Dave Kapell founded Magnetic Poetry, a first-of-its-kind novelty item that brought poetry into the kitchens and onto the refrigerators of millions of people around the world in the mid-‘90s. An accidental entrepreneur, he came up with the idea of putting words on magnets while writing song lyrics, and when friends wanted magnetic poetry kits of their own, he turned it into a business. “I went viral before there was going viral,” he says.
To date, Magnetic Poetry has produced more than one billion world tiles in more than a half dozen languages and sold more than 3 million kits worldwide. Kapell still runs the Minneapolis-based company, and has never taken a dime of outside funding.
His unlikely path to entrepreneurship includes a garage band, writer’s block, arts and crafts, Davanni’s magnets, a house party, student loan debt, and a very memorable sneeze. On this episode of By All Means, Kapell shares his entertaining founder’s story and what he's learned about running a business along the way.
After our conversation with Kapell, we go back to the classroom with University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business Senior Associate Dean Michael J. Garrison, professor of ethics and business law to get advice on the importance of pursuing patents for your unique product ideas.
Editor-in-Chief of TCB
Magnetic Poetry Founder and CEO