Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics

#101: Kara Goldin Founder & CEO of Hint

December 16, 2020 Alcott Global Season 1 Episode 101
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics
#101: Kara Goldin Founder & CEO of Hint
Chapters
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics
#101: Kara Goldin Founder & CEO of Hint
Dec 16, 2020 Season 1 Episode 101
Alcott Global

Kara Goldin is the Founder and CEO of Hint, Inc., best known for its award-winning Hint® water, the leading unsweetened flavored water, and has since expanded outside of the beverage industry with the recent launch of hint sunscreen. She is also the author of “Undaunted: Overcoming Doubts and Doubters”, which is part autobiography, a part business memoir about her journey building hint into a successful company.

Kara has been named among Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs and Forbes’ 40 Women to Watch Over 40. Also, the Huffington Post listed her as one of six disruptors in business, alongside Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.

Discover more details here.

Some of the highlights of the episode:

  • From chasing Steve Jobs for a job to running a 1 billion business and then to setting up Hint 
  • Starting a new company whilst being pregnant
  • Challenges in launching a new category in the market – unsweetened flavored water, and being a mission-based company
  • Listening to people say you can’t and quitting vs throwing the gas and keep going
  • The biggest message from the book Undaunted, “do it or don’t do it, it is up to you”
  • Getting past doubts and worries

Follow us on:
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2Wba8v7
Twitter: http://bit.ly/2WeulzX
Linkedin: http://bit.ly/2w9YSQX
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2HtryLd

Show Notes Transcript

Kara Goldin is the Founder and CEO of Hint, Inc., best known for its award-winning Hint® water, the leading unsweetened flavored water, and has since expanded outside of the beverage industry with the recent launch of hint sunscreen. She is also the author of “Undaunted: Overcoming Doubts and Doubters”, which is part autobiography, a part business memoir about her journey building hint into a successful company.

Kara has been named among Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs and Forbes’ 40 Women to Watch Over 40. Also, the Huffington Post listed her as one of six disruptors in business, alongside Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.

Discover more details here.

Some of the highlights of the episode:

  • From chasing Steve Jobs for a job to running a 1 billion business and then to setting up Hint 
  • Starting a new company whilst being pregnant
  • Challenges in launching a new category in the market – unsweetened flavored water, and being a mission-based company
  • Listening to people say you can’t and quitting vs throwing the gas and keep going
  • The biggest message from the book Undaunted, “do it or don’t do it, it is up to you”
  • Getting past doubts and worries

Follow us on:
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2Wba8v7
Twitter: http://bit.ly/2WeulzX
Linkedin: http://bit.ly/2w9YSQX
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2HtryLd

Speaker 1:

