Behind the Golf Brand Podcast with Paul Liberatore

Ep #41 - Athalonz Golf Shoes: Tim Markison (Founder and CEO)

April 07, 2021 Paul Liberatore Season 2 Episode 42
Behind the Golf Brand Podcast with Paul Liberatore
Ep #41 - Athalonz Golf Shoes: Tim Markison (Founder and CEO)
Show Notes Transcript

We made it to Episode 41 of the Behind the Golf Brand Podcast.  In this week's episode, I interview my good friend Tim Markison the Founder and CEO of Athalonz Golf Shoes.  

Trusted by the top Long Ball Hitters in the World (their advocates include: Justin James, Ryan Steenberg, Will Hogue, Kyle Berkshire, Justin Moose, and Ryan Reisbeck to just name a few) Athalonz golf shoes are truly special! 

Athalonz technology is so unique, that they have received an incredible 13 US Patents! Unlike other athletic shoe manufacturers, who may have a design patent for their looks or utility patents for their manufacturing processes, all of their patents are for our one-of-a-kind, game-enhancing technology that gives players Optimal Athletic Positioning ("OAP"). 

OAP leverages the laws of physics to shift the way the feet engage the ground.  The medial side of the forefoot "sinks" into the ground; shifting your knees inward.  This causes a shift of your weight bearing forces to the inside of your legs creating a power triangle.  In this position, your body is able to maximize ground reaction force and minimize leakage forces. With your feet about shoulder width apart and more ground reaction force and less leakage forces, you generate 9% or more power!

OAP leverages the principles of biomechanics to align your body to optimize your kinetic chain. The kinetic chain refers to the sequence of movements performed by the body to achieve an athletic movement. For the kinetic chain to function efficiently, each body part needs to move at the right time and in the right sequence.

The combination of being in the best athletic foundation and having your body aligned reduces stress on the body.  By shifting weight bearing forces inward, loading on the ankles, knees, and hips is reduced, which reduces the aches and pains of repetitive sports play.


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Speaker 1:

Today , we play a golf. Let me show you how we do it in the pros. Welcome to behind the golf grand podcast. I've never missed with the seven nine a conversation with some of the most interesting innovators and entrepreneurs behind the biggest names in golf. My friends were the golf clubs. I lived on the golf course. I lived on the driving range from pro talk. You should learn something each and every single round you play to fun from on and off the green. Why would you play golf? You don't play it for money. Just let me put the ball in the hole. This is behind the golf brand podcast. With Paul libertory behind the golf brand podcast is sponsored by OnPoint . The revolutionary three-dimensional dome golf ball. Marker on point provides a recognition as small as a degree of inaccuracy from the planned course of the putt face angle endorsed by Jim Furich us open champion and 17 time PGA tour winner. On point alignment technology has been proven to increase putting performance and help lower your score. Visit OnPoint golf dot U S , and be sure to use code [inaudible] for a 10% discount on point, make more putts

Speaker 2:

What's up guys, Paul from golfers authority. Welcome to behind the golf ramp podcast. This week, I have my friend, Tim from Avalons Avalons is the premier. I won the premier golf shoe. That's just started in last couple of years. It just like blowing up a lot long ball hitters. Use it now, the technology and science behind the shoes. Really interesting. And you know, if long ball hitters are using it, there's a reason. So without further ado, welcome to the show. Hey, thanks, Paul . So where are you at right now? I always ask people that I'm in , I'm in Mesa, Arizona, I'm at my home office and then we also have an Apple lawns office, which is just a few miles from my home. So it works out nicely for me. That's cool by the airport. I know that right about the field. Yes . Greenfield and McDowell . And for those of you that know the Mesa area, I used to work at Falcon field. I actually got my private pilot's license, the Falcon field. That's why. And I worked at Boeing, the Boeing over there too. That's a huge facility. And you know , for the last year, their parking lot is a fraction of what it was prior to. COVID. It's pretty interesting to see it's a cool place because that's where they make the Apache Longbow. So when I was there, it was really freaking cool. And then like what , when I was in was an intern and when I was interning , uh, one of the guys I worked with knew somebody on the flight line cause they're in the army together and he's like, I get you in. So like I had to go, I had to go to work at five o'clock in the morning to go to the flight line, which I wasn't supposed to be at. I was told I'm probably going to jail for this story. And they let me sit in the cockpit. It was freaking cool. It was cool. It was really cool. The gutter seat . It is like, this is like 1997. It was so cool. I log it . Fred's still work at Boeing. So it's a good company over there. So what is your first memory with golf? Like how long have you been playing golf?

