Artist Soul, Business Mind
You know what’s sad about so many entrepreneurs? They’re quick to sell-out. They’re in it for the money, and are in a constant get-rich-quick state-of-mind. Pump and dump. Create a perception of success, sell it to someone with deep pockets and watch from afar as it flounders and fails, smugly blaming its demise on “big business that didn’t know what they had when they bought it.” I know, because I have been one of them.
You know who hasn’t? Sam Calagione, the founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. His deeply imaginative and exotic recipes, his hand-painted labels, his slogans, brand names and philosophy are all from the heart of a true artist. An artisan.
But it is his business savvy that completes the equation. His ability to grow controllably, to manage distribution and the supply chain, to attend to vendors and to speak articulately about the method of his success as well as its madness, that truly makes him a star. And that is what makes it possible for him to laugh at multimillion dollar offers for small pieces of his business. He doesn’t want it. He doesn’t need it. Because he has captured the essence of true entrepreneurship.
It’s about the journey.
Any professional investor will ask you about your “exit strategy.” It is literally by-design that companies are built with the intention of trading hands. It is supposedly this very process that keeps our economy moving forward. The creators create and the business guys figure out a way to make it profitable. Or shut it down and move on to the next big thing.
I’m humbled by Calagione’s approach. There is no destination in his plan. Only great recipes, great people and great experiences. And it earns him $52 million a year.
Interested in hearing more? Enjoy this Bloomberg feature on the man behind the fastest-growing craft brewery, 5 years running.