It’s OK to Want a Big Payoff

The volume has always been high on ESG-related brands in the past twenty years. Organic. Regenerative. Upcycled. Vegan. The founders of these brands are not motivated primarily by money. They have missions. Disproportionately, they also come from privileged families. This is why they can focus on

The Power of Focus

As you move farther up the Ramp, the risk of losing focus grows. Why? Well, now you have the cash to entertain all manner of distractions you quickly ignored early on: adding lots of new UPCs, extending into new categories, paid marketing in dozens of forms, national

Why Your 1-Page Plan Is Lame

For years, I’ve talked about having a 1-Page Strategic Plan, which contains your one-line competitive strategy and outlines the critical playbook you are testing to drive exponential growth for your business. I even gave away my template to another 20 folks last week at my quarterly Riding

Beware of Desperate, Old VC Funds Headed Your Way

Food tech ventures are imploding all around us. I just took a call from one with a mere $1M in revenue but had inhaled $500M in Silicon Valley money before 2023.  I declined that project. It’s not a real company. It’s a wish. There will be more

Understanding Your Fans

Unlike B2B sales or high-ticket (i.e.research-heavy) consumer categories like cars, everyday consumer brands do not have a real ‘consideration’ phase in the marketing funnel. At least one you can intervene in separately from awareness building.  It’s not that there is no thought process or filtering of

Don’t Get Pushed Into a Premature Exit

The primary reasons to exit early (early being Phase 2 or Phase 3) is that a) you are sick of operating the business and cannot find a suitable person to step in (or quickly enough OR b) you want an ‘entity’ to finance its growth

Hire Deliberately and Slowly

I've started layering in organizational health/optimization work with some repeat clients. As the data comes in across companies, one startling fact keeps reappearing.  The companies that hire deliberately, minimally, and with zero expertise overlap seem to hum the most. They have the least bullsh*t internally. Why? A lack

From Founder to Brand Manager

This post is a blatant plug. Not sorry, because I rarely do it. My course sales are up 80% this year! You don’t care, but there’s a reason I uncovered.  In talking with B-school professors and founders, I realized that my courses hit a gap in

Podcast Snippet – Episode 98 of Startup Confidential

The following is an excerpt from Part II of my recent interview w/Emmanual Probst of Ipsos.  We share a passion for understanding strategy from the perspective of real behavior, not the marketer’s fantasy of what their brand could be. Enjoy! Emmanuel Probst: The problem with most

Emotions are NOT a Strategic Outcome

When folks take my Riding the Ramp training each quarter, I ask them to do a live, rough draft of a competitive strategy statement using the theory in my book. Then, they send it to me for critique.  I regularly get folks who write down emotional