a journal of thoughts & stories
White Roads are those little roads that take you to where you’re going but with a little fun and adventure in-between. This “in-between” place is where we have probably lived a few incredible moments that then turned into our favorite stories. We’d like to share with you so please feel free to follow along with us on the “how” and “what” led us to where we, and our partners are today. Please peruse our posts below of assorted stories, insights, pictures, vlogs, recordings, musings – and just about anything else around what makes us tick in general…….
your marketing phd in 7 words
here it is right up front….“solve my problem make me feel good”
congrats you’d just “gradumadated” with your phd in marketing and branding
and in only 7 words!
the very best products and/or marketing i’ve seen while riding this blue ball
always found a problem and solved it
then they made the customer feel good
and the very successful products/services made them feel great
in the last 20 yrs i’ve spent some time in the natural foods industry
it’s a perfect place for these 7 words to live, breathe and thrive
some say it’s easier to solve problems and make people feel good here than in other categories
that’s because you can feed people “good for you” food to help them become healthier/stronger/lighter/faster
and most importantly they feel good because it tastes great
let’s hear it for endorphins!
there is one more point to this
since you insert this great tasting food into the humanoid mouth?
which btw is the most emotional entry point of the body, that exemplifies the feel good
but we’ll leave the most emotional entry point for another story
i also work in the outdoor industry……
another great spot that solves problems and makes people feel good.
especially in these crazy covid times….
example? camping, biking, hiking and other outdoor activities have increased.
it’s a great way to get the kids out of the house since everyone is locked down
let’s face it restaurants, movies, etc. aren’t the “safest” place to be
with that said……a bicycle is a great problem solver to do this
plus….getting out with the family, experiencing the “union of human & nature” is the bonus that makes you everybody good.
the same could be said for camping…even if it’s in your own backyard
my day gig is working as a partner for white road investments, we find small mission driven companies in the natural foods, outdoor & consumer products categories and help them grow.
at the end of the day we’re looking for great people and great products.
it’s no exaggeration to state that we look at hundreds of small companies every year
and am amazed at how many of them have products that are trying to solve a problem that really doesn’t exist or doesn’t really need to be solved.
these are the businesses we respectfully decline the opportunity to invest because
howtf can you make some one feel good if they don’t have the problem in the first place.
you catch my drift?
in my whacked mind?
solve my problem, make me feel good is the ultimate and singular filter of success or failure in a business venture
if you can’t say “fuck yeah” to both then please don’t waste consumer’s time, money & energy?
one last thought?
my definition of marketing is “everything it takes to get a product from the drawing board into the hands of the ultimate consumer”
in other words a great marketing person is someone who has the ability to get involved all along the way.
they have a multitude of talents from product development knowledge to communication skills.
with that said…..great marketing geeks can recognize a true problem, they see and feel the consumer pain point and figure out a way to solve it.
they also are part of a great team….of engineers, product managers, factories, qc/qa peeps, salespeople, customer service, etc.
with that in place
if the problem you’ve discovered is the real deal?
and your product is great?
then making the customer feel good is almost a slam dunk.
now go get ‘em
howtf do you convey optimism in your brand messaging in times like these?
i believe businesses who sell, profess and live the value of optimism will thrive
an observation this 5 minutes of my life?…..this world is pretty fvcked up
the planet, the people, the politics, the power
lately it seems to all be pointing in the wrong direction
shit’s on fire
the weather is nuts
people are acting crazy
a virus has completely changed our way of life
politics has no rhyme or reason in the most powerful nation on earth
the distance between main street and wall street is bigger than ever
it lacks consistency, stability
oh geez…..wouldn’t it be nice for a change to know what’s going to happen?
that’s why i believe in the concept of optimism
on a personal level…..i’m trying hard to stop thinking the worst is going to happen
believe me I’m pretty pro at working myself into a frenzy sometimes..and don’t’ worry I’m working on letting that shit go
and on a professional/business level?
the companies that embrace optimism could kick ass moving forward
let’s focus on the business side of optimism today
covid instantly turned lots of businesses into fear machines
buy this product and don’t get sick, keep your distance, stay protected
wtf, it’s nothing new….if you think…mass shootings created the kids bullet proof back pack market
now is that fucked up or what?
maybe i’m being too dreamy on this
but i think customers are hungry for some good news
they look forward to some reliability, professionalism, planning and a positive outlook on life
let’s remember fear and anger are a short motivators, that’s why the people and leaders who use these scare the shit out of you with something new daily.
quick side note story? speaking of stuff on fire?
my fave retreat center in northern colorado recently got swept over by the cameron fire they didn’t lose everything but many of their structures were damaged or destroyed
but since they are an optimistic group by nature
they sent out an email showing super green baby grass shoots coming up from the charred ground less then a week after the scorched earth policy blew thru there
that’s optimism baby…. :: ))
ok, let’s talk technique/tactical for a second
how does a brand sound optimistic?
but first…..one more quick side note story?
most people don’t know this about me but besides the fact my gpa in college wasn’t the greatest
the subject i loved the most was presentation and public speaking
so wtf….how does one gradumadate with a not very good gpa?