Hello everybody. And welcome to a new episode of leaders in supply chain podcast . I'm your host RADA Palomar, you managing director of ALCAT global. And it's my great pleasure to have with us today. Kara Goldin , who is the founder and CEO of hint, hint is best known for their award winning hint water, which is the leading unsweetened flavored water in us. And has since expanded outside of the beverage industry also with their recent launch of their hint sunscreen. Kara is the author of undaunted overcoming doubts and doubters, which is part autobiography and part the business memoir about her journey. Building the company into a very successful enterprise. She has been named among Fortune's most powerful women entrepreneurs, Forbes, 40 women to watch over 40 as well as Huffington post listed her as one of the six disrupters in business, alongside Steve jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. So quite a famous list. So Kara , great pleasure to have you here today and thanks for joining us. Thanks for having me super. So maybe, maybe let's start first and foremost with a little bit the story of hint and , uh , you know, you've been at it for what, 15, 16 years maybe tell us, how did that come about? How did you decide that ? I think you had a career in media and on that side of the business, and then you became an entrepreneur.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well media and then tech . So I, I'm probably best known in Silicon Valley for being a tech executive. And I call myself an accidental entrepreneur because I never thought that I was going to start a company. I, I, you know, didn't think as a kid that I was, you know, the entrepreneur of the future and wasn't starting little companies that wasn't me at all. But when I, I started my career in New York, in media, I worked at time and then worked at CNN back in the early days when Ted Turner was still running around the office screaming. And I learned a ton about culture through different companies that I was, I was really there because I was obsessed with these products more than anything else. And I learned just a lot about culture along the way, which is something I talk about in my book too. But then I moved, I met my husband in New York. He was just graduating from law school and he wanted to do this thing called technology law. And it was like the mid nineties. And he's talking to all of these law firms. They all want him to go to wall street and he's like, I'm so not interested in going to wall street at all. And so he said, you know, I want to do this thing called technology law. And everybody was like, we'll hire you, but you should go West. You should go to Silicon Valley. And so, so we did, we got engaged and we moved out and I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do. I thought I'd go do another media company and potentially stay with CNN. And then when I got out here, I, I had been following for years, this guy , Steve jobs. And I was kind of obsessed the fact that he made things look so pretty and easy. And I was , um, I remember, you know, the first IMAX totally aging myself, but for me it was, it was like, finally, these stupid, big, huge computers, like finally somebody gets it and they have a cute little Apple on it. And it's like, everything is, is really nice. So I was, I was like from a design perspective and aesthetic perspective, I just appreciated him as a, you know, visionary founder that made things really pretty and easy. And again, I didn't know anybody in San Francisco. So I, one day I was just reading the wall street journal and read this article about the sky Steve jobs. And he had once again, like started this product inside of Apple, that was actually called [inaudible] . And it, and basically what he suggested was that if we put all of the graphics onto this disc , that people, it wouldn't matter what the speed or broadband , you know, it was not even like being talked about at that point. And so anyway, I just read this article and I thought that is just so fricking cool. He's done it again. Maybe I can go work for Steve. And I called the person who was quoted in the article, who was like this. He had worked for Steve, but he had spun this company out and he's like, no, Steve isn't here. We like left Apple and there's four guys. And I'm like, Hey, can I take you to lunch? I just want to know what the sky is like. And you know, I just think it's cool. Like I'd wake up every day. And I just think that'd be so fun. Like, it'd just be an interesting, like thing to just go and kind of hear what this person who worked for Steve. So like I said, Steve, wasn't there and I'm meeting these four guys and they're obsessed with the fact that I worked at CNN and, and that I was working on business models and I said, so what's your business model? And they were like, what do you mean? Like I said, like, how do you make money there ? I don't know. And I said, wait, you have a company and you don't know how to make money. That's crazy. And you know, I here coming from New York and these big companies, it was always about, okay, and this is how we make money and go do this or whatever. So they said, do you have any ideas? How, how we make money? And I mean, even giving away everything and there was just like, Oh, we're just giving things. And I'm just like, wow, that's crazy. And they said, do you want to come work with us? And you know, it's four guys. And I , unlike , I don't know, you guys seem pretty nice. It might be kind of funny. I mean, I really, this is a company you're all wearing jeans and a t-shirt and you're , I wasn't in a garage where I was in an office and I was just like, huh. And I remember getting contract from them and I took the contract home and I showed my, my husband and he's like, you're getting equity. And I'm , I'm like, wait, equity, what do you mean? Like, I mean, I kind of know what equity is and he said, did they talk to you about it? And I said, no. And then he's like, you're making more money than you were making in New York. And they're giving you equity. He's like, you can always quit. And what's the worst that could happen. And I'm like, okay. And so I get there and I'm like, so what do you guys want me to do? And they said, we just want you to go out to all these retailers and get the, get them to put their, like catalogs on this disc . And I'm like, okay, do you have phone numbers? No. Um , and I said, so I'm just cold calling people and talking to them, like, who would I talk to? I don't know . So I basically was starting from scratch and building this business. And then one of the investors came in and they ran this company called AOL. And they're like, I heard you always ask, like, how do you make money? And you're always trying to charge people and like, that's really good cause we're investors. And that's really good to hear that somebody's not the engineers don't care about making money, but you actually care about making money. And then suddenly we needed more money. And so they acquired us and it was, it was AOL America online. And so suddenly I was, you know, it was like a hundred ish people in the company. They give me this, this channel, this button that is called shopping. And they said to all the retailers that were on your disk, just bring them over to AOL. And so I was like, well, it's