Bozeman architects pitches ideas to "sharks" February 24, 2012 Editor@montanaliving.com
By Carol Schmidt
BOZEMAN - Jared Joyce is a creative sort of guy, so it's not surprising that the Montana State University graduate is mixing sharks and Twitter in new ways.
Joyce is a Bozeman-based inventor who will be pitching an entrepreneurial idea to investors in Friday's (Feb. 24) episode of the ABC prime-time reality show, "Shark Tank." The show http://abc.go.com/shows/shark-tank features budding entrepreneurs who pitch their ideas for business and products to receive funding from established investors.
Joyce is bound by strict rules of confidentiality to not talk about what happens in the episode, which was filmed in July. But he figures that whatever happens, he and his company are already winners.
"When you appear in front of an audience of 6 million people on national television, that can't hurt," said Joyce, who graduated from MSU in 2004 with a degree in architecture, and who has been inventing since with more than 80 projects in his portfolio http://jaredjoyce.com/portfolio.html. "I already have products with patents ready to commercialize. So, when people then know who you are, that helps."
Joyce hopes to leverage the nation-wide television audience with a social media and a live streaming event that will be held at MSU's Procrastinator Theater, located in the MSU SUB. Doors open at 6 p.m., a local Shark Tank event begins at 6:30 p.m. The show will air at 7 p.m., followed by "surprise guests and announcements" and a discussion of what took place in the episode, Joyce said. ASMSU is partnering in the event.
"I was in the shark tank negotiating with the sharks for about an hour," Joyce said of the taping. "Television viewers will see only about 8 minutes, so I'll talk about the rest (of the taping)."
Joyce also plans a layering of social media, in which he will use Twitter to amplify interest in his appearance and his products.
"My plan is using my Twitter screen names (@JARED_JOYCE) and hashtags (#5MinuteFurniture and #SharkTank), to try to get 2,000 Tweets in the two hours that the show will air in time zones from the East Coast to the Pacific Time Zone. If we pull this off, it will be great to have 6 million viewers on television, but my amplified Tweet reach should be even larger."
Joyce explained that the Tweets will also create a digital paper trail that investors and interested people can follow later. He said Twitter is particularly important because the Shark Tank "sharks," or judges, also Tweet during the show. MSU students, who are adept at social media and usually are tied in to their smart phones, are a target audience in the strategy.
“I hope they all attend with their smart phones in hand Friday night.” he said. "If you can dominate the Twitter conversation, it is a big deal."
Joyce said that there is "absolutely a direct link" between architecture and inventing. In addition to design skills, it also fueled his entrepreneurial drive.
"When you work 100 hours a week for five years in the architecture program, and then you become an entrepreneur, you already know how to work," said Joyce, who came to MSU from Ann Arbor, Mich. "After you graduate, if you only have to put in a 60 hour work week that feels like a gift.
"I have accomplished a lot since I graduated, and I still say (the MSU) architecture program is the hardest thing I've done."
Joyce said he began toying with inventions early in his years at MSU. A key event during his college years was taking a graduate furniture design class taught by Richard Penziner. The class got Joyce to thinking about furniture making and shortly after he graduated, he developed the concept for 5 Minute Furniture, which can be assembled with no tools required.
Steven Juroszek, the interim director of the MSU School of Architecture, recalls that it was clear from when Joyce was a student at MSU that he was interested in inventing.
"He was also exceptional at creating teams to solve problems and deliver solutions," Juroszek said. He added that an education in architecture is an advantage because it "teaches that everything is a design problem—whether it is a building a city master plan, a piece of furniture or a product. Design is about finding opportunities in what others might see as an obstacle or a problem."
While at MSU, Joyce also met his wife, Nichole (Anderson) Joyce. She, too, is an entrepreneur, running a business, "All Things Italian," with her mother, Connie, where some of Jared’s products are sold. He said devoting time to both of their businesses doesn't give them a lot of extra time. For instance, he hasn't been on vacation since he graduated. But, that might change as a result of Friday's Shark Tank show.
"What is unique about me as it relates to the show is that I already have multiple patents pending and issued, with over 80 projects in my portfolio -- when the sharks ask what else I have, I have something to show them," Joyce said. "But it is the exposure that the show brings that is huge. It would cost about $1 million per minute to advertise in prime time." Juroszek said the School of Architecture faculty are pleased with Joyce's success and predict more.
"Some of the faculty told him (while he was at MSU) that we would not be surprised to see him appear on the cover of a national magazine one day," Juroszek said. "Being on national television as a result of his success as an inventor is equally wonderful to see, and the magazine cover is still a strong possibility."
To see more about Joyce's Procrastinator event, go to