you focus on what you love and are good at
so believe it or not i have a b.s. in public speaking with a minor in business
probably the only two things in college that captured me
anyway back on track :: ))
here’s how it ties in
there are three key elements of communication & public speaking
tone, rate and pitch
your tone in how you deliver a critique or complement
the rate..how fast or slow you speak
and pitch…..high and frantic or lower and more calm and collected
so if i’m optimistic….bright & open……my tone is going to be warm/friendly
the rate will be slow to medium in speed
and my pitch certainly won’t be high and frantic
question to ask yourself…..can your brand/business “speak” this way?
one would ask…how could i tactically do this…in my business…my category?
i work lots in the natural foods world and the outdoor world…in the past i worked in the bike world and countless other consumer categories from ski hills to cameras and kayaks
with that said
in these areas maybe think about getting all buddhist mofo on your customers?
through the basic ways of the elements of earth, water, air, fire and space
think about how grounded we are when we are outside or even staring at a falling leaf from a tree in a city park?
it’s called the “union of human and nature” but that’s for another story
in the above mentioned categories it shouldn’t be too difficult to spread love on your customers when you’re communicating with them
as so many humanoids have lost the beneficial energy of nature…
why don’t you remind them with a tone, rate and pitch that is equal to your brand voice?
help them feel they are connecting with this natural energy and their own positive energy and their optimism will rise with it
another way is visually
bright colors, uplifting images, family, think love just think happy fucking ending
when i hallucinated about this earlier i jotted down some words….basic, rudimentary, everyone gets it, colorful, gets to my core, boldness, connective, happy, healthy, safe and free
what i make up in my mind when i hear words like this?
they are all words that come from the gut
and let us remind ourselves that optimism starts in your gut not in your head
it’s why your vagal nerve transmits more to your brain then your brain to your gut
in fact, 80 to 90 percent of the nerve fibers in the vagus nerve are dedicated to communicating the state of your viscera up to your brain.
ok……i’ve blabbed/typed enough about this
maybe it’s time to step back, take a few deep breaths and ponder how optimism
can help you to “connect, adapt & unite” with your customers.
more on that later…..
a quick story about an extra ‘e’
it took me a while but I finally figured out the extra ‘e’ is in there for a reason
kind of like the “extra” in front of the word ordinary to make it extraordinary?
they say you’re lucky
if you find one master in your life
i’m extralucky…as i have 3
a mind master, a body master and a speech master
my mind master is where the word “grateeful” came from
it’s the way dr. hong fei linn of the true mind center for traditional chinese medicine
said the word when I met her in 1995
and it sounds just like it’s spelled
grateeful (long e)
better yet…to this day?
she always says it like she means it
as mentioned above when I first heard it i was oblivious
just figured it was a lost in translation tweak from her native foreign language to english
then……after i heard it a bunch of times from her
she said it one more time and it hit me like an asteroid landing on my head
it started to sink in
the extra e is there for a reason
it was code i wasn’t hearing
so…she “inadvertently converted” me (good name for a band btw)
and now when i use the word in daily life…i always throw in the extra ‘e’
sharing her thoughtful mispronunciation both personally and professionally
sometimes people look at me funny and say wtf is wrong with you?
giving me permission to tell the quick story
and spreading the extra gratitude and energy she has always spread on me
can’t tell you how grateeful i am for that!!! :: ))
this new word with the extra ‘e’ is a constant reminder that some humanoids may not be grateeful enough?
especially for those of you out there with a roof, food, water, health, a job, maybe your own biz and love in your world
you know who you are mofos
frankly……when this crazy planet starts rolling over me
when it’s hard to hang on…..
i mean holy shit, we’re spinning at 1000 mph and moving through space at 67,000 mph!
(btw maybe that’s why earthly trees have roots…but that’s for another story)
when its tanto dificile……that’s when i start losing my gratitude
it is at this very moment when i am reminded of the lovely mispronunciation
that’s when i murmur it under my breath or sometimes say it out loud
it reminds me that the obstacles and disturbances i have are probably not that bad
not in the big picture of things??
ok…here’s the closer
what i’m making up in my mind?
when i see or hear the word grateeful, with the second ‘e’
that’s when i actually connect with gratitude
it shifts from autonomically hearing or saying it to fucking feeling it way deep inside
it moves me, it’s memorable
and when I’m able to call to mind that trigger (not to get all n.l.p. on your ass)
i remember what grateeful really feels like in my heart, my mind, my body, my breath
it’s all over me and around me with people, nature and objects
man…i love this planet
thanks for letting me share as we’re all students together
addicted to intensity
do you know these people?
maybe you are one of them?
it’s not about being average
it’s always about being above average or more
and doing it more than once…
actually whatever it is you’ll do it 1000 times and it still may not be enough
wtf is that aa saying? one is too many and a thousand is not enough
it’s kind of like that
we aren’t talking booze, weed, coke, fentanyl or meth
it’s more about adrenalin, endorphins, dopamine, seratonin, oxytocin, etc.
yes….for sure…..it’s an altered mental state
pedal to the metal
you are diving right into the pool
sometimes it’s outdoor activity….run, ski, ride, hike, climb, sail, fly, etc.
it might be your job?
from craftman tradespeople to c-level execs to canadian back country guides
it takes a level of commitment and intensity to get it done
it’s not easy
but despite the hardship/benefit there’s always about 10% of the pack that is addicted to this self inflicted intensity
like any good drug sometimes it only takes one time :: ))
the union of human and nature can definitely peak your intensity high….
