We had the good fortune of connecting with Paul Hoskinson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paul, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk assessment has played a major role in my life. In my personal life I am involved in outdoor activities that carry a great deal of intrinsic risk. My activities range from skiing local backcountry ski lines to major climbing expeditions in the Himalayas. These activities require a great deal of “risk assessment”. One of the major things that can cloud judgment is the ego. Many of the fatal accidents I have seen over the years can be directly related to the climber or skier using poor judgment that appeared to have been related to the ego or the “I got this attitude”. Not being honest with oneself and the reality of their situation can be fatal when deciding whether or not to proceed in the backcountry. It can be equally fatal when starting a business. I decided to start my company Fido Pro because of a backcountry ski accident I had with my dog. I needed to carry her from the backcountry and it was quite difficult. Our story ended well but it could have easily gone the other way. I searched for a lightweight dog rescue sling that I could carry with me but found no such product. Necessity being the mother of invention, I decided to build my own. Knowing that just because I believed it to be a good idea did not necessarily mean it was a good idea, I committed to a full year of proving the concept. I paid very close attention to the feedback along the way, both negative and positive. I committed to self-honesty and even though I had put much time and money into the project, I knew I might have to abandon it, if it became too risky based on clues and feedback. It is the same in the climbing and backcountry skiing game. For instance; on a major climbing expedition that one has trained for for years, saved the money for and taken months away from their lives to pursue, often times the climber gets within a thousand feet or less of summiting and conditions change, or they fall behind schedule. This elevates the risk greatly. Many times the individual decides to continue, regardless of the risk, because they have “put so much into it already”. I have made this mistake and seen it made in business decisions. Fortunately it was not the case with Fido Pro and our initial product offering the Airlift but I do believe removing the ego and committing to self-honesty throughout the process is key to avoiding major catastrophe in business.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
We invent, design and bring to market protective gear for backcountry dogs. What sets us apart from other dog product companies is we are actually bringing to market never before seen and necessary products. Almost all of the dog product companies out there are doing variations of the same products. Myself and the other people involved with Fido Pro are backcountry enthusiasts who like to take their dogs with them. On the outings we discover ideas for products that might help to protect and or rescue our dogs. It is this real life “test lab” we use, the mountains, lakes and rivers of Colorado and the deserts of Utah where we find discovery.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
As most of my friends are into the outdoors and live music the list is simple; tour some of my top backcountry ski or climbing destinations in Colorado (sorry can’t share that ;). And of course a concert at Red Rocks. As far as dining, Denver has so many incredible restaurants its hard to choose but for finer dining I would have to say, Taverneta in downtown Denver would be high up on the list.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My main motivator to design our initial product offering, the Fido Pro Airlift was my dog Remi. The love for her and the responsibility I feel for her wellbeing is what motivated me then and now. The bond we have with our dogs is quite something. Dogs have an undeniable trust and love for us that we should resiprocate. Knowing how much joy it brings to my dog Remi when she accompanies me on some of my backcountry outings makes the risk to her worth it. Understanding that there is risk to taking your dog into the backcountry is key to protecting them . That is why we continue to develop necessary and never before seen products that can help humans protect their k-9 companions. When I find myself caught up in the “business side of things” I reach back to the day of the ski accident I had with Remi. I draw on that emotion and feeling I had in that moment and the understanding that I did not want anyone else to have to go through what I had to, to be able to extract their injured dog from the backcountry.
Facebook: Fido Pro
Youtube: Fido Pro various posts
Other: We do a lot of SM advertising. Mainly on FB and IG.