March 4th, people from all over the country flew to Kansas City to compete in Make48. The successful event was held at Union Station – Science City, with teams creating at the Maker Studio and locations surrounding Science City.
Wednesday: March 4
Orientation Dinner | K-State Polytechnic with Dustin Keiswetter
The night before the competition began, all 10 teams and tool techs got together for their first meeting at Blip Roasters in the West Bottoms of Kansas City. Emceed by Sean Murphy, and sponsored by K-State Polytechnic, Dustin Keiswetter, an educator at K-State Poly and a Season 2 competitor spoke to the teams about his experience. The night also introduced our team, and co-hosts for the season, Jimmy DiResta and Xyla Foxlin. Catered by Kansas City’s Scott’s Kitchen & Catering, with drinks provided by Boulevard Brewing Company, the night was a great time for icebreakers and getting to know the teams and each other.
Thursday: March 5
Kickoff Event | Science City at Union Station
Jimmy DiResta and Xyla Foxlin kicked off the event inside Science City. Teams, techs, and guests gathered around the Make48 countdown clock, and we heard from George Guastello, the president and CEO of Union Station, wishing the teams good luck. With a flurry of excitement, Jimmy and Xyla set the teams to work!
Chris DeBacker and Andrea Evans arrived to help the teams with advice on their ideas to make sure they weren’t infringing other patents. Longtime supporters of Make48, Chris and Andrea understand what the teams have to achieve in 48 hours and are quick to help the teams find their way.
Josh Malone – Josh was a previous mentor in Season 2. He’s the inventor behind Bunch of Balloons and a Fellow with USInventor.org, Josh is working to restore the patent system.
Warren Tuttle – Warren is the President of the United Inventors Association (UIA), and is also an Open Innovation Director for Lifetime Brands. As Open Innovation Director, Tuttle focuses on external product development, which means he is constantly working with independent inventors to find new inventions to bring to market.
They were both there to guide the teams with their product creation.
Friday: March 6
Hardware Run | Strasser Hardware
One of the most important tasks of the 48 hour competition. Hardware shopping! Teams were taken to Strasser Hardware, a 100+ year old hardware store that has been recognized as “The Best Hardware Store In Town.” With $200 gift cards, teams were given 1 hour to buy anything they needed. With cameras, teams, the Make48 team and local news station KSHB 41 interviewing teams, the bus came early in the morning for a jaunt to downtown Kansas City to Strasser’s. One of the largest hardware stores Make48 has ever been in, it was a treat for not only the teams but our co-host as well!
As experts in manufacturing and marketing, it was their role to visit every team at the halfway point and ask questions regarding their ideas/prototypes and how it would be marketed in the ‘real world.’
VIP Tour and Fireside Chat
Hosted by Startland News’ Austin Barnes & Tommy Felts and held inside the Innovation Center at Union Station, Make48 held their first Fireside Chat with leaders in the community.
The Fireside Chat welcomed guests to Make48, where they got to learn the in’s and out’s from CEO Tom Gray, met with co-host Jimmy DiResta and tool tech, Whitney Manney. Startland interviewed them on their recent projects and got an update on the teams competing in Make48.
VIP night with QVC
Friday night, QVC hosted our VIP dinner at the Crossroads Hotel. Guests mingled and networked inside the charming private dining room of the historic hotel.
Video Assistance | Stellar Image Studios
Jasmine and Cassie from Stellar Image Studios helped our teams with their product videos. Product videos are essentially a sales pitch for your product. As inventors, when your product is market-ready, you share it with the world by creating a product video. All 10 teams had to storyboard and film a one-minute video using their personal creative skills and the skills of Stellar Image Studios, and shared the video to our judges and guests at judging.
Jake Taylor from Firesword Designs, Roy Morejon from Enventys, and emcee Sean Murphy were the team’s pitch coaches. A pitch coach is a great tool, but often overlooked during the invention process. To share your idea effectively, a pitch coach will help develop your pitch to your audience/investors. As Lee Iacooca said, ”You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”
Saturday: March 7
Sales Sheet Creation
Teams had the help from the designers at Alphagraphics KC, Haley Haar and Scott Crawford, to create their sales sheets on the products they created. These sheets are important and give the judges a summary of the key points on the product as well as cost information.
Time Is Up
Inside a packed Maker Studio, teams, all of our amazing tool techs and guests cheered as the 48 hours wound down and the clock whistle blew at 12pm. After 2 days of creating a physical prototype (without knowing the category beforehand) and creating a presentation and video, teams took some much needed time to relax before our judging portion of the event that evening.
Kevin Mako from Mako Design + Invent and Josh Malone headlined our pre-judging event. As two experts with years of experience, Josh and Kevin spoke to the audience about their successes and obstacles in the patent system, innovation and product development and design.
The last night of the Make48 event ended at the Innovation Center inside Union Station. Judges for the evening were Adam Smith (VP of Sales at Wet & Forget), Kimberly Weisul (Editor at Inc.com), and Tom Gray (CEO of Make48).
Emceed by Sean, and co-hosted by Jimmy and Xyla, 10 teams presented their prototypes and videos. Everyone was impressed with the work all the teams did. Stay tuned to see what the team’s invented and which team won first place, this fall!
TV this September
Season 4 will air this fall on your local American Public network or PBS station! This season Stanley Black & Decker was our exclusive underwriter, helping deliver the educational series to the public. This is Stanley’s fourth season of support for the Make48 program. “Make48 is grateful to be supported by an industry leader. Not only be a leader in tools and manufacturing, but Stanley Black & Decker has committed to empower makers and creators, to thrive through programs who may be displaced by technology, and empower everyday citizens with vocational training, STEAM education and access to maker spaces,” said Tom Gray, CEO of Make48.
Special Thank Yous to Alphagraphics who provided our signage seen throughout the event, UMKC who had students who stepped up as additional team members and did a fantastic job as filmographers and photographers, and of course a huge thank you to our executive producers Mike and Nick and the rest of the team at Outpost Worldwide who capture the magic in 48 hours and beyond. Their crew work many hours (and sometimes months) on our program to deliver to a televised audience.
A BIG Thank You to our Tool Techs and Volunteers for their tireless efforts to help put the competition on and the help behind the scenes. They work long hours, often having to take time away from their families and jobs, to help the teams during the event. We can’t thank you enough for your support and patience throughout the event.
And thank you to all our other supporters of Make48 and our community sponsors and providers such as, Blip Coffee Roasters, Boulevard Brewing Company, Buffalo State Pizza, Bunch O Balloons, City Rent-A-Truck, Enventys Partners, USI, PSPR Public Relations, Groovewasher, Skilled KC, Redline Trailer Sales, Mako Design + Invent, Millers Rustic Sawmill, Pace, Tidy Hook, USI, and Kansas City’s Cosentino’s Market – Downtown for their In-kind donations. Thank you for helping us show our out-of-town guests how Kansas City does it!