Signposts along the way
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. We’ll post up some stories, insights, pictures, vlogs, recordings, musings – and just about anything else around what makes us tick in general…….
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