(this discussion is for another time)
other times it’s about work…..long hours and living your dream….
other times it is abut how you roll……you’re hard on people, push them too much, impose your weird high intensity values on them, etc?
to quote spinal tap….this is the volume 11 gig
maybe those of us that are addicted to intensity should admit we spend way too much time here?
it’s definitely a “charged” feeling
true story…..one of my fellow addict colleagues calls himself a “human tornado”
this guy has definitely got the intensity monkey on his back and i can’t see him kicking it soon.
interestingly enough this dude has been sober for over a decade so i guess he just spun the intensity lazy susan in the middle of the dining table and served himself up a different flavor/type?
some closing questions?
are you addicted to intensity?
does this jones put you out of balance?
do you have awareness to this?
ie….do you know when you get all high and fucked up on intensity that others around you may not get it?
do you hire/hang around with other addicts?….which can be both good and not so good?
will this intensity needle in my arm always be here?…
will i change it or do i even have to?
look…i admit it…..i am part of this problem…..i have the intensity gene
to make things worse my parents flamed it up in me when they raised me which was not good (more on this later when i lay down on your shrink couch) :: ))
intensity can be great…..when it’s used the correct way
i’m lucky and get to work with many incredible entrepreneurs/founders that are intense
and luckily they are wielding their intensity for good…..they are on a mission mofo.
so please don’t try and get in their way
because they will certainly give you a loving heismann and sprint past you, as they chase goodness, solve problems and make humanoids feel good
please take a deep breath and continue on with your intensity
what is your your pixie dust?
aka: sometimes product development is only incremental
sometimes products don’t need a revolution
just an evolution
you’ve heard this overused phrase before
and yes……there is some validity to it
howtf do you do that
a few added f&b points? (feature & benefit)
the notorious “new & improved” ?
the list can go on especially when you start thinking about your current product line
and btw?……i’m guessing you have too many skus…..but that’s for another article :: ))
this tweak you need?
if it’s c&g you can always do the “mild/wild” gig
you have two colors and one is for the calm the other is for the crazy :: ))
if the form of your product is easily adjusted….maybe it’s shape or size or serving?
all the option variation listed above are what we call “pixie dust”
i learned it about 25 yrs ago
we had a mountain bike that sold ok…it was an o.p.p. (opening price point)
we thought we had it nailed….ie….this bike was perfect for the entry level consumer
spec, color, appearance, weight, tires, nomenclature, positioning, etc…
even what we called the contact points were perfect (saddle, grips, pedals)
however, we thought we could do better but couldn’t figure out how to get there?
then one of our product managers got back from a factory visit trip and opened up a book of new colors that were available from the paint dept.
we started mindstorming around it
the sales dept was always asking for more, especially in these lower price points (go figure)
when we took a mild black paint job and added some multi colored flakes/metallic to it….and all of sudden you got wild.
holy shit…it worked…….from then on the term was……”you could always add some pixie dust to it” :: ))
reminder…pixie dust can be more than color if you want…..
as i scan my house and garage and look at all the products/service potential?
it’s makes me think about “products” and what they are comprised of
then i allow my mind to wander, hallucinate and visualize…..
what is your pixie dust?
is it a different handlebar shape on a bike?
a new flavor or taste in a food product?
and ux or ui feature on your website?
the packaging change you’ve been wanting to make?
the new ergo handle on your kitchen gadget product?
the new audit feature you bolted on to your regular consulting services?
a better zipper or button on these shants i’m wearing?
the 4pack lift ticket in january instead of the usual 3 pack you do?
the cool little stash pocket in that camera bag or backpack?
carbon fiber or titanium instead of 6061 aluminum?
i could go on and on there
and you should get the picture…right?
so…yes…..as previously stated you have too many skus :: ))
so before the sales dept or the product geeks come in your office and say they want to add
or convince you to spend a shitload of product development money/time/energy and push you into a new category you shouldn’t be in the first place
in the new era of covid, maybe you don’t need to do shit
ie….you can’t keep your stuff in stock….ex: canned tuna, immunity supplements, bicycles, sidearms or camping equipment
wtf…I never thought I’d be putting the words sidearms and bicycles in the same sentence? :: ))
however if you’re working harder than ever to check your product mix off a retail or online “shelf”
maybe you should try putting your very best product, marketing and sales geeks in a room
pump them full of coffee or pastries or whatever it is that charges ‘em up
do the pixie dust experiment???
humanoids already lost empathy and now have even lost sympathy
aka : wtf happened to the golden rule?
ok, admittedly…..i’m trapped on your spinning blue ball
and i love this planet despite what you humanoids have done to it
recently, i’ve sadly realized that your species have brought things to a new low
sure, you lost empathy a while back but now this world is one where you can’t even feel sorry for one another…..wow
first a quick “what’s the difference” ?
empathy activates multiple areas in your brain associated with pain
sympathy, is the opposite as it lights up areas in your brain associated with love or reward
in more detail?
empathy is the link, the connection that allows humanoids to jump over into the world of another persons feelings.
it is when you understand other people’s feelings as if you were having them yourself.
