In this episode, Ken Ojuka, the host of The Physical Product Movement Podcast and co-founder at Fiddle, joins Alex Bayer, the founder and CEO at Genius Juice and the host of 15 Minutes of Genius Podcast.
Ken starts by describing his background and the motivation behind Fiddle, a modern inventory operations software for CPG brands and manufacturers. What makes Fiddle unique is that it allows manufacturers to manage orders from multiple sales channels, source raw materials, track products, see the cash flow, and many others.
Ken also reveals the motivation behind The Physical Product Movement Podcast, thanks to which he can share the stories of CPG brands and entrepreneurs and engage with the community. Some guests that Ken mentions are Kara Goldin of Hint Water, Marc Siden of Cloud Water Brands, Josh Belinksy of Slate Milk.
Ken: Welcome to the Physical Product Movement, a podcast by Fiddle, we share stories of the world’s most ambitious and exciting physical product brands to help you capitalize on the monumental change in how, why and where consumers buy. I’m your host, Ken Ojuka.
Taylor: Hey friends! This episode of the podcast is short, but sweet. It’s another fun interview with our founder, Ken Ojuka. This one is from Alex Bayer’s podcast, Genius Juice. They talk about why Ken started Fiddle. Who Fiddle can help. And why inventory management might be a boring topic, but the benefits are incredible for your business.
Taylor: Plus you’ll learn some fun things about Ken, like his favorite sports team, the movies he can watch over and over, and whether he prefers NSYNC or Backstreet Boys. Yup, very important. Enjoy this out of the box episode!
Alex: So without further ado, our guest good friend of mine, he had me and Genius Juice on his podcast, which is called the Physical Product Movement Podcast.
Alex: His name is Ken Ojuka and he’s out of Utah. He’s the founder and CEO at Fiddle Inc.. And as mentioned, he has his own podcast as well a little bit about him. Fiddle is a Physical Product Ops platform for brands. Fiddle, easily manages orders, inventory and sourcing while integrating with the best in class apps to onboard in minutes.
Alex: Ken, how’s it going? My man.
Ken: Hey, it’s good, man. How are you doing?
Alex: Doing very good. What I love about bringing on people that have their own podcast is they know how to freaking do it. They have the lighting down, they have the angle down and they have the audio and the microphone and you have all three of those going on? So…
Ken: I guess I’m one of those guys now, ha? I like telling the intro. You said that 99 episodes is a warmup. You know, that’s a heck of a warmup, you know,
Alex: You know, sometimes it’s like, you know, I play golf. It’s like the first nine holes I’m just warming up. And the last nine holes, actual plants. It’s like an inside joke around here, but yeah, no, it’s been great.
Alex: I we’re bringing on, we brought on some great people, like such as yourself, and we just love having these conversations and we love for you to really share your story, you know, for everyone out there, we, you know, we’re getting when we started, not to talk about like me too much in our podcasts, but one thing I’ll mention is, you know, when we started, we probably got maybe a hundred to 200 views per episode.
Alex: Now we’re getting 4 or 5,000. You know, on here. And sometimes for the viral ones, they’re like seven, 8,000 views. Now the views aren’t like people aren’t watching the whole thing. They’re watching like 20 to 30 seconds of it, but at least they’re stopping on their feed and like watching it. So there you go.
Alex: So anyway, how’s
Ken: I wouldn’t minimize it. Congrats on the success at 99 episodes. That’s awesome.
Ken: That’s awesome.
Alex: It’s Wayne Gretzky. We should have, you know, maybe he’ll be making a quick appearance here, escape by
Ken: that. That’s that number 100 ha? Special guest; Wayne Gretzky.
Alex: Ah, man, I wish, I think we have to get to maybe a thousand, then it’ll start to actually notice that we exist.
