Learn From the Success of the Submarine Racing Club

Guest post by Manuel Dussault Gomez

There are two main definitions of success: the attainment of popularity or profit,” and the achievement of desired aims.”

The story of how the Submarine Racing Club has become successful is one that I will try to tackle within the next couple of posts; however, it all comes down to seven main reasons including the ability to sell yourself or an idea, negotiation, social media, hard work, willingness to move forward, persistence, and collaboration.

Selling an idea

Every successful club, organization, or company started with a main goal and an idea. The main goal of the Submarine Racing Club was to promote the field of marine systems engineering, and the idea on how to do so was by building a human-power submarine.

This idea had to be sold to a number of people and companies before it became a feasible and attainable idea. I consider myself to be great at selling things. It’s a trait I inherited from my life experience when I first came to Canada from Mexico in 2009.

At that time, my family had a very rough couple of years, and we decided to move to Victoria with the hope of a better future. The first couple of months we were in Canada were the most difficult ones, since we were trying to find a means to survive. One day, my stepfather and I were walking down Bastion Square Market downtown behind the Bay Centre and saw a number of street vendors selling their products.

My stepfather saw an opportunity to sell a product, so he rented a table at the market. The first week we tried selling caramel apples, but no one wanted to buy them. The second week we made chocolate covered strawberries, and within the first couple of hours we sold everything on our table.

From that point on, we dedicated ourselves to selling chocolate covered strawberries exclusively. Selling a product at the market, however, is very difficult. We constantly had to think on how people would react to certain comments and certain deals on the product.

Selling chocolate covered strawberries became our family’s main income, and it supported us until I got a job in the Navy Reserves in 2013. I got so good at selling my product that our income during the summer was a constant $45,000CAD each season, enough to support ourselves through the winter time.

Selling chocolate covered strawberries in the market gave me the ability to analyze how people think, and how to make my product desirable. It is this skill that I used when selling the idea of building a human powered submarine.

Using this skill, I effectively convinced UVic staff, engineering students, and even multimillion companies like Babcock Canada, SSI-Corporate, and Seaspan to invest in my idea. This is the first reason why the Submarine Racing Club is successful. The skill of selling yourself or an idea is one that everyone trying to be successful should acquire, and I encourage everyone reading to become familiar with this skill and practice it on a daily basis.


The second reason why the Submarine Racing Club is successful is because of negotiation.

Negotiation goes hand in hand with selling a product/idea. When creating the club, I had to negotiate with a number of people to get what I wanted.

Negotiating sponsorship levels with companies is one example. It was extremely fun and I learned a lot of skills when doing so.

I also had to negotiate with members of the club to decide the best way forward, and how much time to allocate into certain components of design/manufacturing.

Negotiating with machine shops to get time to machine is another example. During negotiation, I often offered extra gifts of appreciation like donuts, coffees, movie tickets, gift cards to restaurants, etc.

My best advice for negotiating is be to be strong and never let your guard down, be very specific on what you want, and always have something extra of value to offer like movie tickets or gift cards to restaurants.

This is the second reason why the Submarine Racing Club is successful, and I encourage everyone reading to read articles, books, or listen to podcasts on how to negotiate effectively.

Social media

Social media is nowadays the most powerful tool one can have in order to promote anything. Everyone has exposure to some sort of social media including Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. If one doesn’t have social media, they do have access to the internet where they can look up a website in seconds.

Having a presence on all of these social media sites and having a website is essential to the success of any club, organization, or company. The Submarine Racing Club has effectively used all of these means plus exposure in local newspapers and national television.

This exposure has effectively given the Submarine Racing club popularity and profit since a lot of people have decided to help us with a donation after being exposed to the club through media. Here are some useful links of all our media and press release.  
















I leave you with our most recent achievement, which is winning Rainhouse’s second annual engineering competition, where we competed against all engineering clubs in Victoria BC. Next week I will talk about the rest of the reasons why the submarine racing club is successful so stay tuned.

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