gotta be a lot faster, whatever. And it wasn't initially. And so then I was doing like two platforms. They're like, it's a platform. And I was like, I don't know, what else do you want to call it? Okay, it's a platform like we were making it up as we went along and it was insane. And anyway, at the end of basically like two years in, I suddenly was, I mean, I was spending more time on the East coast. The company was based in Virginia. I was spending a ton of time in New York. I was trying to, I went on some trips to China to try and open up a wall, China. I mean, it was, it was insane. And I had no experience. I had no business in this job, but I was successful. And so anyway, seven years later, it's a billion dollars in revenue to AOL. I'm managing 200 people. I'm the youngest vice president at AOL. I'm one of the few females somewhere along the way. I had three children who were all living in San Francisco. My husband's a Silicon Valley intellectual property attorney on like, what am I doing? I mean, just on a lot of levels, I was so tired. I had gained a ton of weight over, you know, just basically just burning out. Like I was just, I was just fried. I was, I loved what I did, but I just was just, I don't know. I got to a point after seven years where I spent more time managing and not, not really, we were no longer building at the same capacity. And so it was just, I just wasn't, I don't know. I just wasn't learning. I wasn't excited anymore. And so at that point, I thought, do I wait till it's 2 billion in revenue or as 1 billion in revenue, like time to say goodbye. And , and so that's what I did. I left. And I went back to San Francisco and, you know, decided I actually want to get to know my kids and I want to be a mom. I want to go to the mommy and me classes. I want to do this stuff. And we remodeled the house in San Francisco. My husband's company that he worked for Netscape was acquired by AOL as well. All my former companies, CNN and time, they asked me to stay on Ms . Transition team. And so I did that. And then I'm like, the two of us said, we're gone, we're we're out. And we don't know what we're going to do. And so during this time for a couple of years, it's funny because a lot of my friends in tech were saying, so what are you doing? And what are you guys up to? Do you want to come work with us or whatever? And I was like, nah , I don't know. Like, I'm , I'm just being a mom. I'm really kind of, I don't know. I'm pretty happy doing it. The truth was was that I thought if like, I want something where I'm really learning and , but I couldn't define really what the issue was. People are like, do you not like tech? I'm like, no, I like tech, but I don't know. I just, I couldn't really define exactly what it was that I wanted out of my next career. And then I also thought if I have one or two more gigs in me, do I want it to be tech ? Like, is there stuff that I can there? Is there other stuff that me as an individual can actually add value in , in some other capacity? So, anyway, while I was thinking about all these big, you know , things in my mind, that's when I realized, okay, well, in the interim, I'm going to get healthy and get rid of this weight. And I had been working out, but nothing was working. I was trying all these diets. I was eating healthier, watching my weight, calories, you know, ingredients and all the food. And that's when I finally, one day I was in my kitchen and I looked down at the drink that I was drinking diet, soda, diet Coke in particular, and saw all these ingredients. And I thought no one had ever told me that there was a problem with my diet soda. And I had been told forever that diet actually was better than full sugar. And so it was just because I had started reading ingredients that I just thought, okay, well maybe I should just put it to the side for now and see what happens. Not really thinking it was gonna work at all. And it was really hard. I mean, I'd been drinking diet Coke forever. And I was drinking, you know, anywhere from six to 10 a day, I didn't even think I was doing that, but I would just grab them. I have half. And then, you know, I leave it on the counter or whatever I have fountain sodas or whatever. And then finally two and a half weeks later after giving it up cold Turkey, people always ask that, you know, where are you having one? Nope, cold Turkey. I was drinking water at this point. Hated water. That's when I lost 24 pounds, my acne that I had developed over , um , a few years just bizarrely, like had developed. And then it just went away and my energy levels were back. And, and that's when I just became so curious about what had just happened to me again, I didn't know anything about beverages. I was not a nutritionist. I, you know, had always worked out. I was an athlete growing up. I just, I don't know. It just, I , I was just so interested and why I had been fooled. And, and so it was at that point after a year of living this way, I lost all the weight that I wanted to lose, that I went into my local supermarket. And again, I didn't have a job. So I just started bothering the guy. That's like stocking the shelf . How do I get a product on the shelf? I've been making my own water at home that has real fruit in it. That doesn't have sweeteners in it. He pointed to a product that I think you're familiar with called vitamin water. And I was like, no, that has so much sugar in it. Don't like go there. And they didn't even have a diet version out yet. And, and so I saw this hole in the market and I, but I didn't even as crazy as it may sound, maybe because I never thought I was going to be an entrepreneur. I wanted someone else to go solve this problem. This was not, I just kept telling everybody why isn't there this product here. Maybe it's not in San Francisco, but maybe it's in New York. So I'd go to New York. I go looking in all the stores wasn't there. And I was so positive that I just wasn't seeing it. And then I was giving anyone that I could find that I thought was in the food and beverage industry. This idea I'm like, you guys should go do this company. This is going to be, this is going to be the next thing. Like I get the fact that I shouldn't be drinking and eating all these sweeteners and this is, but no one was doing it. So that's when I said, I'll just go do it for now. And I'm interviewing for tech companies and these different jobs, but it was really the fact that nothing kind of was exciting me in tech at the time, because I just became so curious about this industry. And I think that the key thing that I learned from that, and I talked a little bit about when I left AOL, was that it wasn't, for me, it was never about starting a beverage company. It was about the fact that this world existed, that I just really didn't know. And again, I had learned so much about tech and I really wasn't learning. So, so I talk a lot about this. I think as humans, we're all meant to be learning. And I actually go, as far as to say that the most unhappy people should actually check whether or not they're learning, because I think that that is it's something that not a lot of people talk about. And by the time you get to be C-suite or, you know, as you move up the ladder, you become more of a manager and you become less of a learner. And I think it's often what is the issue for so many people?

