It’s almost summer and that means it’s time to take that beer pong tournament off the porch and into the pool–but this transition wasn’t easy until the invention of the portable beer pong table. Just a few years ago, childhood friends Jerry Piscitelli and Sal Laudano put their creative minds together to create the coolest and ever-so-popular invention: the PORTOPONG, a portable, floating beer pong table.
Since then, PORTOPONG has been used by college students worldwide, and has been recently used as the centerpiece of celebrity parties as well. I spoke with Piscitelli and he told me all about the origin of his clever idea, and how it became what it is today.
Ashley: Let’s discuss the birth of the PORTOPONG.
Jerry: The invention was pretty easy. We drew up the sketch of the product, and made a business card with a picture of our idea and kept it in the back of our wallets. We would ask, “Hey, would you guys buy one of these?” to see what their opinion was. We knew we had something regardless, but everyone we showed the idea to was definitely on board as well.
A: Did you always consider yourself as the entrepreneur, business type guy?
J: I do web design and graphics and consulting, so I always had a little of that spirit in me. It wasn’t until PORTOPONG that I felt my true calling. Everyone has their ups and downs when they try to start something, but this has been an adventure.
Being an entrepreneur means it’s your own product, and you can do whatever you want. And if it doesn’t work, you can yell at yourself for it.
A: Favorite memory of your college years?
J: I just loved that everyone was right there. You could walk over to find ten of your friends, but when you get older they have to find time for you. The best thing is that everyone was in the same area.
A: How was your beer pong performance in college?
J: It sounds stereotypical, but I was in a fraternity, so beer pong was pretty relevant. We played beer pong a lot, because it was something that was part of the house. In any college party that was the centerpiece. But we didn’t have any actual beer pong products when I was in college.
A: How do you handle any criticism of the PORTOPONG?
J: We don’t get a lot of criticism. Besides, it’s not your regular tournament grade table—it’s your party guy. It’s your spring break, and it serves a purpose, because now you aren’t limited with the space you have.
A: What other drinking games do you play and love, and have you ever considered making a more convenient way to play them?
J: I’ve gotten a lot of requests for Battle Shots, and I may look more into the idea. It’s intriguing to me that people are that into the game. The PORTOPONG industry is currently pretty busy though. Still, we want to stay innovative in what we do.