Alex: So we’ll see. Anyway, All right, my man. So let’s get into it. I want to talk about you because you’ve, let me talk about myself way too much here. You’ve been very patient. Let’s talk about the two things I’m all about. Let’s talk about you, right? Like your background, where you came from, how you got into this industry, you have a cool like background because you haven’t, you know, this technology platform with Fiddle and then you also do your own podcast. So tell us, how did you get into all this? Tell us your story.
Ken: Yeah, I think I, you know, I’m like a lot of people,had a brand, a physical product brand. And, a lot of my motivation for Fiddle came from some of the struggles that we had in that business.And it really comes down to working.
Ken: Closely with your manufacturer. You know, they become a really trusted partner. And so after a few, let’s just say less than ideal, situations with the manufacturing. A good friend of mine actually started a manufacturer. And I was all for it. I wanted him to do it because I wanted him to be my manufacturer.
Ken: And what happened was. A couple of years into it. He called me up and asked me to come in and to build software for him because he didn’t like the software that existed in his market. And I feel like that actually that’s what opened my eyes to. Okay. I wasn’t the only one with these problems that brands and manufacturers face, it’s pretty common and that there needed to be a better tool.
Ken: So that’s kind of the origin of fiddle.
Alex: Very cool. And is this like it integrates with ERP? Cause it sounds like, you know, managing inventory and integrating with other apps, it sounds like almost like an ERP, which for those that don’t know, or it’s basically a program where it pulls in inventory orders, shipping sales, and it kind of, it consolidates it all in one main hub.
Alex: So it sounds like a lot of the qualities similar to an ERP. Like that or how’s it different?
Ken: Yeah. It’s a good comparison. You know, some people call us the light ERP, you know? And so before you dropped down some real cash on the big ERP system, you know, fiddle is a great fit. In fact, we have people who have an ERP system continue to use fiddle for the advantages that we have in our software.
Ken: And then use the ERP for the stuff that it’s. But you know, we tend to focus on inventory. Just think of, okay, everything’s built on an inventory platform, then you’ve got purchasing, you’ve got sales orders, and then we’ve got to production. And I think that we’re just really good for CPG brands, especially those that touch the raw materials in some way.
Ken: There’s just a lot of CPG brands that are involved in that process, you know, for one reason or another, they need to provide the raw material. To their manufacturer, that actually adds a lot of complexity to the supply chain. And that’s where our software, I think really
Alex: shines. Love it. I can definitely say that as a manufacturer of organic smoothies where you have, you know, we have, you know, coconut or chocolate or coffee or.
Alex: Himalayan pink salt, or, you know, protein and it’s, it gets very complicated, not only sending it to the warehouse or to the co-packer or to your production facility, but also tracking it. And then also line clearing it, bringing it back. It’s like one of the areas where I think just for entrepreneurs that are watching.
Alex: Where you lose inventory, right? Because you’re not tracking it. Right. You don’t know what your loss is and the run, cause there’s always going to be some kind of breakage or yield loss. So I love that there’s programs that are just tracking everything coming in and production. things like fiddle. So this is a, it sounds really cool.
Alex: I haven’t gotten the demo yet, but I’m definitely interested to see a video. Is there a, is just fiddle.you said IO, right? Is that the
Ken: website? we’ve got a couple of videos on there. I can shoot you something after we get off this. Yeah, I mean, you’re right on. I mean, the way that we look at inventory is that inventory is money that equals cash, you know, imagine, you know, managing your bank.
Ken: Um, just calling up your banker and saying, Hey, how much money do I have? You know, what you want to do is you want to see where the money’s been spent, you know, what’s come in, what’s gone out, where’s it all going, right. And so, um, fiddle kind of gives you that it’s amazing how many businesses, you know, just kind of operate by the seat of their pants.
Ken: You know, the best in class. Brands that we see succeeding today are really good at this operation piece. They’re really on top of their inventory, on their purchasing, on their manufacturing. That’s, that’s how they gain an advantage. So anyway, that’s where we play. We think it’s exciting. Some people think it’s boring, but we love the space and are happy to serve customers in the.
