Excitedly looking out for hot or cool things online or on the shelves in stores? You could be seeking the next little thing or service out there! Welcome to the first episode of The Next Little Thing Podcast. Hosted by husband and wife team Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard, the show takes a look at trending or viral technologies and innovations around the globe to see if it’s something people will love, buy, use again and again, and rave about and refer to their friends! Check out some cool new products, apps, or services and learn why they’re great and whether or not they’re something you might want to buy. What’s going to be around tomorrow, the next day, and for a long time isn’t always the next big thing. Sometimes, it’s the little things that count! Tune in and discover that next little thing with Tom and Tracy.
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Seeking Hot & Cool Things? Binge Media Is Launching The Next Little Thing Podcast
Welcome to the premiere of The Next Little Thing. I’m Tracy Hazzard.
I’m Tom Hazzard, her cohost and some might say better half. I don’t think so but yeah, you’re the better half.
Partner in life and business. We spend a lot of time together. I think this is my seventh show.
I think the people who don’t know us ought to know this is not our first show. Podcasting is our life. We make a living through it now. It didn’t always but we do. This is probably my 5th or 6th show. I don’t know. Maybe your 7th or 8th, something like that.
I’m a couple ahead of you. We have a lot of shows under our belt. I think the thing that we want everyone to understand is that our whole career has been focused on understanding what people want to buy, what people will consume whether it’s content or products. Our whole careers have been about that. It’s about being on the edge of that next thing. What is the next thing that you want on the shelves in the store? What does that next thing you want as a service that you’re going to sell in your marketing business? Whatever that might be, we’ve always been on the edge of that. Not the bleeding edge but the cutting edge of that.
Our careers have spanned for many years. We’ve designed a ton of products, over 1,000 consumer products that many of you have probably bought and didn’t even know because you bought something at Costco, Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Staples or on Amazon, places like that. You wouldn’t have known that we did it because we were product designers and developers behind another brand.
The same thing with some of our services. We are the services behind lots of great shows, over almost 600 of them out there that you have no idea that we’re helping to produce. We’re doing a lot of things, strategically focusing and building them behind the scenes. They are so much of what Tom and I do in a ghost role. We do this as ghost designers, ghost strategists or ghost producers. This ghost role has been our thing. It allows us a different perspective on the things that are out in the marketplace and what we see going on. This separated perspective on, we see globally of what’s working and what’s not working behind the scenes that most consumers will never see.
We see something made it to the shelf but it’s not successful. It didn’t really sell. It’s getting closed out. We understand what’s going on behind the scenes. We see that across categories, companies, product types, service types, industries. We see that going on. We then match that with what we see happening, going viral in places and trending in places. We look at that and it’s our job to look at something and go, “Is this really going to tap into something that people will love, buy, use again and again and rave about and refer to their friends?” Does it have that characteristic of it or not?
I think it might also be helpful for people to understand what our education and experience are. We’re product designers. I have an Industrial Design degree. We got involved in every aspect of the life cycle of a consumer product from its creation. Maybe starting as a napkin sketch to developing what we want it to be, intended it to be, how it’s going to meet the needs of the consumer, the manufacturer, the retailer altogether. It’s selling, going through its life of success and the end of life. From the cradle to the grave of a product, we’ve seen it all and it’s unique.Sometimes, even when something's really great, it won't make it to market. Click To Tweet
We have tapped into and done all the different aspects of what’s going on there whether it’s marketing and purchasing and logistics. We tapped into the entire structure of it, building a business, building the software and services to support that business and customer service. We’ve built all of that because we’ve also built some companies that go along with products over time. Tom is an industrial designer. I have a Textile Design degree. We met our first day at Rhode Island School of Design way back when. We have been friends and married for quite some time.
In all of the different structures of things, we see timeless threads that go through that are consistent. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a pandemic year or it’s not. We still see things like that occur. We’ve gone through multiple recessions and still seeing what works and what doesn’t. There is a timelessness and details and threads that make something great that makes it really usable, that changes your life. It might be tiny little changes that it makes but it’s so worth it that you keep buying whatever it is. Products, services, apps, tech, it could be any of those things. All of them have become such a prevalent part of changing the way our daily lives function.