Speaker 3:

I started playing golf until I was an adult. I was, I was, I grew up in a family that was , um, lower middle-income at best. So we didn't have access to golf courses. And I was left-handed and my dad had one old set of right-handed clubs. So I , I didn't like golf until I was probably in my mid thirties and then it's kind of off and on. Uh, since then I love, I love to play. It's just finding the time and um, and the time to play in practice. So I was like,

Speaker 2:

So you're like most people it's, this is really funny. I found this common thread is that most of the guys that are starting brands are not pros. Right. They're more dislike guys that liked the game of golf. I , her figuring out the technology or whatever it is. Would that be true? It sounds like with you too , right? Like ,

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Well, I , I , um, I was a baseball player , uh, that was actually what I wanted to be when I grew up. So I had dreams of being a major league baseball player and actually went to college to play baseball, but I kept getting hurt. So my , uh, my baseball career ended when I was 19, but finished on with school and got an electrical engineering degree. And then , um, a few years later, so, well, let me just kinda give you the whole story there . So , uh , my, my senior year of engineering school , uh , my wife and I, we had our first daughter and this was 1984 February and she had a congenital heart defect . So she needed open heart surgery to fix that . And what we didn't know at the time is the technique that our daughter needed. They had just perfected like a year earlier. So the condition my daughter had prior to this new technique, about 50, over 50% of the babies that had it would die. And then with the new surgery, it was a 90% success rate. The issue was, is they didn't have, the equipment was too large to operate on an infant. So we had to wait. And so she got bigger. And so from, she had the surgery in October. And just to jump ahead, she's now 30 just turned 37, like , yes . So it's hard. It's hard to believe. But so she, she had to wait that eight months before she could have her surgery. And so they were controlling, the doctors were controlling , uh , her medical condition through medications. So every once in a while , we'd have to take her to the hospital to get the medications adjusted as she grew. Uh , so from the time she was born, until she had her surgery, we were in out of the hospital six times. And you know , like I said, this was my senior year of engineering school. I was 22 at the time and my wife was 21. So we were, we were dead broke. Uh, so a couple years after her surgery, we got sued by the, we had, you know, every once in a while , we'd send in a check, but we had six accounts that I didn't know about. Uh , so the oldest account was when she was first born. Um, so we got two . So this was 1987. And so before the internet existed, so I started calling around for attorneys to represent us and they all wanted at least a $5,000 retainer just to get started. And I'm like, well, I , I, I don't make that kind of money. I says , I don't just feed that hell when I just don't have the means to pay it. So a friend of mine said that we can represent yourself. And, you know, my first thought was, well, no , you gotta be smart to be a lawyer. That was my thought at the time, but I had no choice. So I , I , um, was living in the Chicago suburbs at the time. So for a month I drove down to downtown, Chicago, went to the law library and studied how to represent myself and filed a , the answer. And at the first hearing, the judge calls us into his chambers, me and the attorney for the hospital. And you know , now with 30 plus years of being an attorney, I can look back on that. And the attorney for the hospital just did an awful job. He was trying to paint me out to be a deadbeat, like how it wasn't a dead data was just a young engineer with a critically filtered . I off the judge. Yeah. So, yeah , so the judge asked me, you know, how the family's doing and, you know, and he says, he asked me , you know, what, what can you afford? And I , um, I had my spreadsheet engineer. I have my spreadsheet. He goes, I literally, I can afford 20 bucks a month. And the judge goes, all right , this is what we're going to do. Uh, I owed over 40,000. He goes, you're going to pay them hospital 20 bucks a month for the next three years. And we're all set in the attorney for the hospital goes, that's completely unacceptable. The judge claps, his hands. Oh , good. We got a deal. So as I was driving home from the courthouse, it's like, I think I'm gonna go to law school. So that's how I like to go to law school that prompted you. Yeah. Yeah. So that's what gave me the inspiration to go to law school and started about a year later. And , um , and then right after I started law school, I was fortunate enough to get a job at Motorola in the patent department. And that was how I got into patent law . Thanks how this ties into Avalons is , like I said, I always , uh, I grew up wanting to be a baseball player and still had a passion for baseball. And then after law school, I started playing adult baseball and it was real baseball, men's senior league. And, you know, it was a lot of good players, so it was a lot of fun. And then , um , for my 50th birthday, which is now coming up on 10 years ago, my wife got me , um, enrolled me in at what's called pro bowl camp. And it's a camp for adult players that want to learn how to play baseball better. And it's taught by majorly coaches. And one of the drills , uh , was taught by Rick Adair , who was the pitching coach for the Orioles was they'd put a rosin bag on the outside of the foot and underneath the heel of the driveway to force that back knee inward a little bit. So if you drew a line from the grind to the ankle, that knee should be on the inside of that line and why he came up with that idea was studying hall of fame, caliber, pitchers, and talking to them and looking at their lower half, they all had an incredibly powerful bounce, lower half, and they all had the knee on the inside of that line from the groin to the ankle. And then Rick also noticed though that most major league pitchers and hitters for that matter, they didn't , you know, so even those elite athletes, they weren't in the most optimal position for generating and stability . So that's why he came up with the drill. So when we met at this camp, he goes, you know , do you think we could put that into a shoe and, you know, with my engineering background and I've done a fair bit of inventing through my career. And I says, yeah, we can figure that out. So that's how, that's how Avalon's got started , uh, almost 11 years ago now. And , um, and then, yeah , we started with a baseball shoe that , uh , came out in 2014 and we had had modest success there. And then we also had a , a baseball tertiary that we had. So this all transitions now how we get into golf. Uh , we were at a charity event. There were four of us in a charity, the golf charity events in the spring of 2018 and golf shoes were on our radar screen at the time. But for this charity event, we just spent 25 bucks and have a long distance driver hit one of your t-shirts . So we spent 25 bucks and , um, and it was the long driver was Mitch McDonnell . He was a teaching pro at Mesa country club. Plus we'd also been competing in long ride for 15 years. So we were chatting with him on the tee box and he says, Hey, would you mind trying out our church shoes? You know, we've got this technology that helps put you in a better athletic position. Sure . I don't mind. And he took one swing and made us, Oh my God, know , my back legs locked in. I felt this, I felt bad . And I just hit the ball 35 yards further. Totally crap . So, so that was like escalated our, our desire to make a golf shoe.