Alex: It’s a, I will say that the subject is boring. Okay. So you’re right about that. But the result is not boring, like the result and the benefits from it. The fact that you’re like knowing where everything is and tracking it, and that is literally money. And that’s what people just don’t realize. Right? Like, you know, it’s like, going to Vegas and like going to a table and putting down $500 and their chips, it’s like their chips and that, you know, casinos do that.
Alex: Right. Cause you know, you just let go. I’m the bet, the chips. And it’s just a chip, you know, but the money attached, if there was money on the table, you’re probably less likely than. Like people bet and like these games. So that’s what inventory is. It’s incredibly valuable and it’s tied to actual capital that your company needs to survive and grow.
Alex: So I’m right there with you. And I find it fascinating because I go through growing, you know, we go through as a team going, we go through these growing pains. Every single day. Let’s talk about your podcast. Okay. So genius juice was on it. I can’t remember what episode episode
Ken: I can’t either, but awesome.
Alex: Your story for sure. And I remember it was awesome doing the interview. I remember he reached out to us on LinkedIn. I’m just like, you know, I’m a big fan of just, I love being on podcasts. The more that we can get our brand out there and more exposure is better, but I, what I loved about your podcast and you can talk, definitely talk more about it.
Alex: But what I loved was that you really. You asked the right questions. You get into the story, you get into the emotions behind it, or you get into the mission behind the brand. You kind of go kind of a cut deeper than a lot of other podcasts out there. So that’s what I really liked about it. So it’s called a Physical Product Movement podcast.
Alex: It’s on Apple. It’s on Spotify. It’s something you can find on LinkedIn. I’ve seen previews on LinkedIn as well. So tell us why you started this. Like what motivated you and some guests that, you know, besides Genius Juice that you’ve had on.
Ken: Yeah, sure. I’ll be honest with you. The reason that I started is kind of a selfish thing. I love CPG brands. I love brands. I love entrepreneurship. I love hearing the story, you know? And then we just wanted to get more involved in the community. So, you know, reaching out to people that we think are cool and doing great things, products that we feel like are making a difference and a. And, you know, we just talk, you know, and so for me, it’s all about, I just want to get in the mind of the entrepreneur, the motivations behind, you know, doing something as crazy as starting your own business and launching a product out into the world, you know, in a lot of cases, making huge sacrifices in order to do that.
Ken: You know, and really kind of believing in something. And so for me, that’s motivating, you know, it gets my juices going, I get pumped up off of those stories and it gives me a little bit of extra motivation to keep going, you know? And so we started the podcast for CPG brands, you know, people that are in the trenches, doing it, doing the hard work so that they can hear other people’s stories.
Ken: You know? So, you know, we just had a, the founder of Hint Water on Kara. She was
Alex: Kara Goldin,
Ken: Yeah, she was awesome. She was, she was one of my favorite guests, you know, really motivational, you know, she’s kinda gotten out of the day-to-day of the company, but she’s really trying to make a difference in the world and kind of use the position that she’s, she’s earned, as a successful entrepreneur to, to really make a difference.
Ken: So I think that’s pretty cool. Mark Siden, we, of course, had you, you know, and I just love it, you know, so we’ve had a lot of great guests. We have a bunch more queued up and I’m pretty excited for.
Alex: Yeah, what’s cool about just podcasts in general is like, you know, and something that we try to do, it doesn’t always happen on every episode.
Alex: Going really deeper than just what they do, right. It’s really about why the kind of the Simon Sineck thing, why they do it, what motivated them? What inspired them, what’s their story? What do they do as a child, right? That, you know, built into who they are today. And I love hearing those stories, you know, from.
Alex: Different guests, right? Like how they arrived here and personal stories and what are their hobbies? So it’s cool. I think podcasts are becoming so popular because we don’t know the people behind these companies. Like most people don’t know who runs Hint. Right. They just see it on the shelf, like the average consumer and they buy it.
