Zach's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Team T.B.D.

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Chicago, IL

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 10

  • ON DVD:

ZACH KAPLAN

Founder & CEO
Inventables

“Today, if you want to build something, the barriers to try are very low. Anything you want to learn is a Google search away, or a YouTube search away. You can do anything you want. You just have to go do it.”

INTERESTS:

Engineering Entrepreneurship

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Determination Education Negativity Risk Desire Hobbies & Pastimes Inspiration Money & Financial Security Support & Encouragement Experience Failure Success Opportunity

FOUNDATION:

Building Things

TAGS:

amusement parks, building things, childhood, cold calling, control, creating, Disney World, engineering, entrepreneurship, interviews, learning, materials, mechanical engineering, rides, roller coaster, safety, supplies, talk to people, try something, try things

BIOGRAPHY:

  • When he was a kid, he always loved building things; his favorite toys were Legos and Tinker Toys.
  • Inspired by amusement parks, he built a model roller coaster out of steel.
  • He always wanted to go into mechanical engineering, but when he applied to college, he got into the school but not the program.
  • He found a way around that: he just started taking every class that the freshman engineering students were taking.
  • In one of the classes, his final project outperformed the other students' to an almost ludicrous extent.
  • Finally, the engineering department gave in and let him into the mechanical engineering major.
  • After school, he opened up the engineering directory and just started cold calling people; they'd give him interviews and show him what they were working on.
  • He realized most engineers had trouble finding affordable materials and he saw an opportunity; started Inventables, "the hardware store for designers."

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