it creates a very strong connection between two peeps
it’s why you like great movies, books or stories around a campfire
it’s the difference between your brain feeling your own stuff and knowing/feeling what somebody else is directly experiencing
it’s a huge step for one to have empathy because it activates several areas in the humanoid brain associated with pain. (ex: sensorimotor cortex and insula)
think of it like second hand smoke…..
only it’s second hand pain that you’re willing to “absorb”
past research has shown that adrenaline and cortisol …two major stress hormones can be released when you feel empathy for someone.
congrats for the few empathic earthlings left …it takes some courage to willingly step into this hormonal stress and discomfort.
the new abnormal empathic bottom line is simple…unless you’re an actor who gets paid for putting yourself in the shoes of another, most people in this country don’t give a shit about empathy anymore.
now sympathy?….that’s a whole different game and i’ll try and keep this brief
unlike empathy it’s feeling compassion, sorrow, or pity for the misfortune that another person encounters.
sympathy and compassion are linked to neurotransmitters like dopamine, oxytocin, seratonin, which are reward circuits that get fired. (think chocolate or romantic love) :: ))
with empathy you’re “absorbing” their pain and with sympathy you’re just “observing” it
kind of like the difference between acting in the school play and being in the audience watching it.
the former is much more active and dangerous and vulnerable than the latter
ok…let’s just call it like it is
fvck empathy…..leave that to the professionals……doctors, nurses, psychotherapists, emts, clergy, actors, lawyers, etc…..
but sympathy and/or compassion is something the average humanoid can’t afford to lose
especially in this new world where “they” have convinced many of you to disbelieve the standards you previously believed in.
it’s gotten so bad that even evangelical jesus freaks give-a-shit about others seems to be broken?
with no sense of sympathy you treat things that are alive as objects and you withhold a basic sense of goodness and decency of this amazing planet you live on
you become fvcking dead and completely disconnected from it
that’s when you shit where you sleep, pollute rivers you drink from and soil the soil you try and grow your food in
let alone seriously jacking people around that really don’t deserve it
years ago i was lucky enough to meet qigong master dr. yan xin and he simply called it the “union of human and nature”
this is where you have “sincere kindness for everyone and everything”
sympathy and compassion doesn’t make you weak, it makes your stronger
i’d challenge all humans to step up
because ultimately and selfishly it’s in your best interest
lucky to mind meld with alex bogusky
had the honor of sitting and babbling with alex bogusky of crispin, porter + bogusky…..in his “woodshed”. we talked brand, mkting, stories and i attempted to seamlessly insert some plugs for wri and our companies…..oh and btw….best intro, theme song ever on the front end of this one! :: )) listen here…. watch here…. and itunes here
are you ready for vacation?
lots of colleagues, friends and family are on or going on vacation right about now. made me think of an alien observational post written a few years back about the pre and post vacation mindsets humanoids experience.
you can listen here
or read it below…. :: ))
hey earthlings…., it’s me your alien friend
happy fourth of july? there’s nothing more all american than a summer vacation
actually me and my alien acquaintances think it’s hilarious…watching you humans get ready for vacation
yknow…you work like a complete idiot to get ready to leave for a week or two
clearing your desk, voicemails…plus you gotta get all that last minute stuff, arrange the cat sitter and pack
nothing like a couple of 60-80 hour work weeks to get you in the mood for vacation
the aliens call this the “hurry up so you can relax” kind-a-thing
we think the craziest part comes on your first day back to work…..
it’s 8:05 and it feels like you’ve just taken a couple of post vacation vulcanvaliums….yknow…… you’re all happy happy joy joy…..the green guys call it “vacation afterglow”
that’s when your boss strolls into your cube….or veal stall depending on how you look at it and drops the bomb on you, it usually starts with “i know it’s your first day back but….?”
in your mind you’re still on vacation and when that 20 lbs of file folders hits your desk an earthly reality grabs you somewhere in your nether region……(btw……that’s usually below the waist)
anyway your vacation afterglow vaporizes…..gone…bye bye…… till next year
shame on those human overlords that come in and set your hair on fire
the alien truth? don’t be oppressed by the corporate boss man did you know my space buddies have a planetary law: it’s simple….. no boss, supervisor or big cheese can buzz kill anyone’s vacation for at least 8 hours after they come back to work. rise up humanoids….get into work and just say no to the ones who kill vacation afterglow.
expowest 2019 highlights
spent 4 days at the show……finally found some time to write down the top ten thoughts…here you go baby…..
1-one can only “absorb” so much”
first and foremost…..this is a great show!!! however…..call me old and in the way or maybe it’s too many senior moments but there’s way too much stuff on that floor to absorb in 3-4 days? wondering how retail buyers sort all this shit out? :: ))
2-plant based has jumped the shark
everyone is on the band wagon. need i say more? did you know these pants i’m wearing right now are plant based? :: ))
3-and speaking of plant based? fake cheeses are getting very good!
not much in the way of new product if you ask me but do believe the fake cheeses are getting very good. ex; kite hill ricotta and follow your heart cream cheese.
4-is “frankenfood” now acceptable on the expowest floor?
in the quest to ferment, cure, culture, whatever, one could get worried about hemes and all sorts of other starters that seem to be kinda weird? not a fan and strongly believe there will always be a place for great tasting whole non-frankenfoods…..please keep them coming baby.