They’re all really intertwined. You can’t have a product and be successful without having an online presence, having social media presence, having an app that’s related to the product. There are so many ways all of those things are intertwined. It’s also important to understand, in our position and our role in product design and development whether it was in our own company or as a consultant for another company, we’ve been everywhere from the boardroom to the factory floor. That includes factories in Asia, around the world where lots of things are made. Not everything is made in the United States. We have a very broad perspective and experience when it comes to this. That informs us to be able to look at a product and say, “That looks like that’s going to work. That’s the next thing.”
This is not as easy as it sounds. It sounds like, “Tom and Tracy, you’re going to do a review show,” but we can’t just do a review show. We want to bring you the products that are going to make it, that is going to work. That’s not always so easy to discern at first glance. We have to dive a bit deeper into the product. Sometimes, we have to test them out and try them ourselves. Here’s the thing, people ask me all the time, “What do you buy? What did you buy for your kids for Christmas? What did you give your husband as a gift for Father’s Day?” They ask us that all the time because they expect that we have some cool answer to this.
While there’s a lot of trend hunting, cool hunting and things like that, there are shows about that out there, there are videos, there are all these things. We are not out there looking for that next big thing to highlight that’s going to blow up TikTok. We want to give you the things that are going to make it, that are going to be around tomorrow and the next day and merge into something big, maybe by starting small. These are those things and they’re not as easy to see. They’re not as easy to find. We’re going to rely on you readers out there and our network of various people in the product industry to give us ideas, send us some things, make submissions of ideas of things that you find valuable and let us analyze them.
We’re going to tell you why they’re working, why they’re great and whether or not this is something you might want to buy. Tom and I always qualify everything with, “It’s not always right for everyone.” When we see something, we go, “This might be a great thing but it’s probably only great for this segment of the market that we can be absolutely certain of.” There might be a few random people out here. Everyone always says, “Who should buy my product?” Tom, what does everybody say, the inventors of the products? “Who’s my target market?” They always say, “Everybody.”
Everybody always says, “Everybody wants this.” It’s idealistic. I think a lot of inventors do believe, “Everybody should like my product.” They’re so enamored with their product and they’re too close to it. They think everybody is going to want it or should want it. That’s just not a practical reality. Every product needs a niche of people. Few products meet everybody’s needs. That’s something that you need to understand and we are going to be very clear about. We’re also going to highlight some products, apps and services. I don’t like putting any limits on the type of things that we’re going to talk about.
Ones that we think have merit and deserve to have a little light shined on them and raise awareness for them. They may not all succeed long-term even though we talk about them and highlight them. We may believe they will and think that will but the reality is we want to bring you some things, yes, some that are proven by what we can see have made it or are making it and others that aren’t emerging. We want to bring you some things that are on the cutting edge. It may be too soon. Time may need to tell if we’re right eventually and this product succeeds.
Tom, I want to give an example of what we do. Keep in mind that not only have Tom and I had a bunch of shows. Our very first show was in 3D printing. We did a lot of reviews and inquiries into various types of 3D print companies, products, software, services and the whole thing. Many of them didn’t make it because the industry was in its infancy and the money wasn’t flowing always to all the different businesses or the industry in general. This is where we came in. The designs that would make those products shine were not there. Everyone was printing tchotchkes.
It just wasn’t working out in terms of highlighting what these things can do. That doesn’t mean that 3D printing is gone and dead. In fact, we just did a single episode because something new caught our eye and was so cool in 3D print furniture. We’re seeing these things go on in the marketplace over time. Sometimes, even when something’s really great, it won’t make it. My favorite one is one that I wrote about in Inc. Magazine multiple times. Tom and I did a few episodes on it over time as well. It’s Coolest Cooler. I don’t know if everyone remembers this but it blew up Kickstarter.
I think it was around 2015 or 2016. It’s been a while.
It’s this cooler that has a blender mixed into it and had power. When you take it to the beach, you could charge your phone and listen to music. It had a cutting board, a cutting table. It had special wheels that would go great in the sand. For us Californians, we thought it was really cool. We signed up. We funded the Kickstarter. It was all over every single magazine you could imagine. Early on, both of us said, “There’s a high probability this is not going to make it to market.” We both said that and I wrote a couple of articles about it. We did a show about it on 3D printing. We realized there were these indicators that the company didn’t have. They blew up too fast and they didn’t have the infrastructure they needed to create a viable business that could sell this product into Costco, for instance. They had something great but they were never going to go beyond the Kickstarter. That’s exactly what happened to them.
