publish another book, I’ll be very interested in reading it!