Speaker 2:

We are expecting that. Right. Cause you're just like, well, we know it probably will work, but when you see a , like a long ball hit or hit the ball, I mean 35 yards a lot, especially to them. Right. Cause they're all close to each other. So it's like, it's that little extra they need to win.

Speaker 3:

Yeah . So we, within a few months we had a prototype golf shoe may and then Mitch McDonnell took that to an event. So this would have been the summer of 2018. He took that to a long drive event and he got knocked out and around at 32, but Ryan Steenberg , who's good friends with Mitch says, Hey, let me, let me try them shoes. Ryan was number six in the world at the, it had been competing for eight years, but he had never wanted that . He puts on our shoes, he wins that event. The next event out in our shoes, he wins that again. And, and people like Ryan, what did you do differently? And he goes, so literally I changed my shoes. And of course the first reaction is, well that's , that doesn't make any sense, but then the next player tried it and they got better. And the next player. So by mid season of 2019, we had over 50% of long drivers , uh , wearing our shoes, including eight of the top 10 men and women. And both men women's 2019 , uh , world champions. They didn't have a season in 2020 due to COVID. And then that got us introduced into them , the , um, the PGA champions tour. And we have there's about seven or eight players right now on the champions tour, aware on our shoes , um , including Bernhard, Langer, Fred thump , and Duke, Sandy Lyle, and then a few others that we're still chatting with, but they're wearing them in competition. They're just not a contract. So we've really kind of see a growth in.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Cause I mean, it's so cool because it's like, you caught the eye, the long ball world. Right. And now it's a must because it's like, if everyone else is using it and you're not using it, then you might not hear as long as they do. Right. So it's like an extra advantage or disadvantage you would have, but then it's like the champions tour, those guys still want to hit, like they did 20 years ago or 10 years ago. Right. And they're still very competitive and they still want to play. And because they're older, they're just not able to hit it as far. Right. I mean, that's what it is. And now, I mean , I can see as blowing up on the champions tour for sure. Right. Like,

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Yeah. We're we're uh, well the champions tour this past weekend was just in Tucson, Arizona. So we're, you know, first week of March right now. And , um, you know, we had, we had some folks down there and you know, we, we had dozens of players coming up and asking questions and going and burnout minors , Sandy, Lyle, you know, Fred funk can do, they've all been a great advocate for the shoes. Like you gotta try these because they really, really do help. So, and you know, we'll get into to why. Um, but it's , um, you know , so that's been, that's been great, you know , for, for Bernhardt he's 63 or 62 last year. And he had one of his best seasons ever last year. And you know, he'd just be set . He felt more stable and was hitting the ball better consistently because of the shoes.

Speaker 2:

It's insane. I mean, this is cool to hear that because, you know, everyone needs that special thing to help them get back to where they were. Right. Especially those guys, because they're not used to not being on top right now . So, so you went from, so like what the baseball shoe, like, how are they using it? Were players using it during games or for like, just getting like, what was the story with that?

Speaker 3:

Well , you can, you can use it , uh , during, in game . So , uh, let me, let me go back , uh, on how we develop this technology. So, you know, to mimic that Roslyn bad , um, you know, we want to kind of chills your feet inward a little bit, but you don't want it tilted in all the way from heel to toe because now you're you're causing pronation and then that shifts everything up. So what we did well, as we were designing this, we worked with an orthopedic surgeon, Preston Whelan out of Chicago, because I didn't want to make a product that while it might help athletic performance would cause, you know, lead to potential interference in the long-term . Then we worked with a sports scientist. Uh , his name is Gary McCoy. He's one of the more prominent sports scientists in the country, if not the world. And he had a lot of time , uh , with major league baseball and then, you know, working with the major league coaches, you know, Rick Adair , uh, hi Ben Berkley , the hitting coach for the Indians. So we had, you know, may bring in the engineering to the table. We had the orthopedic surgeon , uh, bringing his viewpoints, the sports scientist , bringing his viewpoints . And then the, the major league coaches bringing their viewpoints that went into designing the shoe. And so we ended up doing is that the heel is just like any other ketone on a shoe it's it's if you go from the lateral side to the media side , so outside to inside it's it's like any other shoe it's , um, it's, it's flat, so there's no pitch one way or another. And then, you know, all shoes, all athletic shoes and have a little bit of smoke from the heel towards the toe. Um, so we , we have that in our shoe, but as you get into the forefoot, now you get this gradient slope so that the ball of your foot and big toe are the lowest point in the shoe. And so that helps mimic then the rosin bag positioning. And, but Y you know, so once we started looking at that, I wanted to understand, well, why, why does that matter? And coming from an engineering standpoint, I started looking at the physics of it and for all that movement, while for any movement, for that matter, it's a , it's a matter of, you know, our body pushes on the ground and the ground pushes back. The ground, pushing back is ground reaction force. And for most golfers, they at least for the ground reaction force, but it's that ground reaction force from the ground that allows us, allows us to move. And what we've done within the shoe is instead of the ground reaction force being perpendicular, we've kind of shifted it a little bit more towards the body. So now you've got more force going towards the body. So less leakage going this way more force into the body creates from a more stable base and more power. And then by shifting that angle for somebody, my size, who's six foot, it's easy to calculate. Well, how much force going, how much more force is going into the body, if that's where we come up with that 9% figure. So if you look at our website and we talk about 9% more power, that's where that comes from, but shifting ground reaction force from here to here, and it goes more to the body.