Alex: So it’s good to have podcasts to really tell the entire story here behind that entrepreneur. So it’s really awesome. So continued luck with.
Ken: Yeah, just to add to that. I mean, I think that one of the coolest things is realizing that these are just real people, you know, they’re just like me and you got motivated.
Ken: Maybe, maybe they got motivated because of a lot of pain, you know? Like for instance, this guy, Josh Belinski right. He started a company called Slate Milk and they are having a ton of success right now. You know, he talks about how, you know, as a kid, he just couldn’t, he couldn’t eat dairy like his stomach.
Ken: He was just totally lactose-intolerant and it just was very painful to him. And so that was a lot of the motivation behind him starting slate milk, you know? And so his episode was coming out pretty soon, but it’s cool to kind of find out, you know, that, Hey, this is just a normal dude. You know, he had some sort of problem and he took the initiative and, you know, released something into the world, you know?
Ken: And so anyway, That’s what I like about it’s motivating.
Alex: Absolutely man. Well, definitely you’re providing a really great service, right? It’s great because you promote, I mean, there’s a, there’s the other side where you promote yourself, right? You promote your business, you promote the personality and your account right in your, you know, on LinkedIn.
Alex: But also you’re giving a lot back to them. By sharing these stories. So it helps. It’s like a win-win situation. That’s what I love about it. So. All right, well,
Ken: I’d like this podcast, right? Totally.
Alex: Totally. It’s a 90, 98. 6% promotion of Genius Juice, and 1.4% about our guests. So, all right, let’s get into our next segment before I dig the hole deeper for myself.
Alex: And this is called rapid fire questions.
Ken: I’m ready? Fire questions.
Alex: All right. So here we go. I’m probably going to get some interesting messages after that comment, but it’s all good. You know, I would say any type of exposure is good exposure. If I can make people laugh or get angry at me, you know, it’s all good. It’s ratings, man. Okay. Alright. Shameless plug. All right, so let’s get into it.
Alex: I’m just gonna ask you a bunch of questions. Give me a first answer. It comes to your mind and we take it from there. And you know what? You’re lucky too, man. You’re. Because of the questions, a lot of people know the questions because they’ve seen several episodes with them. We’re actually changing all the questions.
Alex: Starting on episode 100. You made it by like the skin of your teeth, man. Like with these, I think these are. Like softball questions. They’re going to get a lot freaking harder for the next round. So.
Ken: All right. Well, I’m glad that I got the easier question. So absolutely.
Alex: Let’s actually, these are questions that I like, and it’s gonna get, it’s gonna be much harder from here.
Alex: All right. But here we go. Are
Ken: Are you asking math questions or something? Like, I don’t know. That’s a lot of buildup there for those questions. Nobody should want to get on the
Alex: podcast. I’m actually going to bring up, I’m going to be consulting. Some of the most brilliant and genius minds in physics, mathematics, science, biology, and I’m going to a mass of 25 questions that only three people in the world can never answer.
Alex: No, I’m just kidding. All right. Let’s do this NSYNC or Backstreet Boys?
Ken: Which one is the one with Justin Timberlake? I like Justin Timberlake.
Alex: NSYNC that is. That shows you that people love bands or groups, just because of one person that flips the whole thing, right?
Ken: Yeah. Well, one of your other questions, that’s kind of the way I am with teams too, with the sports teams, one, those guys,
Alex: You know the questions, man.
Alex: All right, here we go. You’ve done your homework. I’m going to have to change that question now. So, all right, here we go. First thing you do when you wake up?
Ken: You know, we’ve got a, we’ve got a six month old right now and usually, I’m getting up wondering how much sleep I actually got, you know, even through the night.
Ken: Yeah. So I’m looking at the clock and I’m dreading that, oh man, it’s morning already, you know, let’s go. So that’s been the routine these
Alex: days. Got it. So waking up, wondering. How the hell did I not get any sleep last night? That’s the first thing that happens when you wake up. Okay. Just wanted to clarify,
Ken: It’s a good thing. This little baby’s pretty cute because man, he’s not a good roommate, you know? He is loud and yeah, he doesn’t, he doesn’t hold back.
