If you've seen Shark Tank, chances are you watch it like I do. You root for the crazy kooks who plunge everything they have into the gizmos and trinkets to get the deals they seek, but either way you know you'll never see or hear from them ever again. And then it's onto the next kook.
Jamie Siminoff appeared to be one of those kooks when he appeared on Shark Tank pitching his WiFi doorbell idea in 2013.
DoorBot sunk $10,000 into that presentation, but left empty handed. None of the sharks thought his idea was worth a $700,000 investment in exchange for a 10 percent stake in the company. Siminoff cried when he left, afraid the 8-person company operating out of his garage would fail.
"It was horrible," Siminoff wrote on his blog in 2015. "I could not believe that we had done all of that work and were walking away with nothing. Sure I thought if we aired (the episode has a lower chance of airing without a deal) that we would get a little bit of traction, but I did not think it would be enough to make a real difference for us."
But fortune smiled on Siminoff and DoorBot. Though he walked away without a deal, his pitch still made the episode that aired on Nov. 15, 2013. And then the company took off. That episode led to millions of dollars in sales, but it also exposed the company to the types of engineers it needed to expand.
Spurred by that exposure, Siminoff and company kept at it. The company rebranded to Ring and added more products. Virgin billionaire Richard Branson invested in 2015, and on Tuesday Amazon announced it has purchased Ring. The deal is reported to be worth more than $1 billion.
I repeat: a product that wasn't worth a $700,000 investment to a panel of four business oracles in 2013 is now worth upwards of $1 billion less than four and a half years later.
But the feel-goodness of this story doesn't end there. In fact, it doesn't start there.
Siminoff is an inventor and entrepreneur by trade, and the WiFi doorbell was far from his first idea. In fact, Siminoff invented the product that would become Ring so that he could be aware if someone was at his front door while he toiled away in his garage, working on his other ideas. A literal billion-dollar idea was right there in front of him, but it took his wife to see the potential in it. Where he just saw a tool to reduce workday annoyances, she saw a revolutionary home security tool.
The story of Ring is one of many coaching points. It's a tale of how a failure can easily turn into a blessing. It's an example of why it's so important to seek out a diverse array of backgrounds and perspectives. But most of all, it's a lesson in perseverance.
"It might be the competitive side of me or something, I'm just not willing to fail," Siminoff told CNBC. "I think the only way to fail is to stop, and so because of that I'm just not willing to stop."