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Startup Ideas Recap of My First Million Podcast 💵 Episode #104

The latest startup ideas Sam and Shaan discussed on the August 26, 2020 episode with time stamps and links

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Wes Kimbell

Aug 26 2020

4 mins read

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11:45 Trade associations


  • Shaan says they all charge a good amount of money for providing a “simple” amount of value
  • Sam they provide good, straight forward value
  • Sam mentioned one called the Society for Human Resource Management. It has 350,000 members. Makes $150M / year in subscription revenue
  • Another one includes a bunch of different types of engineers
  • Org Org is a trade association for office managers. Started out as an email list
  • Shaan says trade associations are incredibly simple, they lock in members for the long-term, and they are cash cows that charge annual recurring fees
  • A lot of trade associations are non-profit. You can google the name of the association and “revenue” or “report” and find out how well they are doing
  • Sam asks what else can this work for? Sam says you can probably just do another one that already exists and take some of their market share
  • Shaan would look for a new market/sector that did not exist 5 years ago and start an association for them. Examples: Uber drivers, AirBnB hosts, Crypto miners, gig economy in general. There are hundreds of thousands of potential members here. You can take the old school model and bring it to a new market
  • AARP is one of the greatest membership groups of all time, according to Sam
  • What is the value of joining these trade associations like Org Org for example? Education, Certification, Networking and lobbying congress on issues of labor management. They also make a lot of money on trade shows / conferences
  • How do digital nomads who work out of state or out of the country do about health insurance?

24:20 Everyday household gadgets that are ugly and hard to use that can be improved like Nest for thermostats.


  • Another example is radar detectors for cars that detect cops radar so you can slow down and not get a speeding ticket
  • They sell for about $500 and you have to watch 30-minute instruction video because they are so hard to use
  • Escort is one example that currently makes these
  • Uniden also makes them and does $150M in annual sales
  • Sam says radar detectors have a cult following
  • Sam says these products are horrible for how much they charge
  • Some guy invented a floating sensor people put in their swimming pools to make sure the pH levels are correct which connects to your phone and advises you
  • Routers is another example of a household product we all use but forgot about them and they are hard to set up / use
  • Weather Tech floor matts have succeeded at this like Yeti did to make coolers sexy. Weather Tech is very high quality, expensive and Sam says because they are expensive it somehow made him like it. Sam says they do $400M in sales / year and $100M / year in profit. 20 year old company

30:40 Licensing brands


  • Mobile game company would make the same games as everyone else but would license brands like The Simpsons, Family Guy or a Marvel character, etc
  • Where should people be licensing popular brands where they currently are not? Enterprise education, license popular brands and styles to do corporate training, etc. So you would pay money to license someone else’s IP to make the product. So you could do a compliance or training series for a company but using a popular brands IP to do it and make it more interesting. “We make training videos with characters everybody loves”.
  • MGA Entertainment is the world’s largest private toy company. An Iranian immigrant created it. Originally they became a licensee for Power Rangers toys and got a cut of the money. He got tired of paying them for IP so he invented Brats dolls. Now they created LOL Surprise. Shaan’s nieces are obsessed with them. They do $5 billion in sales. Privately owned.

38:25 “Gotcha” companies: Surprises built into the products to gain interest / sales


  • There’s a company that sells candles, and once you burn the candle there’s a surprise inside. 1 out of however many candles have a diamond ring inside with $100,000.
  • Shaan loves these ideas and says it’s the exact kind of company he would start
  • A company also does this for bath bombs
  • Companies that sell to one of the 50 states in the US sell really well

45:00 MLM (Multi Level Marketing)


  • MLM for candles works well
  • Match a popular product with popular tribe (like your home state)
  • Ideas: Keto products, candles, skin care, health and wellness are the biggest. You can’t prove the wellness products don’t work. There’s a wine club, clothing, there’s a bunch of MLMs.

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