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Inside the Life of a CEO

Harnessing Pyramid Power

(01/03/2011) Alan Spetner
Harnessing Pyramid Power

The creation of Sports Energizers

It was the mid-1970's and the big question for me became, how do I tie in my new ideas about Pyramid Power with my love of bowling and my day to day job? Like most of my wild thoughts and dreams, it came to me one night as I was closing up the Bowl-A-Rama. Perhaps, a little history of bowling would help shed some light on my new idea.

 For about 60 years, the “modern” game of bowling had not changed much. Pine planks of wood were laid down to create a bowling lane and various hardwoods were utilized to manufacture bowling pins. The balls, were originally made from hardwood also, but in the 1920’s balls began to be made from hard rubber. They lasted longer and kept their shape for many years. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that bowling ball manufacturers made some drastic changes. For a quick history of bowling balls check out…  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowling_ball

The first major change was the use of plastic- Just like Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman, was told  in the movie the Graduate, PLASTICS was the key to the future. These plastic balls had more of an ability to grip the lane. In the past, bowling alleys tried to protect the wooden lanes by using a wax that they buffed into the lanes every day. Bowlers would try to roll the ball down the lane in the same spot and the lane after being worn down in the same spot, would help guide the ball into the “pocket” for a greater chance of rolling a strike.

 

With the advent of plastic balls, the old wax on the lane was too slick and it made rolling the ball more erratic. The proprietors then came up with the idea of using a light coat of finishing oil to protect the lanes. Pretty soon, bowlers came up with the idea that a plastic ball would slide where the oil was applied and hook where the lane was dry. This led to more and more types of plastic finishes on bowling balls, followed by the use of urethane coverstock and in the 21st century some very high tech materials.(New bowling balls today can cost upwards of $ 300.00 retail) The object of all of this was to make the bowling ball hit the pins with more explosive force.

Armed with this knowledge and the fact that every competitive bowler wanted the ball to knock down more pins, I decided to try and use the harnessed power of the pyramid shape to “energize” bowling balls. I had the fittings to make a pyramid any size and applying my “new age” knowledge of cosmic energy, I came up with the idea of a SPORTS ENERGIZER.

In the back room office I had at the Bowl A Rama, I secretly constructed an open pyramid, utilized a compass to align one edge with true north, and placed my bowling ball beneath the pyramid.

pyramid office

 

Well, my bowling didn’t get any better, but my ability to knock down more pins with an energized ball dramatically increased. I truly believed I now had a competitive advantage. Whether that was true, or it was just added confidence, I can’t really say, but for me, it worked.

Now came the fun part, the marketing and sales of my new product. Fortunately, I was good at both of those business necessities and before long I had created a brochure and an advertisement. I also began to leak the secret of my new invention to many of the better bowlers who made Bowl A Rama their home alley. I let them use my Energizer, and lo and behold those bowlers began having better scores.

Next, I began to advertise in the local St. Louis Bowling papers.

bowling review

 

Below was my first ad- By the time my ad was out, I was already writing a column for the St. Louis Bowling Review. I had a good clientele base, and had a handful of hardcore believers. I picked the best time as the advent of the new balls and the new ways of oiling the lanes, an entirely new scoring environment was created. From an average of about 18 honor scores( 300 game or 800 3 game series) a year in the St. Louis area, it quickly rose to 18 honor scores a week and finally 18 honor scores per bowling center per week. To those not necessarily familiar with the new ball surfaces and Lane conditioners, the ENERGIZER seemed like a logical solution

ad

 

This $ 50.00 ad brought in about 250 inquiries and sales of over 100 Pyramid Energizers. I also built up a mailing list and before long I was producing a newsletter as part of my marketing efforts. Below is one of my newsletters, aptly named…Peak Performances.

peak performance

 

 

The articles were assembled into a newsletter called “From the Apex”

 apex

In each of the newsletters I had testimonials from Bowlers in the St. Louis area- See these notables below entitled “ Performance Reports” performance reports

Before long I expanded upon the Bowling Energizer and realized that if bowlers believed, why not golfers, baseball players, and of course fisherman. The Bowling Energizer morphed naturally into the SPORTS ENERGIZERS and under this banner I created the Fish and Bait Energizer because from personal experience, fishermen would buy “ANYTHING” if they though it could catch fish – The idea was simple….energize your bait and the fish, being part of the cosmic energy life would recognize this bait as something better than normal and would want to eat it even more.

Here then was my brochure for the Lure and Bait Energizer”. lure bait

The instructions were on the inside and this item was much more feasible because I could use the same corner connectors and capstone from the bowling energizer but only needed 9” long rods for the size- Easier and cheaper to fix and a much wider audience. lure in

I began to run a series of ads for this Lure and Bait Energizer in some local fishing publications and even in a few national publications. Here is one of the print advertisements lure ad

Each kit came with assembly instructions as well as a SPORTS ENERGIZERS decal.

assembly

 

 I also included some interesting facts about pyramids and PYRAMID POWER

alter course

 

I was now on a roll and for the late 1970’s that extra $ 300.00 / month I took in was like getting an extra pay check every month….and I was having fun. I added one more product which I called the PYRA STONE. I made it from colored rock aggregate and mixed it with some clear cement and poured this mixture into a precise, true pyramid shape – I left a hole in the bottom so one could place something beneath the apex of the pyramid. The PYRA STONE looked like this…

pyraf

 

pyra bot

Here was a copy of the ad I was running and of course, I learned early on to include some “bounceback” literature in everything I shipped

pyra ad

I was in business and at the same time, I was making plans to start up my own lettering shop. I already had a company and when I finally moved fully into the screen printing business, I kept my Pyramid name for good luck and I opened the doors as SPORTS ENERGIZERS, Ltd.

biz card 

This business card opened up and inside was my vital info as well as the description.. SCREEN PRINTING, EMBROIDERY, PYRAMID POWER

I was now officially part of New Age economics, and I was making money from my idea. This entire business venture lasted about 5 years until our screen printing business started to really grow, and I didn't have any time left to devote to the project. I'm glad I learned all about the Great Pyramid and a lot about making a business.

As a closing note in 1995 Helene and I finally got to travel to Egypt to see the Great Pyramid and I rode a camel across the Plain of Giza and all the way to the Great Pyramid. I even hired a guide and was able to enter into the pyramid.

camelcl