Meet Make48 Winners- Team 801

March 16, 2017

From left to right: Kevin, Julio & Ryan Aguirre

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We got the amazing opportunity to hear about the Make48 experience and its impact directly from the winners of our June 2016 event at the Smithsonian. Ryan, Kevin and Julio Aguirre are brothers from South Lake City in Utah, they are three-time Make48 competitors, and together they are Team 801!
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Kevin is a union plumber, Julio a director of brand partnerships in advertising, and when they first heard about Make48, Ryan was a residential solar consultant who was starting to immerse himself in the invention world. “Make48 looked like a competition I wanted to be a part of! Inventing a product that doesn’t exist in 48 hours! Totally Awesome! …My whole life I always came up with different product ideas and have always put together different products that came to mind, But never moved forward with any of them. I started pursuing my dream of becoming a product developer a few months before I heard of the first Make48, Oct 2015. Up to that point I was studying how to develop new products in my home basement workspace/office on my free time, which with kids it’s about 11 PM till 2 to 3 AM.”

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The Aguirre brothers at MSNBC after winning Make48

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Ryan’s enthusiasm in the competition encouraged his brothers to compete alongside him. Kevin actually had dabbled in invention before as well, “I have invented little inventions here and there just around the house,” and Julio had never invented before. They found that in spite of their different levels of experience, they all had a very even playing field with the other teams, “I think the competition is set up where everyone has an equal chance for success. With all the knowledgeable and helpful tool techs that are available from designing, prototyping, to video and pitching. No matter what level of experience you have, you’re set up for success, it’s just up to you and your teammates to take advantage of all the resources provided by the competition,” said Ryan.

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The brothers and Make48 Director Bob Coulston during the event

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We asked the three brothers all about their 48-hour experience during their winning competition. We were curious as to how the sibling dynamic worked out in this high-pressure situation, but the brothers believe that their family ties were an asset to them.  “My teams are also my brothers. I love working with my brothers. Sometimes it has its ups and downs and they drive me a little bit crazy but for the most part they are smart, creative, hard-working, have a never give up attitude, are open-minded and understanding. We all work together great!” said Ryan. This is reiterated by Kevin and Julio, who found the experience bonding, “it was bonding, it was rewarding, difficult because we have no filter or boundaries.”

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We always imagine that one the hardest aspect of Make48 is the insane pressure of the clock. 48 hours to plan, prototype and pitch a new product idea is cakewalk! While Julio said that “it pushes you to the limit of creative and execution,” Ryan described it as “complete and total craziness!”. “Having the pressure of 48 hours! It’s nerve-racking making sure you get certain tasks done by a certain time so you don’t fall behind schedule. That crazy pressure and excitement is what keeps you motivated and energized to stay up with no sleep. I love it,” continued Ryan.

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For this team, the process of narrowing down the list of potential products into one final idea was most challenging at first, “after brainstorming and writing down a list of different ideas that we came up with for a product, we took the next step and that’s where most of the hiccups came to play at this part of the competition, because we did a patent search and most of the ideas that we came up with already had a patent or it already existed in the marketplace”.

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The team also wanted a product with an impact explains Ryan, “I also wanted to make a big difference somehow in the environment. Because the challenge was an eco-friendly product that would help reduce the amount of something being wasted in your home. After doing research I found that the number one thing being wasted in almost every home was water. I looked into the details of where within the home it was being wasted the most and that’s when the product idea came to life”. As Julio puts it, “it [the product] was a collaboration with my brothers through a simple brainstorming / conversation about real life issues within our realm”.

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Realizing their idea came through 48 hours of hard work. Ryan recalls one particular moment, frequently seen during Make48 events, “when I look over at one of my teammates and he’s asleep almost falling off of his chair in front of his laptop”. No surprise there! This is a common occurrence when asking dozens of people to pull off a 48-hour marathon! Kevin recalls that during the process of manufacturing the prototype, the brothers had some good feedback from tool techs, which helped move things along to the next stage of production.

 

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Kevin working on the product prototype

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Next, came the pitch. This team had a particularly challenging moment right before their pitch to the judges, “our prototype broke backstage during the waiting period for our turn to present” recalls Julio, “and out of nowhere we randomly found a superglue stick [and fixed it]. Real story, camera man has it on video”. Nevertheless, the team was prepared with a winning pitch (literally!). “Pitching our idea to the judges is probably one of the biggest most nerve-racking things we had to do. Because not only are you pitching to the judges but you are pitching to a full room of people.We didn’t have any time to practice our pitch. But we knew we had a great product and a great presentation. Luckily enough everything went great during the pitch!”.

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Team 801 pitching to the judges

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The brothers’ lives have certainly changed a lot since they participated in Make48. “We are now celebrities in Salt Lake City, Utah,” says Kevin, before quickly taking it back, “just kidding, we were on the news a few times. I look at everything different now, ways to make something better, or something easier.” The experience of the competition made him see other products at face value, and whether or not there’s room for improvement. This exact feeling is shared by Julio, who says, “we look at consumer product differently, and find myself trying to improve them. My eyes have been opened”. The brother who’s life has changed the most since competing in Make48, however, is Ryan. He is now a full-time product developer! “I’m now a product developer and love inventing new products. The experience that I had at Make48 gave me the motivation and knowledge to know what it takes to develop a new product under 48 hours pressure.

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Some of the media coverage the brothers did after Make48

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“If you love inventing products and love creating, I definitely encourage you to apply! The people you meet and the experience you get is like no other! Inventing, prototyping, designing brainstorming and pitching in 48 hours is product developing on steroids,” tells Ryan.

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Julio Aguirre found the competition to be “a bonding experience with the team members, and you discover who you are.” Wow! We wonder if it’s the time pressure that really shows you who you are! If, as Kevin said, you like “a hands-on challenge”, we encourage you to apply to our next competition event this coming September! We are looking for teams of all ages and levels of experience so if you like the idea of inventing a new amazing product, this is for you!

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Team 801 is also in the first generation of Make48 TV personalities, and we can’t wait for you to get to know them better on screen! ”Viewers will learn that if a product could be invented or improved in 48 hours, you should be able to create multiple ideas throughput your life time, also how personalities and different point of views can mesh together to discover opportunities,” said Julio. The show also will showcase the entire process of production, “I will encourage people to watch Make48 so they can get an experience and an idea of how crazy it was to come up with a product in 48 hours,” says Kevin.