Speaker 2:

So really what happened was you, I mean, it sounds like you saw, and you saw the idea unfolding in front of you, right. To the bait when you were at the baseball camp. And you're like, Oh, this is cool. And then it's like, as time progressed, like you were able to develop fundamentally a shoe that helps you hit the ball farther either as a baseball player or as a golfer. Right. Because you're not, is that because like with regular cleats or regular shoes, like you don't have the same effect, is that why?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so, so it's, it's not only further, but it's also with more consistency because your body is more stable. So your golf swing can be more consistent. And there's less of energy when we started studying. So we just assume that, you know, most golf shoes were flat and the forefoot would have a perpendicular , uh , ground ranching for us . So we shifted it more in , so that, that in and of itself would give you more ground reaction force. But when, when we , uh, were analyzing golf shoes, we , we would cut the toe off and look at at the , um, at the forefoot of the shoe. And they're all kind of U shaped like this. So what , what that does is when you're trying to stay on the inside of your leg, on your drive leg, well, the shoe is actually pushing ground reaction towards a little bit away from it . So that's where the sway starts to come in. So when you , you kind of load on your backside for your golf swing and you've heard the term sway it's because the shoe is pushing your energy away from the body. So your body is compensating for that to keep balance. And it's so it's pushing away.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I see. So like instinctually, our body's like, Nope, I'm trying to keep us balanced.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So now your foot is starting to move in that shoe and foot movement. You know what I mean? The pro athletes do this really well. They compensate for that in their swing, the last elite of a golfer, the more that impacts the swing. So the more we can keep that back foot steady during the load , um , backswing and all the way through the point of contact, the more efficient our golf swing is going to be not only from, you know , uh , less wasted energy, but more energy into the swing and what we also found, you know, and , and to be honest, I haven't, we haven't studied every golf shoe out there, but we know at the leading brands and you know, the big push now is comfort, which, you know, makes a lot of sense. Cause you're going to walk 18 holes. He wants you to keep lighter

Speaker 2:

And more comfortable . Well,

Speaker 3:

What happens when they go with lighter, softer materials as you compromise athletic performance. So the soft, softer materials compress more, which absorb energy. And then, you know, they talk about bounce back, but there's no, there's nothing that compresses and bounces back and gives you a hundred percent. So that takes, you know , five pounds of force to compress. It, it, you know, you may get two pounds back. So there's, you know, the , just from physics, that's the sprinkle efficient . So nothing is going to compress to give you a hundred percent back. And there's certainly not that that's going to compress and give you more than a hundred percent back. So you hear about bounce back technology. All they're saying is, well, instead of it being only getting 40% back of the energy, you might get 45 or 50 that's bounced back technology. You're still very inefficient with the compression in return, but it's better than other stuff. So that's the bounce back technology, what they're talking about, but you still have all that wasted energy. So it's a balance in the shoe of how, how hard you make the midsole to keep comfort, but also to maintain athletic performance. And on that point, what was happening with Bernhardt before switching to another shoes is he would go through three or four pairs of shoes in a , in a match because they were very soft material . So as he was hitting the outside issue and start to compress more, so now his feet are actually pointing away from his body. So as the shoes were wearing out, he was getting more and more of his energy going away from his body. So he's having to do more and more compensation with his feet in the shoes and with our shoe that it , it , it eliminates that it gives them something to work against. So a , a great analogy that we've we use a bit is like, you know, sprinter blocks. So you've got those blocks that splinters push off against, you know, you can still sprint without them, but you get a better push off. We've got the sprinter blocks . So in a, in a way that's kind of what we put into the forefoot of our shoes. It gives you something to push against.

Speaker 2:

So pretty much all the long ball hitters using the shoe right now, I would assume so, right,

Speaker 3:

Again , that there's not really a tour in , but most of the players are still using our shoes, whether they're competing and little independent leagues, you know, and you know, in where we're going now, like I said, it's more on the champions tour player on the champions tour circuit. Uh , we also now have a few players on the Korn ferry tour , uh, using our shoes. And , uh, we have one lady right now on the symmetric tour wearing our shoes. So I'm sorry, who's that as summit Rochelle. Um, she's out of Arkansas. So she's on the symmetric tour working towards getting on the LPGA.

Speaker 2:

I just think it's cool. You know, like I just think that like I, like, longwall honestly, it's a whole other art form, you know, it's like, and you see how far those balls get hit. You're like, Holy crap.

