It’s not often you meet aspiring royalty, but today’s guest, Mike, has his heart set on disrupting the high-end spice dispensing industry with his invention, Pepper King. An amiable fellow, Mike shares his plans to create the Rolls Royce of pepper mills, and the methodical ways in which he’s going about it. Marc offers up some great strategies - including a first-of-its-kind recommendation. But you’ll have to tune in to find out what it is.

If you want to be a guest on "That Will Never Work" and get help from Marc with your business issues, go to marcrandolph.com/guest and fill out the form, and leave voice memo/message on the site. You can also connect with Marc on Instagram or Twitter.

#13: The Man Who Would Be Pepper King

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Matthias
Matthias
29 days ago

I don’t really understand why a pepper grinder needs to be electric. I love cooking and really like spending money on good quality kitchen tools. I would be the type of person who would spend 120 $ on a grinder. I agree that electric pepper mills are not ideal but I am very happy about the Peugeot manual ones and actually find the fact that you need batteries for something as simple as grinding a bit of pepper actually a negative rather then a positive.

Marc Randolph
Editor
Marc Randolph
28 days ago
Reply to  Matthias

I can see your point and that’s a big part of what Mike has to figure out. Certainly there’s not inherent value in it just being electric – but maybe there are other aspects of automatic that are more subtle besides effort. Mike does point out some of what he thinks are the benefits on his website (http://www.pepperking.love). Maybe it’s because it’s faster? Maybe it’s because you can do it one-handed (while you’re holding a spoon or something with the other). Maybe it’s better for someone with weaker wrists – like an older population? Maybe the grains are more uniform? Who knows. But that’s the point of doing this kind of discovery.

Mike Kelley
27 days ago
Reply to  Matthias

Yes Matthias–I get it! My favorite manual is the Unicorn Magnum Plus. Have you seen it? Simple and creates a lot of volume (you know, for a manual grinder :)). Electric has its place in the kitchen for some of the reasons Marc mentioned. Yet you are correct that it may not be a necessity for you; there will always be a personal preference on the list of considerations. I hope you remain open to see how PK turns out though! Thanks for the comment–every perspective helps me.

Matthias Beirens
Matthias Beirens
24 days ago
Reply to  Mike Kelley

No I haven’t seen it. Will look it up.

Mike Kelley
29 days ago

Thanks Marc–Wonderful suggestions for me! Really helpful to hear it again.

To be notified when PK has a launch:

http://www.pepperking.love

(Hope someone is interested! 🙂

–Mike

Paddy Faustino
Paddy Faustino
27 days ago

Love love love your That Will Never Work podcast series. Discovered you via uber podcaster Tim Ferris. After listening to Tim’s podcasts, others also along the top performer lines, plus mindfulness gurus like Mark Nepo, Tara Brach, Dan Harris, I have categorized your podcast as applied science, where the rubber meets the road. Enough with the theoretical, now let’s listen to entrepreneurs, soon-to-be-realized top performers, as they launch a product/service or step up to the next level.
 
So this Pepper King podcast prompted a thought. I’ve been making Cincinnati-style chili (if you haven’t tried it, definitely worth the effort). Lots of middle eastern spices like cloves, allspice, black peppercorn, cinnamon, etc. Even chocolate! Delicious and wildly aromatic. The chain that made is famous is Skyline.
 
To max out on flavor and aroma you skip the pre-ground versions and grind the spices up fresh. Yes this calls for a mortar and pestle, but what can really take this is a Spinal Tap 11 is the Pepper King. A turbocharged mortar and pestle. Create one with switchable chambers. Possibly make the chambers air tight to the extent that the user can keep them fresh longer.

Marc Randolph
Editor
Marc Randolph
27 days ago
Reply to  Paddy Faustino

Thanks Paddy. Love the way that that idea for Mike’s electric peppermill stimulated your leap to the idea for a turbo-charged morter and pestle. These are exactly the kinds of insignts and “informed intuitive leaps” that come from getting out and doing the interviews that I was pushing Mike to do. Thanks for sharing.

Mike Kelley
27 days ago
Reply to  Paddy Faustino

Nice, Paddy!! I have indeed received feedback that people enjoy grinding other spices than pepper. Not sure how PK will handle them–another task for the test kitchen if/when I get a full prototype. I’ll add Pestle King to the list of iterations. Really appreciate the share–helps confirm a market exists for PK when we’re already defining sub-markets for it! 🙂

Don’t mean to be curt, but I have to go find that Cincinnati recipe now…!!

Paddy Faustino
Paddy Faustino
22 days ago
Reply to  Mike Kelley

Did you enjoy the Cincinnati chili?

Maybe I got cookied commenting on the Pepper King. This ad for the Pepper Cannon popped up on my Facebook feed. Clever ad. Dollar Shave Club funny.
https://fb.watch/v/JjdxpSkr/

https://www.bolomebox.com/products/pepper-mill?fbclid=IwAR38F-p5SNcimskdCyCR2WS5fGTbja89PDLofg-5RrwP8ODsEfPx_9uTJCQ

Carol
19 days ago

Thanks, Marc, for your amazing podcast. I am so eager to listen to every episode as soon as they become available.
 
Pepper King is trying to solve a problem that I have felt it dearly. I have had multiple grinders and they all became useless after a while due to their low quality.
The last one I had, made my whole stew almost inedible as part of the grinder fell off and a good amount of salt ended up in the pot.
 
However, what I find it hard for Pepper King would be selling their high-quality expensive grinder to the masses.

Their potential target market besides the ones always on the look out for quality, would be the people like myself who has already felt the pain and for the rest, it would be time consuming to become educated on the benefits of spending $150!
 
I wish Mike all the best and can’t wait to tune into the update in 6 months or so.