Posted 8/12/15
This is the story of Lorenzo Maggiore – a Santa Monica artist and the man behind a killer product. As a child, Lorenzo had an unusual fascination which later led to him founding a multi-million dollar business. The activity also examines the fascinating world of crowdfunding.
  • Activity: Videotelling, text reconstruction
  • Topic: Business and crowdfunding
  • Age group: Upper secondary & adults
  • Time: 45 minutes (+ follow ups)
  • Language level: B1 +
  • Language: Business-related verbal collocations
A_killer_product pdf [downloaded 4726 times]

Story text

Lorenzo Maggiore is probably not the kind of person that you would expect to run a multi-million dollar business. As a young man, he was always a bit of an outsider who preferred surfing to studying. He dropped out of school at an early age and this worried his parents.

Lorenzo never went to college. Instead, he chose wallpapering as a profession. But his big sister saw greater potential in him. With her encouragement, Lorenzo signed up for an art course and pursued an artist’s career.
LorenzoAs an artist, Lorenzo became obsessed with an idea – an idea that he had had since he was a child. And he was sure that if he could get funding, his creative idea could be brought to commercial life. If he could do that, he would have a killer product.

Unfortunately, Lorenzo had no history as a successful businessman. No bank in the world would give him the funding that he needed.

In 2013, Lorenzo founded a startup company called Skell Inc. He introduced his killer product to the world through a promotional video on YouTube.

The video shows the killer product in action. It consists of a series of deaths, each one played in slow motion. Victims are thrown into the air. They hit walls and fall to the floor. Dead!

In just two months, Lorenzo was able to raise $577,546. His success story provides an interesting case study into the world of crowdfunding.

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 17.52.11

You can visit the Bug-a-Salt official website here

The activity

You can download the full activity on the PDF above. In the activity, students see an image of Lorenzo and then speculate on who he is and what he does. They then complete a vocabulary activity sheet before hearing his story. Finally students move onto a text reconstruction activity. There are also follow up activities which suggest possibilities for students to explore the world of crowdfunding.

And while we are on the subject of crowdfunding, what’s this cat doing?


Posted 8/12/15

10 Responses to A killer product

  1. Frances Walker says:

    Hi Jamie! Great class! Thanks I found Mr. Maggiore’s gem of an invention following reading an article in Barcelona Metropolitan magazine (5th Jan. 2015) called “Power of the Crowd” (, which I later adapted for a class of advanced-level Business students. For another part of the acticity, I gave them a list of 5 rather “far-out” crowdfunding ideas, including Lorenzo’s invention and one false one. They had to spot which one was not an actual successful crowdfunding project. Then, I asked them to produce and present an idea of their own. It was a fun class for all of us!

  2. Jamie Keddie says:

    Hello Frances
    Yes – it’s a strange and wonderful world crowdfunding. Sounds like a good idea for an activity plan. Personally, I find the heroic failures the most entertaining!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Jamie :)

  3. Asmaa says:

    Yeah really cool activity. But can anyone help me with the objectives of the activity.

  4. Jamie Keddie says:

    Hello Asmaa
    Thank you for your comment. It’s an important one. And interestingly, despite the fact that many of the activities on Lessonstream are aims or objectives light, no one has ever left a comment about this before.
    Generally, teachers and students expect some sort of objectives from classroom activities. But do you think that they are always necessary?

  5. The stories are funny and make motivation for student to know the end or what will happen.

  6. Jamie Keddie says:

    Thanks Boudebouza. Yes – I just hope they don’t think that the victims are human!

  7. Nguyen Hien says:

    Hi Jamie. Thanks for your great lessons. But I have some questions. First of all, I think before we prepare a lesson, it’s necessary to identify what is the target of that lesson. For example, a range of vocabulary, a new grammar… But I don’t see it in your lesson plan. Could you please explain it. Because I feel your lessons are great, I just don’t know how to apply it appropriately for my students. Thanks in advance.

    • Jamie Keddie says:

      Hello Nguyen
      Thanks for your comment. It’s a good question.
      If you are talking about language points (as opposed to skills, for example) you are right – it is difficult to identify a specific aim or objective in this story activity.
      But do always need aims for learning to take place? An activity like this one has the potential to immerse students in language. Perhaps you can encourage them to find their own language points at the end of the activity:
      Ask students to look carefully at the text and choose 10 language items (words, idioms, collocations, grammar structures) that they like – that they would like to take away with them after the class. Then ask students to share their chosen items with each other and say why they like them. Just an idea!
      For a bit more on aims and objectives, I would recommend this post by Scott Thornbury:
      Thanks for the comment Nguyen!
      Jamie :)

  8. Jonathan Hardisty says:

    Hi Jamie – thanks for all your hard work – my business students really enjoyed this lesson – a fab supplement to a potentially dry funding based class!