Speaker 3:

It is, it is amazing. And you know, I'm six foot, 200 pounds. And when I go to the basket drivers, I look tiny. You know, these guys are big , massive players, you know , and that, which just makes sense because, you know, part of the hitmen and a LA a golf ball is , is the mass behind the swing . So there's, there's a reason why, you know, long drivers would make strong men and home run hitters in baseball are big strong guys. Cause it's, it's, it's the mass of the body , uh, in combination with the club that allows the ball to go,

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I can never hit the ball that far. Well , I get the ball that far, it's going to be slicing right at the trees. That's the truth. Like I have a lot of respect for them because they really are athletes. You know what I mean? Like, it's not like, Oh, I'm a bad. That could be a little with a ball really far. It's like, no, they're an athlete training hit the ball really far. Right? Yeah .

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So to that point, you know, Justin, James , uh , former number one, he was a minor league baseball pitcher before getting hurt and then transitioning into long drive. Uh , his dad, Jerry was a competitive, long drive player as well. Ryan Steenberg, who I mentioned, he was a starting quarterback in college and got into that. Kyle Berkshire played baseball and golf and in high school. So, so you're right. I mean, these guys are good athletes that are just incredibly strong and have amazing ability to transfer the power from the ground, through their body, to the, to the golf club.

Speaker 2:

Yeah . It's crazy. Like, I wish I could do that. I'm too old for that.

Speaker 3:

So yeah. I , I I've , I've been thinking about this and I've talked about this, you know , but, but if everybody could hit a ball 400 yards, it wouldn't be special. You know, there , there's a reason why watching people walk is not a spectator sport because everybody can walk. What makes professional AF uh , athletics, fun to watch? Is there so few people that ,

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's the pinnacle of whatever that thing is. Yeah .

Speaker 3:

Yeah. It's like, boy, it's so cool to see somebody play it that well. And that consistently, and

Speaker 2:

Like, I was watching the tiger woods , uh , documentary, you know , and they were like showing all these great shots he had and all the pressure and I wasn't golfing on Sunday. And I was like, literally thinking about it, like, Oh, I remember chipping. And I was thinking, you know, about like tiger was making these crazy pods and crazy things. And I still miss my shot, you know, it's just like, and like, he makes it from like 70 feet away and I'm like, I can't even make it from three. So

Speaker 3:

Yeah . Millions of eyeballs be a TV and, you know , tens of thousands of people right. That are watching you. And yeah. And I'm the same way that I'm playing with some friends and it's like, Oh my, you know , you kind of,

Speaker 2:

You're on the first tee box. And then with like staring at you and the shotgun guy right there, and you're like, don't slice, don't slice. And then you hit it and you top it. And you're like, Oh yeah, that's me. Yeah. Seriously. Like, I can't play in front of like, my I'm like already embarrassed, but yeah .

Speaker 3:

That a lot . And I , yeah , I hate being at the number one tee box when there's groups around.

Speaker 2:

I hate that. I hate that so much, especially , or even when there's not, and you're with like another twosome right. In her , like, you know , like, you know, you do the cordial hellos and then, you know, they have nice stuff and they have like each had a really nice drive and then you hit, it's like complete crap. And you're like, Oh yeah, it was me. That's right. You got 80 mils of that. And then they're like, Oh God, this seriously . Then they get back in their car. And they're like, Oh.

Speaker 3:

And then it just gets worse as the whole,

Speaker 2:

Well , then they did to get to know you, and then they kind of accept you. Like, you're the dumb kid, you know, like, Oh, okay. That guy sucks, please. Yeah . Like, yeah. But you guys are going fast though. So what did, like, when did the golf shoe really like start taking off? Like what year was that

Speaker 3:

We've introduced it that, so we had production being made in the fall of 2018. We applied for USG approval in the fall of 2018. We first got rejected. And then we , we had a no from the U S GA

Speaker 2:

He gets rejected the first time. Right. Like that's just there. Yeah .

Speaker 3:

So it was, it was an interesting process, you know , and , and, you know, for me, that's where, you know , uh, having that experience helps yeah. Practicing law and technology and

Speaker 2:

Explaining stuff.

Speaker 3:

So it took about six weeks, but we got a post fast, we got about approval from the U S GA . Um, so , uh, the day before Thanksgiving of 2018, so we really did a formal launch of January of 2019 with the shoe

Speaker 2:

Now for marketing, it kind of is marketed itself. Right. It wasn't like you guys were, you know, saying, Hey, like people were using it and they're like, Holy, what are you using? Oh, that's what this is. Oh, cool.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So , uh, a lot of our , uh , marketing efforts has been that, the word of mouth. Well, I should say that the most successful marketing effort we did, we did , um , that we did. We were a sponsor of the 2008 Jade long drive with golf channel commercials on a golf channel. And , um, what I, what I learned from that is quite honestly, you know, if you don't have tens of millions in your marketing budget to spend on TV commercials, don't do it because you can't get enough saturation of the TV audience with a handful of commercials to have it pay off. And they're , and they're expensive to do. I mean, it's , it's like, you know, a thousand dollars for a 32nd spot on non-prime type stuff.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Like at two o'clock in the morning, right. When like nobody's awake.

