Graduate Blog / Graduate Life

To build a protein shake machine requires one part protein, several parts grit

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Jayme O’Laughlin B’ 14 attends to his custom built machine for dispensing on-demand protein shakes. The machine is fully operational inside Babson College’s Webster Gymnasium.

September 2013 Jayme Olaughlin had an idea.  The idea was to help gym goers maximize their workouts with a premium protein shake.  When prompted by a customer the machine adds fresh protein powder atop cold water in a single use cup with lid which then can be shaken to mix.

protein powder

the machine adds fresh protein powder atop cold water in a single use cup with lid

Many of us have had disruptive ideas of a similar type, but how many of those ideas survive the long haul to implementation?  Jayme’s journey from idea to prototype lasted nearly two years and as the summer gym season is arriving, there stands inside Babson’s Webster Gymnasium, the idea manifested.  His started much like any other idea; an area of personal interest where a need was not being met.  The process that ensued was long, expensive, and riddled with challenges.  This can be read as the story to any work of noticeable accomplishment.  But, only as an entrepreneur and founder, are there no days where one can rest upon the leadership of someone else.  So where does a founder turn to, for example, after one year’s hard work without much to show except a drawing for a complicated machine?  Jayme tells me there was the support of his family, friends, and a mentor in Babson Professor Abdul Ali.  Mostly however, the founder attributes his staying power to “the vision”.  Just about half way along the path to a prototype Jayme graduated from Babson College with a  BA in Business Administration.  With graduation looming, while friends were inking contracts with employers, Jayme made a fateful decision to pursue that vision.

He made clear to me that the journey is not finished.  Its been a lot of hard work and yet much more before the young company breaks even.  Only now there is the prototype machine which stands in the corridor at Webster Gym.  There is the momentum which is building after having flattened every nay say that once opposed it.  Lastly, there is the promise of having one well built unit functioning with precision relative to its design.

This is a prime example of what MBA professor Heidi Neck calls “grit” or essentially the wherewithal to stick with it.  Jayme and his partner are currently collecting feedback from consumers and looking to grow the vision to other college campus gyms.