Go Fly A Paper Airplane

 

Getting fired was one of the great moments of my life, even if it didn’t feel like it at the time.

It forced to me to to do something I really wanted to do.”

John Collins- The Paper Airplane Guy

 
 

INTERVIEW

Full disclosure: John Collins was a director at a TV station we both worked at. From the control room, he whispered directions into my earpiece while I was on air, especially when I said something incorrect or was about to make a fool of myself.

“When I published my first book that's when I kind of turned pro with paper airplanes. Nobody gets rich making a paper airplane book. So I thought: I've never lost money for anybody marketing their stuff on TV as a directior and appearing in infomercials . Maybe I can market “me.” I tried that and it worked. “

Watch him set the Guinness Record for the longest paper airplane flight with help from a college quarterback’s arm. It got him on the Conan O’Brien’s late night show and kick-started his new career.

“ I didn't declare failure after my failed first world record attempt. my sponsors, all business guys who put up money to help me do this all wanted to know if I was going to stop. it was like this amazing mental breakthrough for me. It’s not as much about winning and losing, as it is about doing.”

Now he makes a living as a science teacher, motivational speaker and book publisher with client’s across the country and speaking engagements around the globe, from elementary schools to Harvard.

“It was kind of a side thing doing STEM education and STEM enrichment lectures . The guys at the Harvard School of Design just could not get enough scale effects and you know surface area versus volume. The school kids just want to know how to make fly. it's also this really cool blending of origami, an art form, and aerodynamics .”

He totally mesmerized my grandson’s class with one of his demonstrations . Also saw firsthand at a Makers Faire he took me to how many more people flocked to his stand and bought his books, than the one’s with all new technology and video screens.

“Anytime you're doing a career change, you need a backup plan if the primary plan isn’t working. so I built a little AirBnB underneath my house and thought of this as some money that I can fall back on every month. So both new things kind of worked in my favor.”

He’s so much better on television now than I was as a news anchorman when we first met. Thankfully, he didn’t discover his second career when we working together at the NBC station, or I would have been the one fired and looking for a new career.

- Mike Cerre