Speaker 3:

Well, it wasn't quite that bad. It was like the morning drive kind of was, you know, a thousand to 1500 for 30 sites has been like when, when they were doing , um, uh , golf events, you know, it could be five to 10 grand for a 32nd spot that's that's rule for a small startup , you know ? So some of the things we've learned, we learned the hard way.

Speaker 2:

Did you go to the golf shop? Did you go to the golf , uh , PGA show?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So we were there in 2019 in 2020. Yeah, we did. So , yeah, that was not cheap either.

Speaker 2:

Did you have a big booth or a little book ? Cause I know what it cost you a little booth . I had to buy it, but I don't,

Speaker 3:

We had a 10 bite . We had a 10 by 10 booth. Both years. Yeah. Yeah. We did. We didn't come close to having a positive ROI on that. It was

Speaker 2:

A hundred pair of shoes. I mean , come on , like it's , this is what I think. Okay. Nothing has PGA show, but like, especially with this virtual one, they had to do this year. I think that's really going to hurt them because I think brands have to figure out another way of marketing. Right. And like, I don't know . I just think it's the whole different landscape, right?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Yeah. We , we did the virtual booth this year and

Speaker 2:

Oh gosh, I think it was first person to tell me this, how that turned out. I want to know, like, what did it , was it like? Cause I read that. I was like, Oh, it's a money grab. Right.

Speaker 3:

Zero response from there . The only thing we, you know , reason we did it is because it was the minimum was like 1500 bucks. It's cheap . But I mean , for that kind of money,

Speaker 2:

It's worth, it's a gamble, right. If it's like, well, whatever

Speaker 3:

It was worth, the risk, but it was, it was , um, you know, we got nothing from it and you know, and you brought up a good point if , you know , how is this going to change the PGA show going forward? Cause you know , it really is a carry over from 20, 30 years ago or more face face-to-face networking

Speaker 2:

Buyers go in front of you. And like this whole like dads, when they one time a year they see you or you know, or they get a catalog or they call you like that was back in the day. Right?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. But social media and the internet that all has changed so much in the last 20 years that, you know, there's still value in, face-to-face get togethers . But , um, you know, for, for those types of trade shows, you know, it was more of out of habit than true business value because , you know, while some orders got written, most of the orders were either taken care of before or after.

Speaker 2:

It was more about like networking. I mean I've only gone to one PGA show. I went last year, I have to say to have a booth or anything like that. But to me it was just fun because I just saw my friends. That's what it was. I just saw people that I had talked to and met throughout the last couple of years. And I was seriously excited to see these people because I live to become friends with them, you know? So I was like, but other than that I have like, how do you get any value out of this? Like, I mean, I know there probably was a value, but at some point in time, the unfortunate thing is I feel like people go to it and they think that once they go to it, they're going to be a real company. Right. They're going to have orders. It's it's like, it's like, they're so excited, right. To like launch this product at a show and then it doesn't do anything because that's not how it works. They don't know that they spend 10 or 15 grand. And they're like, well. Now what,

Speaker 3:

Well, in, in the , the rumor in the golf industry is , Oh, you got to know the PGH . So, you know, we

Speaker 2:

To do, I feel it's , it's like a Rite of passage, right. It really is.

Speaker 3:

So, but as far as it being a good business investment, at least for us,

Speaker 2:

I think it's cool because like you like you and I are outsiders, right? Like this is not our world at all. Like we've kind of come into it, but it's not like what we've been in and trained in and you know, and so I dunno , things are just,

Speaker 3:

It, I mean, it's a , it's a cool experience.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. This was fun as hell. I mean, literally it's like the funniest thing. It's like , um , it's like a , uh , a male version of Disneyland, like literally, and it's all dudes. So like you don't have to like go right on rides. You don't want to, you know ,

Speaker 3:

But it also for a small company is extremely daunting. Cause you've got literally about a mile. That's what it is wrong. And about a quarter of a mile, why have boots here , boots, how the hell am I going to get recognized in this sea of businesses span ? That's a huge, huge challenge for all, all startups now , not just in golf, but across all businesses is how do , how do you get recognized? And you know, the only thing that we've seen that's that's worked is like I mentioned the word of mouth, you know , getting some of the champions , tour players wearing it. Um, and then it's just perseverance and just keep, yeah.

Speaker 2:

I like what you were talking about earlier this whole thing's a marathon. It is like, you can't, you can't lose the excitement for what you're doing because something's not working. Right. Like that's the best way I can say it.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. And you know , you know, for us, you know, we have 13 patents issued on our shoe. So, you know, I , I , and you know, coming from patent law, I've seen a lot of innovations. So I've got a pretty good feel for, you know , what's, what's unique and what has some market value. So I could see that in what we're doing, you know, we, we do have that value, but again, getting people to invest in that, buy the shoe. It's, it's been, it's been a real challenge and know I've really changed my philosophy about this. I, you know, I always had this vision that boy, we just need that spark to ignite everything. And I keep waiting for all this , this dispart , you don't always sign Bernard . Oh, Hey, here's the spark. And um, recently I've come to realize, you know, what a spark may happen, but I think that's so rare that companies just get that one light spark and they take off, it's more about, I get this little piece, you get this little piece and they collectively start building and building and building to the point where now you start to get some momentum and recognition and then that continues to grow from there.