5-the perfect product this 5min?
high protein, plant based, probiotic snack w/cbd in it? just a joke….but wtf….would probably sell well? :: ))
6-formulaic fashion in the natural foods world continues
at white road investments we’re always nervous around the fashion game category…..a good example would be apparel. but the new interstellar irony is that the natural foods worlds is now kind of into its own “fashion”. high protein, probiotic, cbd, keto, paleo, plant based, adaptogens…you know what we’re talking about. some trends are strong and stay, some not so much.
7-cbd….wait for it, there were 175 cbd related exhibitors at the show
yo…if you’re not in this category now…….it could be hard to get over?
8-the continual sea of sameness (confused again), especially in the “fvcked” categories
when it comes to yogurt, coconuts, nut butters, water, energy bars there’s lots of sameness. however there are some breakouts in these areas and it seems harder and harder to do this? if your product or brand doesn’t have “special powers” you could be in for a tough ride.
9-i heard there were 400 new exhibitors in the north hall.
wow….wonder if new hope media would consider doing a 2-3 yr case study around all 400? ie….what happens to them…do they make it or break it? the ratio of success has got to be greater than the chances of your athletic kid actually making the pros? with that said, a few of “the 400” success stories could be encouraging statistics and learnings for burgeoning entrepreneurs? or better yet…a reality tv show? :: ))
10-the clifbar letter challenging kind bar to go organic
fantastico…ok….admittedly we’re biased as clif is our mothership. despite that the fact is clif is never afraid to stand up for their values, gary & kit started clif as a challenger brand and they are now ramping up that lovely position one more time!!! fvck yeah!
here’s a final big p.s. observation
business is all about product and people or people and product…take your pick. most of the time product comes first…a founder has an idea that solves problems and makes humanoids feel good. this is super cool and what it’s all about. however there is a time in an emerging brand’s life cycle where a team gets built, comes together, coalesces and that energy is felt. the “group behavior” becomes so strong, committed, aligned and full of goodness that the people/team are then elevated almost above the product platform. we get all warm and fuzzy around this and at the show one of our companies hit this mark….their team is incredible and you could feel it….let’s hear it for OM!!!!!
was thinking….this 5min of their lives? it’s harder than ever for emerging brands….
too many, too much syndrome
(click on pie to listen to this post! )
was thinking….this 5min of their lives?
it’s harder than ever for emerging brands….
in my not normal jacked up observatory opinion?
it feels like there’s just too much and too many
and no matter what category or industry you play in ?
there’s just too much and too many
too many suppliers, too many skus, too many retailers, too many shelves, too much product
do we really need 25 different brands of “blank” or 50 different kinds of “blankety blank”?
I’m sounding like a retro grouch abe simpson…that’s right it’s me not you :: ))
hallucinate with me for a second
i wonder how many hundreds of kombucha brands are out there on a shelf right now?
between national and regional and super localized…
it’s turned into a sea of sameness filled with a kombucha cast of thousands?
but wait there’s more
there’s one more thing that belongs on the list of too much and too many
and that’s middle men
you know who you are… you’ re reading my mind….. baby
i’ve been there
i’m talking to all you middle men out there?
the middle men have already been shot down in the travel biz, the insurance biz and many other industries
and now they are coming for you
agents, brokers, independent sales reps, distributors, etc.
example : if you’re a food broker you’re not even allowed to walk into a whole foods anymore?
wtf is up with that?
as a supplier we want you in there..checking out of stock, training peeps on the floor, actually giving a shit and helping check your products off the shelf
your favorite distributor, your favorite broker, your favorite independent sales rep?
some are firmly planted in the middle and are feeling the squeeze…..
some are feeling it because they suck and have always sucked
but now the cream of the crop are feeling it
did you ever think that person to person selling would ever go this far out of fashion?
and we haven’t even brought up the subject of trade shows…
i’ll say it again….
there’s just too much……too many
and you…. the emerging brand? you are up against this junk show on a daily basis
since the consumer drives everything today
are there too much and too many out there because consumers want it?
or retailers want it? or buyers want it? or product managers want it?
they all want better but really want new?
c’mon…you know a big piece of this could be a function of larger brands
desperately trying to make their investors or share holders happy by growing, growing, growing
they then try to line extend and steal share into bigger numbers for their mothership
what they perceive as “innovative new product” just adds to the sea of mofo sameness” mentioned previously
sorry…im on a soapbox now…..
i get it
consumers want quality, service, value and….. selection, and at then end of the transaction no matter where it took place….
they want to know they bought right
i heard once that a good salesperson “mildly confuses” their customer
with that sheer number of brands on shelf at brick and mortar and on line
we are now more than mildly confusing our customers
it borders on complete confusion….
call it omni channel overload?
let’s wrap this too much and too many blurb up……
the solution to too much and too many is new products and services that actually solves problems and makes people feel good
ie……f*ck you and the sea of sameness you rode in on…
however with that said
this next 5min of our lives?
i predict they’ll be little or no sku rationalization going on willingly
however…….once the economy eventually corrects itself…..or trade wars intensify or barrels of oil cost over $100?
things could change…..
and at that point
i’d suppose that two things could happen to correct (or probably over correct) the too many and too much syndrome….
first….there will be less selection and choice on the shelf….a buyer won’t go 8 brands deep on organic pickles or ski helmets
second? he highest priced products on the shelf will probably get yanked off first
no matter what category you’re in?
please be prepared….and that’s a whole ‘nother story……
crazy words & definitions
a close friend/colleague of ours is going into the hospital next week for a fairly serious operation. this week i committed to sending him 7 days worth atypical word of the day emails to support, spread love and help get his head in the right spot before he goes under the knifie-poo.
with that said, have decided to post up the 7 words sent to him because…well…if you knew him you’d know that he has all these qualities..he just needed a goofball to remind him.
some may think the words below have little to do with business or investing as the words are more about humanoids/behavior? sorry….but last time we checked?…..people have everything to do with business and investing.
