September 17, 2020
“There is the fallacy that you can outgrow any problem. (You think) I’ll just sell more – that will solve the problem. Well, that’s not true.”
Matt Cutter, Co-founder & President, Upslope Brewing Company
Many of us are familiar with the stories of our favorite small microbreweries and of the huge Colorado successes like New Belgium Brewing which was acquired by Kirin. Regional beer makers (starting at 15,000 barrels a year) have their own niche – big enough that we know their brand and big enough to be in stores, and small enough to still feel like the term “craft beer” still fits. I love Matt’s comment that “Good brewers dump beer!“ referring to the need to throw out beer that doesn’t meet their standards. About a year ago, I interviewed Dave Thibodeau, Founder and CEO of Ska Brewing in Durango (episode) – it’s fun for me to contrast the style and the story of this week’s featured guest, Matt Cutter of Upslope Brewing.
August 27, 2020
Every job I've had before this I'd get bored after 4-5 years... fixing the home services business, fixing the experience for home owners, is an intractable problem that will probably outlast me.
Brandon Ridenour, CEO, ANGI Homeservices
Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor have always fascinated me – and until recently I didn’t know that the company that holds those brands and 10 others, ANGI Homeservices, is a Colorado-based public company. We discussed what makes me curious about these businesses: how they compete with Google and Yelp, and particularly how ANGI can serve BOTH the consumer and the advertising service providers with integrity. Brandon explains!
August 13, 2020
“We think about the consumer first and foremost and not about a business opportunity. That authentically resonates. What do you do after that – who the heck knows?”
Ian MacGregor, CEO, Skratch Labs
Ian at Skratch Labs was recommended as a guest by Dan Konigsberg of CampMinder (listen to that episode!) This is an episode you’ll enjoy if you still believe there is such a thing as “build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” In today’s world, that RARELY happens – it CAN – if you develop just the right product for just the right customer – and have a team working its ass off doing whatever needs to be done. It also takes discipline to stay focused on the customer, and a lot of humility, particularly by a CEO who got the job by default.
July 30, 2020
“I used to be embarrassed to charge for my pictures… It took many, many years to value my own work.”
Once a year I do an episode in which I feature three rising entrepreneurs with businesses and styles that I really like. I had intended that Guadalupe Laiz would be one segment of this episode. I am so enthralled with her work, her business one that I’ve been so curious about, and her story so heartwarming, that I decided to make it a standalone episode. I met Guadalupe in Aspen when Cheryl and I were drawn into her gallery. Honestly, her photos took my breath away. You can see them on her website and of course at her gallery. Watch for the “rising entrepreneurs” episode later this year.
July 16, 2020
“My goal is to make passion and business line up... and usually passion wins out."
Adam Miller, Founder and CEO, Revel Bikes, Why Cycles
You’ll enjoy the interview with Adam Miller. It’s different from what you normally hear from a founder basing the business on a “passion” because Adam is passionate about business as well as his passion. This episode tells the story of a founder who exited his first business via a messy divorce and little financial gain. Adam doubted whether he needed a different life path, went back to his roots at a bike shop (remember when Rocky goes back to a nasty old gym after being beaten by Clubber Lang?). Adam soon reemerged ready to create two new brands that would build the best bikes in the world – Revel Bikes and Why Cycles. Outside Magazine agrees – the Revel Rascal was selected by as Best Mountain Bike, 2020.
June 25, 2020
“A lot of entrepreneurs want to get into stores way too fast – before they have the consumer following… as quickly as they got on the shelves, they’re going to be off.”
Jane Miller, CEO, Lily’s Sweets
Consumer products companies are tough! For every home-started product like Bobo’s (PROCO360 episode) and Justin’s, there are tens, hundreds (thousands?) who fail. Lily’s is different. While its founder, Cynthia Tice, set out to create a product for herself (as most founders do), she set out to create a business at scale when she created a no-sugar-added product. With only three employees, including herself, Cynthia brought on Jane Miller, my featured guest. Jane is an experienced entrepreneur (including CEO of Rudi’s Bakery) with lots to share during our interview.
June 11, 2020
“It comes back to the science... I do think it comes down to credibility and trust.”
Deanie Elsner, CEO, Charlotte’s Web
The CBD business is exploding and Charlotte’s Web went from startup to $100 million in 3 years! Deanie Elsner, CEO, left a consumer foods company where she was named a “Top 50 Chief Marketing Officer in the World” to join Charlotte’s Web. I was eager to discuss sales and marketing for a line of products that people don’t understand very well, and that doesn’t stop them!
May 28, 2020
“It (effective marketing) isn’t about a consumer angle! It’s about razor sharp focus by the brand that triggers some tension that a consumer has.”
Christian Gani, Match Marketing Group
Christian Gani focuses on “experiential marketing” for his clients. Until COVID-19, that meant creating amazing experiences that customers would visit to be WOWED by a company’s brand and products with high impact. Christian gives some great pre-COVID-19 examples.
But, now what? We can’t bring customers together to congregate and enjoy a collective, high energy, massively creative experience. Christian and his team are figuring that out, flipping the approach and bringing the experience to the customer.
May 15, 2020
“The #1 thing going forward is going to be about hygiene… The thing that surprises me most?... with 125 shops, the importance of technology in the customer experience – I didn’t see that coming.”
Jamie Repenning, President, Floyd’s 99 Barbershop
I’m always curious about franchises. There have been some great success stories from Colorado, and some, less so. It seems to me that a key to success for those who make it is that they are owners and operators first, and franchisors 2nd. They great ones care most about building a business that serves the end customers more than about franchise sales. That’s the case with Floyd’s 99 Barbershop – and you’ll hear that as President Jamie Repenning describes operations during COVID-19.
May 6, 2020
“We are focused on a mission and a vision to truly disrupt product development and design... along the way we’re probably gonna step on some toes.”
Matthew Klein, CEO, Backbone PLM
Backbone PLM is a quintessential story of tech company success. The dominating and most intriguing point for me is that the company was created to solve a very painful problem in the market that existing service providers were falling short of solving. The problem was so painful that early customers helped Backbone refine the solution, and customer executives invested in Backbone to help them succeed. Lesson to be learned: when starting a business, find a really, really painful problem that when solved, creates massive value – then solve it.