Speaker 2:

I think that , I mean, I think that's true for a lot of things, you know, I think even with like what I'd done with my website and stuff like that, like, you know, it's like one brick at a time. It really is. And you know, people like after a couple of years, they're like, Oh, how'd you do it? And I'm like, I just tried everything, you know? And I tried at all. I did the best I could at everything I did. Right. And that's really what it was. And I just didn't give up, like a lot of people just give up when they don't get the results they want right away. I was talking to somebody about this yesterday, who was that it's a pretty big brand. And they were saying that like, what they, what they learned from it was, you know, a lot of people will start brands in the loo , their first drop of the product, whatever that might be. And it doesn't really pan out. Right. As I thought it would. And then it just disappear. And it's not because that product was a bad product is more than they , because they've lost the ambition behind it because they didn't get the result they wanted. Right. And so you have to kind of treat it like a marathon. And like you said, right, you started a baseball. You , I mean, you thought maybe it would go to golf, but that wasn't your initial attention. Like, Hey, I'm making a golf shoe for a long ball hitter. That would be the last thought in your mind. Right. Like when you did the one in your head at a baseball camp, right. Like, so, but if you were just like, Oh, nobody likes my shoe or not many people are using it because they don't understand the fundamentals behind it. And you just stopped it. I mean, it's not like, you know, you have a full-time job, right. Like you're busy, you enjoy it. This is just the part of your brain that enjoys creating something. Right. I mean, that's, I know, I think it's cool. That's why I love talking to small midsize brands because like there's very few large brands and the large brands that are out there, I feel like are dinosaurs. Right? They don't, they take so much, so much inertia to actually make a move in a direction. Right. Um , and with guys like yourself, you're able to make decisions on the fly, right. And go in a different direction. It's almost not working and develop it.

Speaker 3:

That's a really interesting thing. The , you know , again, you know, with, you know , I'm sure in your law practice, you've experienced this as well, but the large companies have such, such momentum and such control over the industries and they do a good job of squashing. The little guy when the little guy starts to, to take some market share or they just acquire them.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. It's one of the two, I've heard that so many times, especially with like, who told me this the other day, it was almost, I think it was a title they're like, yes , you should start making golf balls and you can title. This is radar. They come after you right. Saying, Oh, you're patent infringement. It's like, my ball is a single core ball. You know? Like it's like, they, it's almost like they buy up these patents or they create these patents to use them to shut down their competitors before they even have a chance because these competitors don't have the money to fight them. Right. And they're like, yeah .

Speaker 3:

Yeah . And , and that's, you know, that's , um, that's just part of, part of business. And part of that technology innovation is that's the beauty of the Pat system, because it , it allows you to invest money, to develop a technology and protect it and, and restricting others from using it. But it's kind of a double-edged sword because once you get to be so large that you've got the financial resources to have a six years and litigation where small companies just don't have that. I was talking to somebody yesterday who , um, you know, had a product and they were starting to do well. And then they get sued by an infringement, by a big company. And, you know , patent infringement lawsuit. If you take it all the way to trial, you're looking at minimum million and a half of legal services. Oh my God , that's three or 4 million. And I'm like , um, you know, when big company is going after big company for Pat litigation, they're spending a million, a million and a half on legal fees

Speaker 2:

To them. It's nothing that's maybe done a day. They don't care. I had a client once, well, I have a client as a firm , X client, but like, he got super Exxon, which is hilarious. Right. Like, because, and what they're assuming about was like, it was just because of something silly. Right. And he's like, and this guy was like, kiss my. And he actually fought him cause he had money too . And then they like negotiate. They settled that they settled out, but it was like, it was kind of coolest seeing the guy tell him to kiss his. You know what I mean? Like he wasn't going to , like, I don't know. It's funny. Cause I don't know. I've seen this too lately where people will come after somebody like a brand and say, Oh, you're, you're infringing on my patent or my whatever. And then , uh, they push back because they don't realize that the person they're going after has the, has the knowledge or has the money to be like, whatever, this is my side gig, man . I think like, you know, at night at a psychic , this is what my side companies have bought five companies that I own. Like , I don't care. Let's do this. Like, you're doing me a favor if I'm on your radar, that's great. Because that means I'm actually doing something. Right. But it's also scary as.

Speaker 3:

You want to be on the radar, but more on the tangential fringe of the radar.