We were looking at it and reading the signs. You’re right, Tracy. This was the most talked-about Kickstarter of the year at the time. It made national news. I know these days broadcast television isn’t always the number one medium everybody consumes things through the way our smartphones, all our different apps and social platforms have become. For instance, this was highlighted and the founder of the company and the Kickstarter were interviewed on the Today Show. National television, not just local TV. It was getting a lot of attention. As we’re seeing what’s happening, we’re listening to the different issues they were having. We backed the campaign. We would get updates. We were able to see, “They’re going to have this problem and this other problem.” While I really want them to succeed, they probably are destined to fail for a number of reasons. It was more having to do with the business structure of things in the logistics of manufacturing and distribution of a pretty expensive large-scale product than anything else. It wasn’t like the design of the product or what needs it met for the user on that level. The thing was fantastic.
Although it did have a lot of feature creep.
They included many features in it that end up costing them money down the road that they probably couldn’t afford.
Anyway, we want to give you some examples, frameworks and how the show’s going to go. These are the stories we’re looking for. We’re looking for the indicators. “This is going to work. Is this not going to work?” Even though it may have some amazing viability, we’re also looking at things that we’ve bought to highlight for you and say, “Why are these really great? Why have I bought them again and again? Why have I been giving them as a gift again and again? Why does this tap into something?” It’s both a lesson and understanding that trait of those products, services, apps and tech. That trait of what makes them highly useful and highly buyable.
Also, why are there issues? What problems might come up? You can see that from both directions. That’s our goal with the show. We’ll be doing a short format. It’s not super long shows. We’re highlighting one product at a time, one tech at a time, one app at a time. We have no intention of making money off them. I want that to be really clear. However, we would like to highlight if you heard about it on the show, we’d love for it to be able to be tracked to say, “I decided to buy this because of that.”
We’re asking for you to go to NextLittleThingPod.com whenever you want to try one of these products and click through to it. We’re not going to put real affiliate links. We’re not making money off of it. We’re just want to see that you heard about it on the show and you decided to link out to it. That helps us track that you heard about it on the show and you decided to go buy or explore it or whatever that is. That would help us tremendously in the understanding of what you are reading about. Which products are you liking so we can do more of those?Every product meets a need for a certain niche of people, but very few products meet everybody's needs. Click To Tweet
We’ll be putting all of that out. We’re going to also have a behind-the-scenes version of the show going on where we’re going to highlight what kind of click-throughs are we getting. We’ll see which products and shows are resonating with you and then we’ll be able to build more shows like that for you. You’re going to help to discern what is going to be next on The Next Little Thing. Please help us with that. We’d really appreciate that. That’s the way you can help us the most on the show. We’ll be taking no advertising. I don’t know what advertisers you and I would accept, Tom. We’re certainly not going to take a product advertiser. I don’t know if we’d do that in the future. I’m not going to say no but just not now.
It’s always hard to speak in absolutes and say, “I will never take an advertiser.” I think with every show, it pivots over time. We’re probably even going to pivot some of the show format, the length of our shows. The products, apps, services or whatever that we’re talking about as we do gauge from you readers which ones are of most interest and what we’re doing is resonating. Things will pivot but it’s certainly not our intention to make this to be a commercial endeavor. We have reasons for doing this because this is an area of interest for Tracy and me, first and foremost.
We’re product people. We like products. Tracy and I are always talking about, “That’s a really cool product,” kicking around between the two of us and trying to make some assessments of it just on our own. Why not give you all a window into that thinking and highlight some good products. Some of them deserve to see the light of day. That’s one of our deep motivations. At this part of our careers, we are all in on podcasting. It is our primary business these days. We have the ability to put a show out pretty easily. We’re doing these behind-the-scenes things pretty cool.
We make it our mission to start a brand-new show every single year so we can be in it with our clients. What kind of shows that we’re going to start? We got to start one that interests us. We can’t just start a random show. I want to highlight that because those might interest you as well. Especially if some of you are inventors out there or product developers and you have that. We have Product Launch Hazzards, which have over 150 episodes. It’s all focused on product development, the resources, tools and processes that Tom and I used to do when we were developing products for other people. Now we only develop them for ourselves. We don’t do them for other people but that’s in there.