-strong mofo : “humanoids who has the inner/outer strength, tenacity and persistence in doing whatever they do”
-heart mind : “a bright & open state with sincere kindness towards everyone and everything”
-corragio : “courage in italian”
-raw spot : “a place where we take ourselves or sometimes get taken to that forces us to step the f*ck up for success”
-nimbility : “when a humanoid combines their skill and ability with nimbleness to adapt to any situation good or bad or brutto”
-same as : “when lovely humanoids see and connect and unite with each other at the exact same level. not one up or one down…just simply same as”
-hardship benefit : “before one experiences a benefit whether personal or professional please expect at least a few moments of hardship. y’know…..some quality time in front of the ass kicking machine that bends us over, makes us uncomfy and then stronger. it’s the way of this planet….when you get used to it things just make more sense.”
as always…thanks for humoring me :: ))
the big difference between a "heisman" and a "loving heisman"
the “loving” heisman
fact…..there’s lots of yes’s in business and there’s also lots of no’s
it’s part of the process we go through while looking for mission driven entrepreneurs to partner with
what we do is a bit of a numbers game…
it’s not just the dollars numbers
it’s the numbers of meeting and connecting with as many people as possible
the downside of this numbers game?
you have to say no to most of the opportunities presented
we’ve always called this somewhat uncomfy process a “respectful decline”
the concept of telling the truth with compassion as you say no
yes, we’ve understand the disappointment of a respectful decline to a hard working founder.
it’s a bummer, it’s flat out rejection…..
let’s face it there’s nothing worse then getting “the heisman”
you know that famous trophy football pose?
one leg up driving forward
one arm straight out
the other arm cradling/protecting your jewels (the ball)
it’s a stiffarm, it’s painful, abrupt and you don’t always see it coming
believe it or not?
some humanoids like giving the heisman
because it’s a no holds barred “one up” move
if you’re on the other end of it?
there’s no mistake that you’re feeling like you’re being looked down and trodden upon
we don’t like giving this traditional heisman
as a matter of fact we’ve made efforts to change this
we now give what we call “the loving heisman”
you still have one leg up and you’re moving forward
you still have one arm out in the standard stiff arm position.
but the difference?
instead of grippin your jewels (the ball) with your other arm, instead you let go of all that
and then firmly and intentionally place your left hand over your heart
here it is visually…..(please excuse the crop job but my face not needed here) :: ))
a loving heisman takes more effort and leaves you a bit vulnerable
in the end it’s a lot less uncomfy for both parties than the traditional, in your face heisman
a loving heisman not only includes a respectful decline
but usually includes offers to stay in touch
provide some connective capital
serve up some probono ideas, thoughts, stories, counsel
maybe some of this stuff could help them avoid a few pitfalls coming there way
you’re not “one up” with this attitude
instead you are “same as” looking them in the eye and on the same level
sigh…we want to help everyone but realize that we can’t.
so instead we strive to deliver the truth with compassion
to be on the same level
and have the big wish for them that they succeed.
because you never know who, what or when something might change in the future ?
notogroup : how to be attractive to investors
wri press love
nice hit this morning from our friends at noto group
our 15 nanoseconds of fame :: ))
oh my friend...you are so being missed right now......
talk about lucky…..
seven years ago gary erickson and kit crawford introduced me to deven clemens and john anthony
the three of us were lovingly mashed together as the newly founded white road investments team
it permanently changed my life….(thx g,k,d,r & john)
this last weekend…unexpectedly after hip surgery we lost john….
he passed away…he left this fantastic blue ball we’re wonderfully trapped on.
we are all stunned and our hearts (now with some holes in them) go out to his wife debbie and his family.
john was unique, charismatic, caring, a selfless connector
he was the kind of guy that after you met him you knew you wanted to be friends.
it didn’t take long after that
you knew you’d be totally cool with him being a best friend
he was fast, abrupt, direct and lovingly in your space when you were around him.
it was fun trying to keep up with him
one day after a 4 hour board meeting we did 13 store checks in about 3 hours…..
that included drive time
and we still returned the rental car and made it to our flights on time.
from my limited experience riding this blue ball?
there’s few people you get to know professionally and personally.
the two rarely cross over
john was one of those special ones…
where you worked with him, played with him. partied with him, cried and laughed with him, man hugged with him,
and all the other wonderful stuff that brings humanoids closer together
i once learned from a master that “we all come from the big love”….
meaning we are all connected through this big love……
fact…..john anthony was the big love
he was a powerful force of goodness
someday…i too…will leave this ball……
can only hope to be remembered the way john is being remembered…..
thank you john anthony for positively changing me and us forever…..
