Jim Robinson and Kurt Dommermuth – Founders of KneeBouncers

Before creating KneeBouncers, Jim Robinson and Kurt Dommermuth have spent a combined 36 years in marketing and advertising. Managing, directing and producing dozens of award winning promotional campaigns for high profile entertainment, hospitality, non-profit organizations and Fortune 500 companies.

They are the owners and driving force behind PUNCH a highly successful advertising, design and digital agency. Their resourceful ideas, direction, commitment to high quality service and common sense strategic approach have helped clients gain market share in their respective fields.

Jim (father of two) is an award-winning art director, designer and illustrator with over 22 years of diverse experience in the design field. Jim has worked on projects for Choice Hotels International, Celebrity Cruises, The Washington Nationals, MLB, NFL, NBA, Hershey’s, PBS, PBS Kids, Reading Is Fundamental, KaBOOM! among others. He has concepted and designed successful awareness campaigns in tv, print, mobile and web applications and managed a team of designers and contractors.

Kurt (father of two) has successfully developed, managed and integrated technology products in entertainment, business and technology industries. Kurt is a flash master, software architect and he creates digital experiences to build businesses. Kurt’s creative insight, programming background, and business experience offer PUNCH clients a superior level of quality with a unique approach to every project. With experience on award-winning projects ranging from brand development/identity to online portal/website development, Kurt’s skills have assisted in earning PUNCH recognition as one of the region’s top advertising and digital agencies.

What are you working on right now?

KneeBouncers. We are working to add to our content online and expand in the mobile market. From online games to eBooks, apps, music and more.

3 trends that excite you?

Learning through play. There are some very interesting things being done in the education field that can get kids interested in a more creative and fun way.

The new economy. The shift from the traditional business model to the online “always-on” business model.

Online based animation projects (or lo-fi animation). Really smart, entertaining vids – that are pretty funny and some that are really expressive.

How do you bring ideas to life?

We try to keep things simple. Our audience is very young and their attention span is small. So we need to engage them right away. If any of our ideas take a long time to describe or get into – we know we are going the wrong way.

What inspires you?

Entrepreneurs. Dreamers. Doers. People who aren’t afraid of failure and are doing what they love.

What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?

We launched the site in 2003 with six games and it was free. In 2008 we relaunched the site with 14 more games – four of which were educational. I think we should have introduced memberships at that time.

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

Sock Snaps. Apply little snaps to socks. Upon removing your socks, you snap the socks together, so when you throw them in the wash you can easily match them when they are done. I would like to see that in the market by early next week.

What is one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?

Illustrator, Flash and a Wacom tablet.

Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?

Dave McClure, founder of 500startups.com

Do you think going from freemium to premium hurt your brand?

No. I feel if anything it has strengthened it. Changing to membership based has shown us how passionate people are about their love of KneeBouncers. Even the people who are disappointed are writing that they and their kids “love the games” and that “they have spent countless hours – playing, learning and laughing.” No one is saying it isn’t it worth it, they are just saying they want it for free.

If you had to do it all again would you charge a membership for KneeBouncers?

Yes, but not initially. We built a nice following by offering KneeBouncers to the world for free. And by building the audience to a certain size, we were then able to make the move and retain a solid core audience. But I would have introduced memberships in 2008 when we re-launched with the new educational games.

Is there anything that you use every day for free that you would not continue using if it became a fee service?

No. Not really. If I started getting messages from Facebook and Google that they were going to start charging I wouldn’t like it and I would probably be mad, but I would pay for it. Like Pandora, I used Pandora for a long time and then they offered the memberships. I procrastinated, but joined. And still love it. I don’t have a problem paying for services that I use and
enjoy. But please note…I do not want Facebook and Google to change.