WTFFF?! stands for Fused Filament Fabrication, which is the geeky term for 3D printing. Our 3D print show has over 630 episodes. That one’s still out there. You can go to 3DStartPoint.com to find that one. We also have The New Trust Economy, which I hosted with Monica Proffitt, which is on blockchain and cryptocurrency. All the shows that I did were focused on blockchain innovation and how that might help logistics chains and other things like that. She’s a little more FinTech and crypto-focused. Monica has taken over the show. That is also out there.
The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand. Feed Your Brand is Tom’s and my show for podcasters where we give them tips and tactics and ways to grow their show and launch their show if they want to launch one. The Binge Factor is my interviews with successful podcasters and how they’re using podcasting to grow their businesses and their authority in the marketplace. Now, we have The Next Little Thing Pod. NextLittleThingPod.com is our website but it’s also at the same place that The Binge Factor is. You’ll find them both in the same place. You can go to BingeFactorMedia.com and you get both shows at the same time on the same website. We decided to co-locate them and make our lives easier.
You can hear about bingeable shows and bingeable products in the same place. That’s some way to find us. As always, with all of our shows, we do the same thing. We have video, audio, blogs and social posts for you. You will find us all over the place. You can go to YouTube and our website. If you go to the website, that is going to be the main place where the hub of everything is located. That’s the way we operate with all of our shows. That’s the best place to find everything.
We’re going to talk about a lot of different products from one show to another. A lot of different apps, services, whatever that might be for that episode. We’re not even going to talk much about the websites for all these products because you really just need to remember one website. NextLittleThingPod.com, that’s always your go-to place. The latest blog post will be at the top of the blog feed. You can get any links to anything we mentioned. Everything as a resource for you is right there.
Tom, you don’t even know this yet. We’re building a directory. As we review more products and stuff, there will be a quick directory to go to. If you’re looking for the next best gift that you need to give at various times and you haven’t had a chance to listen to all the episodes, you can go right there, scroll through that and find some of those things. The directory is going to build over time as we build the episodes. It won’t be full at the beginning but it will be there. It’ll be a quick and easy way. You’ll be able to link right out to the episode if you haven’t heard it. If you find a product that sounds intriguing to you and you want to listen to what we have to say about it, you’ll be able to do that very quickly from there.
Tracy, what can our readers expect in terms of cadence or frequency of episodes? I came into this with the ambition that we’re going to record so many episodes. We’re going to do several every week. You’re like, “Tom, hold on a minute. Do we have enough things to review? Do we have enough time to do that?” I think we need to leave that a little flexible. Our intention is, at minimum, to bring everybody a weekly show.
At least once a week. The problem for us is that we can review a bunch of products and we maybe think we have enough but you and I are so picky about what qualifies. We’ll probably toss away five times as many as we accept into the process. That’s why I don’t think we can do more than a weekly show, just knowing us.
Anyway, as a reader you can count on, at a minimum, a weekly show. Maybe we’ll throw a bonus one in here or there.
Especially towards the holidays or towards any time you need to do gifts, we’ll throw in bonus gift episodes.
The other thing is even if this is long after the show is launched and you’re reading this episode because you read our current one and you went back to the beginning because you wanted to understand the origin story, what we’re doing is the trailer. We may get so many submissions of products, apps, services, things to review that we have a ton of good ones and we record so many. You have the ability to flood us with things that we’ve got enough content to publish 2 or 3 a week. I’d be into that if we have enough good ones.
There’s a submission form. Don’t send us products immediately, please. Send the submission form then and we’ll tell you what to do from there. Please don’t send us products. We don’t have the storage space for that. You can nominate someone, nominate a product, nominate an idea, submit yourself. We don’t care. We just want to know about the products, know about the things that you love, go ahead and just hit it. It’s a short submission form. It’s right on the NextLittleThingPod.com website. You can just go right there, do that quickly. A member of our team will get back to you and say, “We’ve already reviewed it. We already have this. Here’s where you send the product in, send a submission in or send us a trial code,” if it’s an app or something like that. You can handle all of that. Our team will take care of that with you.
Is there anything left to share with our readers in this first episode? I think that pretty well covers it.
Reach out to us. Let us know what you’re thinking, what you’d like us to review, what you like and what you didn’t like. Use those click-through links to help give us feedback. Enjoy and keep on searching for that next little thing.
Thanks so much. We look forward to going on this journey with you. Until next time. This has been Tom and Tracy Hazzard.
On the Next Little Thing.