The Katalyst

Wow. I just wrapped up a discussion with Kevin Carroll…author of “Rules of the Red Rubber Ball”. First of all, if you haven’t read this book, go get it. KC is an amazing dude.

We met in Spring 2006 while I was an engineer at Procter & Gamble. My friend, Nancy, recommended that I hear him speak. Turns out, he used to work at Nike and at that moment, I was actually in the process of trying to get a job at Nike. Once he wrapped up his presentation, I went up to him. The dialogue went something like this:

Kyle: Hi, I’m Kyle. I’m a process development engineer in Baby Care (Pampers).
KC: Oh, cool. That’s great!
Kyle: Not really. I loathe my job but I know what I wanna do. I wanna work at Nike.

KC and I then proceeded to have a chat. He gave me his card, and a week later I sent him an email. I had already planned a trip to Portland to meet some folks from the swoosh (on my own dime), and KC was kind enough to put me in touch with some key folks around campus. The rest is history. Key folks put Kyle in touch with other key folks. Other key folks call Kyle. A month later Kyle lands a dream job at Nike. Game. Set. Match.

During our conversation today, he said multiple times that “there’s no such thing as coincidence”. I believe him. When we first met, he recommended “The Alchemist”. This year I finally read it. I gave it to Sooch. She read it. Needless to say, but also go out and read “The Alchemist” if you already haven’t…one of its many themes is about that very thing: “there’s no such thing as coincidence”.

So what does this have to do with 141?

Well since our discussion, I keep thinking about that…”there’s no such thing as coincidence”. It got me thinking about how Sooch and I met (at the optometry boutique where she works while I was picking up my glasses!). It got me thinking about our first 141 Eyewear Clinic in Taiwan and the support we received from Dr. Wu. Finally, it got me thinking of all the people who have received glasses. Is it a coincidence that these kids now have the ability to see clearly? How will clear vision help these kids in school…or better yet, how will it help them in their lives?

In addition, KC is known as “The Katalyst”. During our conversation, he mentioned numerous times that so-and-so was the Katalyst for him to get his book deal. Or that so-and-so was the Katalyst for him to meet his wife. That got me thinking about 141 and how we are Katalysts. And what I mean by “we” is “the 141 Community”. Our consumers are Katalysts. Their purchase enables us to give a new pair of glasses away to a person in need. Really…isn’t that being a Katalyst in its truest form?

Anyways, I was just so energized after our conversation, that I had to come home and write a blog about it. Good stuff…

Oh, right after we met…it turns out that KC went to The Eye Studio and picked up a pair of Lovejoy in Wine. Thanks to his purchase, we will give a new pair of prescription glasses to a person in need.

He’s obviously called The Katalyst for a reason…

Another thing…

I have 4 copies of “Rules of the Red Rubber Ball”. I’ll mail a copy to the first 4 people to leave a comment about how they believe 141 could be a Katalyst for those in the community (ideas are not limited to glasses, people!). Let us know what you think!

Stay Glassy,

This entry was posted in Community.
  • Wow, this blog post is awesome Kyle…and such an awesome journey to where you are today. To answer your question:

    141 is much more than a Katalyst to enable people to act for good cause (and providing for those in need) to me. It’s an inspirational resource that empowers people to cultivate their respective talents for something (or someone) bigger than just themselves or even their industry. To me, it represents the beginning of a movement where you can take people from any industry who want to make an impact, put them together and churn out something intelligent, beautiful and thought-provokingly infectious that in turn can act as a Katalyst for even. 141 has provided the framework…now it’ll be interesting to see what and where people go with that vision (no pun intended).

    • kyle

      Great comment, Mike! I couldn’t agree more. Like you, I’m curious to see where people will go with this concept. We have our own ideas (which are not necessarily limited to just eyewear) and I oftentimes need to slow down because there is so much we want to do with this concept!!!

      Email me your address and I’ll get a copy of “Rules of the Red Rubber Ball” in the mail to you shortly.

      As always, thanks for your comment and support!

  • Chris Louden

    I just love what 141 is doing. I love community driven efforts. While your reach is obviously global its just great to see a company making the effort. Most companies are focused on success through profits and its just so refreshing to see one making an effort that is win-win for everyone.

    • kyle

      Chris, thanks for the reply and the support! Please email me your address ( and I will get a copy of “Rules of the Red Rubber Ball” in the mail to you soon.

      Thanks again!

  • agreed with Mike M. 141 is a framework, or a mode of thought, that shouldn’t be restricted to glasses.

    for 141, are any Katalysts you provide just the core things that matter for those at the bottom of Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs (in developing markets, or even on the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum in developed markets)? things like: clean drinking water, electricity, information access (via mobile phones/internet)?

    but how does that translate to those of us on the giving side of the 141 equation? should i be allowed to check a “141 box” on my water/power/internet/mobile bill? does 141 provide the mechanism to get the funds in place?

    or is it simpler, more tactile. a shirt on my back. shoes on my feet. a blanket at night. for those of us more well-off in the developed (and developing world): 141 provides the vehicle that makes it easier for us to achieve self-actualization (at the Top of our Heirarchy of Needs).

    • kyle

      Raman, good feedback. We’re leaning more towards the latter part of your note…for now. Someday it would be great to lay the groundwork to provide clean water, electricity, and info access to folks in the developing world. We’re obviously not there…BUT I think you are onto something. Perhaps we set up a program with the folks who run the utilities to somehow put a program in place…much like your “check the box” idea. It reminds me of the “check the box to donate $3 to a presidential campaign” (or whatever) on my taxes. Interesting thought.

      As I mentioned, we are clearly more focused on the simple, more tactile things (such as eyewear). Yes, 141 provides you (the consumer and benefactor) the self-actualization of doing something good in the world…your purchase is the “Katalyst” for providing a benefit to a person in need. That’s feeling (or self-actualization as you called it) is one of our core values…we make giving easier. And I think we can all agree that giving is good for the self/soul.

      I’ll get you a copy of Red Rubber Ball when we connect over dinner next week…

      Great comment…

  • Great blog Kyle. I think what you guys have done with 141 eyewear is amazing. Not only do you guys have a great concept, but quality a quality brand. It’s nice to see quality go hand in hand with quality community service. That’s exactly what you guys are doing. You are serving a community in need of education with the help of providing good eye site. By the way, I have the alchemist. I haven’t finished it yet, but I think I’ll go back and do just that.

    • kyle

      Hey there! Yes, read ‘The Alchemist’! It’s awesome. I’ll get you a copy of ‘Rules of the Red Rubber Ball’ in the next couple of weeks. I think you’ll enjoy this one, too!


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