Alex: Babies are moving. You can watch an unlimited amount of time.
Ken: You know, it’s funny. My wife’s going to hate me for saying this cause she hates this movie, but I love Back to the Future, man.
Ken: It’s just, it takes me back to being a teenager. I love the movie. I’m good. How
Alex: Could someone not like that? Mo I mean, your wife doesn’t like it, but man, I have not met many people that have not liked that movie. It’s such a great movie. And there’s a thing about that. Yeah, there’s a thing on Netflix called the movies on.
Alex: Made us, have you seen this show? I haven’t any, yeah, it’s on Netflix. Movies had made us and they just released season two. They talk about movies that are iconic, like Home Alone or Die Hard and Forrest Gump. And one of the movies in season two, they cover back to the future. So, and it’s true, you find out a lot about the production side and about how they had to fire the main actor that played Mike and that played, you know, Marty McFly, Michael J. Fox, his character. So there’s all this like back backstory. They struggled to make this movie, the original title to the movie was called spaceman from Pluto and the original actor was the director not to get off topic too much, but the director and producer wanted Michael J. Fox for the role they’re like we want Michael J. Fox, Michael J. Fox. He was on Family Ties, that sitcom from the eighties at that time was the number one sitcom in the country. They wanted them so badly. So they brought, they had to get someone else. Cause the agent said, you’re not getting Michael J. Fox, like he’s busy. Right. And the number one sitcom in the country.
Alex: So they got someone else. They filmed it for a month. The producers hated it. They fired the kid and they begged Michael J. Fox to come. They paid him so much money and they put him in the movie. Michael J. Fox was filming Family Ties during the day and Back to the Future at night on the same day.
Alex: That’s crazy. Yeah. So anyway, that’s what I learned from the documentary. So,
Ken: Well, you’ve got my attention. I’m going to
Alex: Watch it. Yeah. It’s really fun. The Forrest Gump one is also good. Um, Tom Hanks financed part of it himself, and he said, I’m not going to get paid for this movie. I’m going to finance it. And that the movie does well.
Alex: I’ll just take a cut of the profits and he made 40 million from the movie, not bad, not bad at all. All right. Next question. My favorite sport? Oh, backup song. You can listen to it for a limited amount of time?
Ken: You know, I’m one of these guys I’m kind of all over the place. Generally, you know, I’m kind of in the hip hop, you know, R&B type music, but I kind of like everything.
Ken: So I’d say right now, um, I’m a Drake fan. Um, Money in the Grave is the song I keep listening to. Um, there’s another song by this girl named Laney Gardner. She does a cover of Fleetwood Mac, Dreams. Yeah. I love that song too. And I keep listening to that, you know? And so I don’t know. I, those two.
Alex: Cool. All right. So favorite sport to watch, which is the one that you knew about.
Ken: Well, I’m, I’m a soccer player. I played soccer in college, but I didn’t like watching soccer in college. My favorite sport to watch is actually basketball, but lately as I get older, I’m actually finding myself, watching English Premier League and love and watching soccer.
Ken: So I don’t know. I’m changing a little bit.
Alex: Yeah, there you go. So Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet?
Ken: Zoom. I, you know, it’s just the default. I liked Zoom.
Alex: Yeah. What’s great about zoom is that Zoom for video is like Tesla for electric cars. That’s all they do. And they do it really well. That’s it? Yep. Window seat or I I’m sorry, I skipped another one.
Alex: What is your spirit animal?
Ken: I guess the hard question. Hard questions. Um, you know, not say a lion. I don’t know if the lion sounds good. Sounds
Alex: Good though.
Ken: At the line. There we go. Yeah, my main,
Alex: Yeah. All right. Window seat or aisle seat on an airplane?
