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Interview with John Lusk (The Mouse Driver Chronicles)

The MouseDriver ChroniclesSeveral 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.

John And Kyle
John And Kyle

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.

Mouse Driver

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.?

We utilized Inc.com for a bunch of our stuff and marketingprofs.com to help marketing creativity

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!

The MouseDriver Chronicles


 
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Comments:

  •     John Lusk
    · June 30th, 2006  · 1:13 am  · Permalink

    Steph,

    Thanks again for the opportunity! Hope some of my comments help other budding entrepreneurs out there.

    John

  •     Steph
    · June 30th, 2006  · 2:45 am  · Permalink

    Hi John,

    You’re welcome. Also, just to let you know, I’ve been told by several people (in person) that they got something from the book! Thanks again for sharing your story and experiences.

  •     John
    · September 22nd, 2006  · 2:40 pm  · Permalink

    Hey John,

    Not sure if this will get to you.

    If it does, I would like to connect with you via email. I am teaching a course using your book.

    You can reach me at johnmgreathouse@yahoo.com

    Cheers,

    John

  •     Steph
    · September 23rd, 2006  · 4:44 pm  · Permalink

    Hi John,

    I’ll email him directly letting him know that you’re looking to contact him for your course. Hopefully he’ll contact you shortly.

  •     max
    · February 25th, 2007  · 12:46 am  · Permalink

    hello John And Kyle,
    I am a student from china.I learn a lot from your book .I also want to share my new style of the mouse with you .I am sure you will like it.I would like to have your emailI adress so I can show you the whole thing.I hope you can reply soon .

    max

  •     max
    · February 25th, 2007  · 12:51 am  · Permalink

    hello John And Kyle,
    I am a student from china.I learn a lot from your book .I also want to share my new style of the mouse with you .I am sure you will like it.I would like to have your emailI adress so I can show you the whole thing.I hope you can reply soon .my email adress is
    sapce_max@126.com

    max
    sapce_max@126.com

  •     John Mullane
    · April 19th, 2007  · 11:14 am  · Permalink

    I also use the book in my New Venture Creation classes. My students always want to know how 2001 went as far as sales. I would love to get info. on this.

  •     Mandy
    · June 2nd, 2007  · 6:07 pm  · Permalink

    well, i wonder how are the two guys?
    i read their book a few days ago, and i am really inspired.
    so, is there anybody can tell me more about the two guys? have they sold out their company? and , what are they busy with now?
    thank you, i hope you would answer this, Steph?

  •     Steph
    · June 3rd, 2007  · 9:45 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Mandy,

    Those are the very same questions I asked them in the interview 🙂 I too was interested in finding out what happened after the book. So rather than re-iterate, I’ll let you go through it.

  •     mandy
    · June 4th, 2007  · 6:34 am  · Permalink

    thank you, Steph. It really helps a lot for being one of your readers. 🙂

  •     Property Management Software
    · November 11th, 2010  · 9:39 am  · Permalink

    I really liked the interview as it had been straightforward and answered some of the real world questions which liked the most…I’ve seen many people who are on top level of success, but they don’t provide a lot of details which can help smaller business-man to a bigger extent..but this had been really different… 🙂

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