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Inside Pitch Magazine, March/April 2019

The Change Up: Thompson Mug Company

By Adam Revelette

Thompson MugLike so many of us, Randall Thompson started playing baseball at a young age. He instantly fell in love with the game, ultimately getting an opportunity to play at the professional level with the Toronto Blue Jays after his collegiate career at the Florida Institute of Technology.

After his playing days were over, like so many of us, Thompson got into coaching. In 2014 as the pitching coach at Florida Tech, Thompson observed a hitting coach cut off the barrel of a bat to help his players focus on using their hands to initiate the swing. When the barrel of that bat was left sitting on the bench, a million-dollar idea was born…

Talk a little bit about the process of building your own business from scratch into what it is today. 

The process of building my first business was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. What started out as a simple question has led to a long pursuit filled with early mornings and late nights. It takes an incredible amount of grit, patience, curiosity, awareness…I could go on. A person has to really want to start and run a business in order to start and run a business. Otherwise, they’ll just quit. I think it’s important to visualize what the end goal looks like and reverse-engineer that vision. 

What values did you learn as a player/coach that have helped you in entrepreneurship? 

The parallels of entrepreneurship and baseball are endless. I hope to someday travel and speak to college athletes about how they are already “wired” to be great entrepreneurs. A couple values that come to mind:
  • A business doesn't work unless you do. Same applies with your baseball career. No matter how talented you may be, a lack of work ethic eventually gets exposed.
  • Belief is 99% of the game, both in entrepreneurship and baseball. Your mind controls your body, but what controls your mind? The answer is: belief, or a lack of it. Every single day, a person has to starve their fear by overfeeding their faith to be a great performer.

How can coaches use your product as a fundraising tool for their programs? 

They can reach out to us at [email protected] and we can set them up with a link that keeps track of sales that they bring to our webpage. We pay a commission on those sales. It’s really simple.

What are your plans for the future of Thompson Mug Co? 

I want to continue to innovate in the baseball space and leave my mark on the game of baseball in my own unique way. I’d like to continue to design products that create connection through the commonality of baseball. I love the game and the people of the game, so I want to continue to create things that make people in this game happy. 

What’s your advice to those who feel like they have a good idea but are hesitant to ‘take the leap’? 

I can speak to this because I was that guy. I have a ton of “great” ideas, and I wasn’t doing anything with them. Here is the best advice I can give:

In a pursuit of bringing a product to market – your internal dialogue will be filled with questions you don’t know the answers to. Learn to listen to these questions, and transition your thought process from “I don’t know” to “I gotta know.” Start with one question a day. Commit to finding the answer to one question you don’t know the answer to each day. When you get the hang of it, change it to two questions. Make it a habit to listen to the questions you don’t know the answers to, and become wildly obsessed with finding the answers to them. With enough time – you will have a product in the market.

Have you had any ‘aha’ moments when you know that Thompson Mug Co. was going to be a ‘hit’?

I have this moment that I look back on that kinda chokes me up at times thinking about. It was Opening Day in 2016, after about 2 years of trying to bring this to fruition, me and my closest friends and family were at a sports bar outside Tropicana Stadium (home of the Tampa Bay Rays). My friends and family had mugs, and they were walking around separately in this huge sports bar. After about an hour, we all met up out front, and the excitement on their faces is something I hold on to for motivation during low points of the company. They were all saying the same thing: “You’re not going to believe this! I can’t take more than three steps without someone asking about it!”

It was a moment I will never forget.

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Inside Pitch Magazine is published six times per year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt association founded in 1945. Copyright American Baseball Coaches Association. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without prior written permission. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, it is impossible to make such a guarantee. The opinions expressed herein are those of the writers.
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