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“Life gives the test first, and the lesson afterward”

There appear to be several attributions to this quote, but Jacob Dyne lives it. Whether working on cars, software, business or even his own life, Jake's life has been a series of tests to see what works and what doesn’t—then learning from it and applying it.

A very early test and lesson Jake learned was the value of life itself. Diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at 14 months, he gained the perspective or lesson on how valuable and short life is. He never embraced a victim mentality quite simply because he said, “it doesn’t do anything.” As such, his body requires extra maintenance than most peers, but he never uses it as an excuse. In fact, you would never know unless you specifically asked him.

Jacob thumbs up with a mask on in hospital

Thumbs up

Even later in life when his father was diagnosed with cancer and Jake had to stop pursuing his go-kart hobby, he didn’t sulk, but kept his heart and eyes open. His openness to life, observant nature and willingness to follow serendipity has led him on a journey from observing a classmate's expensive sneakers in 5th grade to building a very successful sneaker education and bot company (a bot is a software solution for newer enthusiasts to acquire high demand sneakers).

Through observation, connections, openness, and trial and error he was able to parlay that “bot” into consecutive months of 6 figure revenue.

In hindsight, it all connects. Just as Jake built and raced go-karts to get to the finish line first, he took those same principles and built a software “vehicle” to help others get to an online shoe drop first.

His success was not planned or even a goal, but rather the consequence of Jake saying “yes” to life and recognizing that nothing is wasted in past experiences–if only we are willing to be patient and leverage them.

It is only fitting that Jake’s favorite car is the Porsche 930 Turbo, also known as the “widowmaker.” There is a certain risk and persona to take that on, and Jake has it. Of course, having a perspective like this when young sets you on a different curriculum path than most other kids and that was certainly the case for Jake. It created an interesting existential dilemma as college approached.

Jake in a Porsche 930

The "Widowmaker"

Clearly with this early success, Jake truly had a million reasons to not go to college, but he grudgingly chose to go anyway, but for reasons we might not expect.

To get further into his mindset, here is our reverse office hours with Jacob Dyne.

While you may not be a traditional sneakerhead, shoes were your first big jump into entrepreneurship. What motivated you and what did you build?

It goes back to about 5th grade. I remember having a friend whose parents got him whatever he wanted. Of course he got all these really nice sneakers, and the way I was raised was that if I wanted something beyond base level shoes, it was on me to get the money. For me, it was less about getting nice shoes, but more about figuring out how to. This curiosity in figuring out how to make extra money led me to learn about sneaker reselling. My dad was supportive and would take me to shoe drops back in the day when people camped out and waited in line for them. Through trial and error I learned a lot about what works and sells, and also the stock market-like nature of sneakers.

As sneakers were continuing to grow in popularity there were others who were like me wanting to get started in reselling. So I found another way to earn money by selling Google docs on how to buy sneakers and get into sneaker buying/reselling. I serendipitously got connected with knowledgeable people who also happened to have high follower counts on social media and we hit it off.

One connection and I decided to start a Discord. At the time, most of the shoe drop related Discords were paid, but my partner and I decided to make ours free. This allowed us to slowly build a huge Discord following. In the back of mind, I knew I wanted to sell something and this would be the audience. Through luck and timing and meeting the right people, I was able to find the right developers and enthusiasts to build a Chrome extension automating the buying process. With some good marketing, timing and the Discord audience, we were able to earn a constant stream of revenue easily hitting six figures month after month.

While I wasn’t doing anything super original with an automated bot (there were plenty) the difference for me was that I knew my segment. I wasn’t trying to outperform the big players. I wanted to help beginners and there was enough interest to serve that market. I never took a marketing class, but through being observant, I understood how to create demand. I think I have always been interested in the psychology of marketing and selling which has helped me in this endeavor.

Jake sitting with friend

Strictly Business

You seem to fit the Gary Vee “college isn’t for everyone, build your brand and be happy” gospel, but you still decided to go to college anyways, why?

It’s true, I had no desire to go to college. I had made great money and found things I was interested in. But my parents were adamant I go, but not because of the education per se. Although I will say, my dad never went to college and he regrets it. Even though he is doing well without a degree, he said there are some educational lessons he notices colleagues have that he doesn’t. But again, both my parents and I were not about college for the degree or the education, but it was for the social side of it. I agreed to go and went in with a good attitude, but I hated it. I was failing two classes and doing the bare minimum. I was making plans to drop out and my parents countered with “that’s fine, we’ll be okay with that, but you got 90 days to move out all your stuff and live on your own.” My parents aren’t savages, but know how to set boundaries. It was a wake-up call. I knew myself and knew that while I could live on my own financially, I really wasn’t ready or mature enough yet. Interestingly enough, the main reason I was going was for the social part, but here I was just going to class and back home. I wasn’t really doing anything social. Once I started making deliberate small choices to interact, say hi, meet some people it all started to change and I am glad I stuck with it as it has pushed me in my social growth.

What is your advice for someone deciding between going to college or not?

It obviously comes down to what you want out of it. If I didn’t need to challenge myself in terms of new social environments then I would not have gone. Certainly getting a degree was not going to serve my goals. There isn’t a one size fits all approach, you just need to be honest with yourself and also be patient and open-minded to your decision. And like I experienced, some patience and effort are required.

What project(s) are you currently working on? How is the progress coming?

After the success of the sneaker bot, I was burnt out a little. I did try my hand on an NFT project when that was at its peak, but that didn’t go well, haha. But I learned a lot from it so it was worth it. For now, things have come full circle again. As we come out of the post-pandemic and sneaker recession, I relaunched a new and updated bot for new sneakerheads. The company is called Pulsar Labs and it’s still focusing on newer sneakerheads, but is an improved iteration from the previous one.

What is some important advice or wisdom you have picked up in the last few years you think more people should know?

As I look back it is crazy to see all the luck and timing involved. You never really know where things are going to lead. My dad and I agree that business is basically 5% really hard work and 95% luck and timing. I say that because I was so fortunate that I happened to meet the right people who were in the right position and the right time. Whether it was key influencers or developers. Like, how do you replicate that? I didn’t know in 5th grade I was going to have a really successful software product. Because we never know how things progress or come full circle, I think it’s so critically important to not burn a bridge with people. I also don’t turn down a phone call. I’ve had terrible calls and some good ones. But it doesn’t hurt to take 10 minutes to talk to someone and have an open mind. You just never know. I understand being protective of your time, but I value being open minded as it led to some incredible experiences I could have never conjured up.

Spending just a few minutes with you and it is clear you have an interest in cars. Where did that come from? Are you building or racing or both?

I got into go-kart racing when I was young. It was certainly a dream as a kid to be a race car driver. This is typically the entry level into the racing world. It was also a point of bonding with my dad. Unfortunately he was diagnosed with cancer when I got a little older and we had to drop out of go-kart racing. Thankfully, he is doing well now. Even though the racing trajectory changed for me, and it was a bummer to leave that, I took the gift of being able to work on cars with me. The process of taking things apart and putting them together and seeing what works is a big part of who I am, and I know it was also part of finding success in other areas like software and marketing.

Jake holding trophy with Dad

Jake "Days of Thunder" Dyne

Jake is a great case study in the serendipity and opportunities of life. But also not allowing frustrations and failures to be the end of things, but the source material for new ventures. Jake is always open to meeting new people.

Reach out to Jake on his IG 

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