David Zelniker – Creator of Magnox Sport

Make decisions, move forward examine after a short while refine it or chose a different direction.

David Zelniker has been an entrepreneur for over  30 years, inventing products and introducing new technologies or products to the market. The freedom and enthusiasm to start something new every few years has kept him vital. He is the creator of Magnox Sport.

Where did the idea for Magnox Sport come from?

The idea of Magnox Sport was a result of personal physical needs once I started cycling.

Years ago my Ideas for new projects / products were a result of knowledge in fields of personal expertise (Engineering) and observation of environmental needs.

With Magnox Sport it was different. 7 years ago, when I turned 50, and started cycling. During cycling my untrained muscles burned, I didn’t have enough energy but worse of all were the exhaustion and “day after” symptoms. I walked around completely stiffed, every step reminded me about yesterday’s ride. I was shamed to tell how miserable I felt and just lied “I had a great riding yesterday” to those who asked me “what happened?”

Sport was completely new to me, friends were keep telling me “there is nothing you can do, that’s a normal feeling when you start exercising”. As entrepreneur I don’t accept situation of “there is nothing to do”!

I started to dig around and found that also many veteran athletes experience these feelings on a different scale, not suffering off course, but they also have the “after training symptoms”. When the knowledge was bright enough I understood that something physically in my body is missing (and probably also in their’s). Knowing the cause is more than 50% of the solution, which probably can be fixed.

I addressed the issue to a pharmacist friend who developed dietary supplement for “regular people” that suffer from nocturnal cramps. That was opening to a porthole of a new world. I realized that experienced athletes as well as new comers having symptoms of Magnesium deficiency. Almost 18 months later we launched a unique front edge Magnesium supplement for athletes. Now after 3 years I know it was right – not just from sales figures, but mainly from feedbacks of athletes at all levels.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

2-3 times a week I start my day at 5 am mountain cycling. Cycling in the nature is a perfect time to resolve problems, find creative solutions to issues that daily centrifugal activity don’t allow or just clean and “restart” your mind. My mobile calendar contains all matters I need to address and I handle or postponed it according to priority. Every day I play 1 hard level Soduku not just for brain training but when solving a Soduku you get to a stage that require looking 4-5 step ahead. Once you overcome that stage the rest is a smooth glide to the end – it reminds me every day that whenever I’m stuck trying to overcome an obstacle there has to be a way.

How do you bring ideas to life?

When a new idea shows up – I usually examine who will benefit from it? I envision myself as the “beneficiary” and ask myself where I expect to meet this solution/idea/product. Once I have an answer it gives me the direction to who is the optimal distributor. Then I ask myself if the distributor will accept the idea. Whenever there is a negative answer I look for a different channel. This first review usually takes less than an hour. If it sticks, I continue reviewing and refining the idea. Once I’m happy with the result – I let it settle for a while. Unconsciously I remain alert to the idea and if it pops up in the following weeks I then invest more time and efforts. If not, another idea catches my attention.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

People awareness to their body needs, in a modest and moderate way without obsession. When it catches someone it shines from his face and draws others attention with no words.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I’m stubborn in finding a solution when facing a difficulty. I see obstacles as opportunities for improvement.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I was a referent in an investment banking company. There was no creativity, freedom to express yourself – excel files were the ruling king. After 4 months I resigned. Don’t waste your life in a job you do not enjoy – life is too short.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would take the offer we rejected (my wife and I), to relocate in Singapore during our university studies.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Make decisions, move forward examine after a short while refine it or chose a different direction.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Keeping in direct touch with the retailers/distributors treat them as the end consumer, letting them and their staff experience your product. Once they feel the changes and effectiveness of your product they talk and present it from the user/customer’s point of view and not as “sales people”.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

We had a startup of 4 partners with deep disagreements on directions – we divided the partnership based on the market segments and philosophy of business.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Open a coffee bar with 5, 10, 15 brands of coffee – like a wine bar, or beer place. Coffee has so many varieties and should be handled like beer or wine. When you walk to a coffee shop no one asks you which brand would you like, but only type: espresso, cappuccino, late, long, short….

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I like to watch people’s behavior.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Excel – a great tool to compare scenarios (don’t let it take over). Facebook – to keep in contact with the consumers. Google – a tool to search for…

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Steve Jobs Biography – ignore Steve’s personality issues and get at least one good idea.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?


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