one more lovely visit to the crazy intersection of risk and reward as a goofball reminds you to keep your business in balance no matter what mother nature throws at you, act back
standing on your tippy toes
here’s one more story….related to risk and reward
it’s called standing on your tippy toes
instead of personally putting yourself out of balance with duct tape and indy cars
let’s talk about putting your business out of balance
let’s begin with a hallucination
and say you’re in a weather dependent business
that could be anything from landscaping to amusement parks to ski areas to farming
technically even a lyft drivers revenue is affected by the weather…
one very hard lesson i learned in a past life is the thing about a weather dependent businesses is once a bad day has passed and you missed your number?
you missed it and it’s probably not coming back
so example?….if it starts raining and your usual crowd doesn’t show up?
you’re probably not going to make that loss up
same thing with bad snow and ski areas
so each day you miss?
you are figuratively in the deep end of the pool and the water is now rising
eventually that water is right under your nose
ooh…..it’s time to talk about this uncomfy analogy
good news?…kinda?…is you’re still a bit lucky at this point
as the water up is up just under your nose and your biz is still breathing and standing on solid ground
but then another bad weather day or week hits and the water rises once more
and it’s time
you need….the business needs
to stand up on it’s tippy toes to keep breathing
if you want you can try it right now….cmon baby stand up, get up on those tippy toes
it doesn’t take too long and you start to really feel it
risk city…this is not fun
it’s at this moment that you’re hoping for the weather to break …..
the reward is to be able to set your heels back on the ground and get comfy again
in reality? tippy toes means you are trying
on the fly to adjust your spending, cogs, costs, burn rate, scraping in every penny you can….etc….to make up for the shortfall
are you feeling the calf burn?
btw…and you already know this
but if you go into your selling season with a draft contingency plan…..
the calf burn may not be so bad? eh?
i dunno…..you’ve probably done this “adjustment” exercise before ?
and it’s still a very painful exercise
muscle, bone, your own throat…which do i cut and not cut?
huge risks that if they go jiggy could radically affect the biz
and all to to get to your reward
guess what?…this risk and reward exercise…..it’s part of the gig…oh geez
wow……i got a bit wordy there…sorry
it’s time to sum this shit up
think of standing on your tippy toes as another jacked up variation of “how long can you do it”
tenacity and adaptability
to keep your business in balance no matter what mother nature throws at you
risk, reward, and being duct taped to the side of an indy car......and it gets a bit personal? meaning its about you baby.....::))
duct taped to the side of an indy car
a lovely colleague/friend recently planted a seed in my head
he said i should talk about the crazy ass intersection of risk and reward
i thought of a few stories
one about risk, reward, and being duct taped to the side of an indy car
and it gets a bit personal?
meaning its about you baby
so here’s the punch line up front
to get ahead on planet earth
most people have to work their asses off
and that’s the real risk to get to the reward
you’re full tilt boogie all the time baby 24/7/365
you are maxed out
we call that being duct taped to the side of an indy car
the indy 500 is where humanoids strap into open wheeled race cars and see how fast they can go for 500 miles in a circle
it’s a wonderful comparative to your world
and classic risk vs. reward
after all you are all part of the humanoid race and race is a good word for it
and i suspect living and working in the good ole usa feels like we’re all duct taped to the side of that indy car
i said it again
actively scheduled, multi tasking, money, crazy jobs, obligations, family, trying to consume just too much information…hurry up so we can relax……blah blah blah…i’m overwhelmed
that’s right goofball
i know this feeling well….it was my last real job
but screw me this is about you, with about 20 rolls of quality 3m duct tape and a state of the art indy car rolling 3” from the wall at 180mph and more all the time
and guess what….after about 4laps… ….it’s a blur…
it all starts to look the same (gesticulate with hand over mouth here)
there’s the possibility of big reward rolling at this pace
checkered flag baby
and the risk is….well you guessed it…..you hit the wall
and this type of hit is very unexpected, hard to predict and the chances are very good catastrophic…once it starts….you’re not going to stop it
and the cause is usually a minute, small, what doesn’t seem important at the time screw up
it’s time for the second punch line and moral of this story
the big question is more than who hits or doesn’t hit the wall
it’s about how long can you roll at this pace?
there’s the risk
knowing how long you can put yourself completely out of balance
because you can only duct tape your humanoid body to an indy car or for so long
me personally? me gots multi years of duct tapeage….the reward was cool…but i think it’s what gave me all this gray hair…not kidding
though i knew up front how long i was prepared to wreak havoc on myself
this is about tenacity and adaptability
it’s what you entrepreneurial geeks out there should be good at
it’s the risk of how long can you be duct taped to that indy car and during that tape-age how adaptable and how comfortable can you make yourself for 500 full laps?
i got no more
“Thanks for Encouraging Me To Trust My Gut”
we come into contact with all sorts of wonderful people, brands and organizations on a daily basis.
when it fits right we get involved! however, we can’t say “yes” to all of the opportunities we see because sometimes the fit isn’t right and both the investor and investee realize that.
with that said? there are some very special companies out there that we love despite the fact we may not get involved.
these special ones usually keep us posted of their adventures along the way and we welcome that and dig helping out from time to time. it’s very cool because it’s proof that people and product and relationships are paramount.
one of these special ones is Po Campo. a brooklyn based maker of incredibly cool, versatile and functional bags that fit your life…especially on a bike!
maria, the founder of Po Campo has been looking for independent sales reps to grow her business. she recently sent a heads up email that was so nice….just had to share it…..
