THE UBER of the Magic Business?

How Can We Disrupt The Business of Magic Tricks?

Magician Nick Locapo

If I had a nickel for every time I heard some motivational speaker say, “you should be the Uber or FedEx of your industry!” I wouldn’t have to work. Uber disrupted the ground transportation industry (i.e. cabs, limos, etc.). FedEx disrupted the mail and package delivery industry way back when. We celebrate these massive disruptions and then tell people they should be a disruptor. The problem with this idea is that it’s just so brutally difficult to be one of those breakout disruptors. Turning your company into an Uber is not an easy thing to do.

Today I interviewed Nick Locapo on the podcast. And the more I think about it the more I think that the company he represents is a disruptor. They might not be as famous to the general public as Uber, but penguinmagic.com has fundamentally changed the way magic tricks are bought, sold and taught.

I have some history in magic stores. When I was a lot (and I mean a LOT) younger, I used to work in three different magic stores as a demonstrator. This means that people would come in interested in buying a magic trick, I would then demonstrate one or more tricks and try to make a sale. But things have changed. Because of the development of the internet all three of “my” magic stores are now out of business. There are very few brick and mortar magic stores left on the planet.

If you ask magicians about the loss of brick and mortar stores you’ll get an earful. Though I too miss the physical stores because they were always a great hangout for local magicians, the internet stores, led by PenguinMagic, are truly fantastic. They have disrupted the way we learn about magic props in some very clever and helpful ways.

Nick talked to us about how Penguin Magic solved some of the massive problems with selling magic tricks on the internet in a super creative way. First, the problem with demonstrating magic is that the quality of the demonstration varies with the quality of the demonstrator. Even very good magicians might not have mastered every single trick in their magic store. If you believe, as Nick and I do, that it’s seeing a trick done well that improves sales astronomically, then the demonstration is key.

Nick explained how Penguin Magic was very early on the video bandwagon. They started working on high-quality marketing videos of top-notch magicians performing the tricks they sell. Throughout the years, the quality of these commercials has improved by leaps and bounds. And for Penguin Magic it is often Nick himself who is the star (and director and producer) of these videos.

(I met Nick live at a magic conference in Columbus, Ohio, recently. He was staffing thePenguin Magic booth in the exhibit hall. It was fun to watch because Nick is famous to every magician because of his starring role in these videos. He’s a magic celebrity!)

In one of the most fascinating parts of our conversation, Nick talked about how Penguin Magic uses video to increase value after the sale. Magic tricks are difficult to learn. Before the Internet and before video all of the instructions were written. And I’m telling you from personal experience sometimes these written instructions were absolutely appalling. Like they were written by 100 monkeys on 100 typewriters. It’s difficult to explain the nuances required in sleight of hand magic. And slogging through written instructions was sometimes an absolute pain in the “deck of cards.”

But again Penguin Magic has been an industry leader/disruptor because the quality of their follow-up materials is extremely high. Enter Nick. He and his team created videos where somebody from Penguin Magic, often Nick himself, taught the buyer how to use the new prop they just bought. Not long ago the quality of these videos was pretty bad. But now, partly because of the production, but even more so because of rockstar teachers like Nick, these videos are really valuable. Buyers love them.

It makes me wonder how Nick and his team at Penguin Magic would approach other industries and advise them how to “disrupt.”

Allow me to make some guesses:

Video sells. If the buyer can picture the product, how to use it, and what success would look like, every industry would increase sales. Making sure the quality of these videos is super high is crucial. And making sure that the star of the videos is an experienced and charismatic teacher is even more important. Finally having a single person be the face of your Company can be valuable. As I told Nick, I feel like I already know him because I’ve seen so many of his videos. Certainly this familiarity has to breed loyalty. Every company needs a Nick.

If the sale comes after the sale, (sorry for using that cliché,) then most companies couldn’t improve customer satisfaction by making sure the customer has exhaustive and helpful knowledge about how to best use their new product or service. Again, Nick and Penguin Magic have proven that high quality videos delivered immediately after the sale that instruct, guide, share best practices and generally make sure the customer is absolutely comfortable with whatever they have just purchased is crucial. Both the quality of the video production and the quality of the instructor are super important.

• I didn’t talk about this final point with Nick, but I think you would agree. Often corporate or sales videos are stiff, sterile, and boring. Nick is the poster child for being super professional while also being relaxed and conversational. When we watch Nick work as an instructor and sales person for Penguin Magic we are getting to know the real Nick Locapo. If your business or company is using video we should all try to channel Nick and Penguin Magic and make sure the videos are personal, authentic, and conversational.

Here’s my take away on magician Nick Locapo; he’s a ROCKSTAR!

Magician Nickk Locapo is smart, talented, willing to work very hard, and dripping with charisma. He and his team at Penguin have really been thoughtful about how to take a very old business and modernize it in order to increase their bottom line. But most of all I was impressed with how the very same Nick we see on those videos at PenguinMagic is the very same Nick I got to talk to today.

Well done, Nick. It was a total pleasure getting to know you better. Thanks for joining me on the podcast!!!

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Bio of a Magician Motivational Keynote Speaker

Funny Motivational Keynote Speaker Brad Montgomery is an award-winning speaker.   He speaks to audiences across the globe (and across the USA), and is based in Denver, Colorado.

Although he speaks to audiences in nearly every industry, he is known as a funny health care speaker, a education speaker for teachers, a real estate speaker, and a sales speaker.   He got his start as a magician & comedian, but now is known almost exclusively as keynote speaker.

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