It’s a warning that will always get your attention.
“Don’t try this at home.”
Tom Dickson said it, and it remains to be seen whether the hundreds of UVU students who attended this week’s lecture series in the Ragan Theater will heed his caution.
Dickson, famous for his viral Blendtec video series “Will It Blend?”, spoke on Thursday as part of the Reed & Christine Halladay Executive Lecture Series.
Using Blendtec’s Total Blenders, Dickson has become an internet sensation by pulverizing items like the iPad 2, the Rubik’s Cube, Bic lighters, and golf balls. On Thursday he brought one of his powerful blenders to campus.
He told the audience that his next blend, which was to be filmed over the weekend, will be the new iPhone 4S, but for the presentation on Oct. 13 he donned his famous white lab coat and safety goggles to make sawdust out of a garden rake.
Dickson’s success as a businessman is the result of many things. Among those he listed business integrity, passion and a good balance between engineering and marketing. He has invented and engineered hundreds of products and has patented many designs.
He admitted that the “Will It Blend?” videos have been a lucrative venture. For companies like Nike, Nestle and Olympus he has charged up to $80,000 to blend their products on camera. However, his success hasn’t come without obstacles.
Most of the speech focused on his uphill battles. Dickson has ADHD and dyslexia. He’s spent most of his career in court defending his patents. He’s been sued, cheated and robbed to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Despite his business struggles he gave a clear message to UVU students.
“Do the right thing,” Dickson said. “Be a good person.”
He emphasized the importance of not holding grudges in the professional world, recounting a legal issue his company faced after blending a Chuck Norris action figure.
At times during the presentation his ADHD would sidetrack him, but his assistant was quick to get him back on track. Kaitlyn A. Schick, a UVU senior studying marketing, was in attendance and also suffers from ADHD.
“One of the benefits that people with ADHD have is that they’re more creative, they think outside the box,” Schick said. “And he really took that and played to his strengths.”
Now his name is one of his strengths, his videos have nearly half a billion views on Youtube, and anything he blends turns into two things — dust and money.
“Don’t breathe this,” Dickson said.
By SPENCER HEALEY