The last time serial entrepreneur Aaron Marino was on Shark Tank, he didn’t get a deal. It was early in Season 4, and he was pitching a line of style DVDs for men. Marino, who had a successful YouTube channel, felt like things were going well during his pitch. But when the episode aired, it wasn’t as he’d hoped. The so-called “Shark effect” never materialized, and he eventually started a new venture, Pete & Pedro, which he’ll be pitching on Friday night’s Season 7 finale.
So what happened? According to Marino, he was a victim of bad editing. In a March interview with Mr. Minds, Marino said he went into his viewing party knowing he had no deal — but he still expected the details of his business to make it to air. When they didn’t, there was no influx of Shark Tank revenue.
“I went on ‘Shark Tank’ and pitched for forty-five minutes and they only show 7 or 8 minutes on TV. I was pitching my website, my YouTube channel, my audience, my following and the show edited everything out and only focused on the Style System.
“You’re getting in front of millions of people selling your business, if it was an ad, 10 minutes on ‘Shark Tank’ would equate to 8 million dollars.
“So there I am, at my house, having a party with 27 pizzas and I remember just sitting there watching the episode and thinking it was an absolute disaster.”
But the good advice he got from the sharks, including that his price point for the DVD system ($250) was too high, led him to create Pete & Pedro, a line of hair styling products. In a Reddit AMA in January of 2014, he said he didn’t regret his Shark Tank experience. He was able to hang out with about 20 other entrepreneurs who were also filming for Shark Tank. The nearly hour-long pitch was shot in one take.
When asked, he said, contrary to his on-air persona, Kevin O’Leary had been nice; but Marino made a less flattering comment about Daymond John.
Interestingly, during Marino’s second Shark Tank appearance, John did not happen to be on the panel — it is customary for Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John and Lori Greiner to rotate, while Mark Cuban, O’Leary, and Robert Herjavec usually appear on every show. Guest sharks have also appeared during a few episodes in Season 7, sometimes in place of Herjavec.
So, how does Marino make out during his second appearance on Shark Tank? If his website, I Am Alpha M., is any indication, he’s being more cautious about his expectations this time around. He revealed in a video post that the appearance was taped a year ago and he doesn’t know how it’s going to look on-screen.
But even if Pete & Pedro doesn’t get a deal — or if the business struggles in the long-term — Marino probably will just start up a new venture. The line of hair products is far from his first business. He started a chain of nutrition stores right out of college. Then he opened a fitness center, his lifelong dream, which he eventually shuttered after five years. After a client at that center asked Marino to help him prep for a date, Marino’s career giving style advice was born. He got on YouTube after his wife gave him a video camera in 2008.
Marino was also a contestant on the legendary reality show Fear Factor.
He gave Mr. Minds some thoughts on finding success online — and it’s more reasoned than one might expect.
“Once you have a few failures, you’re that much more driven to success and you keep trying and grinding until you succeed.
“Patience is something you have to have on YouTube, because you see all these other videos go viral and think yours are so much better, but there is no rhyme or reason behind viral YouTube success. You just need to stay focused and keep creating content, and eventually your videos will find an audience.”
Marino’s YouTube channel, Alpha M., has over 1.4 million subscribers.
The season finale of Shark Tank airs Friday night at 9 p.m. on ABC.
[Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images]