Speaker 2:

Exactly. I don't want to be anybody . Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. And you know, fortunately for Avalons , there's, there's not a lot of patents , um , on shoes to begin with a good percentage of patents on shoes or design patents , which are just the ornamental appearance. And then most of the utility patents are really geared towards materials, not trying to make lighter weight stuff or different traction patterns. So what we've done within the mid-sole of shifting, shifting ground reaction force, you know, that was, that was kind of Greengrass territory in, in uh , innovation in the shoes. So, you know, and we don't,

Speaker 2:

I mean, what's kind of cool. It's like, you're a smart man. Right. Really? Because, and by you being a patent attorney, you look at this a long-term move, right? Like you weren't like, I want to design this shoe and then I'm going to figure it out after the fact, like you started from like, you started in the right place and you worked forward. Right. And so because of that, you have this technology that somebody can license from you. Somebody you can go to Nike and I can be like, Oh, I want to do that from new shoe. You'd be like all day long, go right ahead. You know, like, but am I right? Or am I wrong? I know. I see her like, absolutely. So I bet, let me answer this question for you. Cause I'm already going to ask it, what is your longterm play? My longterm play is I'm going to license my technology. Right. I mean, cause you know, once it gets in the eyes of like when other, when the big boys, the big, big boys, you know, see it and they want it, then if they even come close to what your in patent is, you know, you're gonna take them out or you know, or you can sell, they can license it from you or whatever it might be.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Yeah . So yeah. So we're, I think we're well positioned that way. And you know , that's where, you know, being a patent lawyer for 30 years really comes into play. Cause I I've worked with a lot of clients, especially

Speaker 2:

If you've been through it with them. Right?

Speaker 3:

Most small companies don't patent the technology. Well, it's kind of an afterthought and I can't tell you how many small clients or small companies I've talked to over the years where they just waited too long to protect their core innovations . And you're you're you're anytime you go public with your idea, it starts the clock for when you have to patent and the United States gives you a one year window from when you go public, most foreign countries, you go public and you're barred from filing a patent. So, so many of these small companies, you know, they start talking to BCS down the road and you've got patents like, Oh we need pads , but it's like three or four years after they develop the technology. It's too late to file. So all their really good stuff they missed out on because they , they waited too long. And for the most part, they just didn't know the patent process. You know? So that's so for me, when we started at the lines , the first thing we did was how do we make this? And then we patent it before we even started to make a prototype and, and making shoes. Yeah, it was a long-term play . Yeah .

Speaker 2:

That's really cool. I think you're the first person I've talked to that did that. Honestly, most people just want it . Most people just want to bring it to market. You know, like I want to make a widget, I want to bring it to market. And then it's like, well then they can't get off later on when someone steals their widget. So I do . And

Speaker 3:

To, to other companies, the best thing for them you can do is create a new market and don't protect the technology. That's forged that new market because now they can just take that technology, implement it probably for a fraction of the cost. It took you to develop it and you have no legal repercussions. So, so we're , um, we're working on this term , uh, within the law firm called sustain success. Now it's one thing for a company to build their business and get up to here. And then a lot of them do this. So how do you build the business and then have sustained success? And if your market differentiator is your technology, how you have sustained success is you patent protected that technology very well. And what most entities real don't realize is it's not one pattern . It's not a couple, it's a whole portfolio, which could be tens of patents to hundreds of thousands of patents. IBM issues almost 10,000 patents a year now. So sorry, I'm getting all nerdy with patent stuff around you, but the cell phone, the , um , so 4g cell phone , uh , had over 20,000 essential patents for 4g. There's going to be over 26,000 essential patents in 5g and four times that were submitted to be considered essential. So you're looking at over 200,000 patents that go into making a cell phone and that's just expense , 4g and 5g. So, so for companies to think, Hey, I'm going to get into this high tech space and have one or two patents. It's it's yeah . It's in the portfolio.

Speaker 2:

The , your patents , not just the one I think you make essentially should have a patent on it. If you want to cover your, if not, don't get mad when somebody steals it and says, Oh, I made the same thing. It's like, well, it's a patented. No, but I have a trademark doesn't different world. Doesn't count. Only counts with the name, sorry.

Speaker 3:

Oh , I'll keep it a trade secret. And that doesn't work either. If it's , uh, something in a product that you're offering for sale. So

Speaker 2:

This is, you're my new eye . You're my new patent attorney. Just letting you know ideas. I'm going to come out with the [inaudible] and it's going to be no, no, no , no, no, no, no, no. Thank you. I submit. Well, it's awesome. I mean, I just , I I've been following you guys from afar. I know we're just starting to work together, but it's really cool because especially because you're local, right? Like you're close to where I live, but just , uh , when I talked to Jeremiah and your team and you're like, Oh yeah, he's an attorney. He's an IP attorney or patent attorney. I was like, Oh, I gotta talk to this guy. This guy been fun. So I really appreciate you coming on the show. I look forward to doing more stuff with you guys in the future, but you guys need to check out Avalon's , what's your website again? H a L O N Z. And it will help you hit the ball farther. Like for reals . We're not just saying that because some kind of ploy, like if long ball hitters are using it, there's a reason. Right? So if you're looking to get more distance on your shots, then you need to check all these, these shoes because I can help you. What's the price point on it? Isn't like all the same price, like a normal pair of golf shoes, comparable to what other options are like $4 or something crazy. It's like comparable to like a foot joy or something that's out there already. Right. Or anybody really that market. So well. Awesome. Well, thanks for being on the show and look forward to talking to you again. Likewise.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to another episode of behind the golf brand podcast. You're going to beat me like stay connected on and off the show by visiting golfers authority.com. Don't forget to like subscribe and leave a comment. Golf is always more fun when you're winning, stay out of the beach and see you on the green.