Many college students improvise beer pong tables, but few can transform their tables into a career. However, former Cal Poly business student Russell Meyerowitz has done just that.
Meyerowitz, 21, created his company OnFIREbeerpong, Inc. in July of last year to sell customizable, lightweight and portable beer pong tables.
Beer pong – a game where teams of two try to make the opposition drink by sinking ping-pong balls in cups filled with beer – is one of the most popular college drinking games.
Most college students create beer pong tables by using a scrap piece of wood, a vacant kitchen counter, or an old ping-pong table. Meyerowitz made it easier to play the game, and it’s getting attention.
In April, College Tonight Inc. acquired OnFIREbeerpong, changed the name of his tables to Quad Pong and made Meyerowitz the head of its online retail division, The Shop.
“I had no idea that there was a business dedicated to beer pong,” said Zach Suchin, president and chief executive officer of College Tonight, Inc. “Once we saw how Russell worked, it was a great opportunity to develop a partnership.”
TheQuad.com, previously known as collegetonight.com, consists of four main aspects: The Scene, The Shop, Academics and Greek Life, according to Suchin. Meyerowitz controls The Shop, with a primary focus on selling the fully customizable beer pong tables called Quad Pong.
“I truly wish I could say this (success) was a direct result of the three years of education I received from Cal Poly,” he said. “However, this has all stemmed from my personal desire and motivation to follow the vision that I have created.”
Meyerowitz uses that “vision” to develop The Shop, which sells beer pong accessories, clothing, greek merchandise and services like spring break trips. His job also entails composing agreements, brand sponsorship, advertising and technical design.
“The goal was to create an online store with all the products and services that a college lifestyle demands,” Meyerowitz said. “I want to engage The Quad into online and offline college life and promote a site you could use on a day-to-day basis.”
The young entrepreneur works with outsourced labor in China and programmers in Romania. There are many hours of work and programming necessary to create and expand, he said.
“Sure, you have language barriers and time zone differences but these guys are absolutely geniuses and very good at what they do,” Meyerowitz explained.
Meyerowitz has what Suchin has deemed an invaluable role with the company because he has the ability to focus on a wide variety of tasks, which demonstrates an “inherent drive.”
According to TheQuad.com, the site “promotes actual social interactivity rather than the sedentary lifestyle nearly all ‘social networks’ relegate its users to behind a physical computer screen. It is what social networking should have evolved into by 2008, but has not.”
The Web site was developed as a fundamental one-stop-shop for the college experience, from helping people in the greek community to academic needs, Suchin said.
The idea behind the site was not as another Facebook.com competitor, but as a new site to address all the needs of a college student, Suchin said.
The Scene section creates social networking within the campuses and the community and it has interactive event listings to keep students informed.
The Academic section of the site features means to increase student organization and collaboration within study groups, privacy-protected group work and calendar management, according to TheQuad.com.
The Quad also provides features to manage greek chapters in the aspect of the site titled The Greek. It features dues collections, electronic meetings, file sharing and editable documents.
“It is a social ecosystem unlike anything out there; we developed it with college students,” Suchin added. “It’s not like a bunch of 40-year-olds are sitting around a table tapping their pencils trying to figure out how to relate to college students.”
It is that “social ecosystem” that Cal Poly lacked, Meyerowitz believes; it did not make connections between the student body and past alumni, which would give “belief for a student knowing their potential can be reached by attending this university as a step into their career.”
“When I left Cal Poly and heard that the president of Mike’s Hard Lemonade is a Cal Poly alumnus, I really wonder why I did not know this while I was sitting in class,” he added. “My question now is, how many of these people are out there?”
Although Meyerowitz did not gain connections with Cal Poly alumni through the university, he had no trouble maintaining relations with Cal Poly students and the San Luis Obispo community. The Quad recognizes the benefits to marketing its product to Cal Poly students.
“We will be doing a lot of marketing to Cal Poly students when our new tables arrive here this coming weekend,” Meyerowitz said. “San Luis Obispo has a big beer pong following and the league at Downtown Brew has a great customer base.”
The Nation Hydration Tour is an event that encompasses beer pong tournaments, leagues, tours and events in 25 different locations nationwide, Meyerowitz said.
The tour allows beer pong teams to participate, after paying a fee, with a chance to win prizes and earn team notoriety as they are ranked by wins and losses, which can be viewed on quadpongnation.com.
The Nation Hydration Tour will make a stop in San Luis Obispo’s Downtown Brew Nov. 22.