Ken: I’m a window seat all the way. I like to lean on it and go to sleep.
Alex: There we go. Peanut butter or almond butter or.
Ken: Any butter love peanut butter,
Alex: Omnivore, flexitarian, vegetarian or vegan?
Ken: Omnivore. I’m good. I know my favorite right now is a steak salad, steak salad.I want both. I want the salad. I want the meat.
Alex: You’re like you’re bridging the veganism and omnivore all in one, right there.
Ken: I’m like offending everybody at once.
Alex: It’s hilarious. Cold weather or hot weather?
Ken: Oh, hot weather all the way. Yep. Grew up in Arizona.
Alex: Yeah. In Arizona. You’re in Utah, which does get cold, but it is hot as hell. Right during the summer. From what I remember going to a
Ken: winter, I’m ready to
Alex: move. Yeah. And every summer you’re like, this is why I moved here.
Alex: So you’re near, are you near Zion?
Ken: No, that’s a few hours south, but yeah, we go there occasionally to a beautiful part of the country. Everybody
Alex: should go. Yeah. I fell down a waterfall, but that’s another story there. So it didn’t break any bones. I got lucky then hit my head while I hit my head.
Alex: That’s why I’m acting the way I do. All right. Next question. LeBron James or MJ.
Ken: I love them both. You know, right now I’d have to say LeBron, you know, I’ve just been, this is, you know, in reference to that earlier question, you know, I just, I cheer for the team LeBron’s on these days. I like LeBron. I love the way he passes. Probably the most. I think he’s underrated as a passer.
Alex: There’s a lot of assists. He averages like 6, 7, 8 assists, a game or more.
Ken: Yeah, I think he is an incredibly unselfish player, but you know, he’s kind of got the reputation for being selfish. I don’t get it, but I think he’s a great
Alex: player. Totally. I love how he, when he goes in and Dritan draws like three people and then he passes back out for like an open shot, right.
Alex: Ginger or tumeric.
Ken: Ginger ginger all the way. I just love ginger.
Alex: Love it. Last question. Favorite food or drink? If you’re stuck on a deserted island, you cannot say genius shoes or any other brand that was on any of your podcast episodes.
Ken: I’m just going to go with a, you know, it’s a hard question, but you know, I’ll just go with my favorite food.
Ken: I love lasagna. That’s one of my favorite foods, anytime. Anytime. Yeah.
Alex: Love it. Love it. All right. Well, very cool. This has been rapid-fire questions with Ken Ojuka, the Founder and CEO of Fiddle and a very special episode number 99. So it’s pretty damn cool. So you’re just 99 is iconic. So thanks man for joining us. And yeah.
Alex: Definitely look forward to hearing more about Fiddle. If anyone wants to reach you, what’s the best way to reach out to you?
Ken: Yeah, probably just, you know, go to Fiddle. There’s a little chat icon. You can chat right there. I’m usually paying attention to that or you can find me on LinkedIn.
Ken: LinkedIn, just search for Ken. And then the last name is Ojuka. O J U K A. I’m the only Ken Ojuka.
Alex: If you type, if you type in Ken, you’ll get a lot of Kens, you type in Ojuka. You’ll get Ken, just him. All right. So, thanks, man. Well, I appreciate you joining us on episode 99, have a wonderful night and again, congrats on your six month old.
Alex: So yeah.
Ken: Hey, thank you. Thank you. And congrats to you on your success and 99 episodes. That’s awesome. Good job, man.
Alex: Appreciate it.
Ken: The Physical Product Movement podcast is brought to you by Fiddle to find out more about Fiddle and how our industry leading inventory ops platform is giving modern brands and manufacturers full visibility into their inventory and operations visit fiddle.io, and then make sure to search for Physical Product Movement in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or anywhere else. podcasts are found. Make sure to click subscribe. So you don’t miss any future episodes on behalf of the team here at Fiddle. Thanks for listening.