Speaker 1:

Wow. That's a fascinating, yeah. Fascinating trajectory , uh , in , in some ways it's kind of , uh , well you mentioned Steve jobs, right? So he talks about connecting the dots backwards, right? So, and our day job is executive search and head hunting. And I kind of find it sometimes funny. I mean, this there's all sorts of people and obviously some people are much more structured than others and , and some people believe that there is such a thing as a very clear path, right. To C-level or to , you know, you do a step one, step two, step three, step four. And at the same time, I know in it stories like yourself, right. That a lot of times, you know, life just kind of happens and, and , uh, you know, yeah .

Speaker 2:

And I think, I mean, I , I talk about this on universities and college campuses, frankly, all over the world, I've talked about this topic that no one ever said that to me, when I was going to school, that it was, you know, the Mecca was kind of go be a manager and then go, you know, be a VP and then go become a CEO. And, and so in building my own company, what I share with people is that at every single level, and it doesn't mean that you have to go back to school. It means that you have to figure out, you have to, you know, be a little bit scared, right? Uh , on certain days, and you have to insert yourself into something that maybe you just don't know enough about. And I always hear about, you know, especially the best CEOs and the best founders are just constantly reading, which I, which I do. And listening to podcasts and listening to audible books, et cetera. But I think that it is, I think that that is really part of the learning and, and where people get stagnant and, you know, talk about mental health and lots of things that I think is really, really such a hot button around the world. I mean, the people that I know that are feeling really stagnant and not learning are those that have kind of gotten stuck in this, just keep going up the ladder and they're just bored. Right. And they're not learning anything. And so for me, it was actually switching industries and I people. So my book is called Undoctored, overcoming doubts and doubters. And, you know, people always thought, Oh, she's fearless. She just goes out and does things. She's never had any doubt . She's never failed. And I'm somewhere along the line in my public speaking over the last couple of years, I , I just said, do it really, is that what it looks like to you? Because I've had so many, like, there's just, and , and so I actually started journaling four years ago. That's what the book came out of. So I didn't, I I'm an accidental entrepreneur and I'm also an accidental author because unlike maybe some people out there who always said, I'm going to write a book and become a bestseller. That was a meat . I was, I was, I mean, it's, I'm not going to lie. It's super cool to be a published author, but I never wished that at all. But I , I was journaling and talking about my experiences along the way. And then finally, after giving so many talks and feeling like just through storytelling that I could share my fears, my doubts, my, when things happen that were not what I wished, you know, you mentioned Steve jobs, Steve, he talked a lot about connecting the dots and part of what I talk about today and, and definitely in the book as well, is that, you know, when bad things happen or failures happen, I'm not going to say that it doesn't affect me and that it doesn't hurt in some way, but I truly feel like so often those things are things that you need to experience in order to be better and, and some, and so the pandemic, I mean, a , is a worldwide topic, right? If you don't feel like everything went the way that you wanted it to, first of all, I think it's a time where you just kind of have to accept that there's things beyond your control, right? And you've got to do the best job you can. And, and especially when you're, you know, like me running a company and, you know, trying to do the best job you can, but I've never been through a pandemic before there stuff that I've done super well. There's other stuff that was really surprising, which I think we're going to talk about a bit on the supply chain stuff. There's, there's stuff that God , I'm glad that happened. But I think that it's also a time where the best leaders actually look back on those times and figure out what they did. Right. What they did wrong. And I think that the more we can talk about those things as leaders, the more people learn and frankly appreciate it. So,

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And that's what I think Brenda Brown has a lot of, she's amazing. She's the one that speaks a lot about the power of vulnerability and it's something that's, while you've been in big corporates, that's a , unfortunately, I mean, deal with them as clients a lot. Unfortunately I don't see it a lot in big corporates. There's this facade it's pretentious. I know it all. I I'm in control type of mode, which, which really doesn't help because ultimately nobody's in control. I mean, like nobody's in control. I mean, you can never say, I mean, who would have predicted the pandemic, right. I mean, it's like that funny. I don't know if you saw that funny joke, but in 2015, nobody got the answer right. To where will you see yourself in five years?

