Chapter 7The Radically Changing Beer Business

Believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men. Speak your latent conviction and it shall be the universal sense.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

The golden rule for successful collaborations is this: the more proportionate and focused the involvement from each participating entity is, the more mutually beneficial the results will be. “Of course,” you say, “that's obvious.” Maybe. But not until we had a few seemingly promising collaborative projects go off course did we come to understand what it takes to sustain good ones. Everybody wants win-win in theory, but despite the best intentions, in practice, things can often get sticky. When it comes to external collaboration—with other companies, artists, or organizations—I've learned that there have to be shared intentions, a single written definition of success all parties contribute to and agree upon, and a shared level of engagement. Enthusiasm isn't enough. As our VP of marketing says, collaborations are hard.

Most collaborations begin with mutual respect between two organizations or entities. In order for Dogfish Head to initiate a collaboration, both parties must respect each other and have shared values. This might not be an approach they teach in business schools, but I'm convinced that the best strategy is to focus on the positive energy that comes from collaboration rather than the negative energy that can come from focusing on competition. The impact on ...

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