An interview with Ryan Hogan of Reed Street Productions, operators of
Run For Your Lives zombie-themed races
Why did you apply to compete in Cupid’s Cup?
I heard about the competition last year in Managerial Accounting when a representative came in to distribute flyers. At that time, I had the up-and-coming athletic training apparel brand Warwear and immediately wanted to get exposure via the competition; and the added bonus of a little competitive flare with Kevin Plank. We were in the early stages of Run For Your Lives but knew that Reed Street Productions may become the better choice because of its tremendous growth and attention.
What was the most valuable part of participating in Cupid’s Cup?
One word: Experience. From the public speaking to the presentation preparation, these experiences are invaluable. Foundation can be built with books, but personal and professional development mainly relies on experiences and application.
What was the most challenging part of being in the competition?
Time management. Between my family, the military, managing two companies, and my studies as an undergrad, time management was essential to pursuing success at the Cupid’s Cup.
How did you prepare for the live presentation?
In the initial stages, preparation was limited. We already had an active business plan on file which I simply sent in the day the Dingman Center began accepting applications. We found out about the semi-finalist decision the week of our second event in Atlanta, GA. Our graphic designer created branded PowerPoint slides, and I filled in the blanks for the first presentation. Needless to say, I arrived back from the Georgia event on Monday morning at 3AM, went to class the next day, built the presentation that evening, then pitched first thing Tuesday morning to the semi-finalist panel.
The finalists were fortunate enough to have a couple weeks to build bigger presentations with the help of business consultants from the Dingman Center. A lot of great advice was given during these coaching sessions. Once my presentation was finalized, I developed and recorded my script. During my daily two hour commute to College Park, I would listen to it 20 times. Once home in the evening, I would edit and re-record to enhance, then start the process all over during the morning commute. It was 72-hours prior to the competition that I began utilizing peers, paper cut outs of the judges, and a vacant classroom to run through the pitch. Thursday evening before the event, I retired early and returned home for rest as I had ran through the presentation – at the minimum – 100 times.
What piece of advice can you give to other companies who want to apply to compete in Cupid’s Cup next year?
Apply! What’s the worst that could happen? As a business owner, you’ll need to learn to deal with rejection so even if the panel declines your application – don’t stop. Continue to pursue your dreams – and ultimately, personal happiness.
Advice once making the cut: I heard a lot of “if you know your business, you’ll be fine.” Quite frankly, that’s not the truth. It takes an enormous amount of time in preparation to develop your presentation. It’s never perfect, therefore tweaks can always be made. If you make it look easy, you did a great job preparing. Remember, its not about you anymore, you represent something much bigger – your organization.
If you could ask Kevin Plank one question about your business, what would it be?
Reed Street Productions: Looking to sponsor?
Warwear: Ready to buy yet?
How are you going to use the $17,500 you won?
The money covered about a week’s worth of payroll for Reed Street Productions.
What is in the works for Reed Street Productions?
Things that will make heads turn. We are pretty secretive by nature, but I can promise no disappointments from the events that are forthcoming. In addition to five new events by 4th quarter 2013, we have begun diversifying and building on the relationships which we have established. Expect Reed Street Productions to become a top marketing firm within five years.
Ryan Hogan is a Managing Member of Reed Street Productions and a current student at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. Ryan is also a Officer Candidate in the United States Army, in which he has been serving since 2002.
Learn more about Reed Street Productions at on the Web, Facebook, and LinkedIn