Speaker 2:

And I've said this. I mean, I, one of the stories in the book that many people appreciate is I decided I wrote the business plan for him. And then I found out I was pregnant with our fourth and you know, I'm sitting here, I knew I was pregnant before my husband did. And I, and I was like, Oh my God, like, what have I done? Right? Like, I've got four kids under the age of six. I want to start a new company in an industry that I don't know . And thankfully I had some money from, from my days at AOL, but I also felt like I should tell my husband that I'm taking $50,000 out of our bank account. So he doesn't think I'm going to The Bahamas with my girlfriends or something. And, you know, and he was like, okay, I share with them about the company. And then I'm going to start this. And he knew I had been interviewing at Google and lots of other companies. He's like, wait, what are you doing? And I said, and then I'm taking $50,000 out of our bank account and I'm buying bottles and fruit and that's what I'm doing. And he was just, he was shaking his head going like , it's your money? You can do whatever you want. I don't think it's a great idea and whatever, like you, you know, you do whatever you want and just kind of laughing at me. And then I didn't really like his response. So I decided it was a good time to tell him I was pregnant with our fourth child. And , and he was like, wait, what what'd you just say? And I said, yeah, I'm going to this bottling plant and Chicago in a couple of days. And I've got nannies that are going to come in and anyway, and it'd be really great if you went with me because I get really morning sick. And he's, he's like, Oh my God, I can't even believe we're doing this. And I said, well, you're not going to be able to come on the plane if you're going to be complaining the whole time. But if you're not going to complain, you can come. And so we said, okay, fine.

Speaker 1:

I'll come , I'll come. And , and then, you

Speaker 2:

Know, he saw, I mean, it was at that moment that he really, he didn't get it. And he's the first person to say he didn't get it. And then when you saw the bottles really rolling off the line, a couple of days later, he, he said, I get it now. And I said what he said. So you've been dealing with a non-physical goods product for years and bits and, and whatever, and air from media and print. And I don't know . And, and now you have this like fascination with this physical good. I'm like, no, that's not it at all. I mean, it's kind of good. Like, it's kind of interesting, but I just felt that if I could actually get people to enjoy water, that we could solve an issue for people around health, which I saw was big primarily because of how big these diet drinks were. And he's the son of a doctor. And I remember him, him and his dad always talking about how frustrated they were because people just, you know, his dad would just give this diagnosis or tell people to go do this. He's a gastro doctor and people wouldn't do it. And then they get really sick. And so he, you know, and so he always felt really bad. He's like, I can't go to their house. I can't tell him what to do. And so being the son of a doctor, he said, this is crazy. You're, you're just asking, actually telling people to buy a $2 or less bottle and just start drinking it and it's going to taste great. And they're going to get healthier. Your belief is that they're going to, I mean, I had lost 55 pounds at this point. I had solved a lot of my issues. And again, I was looking at the diet industry. I was looking at all of these consumers, these poor people who are fooled all the time. And again, it's like a 15 year journey and something that, you know , I'm known for in the us is really being an advocate for the consumer, but also a Crusader, not just against sugar, but diet sweeteners, and 15 years ago, people, not people didn't get it. They were like, I don't know what you did to like, lose this weight and get healthy. But I can't believe it's like diet Coke. And today people are, you know, coming along. But one of the things that I talk about in my book and something that I've shared with friends along the way is that when you actually have a vision, when you're trying to create a new category, when, I mean, that's what I was doing. I didn't even know the name for it, but I was not just launching a company. I was launching a new category, which was unsweetened flavored water. And the reason it's hard is not only are you ahead of the consumer, but you're also ahead of the buyer. So none of the grocery buyers knew what I was talking about. They're like, it's not plain water. It's not enhanced water. Cause that all has sweeteners and it's not soda and it's not juice. So what are you guys? I would say, unsweetened flavored water. And they'd say, sorry, Bubba pays Patriots . It doesn't match. And so , and so , so I knew I was ahead and I, and there's, there's a story about one of my doubters and , and in book, which was a friend, it was about a year into the company. We were doing pretty well in some stores in San Francisco, still tiny. But we were hearing from consumers that, that they loved it. And almost from day one, I was hearing that , uh, that people were saying, Oh my gosh, this is exactly what I needed. Thank you so much. They were writing on our bottle. We had an email and an 800 number. And so I knew I was gaining customers. And I said, if I can just figure out who else is out there that really wants this product, then I can grow it, but we didn't have any money for advertising. You know, there were just a lot of barriers and I was having tons of doubts. So finally I was sharing with a friend and she said, you know, I'm sitting next to this guy on a plane. And he was in the top executive at Coca-Cola and he S and she said, I'm gonna write them right now. And maybe you can talk to him. Maybe he can distribute your product. Maybe he can help you figure out this problem that you have, which is, I was trying to create a , uh, an unsweetened flavored water that didn't have preservatives in it. And everybody kept telling me you can't do that. And I was like, why? And I said, just you can't. And I'm like, why? You know, I'm the last of five kids. I asked why all the time. So I was just like, why are like, you can't, it's crazy. I don't like, no one knows the answer. So they just say why. And so, anyway, that's when I was on a phone call with the Coca-Cola executive. And after about 15 minutes of explaining what I had done in the Bay area, that's when he said he just interrupted me after 15 minutes. And he said, sweetie, Americans love sweet. This product is going anywhere. And I'm like, wait, did he just call me sweetie? I mean, that's, that's crazy. And again, I just, I don't know, like it was just naughty and I just, I was sort of shocked in a lot of ways. And then, but one thing that I talk about in the book is that, you know, when people say stuff to you and you have a choice, right, you can, I didn't ignore it. I obviously remember it, you know, 15 or 14 years later, but you have a choice and you can let it bother you, or you can just keep moving. And so I sat there and listened to him for another 45 minutes. Basically tell me the strategy and the beliefs that he had learned at Coca-Cola , which was that everybody wants sweet and everybody wants lower calories. They were at 10 calories at the time. And so I was just listening because I had consumers in San Francisco who were buying my product and they were like, we don't want calories. We want water, we're addicted to these sweeteners. And so I thought I can educate him on who I see this next level of consumer, who it is, or I can get off the phone and I can just throw the gas on because that, that gave me strength and in sort of an ironic way, because I thought here's this guy that was like, God liked to me. Cause he was in my industry. Right. He had lots of experience. He is a multi-billion dollar company and he's supposed to be waving his magic wand and solving all my problems. And instead he was condescending. He was, you know , telling me that this thing isn't going to work anymore and never in that hour conversation, did he ever say the word health? And that's how I described what I was doing to all of my friends. And I thought, should I listen to them ? Probably not because we're on a whole different river. Right? And , and today I today, you know, 15 years ago, we weren't even talking about mission-based companies. I mean, today, everybody says Hinch is a mission-based company. And I'm , I'm like, yeah, like I always thought of it as having a mission, but that's really what I saw. And just really hearing from the naysayers was it gave me energy and strength to know that I have a choice. I either listened to them and quit and it was, or I, or I just throw the gas on and keep going. And so that's a story in particular that I've shared with a lot of entrepreneurs and, you know, you can put it into your own experience and storyline, because I think that all along the way, we have these people, right, who say, who have loads of experience, their internet industry, they're icons. Right. And what I learned and what I totally believe today is that those aren't the people that actually see the future, that the future is actually seen by consumers, by people who see that there's a problem. And they believe that they potentially have an idea to fix things. And I think a lot of that learning and, and maybe even call it confidence is really something that I learned in the tech industry. That there's always like 2.0, there's always an upgrade, right. That comes along. And it's interesting. Cause it's, that's kind of unique to the tech industry. That is something that when you think about the beverage industry, when they launched like, you know, diet Coke, they just leave it alone. As long as people are sell or as long as people are buying it. Right. And then sales start going down and then they're like, Oh, we should reformulate. By this point, everybody knows that it's a mass. And so they're , they've got multiple issues, they've got a PR battle that they've got to deal with. And then people are aware right there that nobody's buying it and that sales have gone down and now you're reformulating. And so your brain is actually saying, ah , I'm not going to like it. Right. Like it's just, it's a whole, it's a mass. Right. And so I think actually coming from a different industry with a new, you know, new pair of glasses, new lands, however you want to say it was, is actually where new ideas come from and innovation comes from, and, and I've said this over and over again to audiences and, and again, one girl's opinion on this. I just feel like the more I look around at, you know, the best entrepreneurs, whether it's , uh , Airbnb or, you know, Netflix or Google, Facebook, nobody had experience, nobody had. So I think you, you they've got ideas and they jump in and they just start trying. And so that's the big message that I hope people gain out of the book too, is that while on the one hand you can come up with a million reasons and excuses, why you can't do something it's ultimately up to you to go and do it or don't do it. But don't say like, I don't have any experience. I, you know, the pandemic, I don't know. Like I just instead accept those challenges as decisions that you're making, but don't, but I really believe that if you want to do something that you can do it, but it's to be able to do it and just go try,

Speaker 1:

I just want to chip in with a story. Cause I , uh , I found it fascinating. I think it may be , it was a while ago, maybe 10 years ago, I happened to be numb startup community type of a thing. And then this dude from , uh, from Africa actually comes from South Africa, comes and shares his story of how he was a lazy guy and the , you know, he, whenever he would go out, he didn't want to take a shower. He was so lazy that he didn't want to take a shower. So he was like, Oh, what if there was something that you just put on? And he's like, you have to take a shower and it feels fresh. And then you can go out, but that product didn't exist. So he went on, he was 18, 19. He went on Wikipedia and taught himself chemistry and then came up with this gel that you can actually put. And then, you know, it , it gives you the benefit. I mean, okay, it's not to be taken like days and days. Of course you should also take a shower, but he came up with this formula that works for a short period of time. And actually it turned out to be extremely helpful for a couple of conditions. Not for lazy people like Kim one. Okay. Fair enough. But not, but the second one is like, if you're in the army, right, then you go into the jungle or some mission, well, we're going to take a shower. Right. So a couple of days you can, you can work with it . Or if you take a longer trip, 24 hours, 36 hours, I don't know if you, you know, obviously that gel works very well created it, formulated it, marketed it and sold the company to Procter and gamble. So was like the guy had 80, 19, zero nuts, not nuts about chemistry, but you know, he had his problems. So scratched his own each, I guess, if you want to say it like that and did it