“Thanks for encouraging me to trust my gut. I was interviewing a rep this afternoon and part of me was like, “Well, I really want someone in the CO area” but my heart was like, “She’s obviously not excited about Po Campo and isn’t listening to you” so then I just said no thanks and have a good weekend. Previously I would’ve thought, “Well, this is the best I’m going to do”.
the moral of the story? well…we’ll let you make that one up in your own head.
as always, thanks for letting us share…. ::))
expo west and the f***ed categories?
oh trade show how i love you part two…aka…the final installment
walk a natural foods trade show floor like expowest for a few days
and if you’re awake and aware while in the aisles, at the end of it all?
you should be able to make a list of the food categories that could be referred to as f***d?
for now let’s just call it the “screwed” category to be politically and swearingly correct
maybe we can play a quick fill in the blank game to succinctly explain ?
if you’re going to get in the “blank” category you’re probably screwed
so let’s fill in that blank….here’s our short list
2-anything coconut….oil, water, snack, etc….
-popcorn in a bag
-granola* (with an asterisk because it’s been on the list for at least 2 yrs)
it’s not that these categories aren’t real or don’t generate millions if not billions in revenue in the natural foods universe
it’s just when talking to entrepreneurs, founders and new business types
if they have a product in one of the above categories?
just want to give them a loving hug and say
congratulations, you are so f***d….oops i mean screwed
interstellar irony right here and right now?
these entrepreneurial peeps are usually super smart, hard working, committed, mission driven, etc
but they are also willingly entering into the “screwed category”
a wild world of sameness with incredible power and strength working against you
so as a newcomer brand/product in these screwed categories?
if their product or brand doesn’t have “special powers”
it’s probably not going to work
point of interest? at all trade shows …
there are always places where the most of the cool, emerging brands reside
the 3rd floor or the basement or that one corner over there
it’s easy to get excited when you see the ones with special powers
and sometimes it’s a bummer….because you see many without the special powers
and you know next year they probably won’t be around
first…..most are in one of the above mentioned screwed categories
you’re going up against powerful competitors
that own the shelf, the trade spend, the consumers mind share and they most likely make pretty good product and margin to boot …
oh that’s right they also know how to deliver on time
so if you’re going up against the goliaths of the category you better have something really special going on or you are screwed
you notice i pluralized….goliaths…that’s an s on the end…..
two symbolism there……
-screwed starts with an s
-you can bet there’s going to be more than one goliath you’ll be up against.
figure a minimum of three!
the screwed list isn’t exclusive to the natural foods world
in the outdoor world, stainless steel water bottles might be top of the list
and in the bike industry?
if you’re introducing a new high end carbon road bike in the u.s. market?
you’re probably screwed
btw….feel free to make your own list in whatever business world you play in
i’d like to see it…..
ok…enough, let’s close….the moral of this screwed story?
stay out of the screwed categories
and if you’re crazy enough to go in will you please build a brand/product with special powers?
because then and only then? you might have a shot at it…..
oh trade show…let me count the ways i love you…..
trade shows, energy, connectivity, and finding one?
we just got back from expo west…..it’s a lovely natural foods show…
live in person, no virtual reality, face to face, hand to hand, and lots of hand washing and hugs for the ones you know and love
expo is probably one of my fave trade shows despite it’s increasing size and humanoid density in the aisles
or despite the 3 min trade show aisle meeting we are forced to have
or despite the 10 miles of walking each day
or the 100 miles of talking ….as we all go home with sore throats and sore feet
in the spirt of the f word…focus
decided to skinny this weeks rant into the 3 reasons why we go to trade shows
expo west is great because of it’s “energy” as the majority of attendees are on a mission mofo…
and that’s everything from changing how foods are grown and produced to the quality of food that humanoids put in their pie holes
and you can feel this energy and connection when you enter the hall
hyper competitive yet hyper collaborative….
it’s bi directional….it goes both ways baby
the big energy and the mission are fantastico
and let’s remember that “energy contains information”
so when you leave you can take some with you…
and it can last a while if you practice it daily
reason number two?
trade shows are a one stop shop…..
you can check out the industry landscape in one place
you can walk up and down the aisles and see who and what you’re up against
you can also visualize/hallucinate/make up in your mind where you think it’s all going
so trade shows are a great way to get present and possibly future snapshots of the industry
if you’re lucky “you find one”
for us at wri that means we find something…get a lead, meet a founder or find a category that we think has promise and we can invest in for the future
for you as an exhibitor or attendee or a sales rep
you finding one might be a new retailer to sign up, a new employee to hire, or a company you may want to work for, etc…..
now….not to be a buzzkill….but here’s some reality check….
we personally attend a myriad of trade shows and i don’t care what industry or category you are in
more and more trade show floors are becoming a sea of sameness
same colors, same products, same claims, same positioning, same packaging
example? do we really need 30 different brands of kombucha?
don’t get too bummed out by this sea of sameness
as it’s a good way to figure out how to differentiate
as your enemy isn’t so much the competiton but more about the sameness
who knows by walking the aisles
you may figure out how to zig when everyone else is zagging