2 Find Your Place in This World

“I remember very clearly Steve announcing that our goal is not just to make money but to make great products.”

— Jonathan Ive, Steve Jobs biography by Walter Issacson, page 340

One of the first dark rooms that Jack, Annette, and I found ourselves in revolved around our very essence as a company.

It’s a question that any product, service, or enterprise faces.

What promise are you making to your customers? And how will you ensure that that promise is kept throughout every aspect of your customers’ experience with your product, with your service, with your company? And how can you ensure that that promise will be maintained over time?

We had to find our place in this world. Where did we fit in?

Doing so meant we had to develop a standard for our brand in general, and for our products in particular.

But in so many ways we were lost, reeling in one dark room after another. We were unsure of ourselves, questioning everything from what we should call ourselves, to what approach we should take to our labels, even to where we were from.

On top of all that, we were faced with almost constant challenges in maintaining the quality of our products. In terms of distributing them outside of our Midwest base as well as whether to compromise our flavor profile in order to maintain our profit margins.

We were searching for our North Star, a light that would illuminate our dark rooms. The standard that would guide us through all the decisions that lay before ...

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