Speaker 2:

So many stories like that. And, and yet what's, what's fascinating. And I didn't, again, I didn't write the book to sort of, you know, hold myself up and in some way as this, you know, incredible entrepreneur , uh, what , uh , what I really wanted to share with people is that first of all, being an entrepreneur, I have so much respect for entrepreneurs because I am one. Right. And I get it. And I always say to people like, it sounds super sexy to be an entrepreneur. The reality is, is it's a choice and it's hard. And it's an , I, you know, say to people, it's what I choose to do every single day. I'm energized by it. It, you know, definitely I'm learning every single day, all of these things, but it's not for everybody. And the other thing that I have been chatting a lot about in the last year in particular, that there's nothing wrong with not actually being the founder, but instead supporting because I can't do what I do every single day without having an amazing team. And so, you know, talking about supply chain, I mean, that, that is a, that's an area that, as I always say, I am not our chief operating officer. I, but having said that as a CEO, I think probably one of the main reasons why I'm still the CEO of the company 15 years later, and the founder, which is pretty rare is that I am willing to try and I know enough to get me in trouble and I'm smart. And you know, and I know a little bit about supply chain. I also know how to code. I also know how to sell this product. I also know how to do the PR for this product. I mean, I know enough, and then I'm really good at hiring teams of people who are better than me. And I'm not afraid to hire people who are better than me, but I'm also a huge believer. And it started really with kind of with that conversation with the Coca-Cola executive, which is, I will hire curious, passionate people who are super smart and teach them how to do a job. We have so many people who work at hand that are not in the beverage industry, have never been in the beverage industry before they, they liked the product. I'm not going to hire people if you don't really like the product very much like , um , if I'm not going to hire you, if you sit around and drink red bull all day long, that we just aren't really probably for you. But if you're really curious and you're inquisitive, I think that that is way more powerful than somebody who's been doing the same thing day after day after. And I , again, I think that that's a lot of what I've learned in Silicon Valley and, and kind of the thinking it can come, ideas can come from anywhere. I always say to people this, you know, none of what we're doing is brain surgery, right? And it's just, it's like people thinking, what are the problems? What are the possible solutions having, just having the ability to, you know, live with, I mean, people call it take risks, kind of like, I , I think it's it's part risk, but I also think it's, it's recognizing that you are okay with working really hard and, and jumping in and seeing what you can do. Ultimately, I think is the most important.

Speaker 1:

I just want to ask a final question now all the time is a little bit of it , but I do want to double click a little bit. Cause it's that at least my impression is that there's the number one. People doubt themselves. They , they doubt themselves. I think ultimately it's not about the, is the Ida good? Is the environment good? Is the , it's probably the core is I doubt that I can pull it off if we really look deeper. So you've talked about doubts, you've talked about doubters. I mean, there's going to be plenty of people that will tell us it's not possible to do it. I mean, there's, there's plenty of people that regret that they haven't done it themselves and they want to pull you down as well when you want to do it. So I wanted to ask what's your process. If you have a process or a secret formula, even if that that's probably an oxymoron yeah . Of getting past this, you know, doubts and worries and concerns that we all have.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I th I think that it, as, as my parents used to say to me, when people would say something to me as a kid that bothered me, they'd say, consider the source. And I think it's, it really is true in life as well. When you, when, when I meet people today who have done the same thing over and over and over again, and are very, very high level. And unfortunately they've been in a situation where they are not learning every single day. They're not using the side of their brain where things are constantly changing and they're on the lookout for it. Again, the smartest leaders today are always, if you look at their , they're trying to do things, you know, sometimes they'll do them through nonprofits or whatever, to try and mix things up and try and learn about this problem that's out there. But I think that that's the thing that people should look at when you see doubt in front of you. Maybe you're comparing yourself in some way to somebody . I mean, maybe it's like in social media, somebody said to me the other day, it's like, Oh, they have more likes than me. Or they have more followers and you know, why is this happening or whatever. I think you just have to really understand that no one has this figured out. Right. And I think it's actually, I look at who have been sitting in a non learning mode and that often happens in large companies. Large companies are not great at innovating. Right. And unfortunately we hold up people who are from experience level that they've done lots of things when actually the reality is, is that most of the best ideas and innovations kind kinda come just by trying and just by, you know , going and doing things. So I think it's, it's also just as a leader, I think too , just creating environments where ideas can come from anywhere and people should always feel like they can add something into the mix to that. I I've been in some, I've spoken in some companies where, you know, it's sad to think that people think like, Oh, only if you're a director, you can actually add to a conversation. And I'm like, wow. I mean, that's, that's where the ideas where people, their curiosity is really the thing that's ultimately going to drive them. So I think just remember that and certainly read my book on daunted and hopefully you'll recognize that if she can do it, I mean, she had no experience in the beverage industry. And I was, every time I hit hurdles, I was just like, this is crazy. I mean, the fact that they can throw my product out in a store, I mean, a competitor than just go and toss it in the garbage can that, like, why is that okay? I mean, how does that stuff happen? It just, and, and again, it wasn't going to kill me. It was just kind of bizarre on a lot of fronts. And so then that, just, that just enabled me to just be more curious, why stuff like that happened. And, you know, finally I think that the other thing is, is that I'm constantly learning, but I'm also learning about things that maybe I'm not supposed to be learning about, including clean water. I mean, that's a huge issue that I'm working on right now in Washington around just cleaning up our water supply. And there's some chemicals in the water, certainly in the U S I think it's everywhere in the world. Um, there's a , there's a chemical called PFS, which is a, not only a cancer causing chemical that is primarily caused by like a Teflon, like a plastic that's in the water supply. That's very difficult to get rid of. And we've seen it in a lot of our plants throughout the U S who use pasteurization. So we're able to get rid of, get rid of that and the water supply. But again, if it's going into a home or a hotel or business, they're not using the same processes that we're using. And so as a leader in the private sector, I started digging and looking and trying to figure out like why don't more people know about this stuff. And I'm hoping to actually take this before the S government before Congress and try and actually get, can get it considered a dangerous substance, which would regulate it. They're now finding with COVID that people who are getting COVID and are unfortunately passing away or are surviving, are not developing antibodies, who blood supply actually have this chemical PFS. Again, I'm not a doctor, but I'm reading up on this stuff. And I'm finding that there are doctors who are saying this now. And so all the more reason should we be trying to get something done about this? So again, I, I feel like as an entrepreneur, I mean, people are like, are you a lobbyist? Or how do you know how , what you're doing? I'm like, I don't, I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm just like doing right. And I'm just trying. And I think that again, with curiosity and with the ability to sort of know , it may not work out like it may, but it's part of your journey. I'll be a great dinner party guest to sort of share with you what I write. But I went through , uh , you know, in the process and probably know a lot more than anyone else in the room about how to actually get a bill before Congress. And so anyway, it's, it's been super rewarding. And again, it goes to the point of always be learning.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, well , Kara wonderful, and really appreciate the sharing. And I think that that message come across came across very strongly and well, to me , um , that's my main takeaway always be learning. And in recent times, I must admit personally, I felt a little bit bored, well , being stuck in Singapore, we haven't traveled for 11 months and we , you know, Singapore is, you know, it's an Island, that's it , but it does come and come back. Cause there's always learning opportunities. And obviously, you know, we are human beings. We're not robots and there's phases and there's ups and downs. But I think ultimately as long as we keep learning and challenging ourselves, it's yeah , it's a great, it's a great way to keep ourselves fit mentally and physically , um, some great stories really, really appreciate it . I think a lot of, a lot of people will take at least a glimpse of inspiration and hopefully take your advice and do things, do, right? The , to use the technical term, I want to also encourage them to follow you on social media. You have a very good presence. Do look into your book. We'll also add the link in the podcast or Dubai Cara's book and find out more stories and wishing you all the success and the , and definitely this initiative on the water cleaning big, big topic, good luck with that. Then we'll be following you to see how you go.

Speaker 2:

Thank you so much. And yeah, definitely. It's Kara golden is my with an eye on all social channels. So definitely stop by and say hello. And hopefully you guys will get a chance to listen to the book or read it. It's on Amazon and audible and lots of different, lots of different places. Thank you for listening to our podcast.

Speaker 3:

If you liked what you heard, be sure to go to www.ellicottglobal.com and click the podcast button for all the show notes of the interview. Also subscribe to our mailing list to get our latest updates. First, if you're listening to a streaming platform like iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher, we would appreciate a kind of review five-star works best to keep us going and our production team happy. And of course, share it with your friends. I'm most active on LinkedIn. So do feel free to follow me. And if you have any suggestions on what what to do and who to invite next, don't hesitate to drop me a note. And if you're looking to hire top executives in supply chain or transform your business, of course, contact us as well to find out how we can help.