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June 29, 2022

John Timar (Kill Cliff) - Why they doubled down on their core audience in times of doubt, How the Navy SEALs inspired the creation of the brand, and His approach to partnerships for growth

John Timar (Kill Cliff) - Why they doubled down on their core audience in times of doubt, How the Navy SEALs inspired the creation of the brand, and His approach to partnerships for growth

Our guest today is John Timar, CEO of Kill Cliff. Kill Cliff is America’s best-selling clean energy drink and the official drink of the Atlanta Braves. We discuss how the Navy Seals impacted John and led the founding of Kill Cliff, some of the creative marketing initiatives Kill Cliff has done the past few years including a partnership with Joe Rogan, why at one point they considered a rebrand, and how they doubled down on their core audience and release new SKUs. Without further ado, here’s John.

  1. Why did you want to be a Navy SEAL?
  2. What was the hardest part of becoming a SEAL?
  3. What did you most learn from that experience?
  4. How was the transition to civilian life?
  5. How was the transition from SEALs into business?
  6. What did you first do after the SEALs?
    1. Don’t have the community
  7. Why did Todd Ehrlich found Kill Cliff? What was the insight? How did you know Todd?
  8. When you say lost its way, give an example of something that the company did that was inauthentic to the brand?
  9. What were some of the challenges going from enterprise to consumer?
  10. How is it a better alternative to what’s out there?
  11. Kill
  12. What’s been the low points and tough moments within Kill Cliff?
  13. When did you get involved? Why did you get involved? What was your first role?
  14. How do you approach distribution since I’d imagine the Red Bull probably try to block you?
  15. You were able to recruit John Brenkus as your CMO. How did you convince him to join and what has been the impact?
  16. How do you approach partnerships?
  17. What is Kill Cliff fight club?
  18. When did you decide to get into CBD and why?
  19. What’s the perception of energy drinks?
  20. How did you raise capital?
  21. Why were you promoted to CEO?
  22. With your partnership with Rogan, has the controversy around him had any affect with Kill Cliff?
  23. How do you approach new flavors and products?
  24. One piece of advice?
Transcript
WEBVTT 1 00:00:12.439 --> 00:00:17.039 Hello and welcome to the consumer VC. I am your host, Michael but 2 00:00:17.160 --> 00:00:20.960 and on this show we talked about the world of venture capital and innovation in 3 00:00:21.000 --> 00:00:25.480 both consumer technology and consumer products. If you're enjoying this content, you could 4 00:00:25.480 --> 00:00:30.519 subscribe to my newsletter, the consumer VC DOT sub stackcom, to get each 5 00:00:30.519 --> 00:00:34.719 new episode and more consumer news delivered straight to your inbox. Our guest today 6 00:00:34.759 --> 00:00:39.719 is John Timar CEO of kill cliff. Kill Cliff is America's best selling the 7 00:00:40.039 --> 00:00:44.280 energy drink in the official drink of the Atlanta braves. This was such a 8 00:00:44.280 --> 00:00:51.240 blast. John has such an engaging personality and is extremely charismatic, so I 9 00:00:51.280 --> 00:00:56.280 really hope you'll enjoyed this one. We discussed how the Navy Seals impacted John 10 00:00:56.320 --> 00:01:00.159 and led to the founding of killed cliff, some of the creative marketing initiatives 11 00:01:00.240 --> 00:01:03.599 killed cliff has done within the past few years, including a partnership of Joe 12 00:01:03.680 --> 00:01:08.280 Rogan, why at one point they considered a rebrand and how they doubled down 13 00:01:08.319 --> 00:01:12.560 on our core audience and release newscuse. This is a jam packed episode. 14 00:01:12.599 --> 00:01:23.280 Without further ADO, here's John. John, thank you so much for joining 15 00:01:23.319 --> 00:01:26.319 me. How are you today? I absolutely thrilled be here. Man, 16 00:01:26.319 --> 00:01:29.519 I'm doing great. How are you? I'm doing awesome. Do it awesome. 17 00:01:29.560 --> 00:01:33.959 Thanks again for for taking the time. One start originally, I know 18 00:01:34.000 --> 00:01:37.959 you're a navy seal. What was the inspiration or why did you want to 19 00:01:38.000 --> 00:01:42.079 become a navy seal, since that's obviously super impressive. Not many people are 20 00:01:42.079 --> 00:01:46.079 our navy seals, and why did you want to be in that in that 21 00:01:46.159 --> 00:01:48.159 group and have that be part of your life? Man, that is a 22 00:01:48.359 --> 00:01:51.480 that's a great question and there's a lot that man, there's a lot to 23 00:01:51.480 --> 00:01:57.200 talk about there. To be just brutally honest with you, I was intrigued 24 00:01:57.239 --> 00:02:00.599 by, you know, the military as a child and I watched a bunch 25 00:02:00.599 --> 00:02:05.560 of James Bond Movies with my dad and I read the Richard Marcinco Rogue Warrior 26 00:02:05.640 --> 00:02:08.360 books when I was in high school. And then I went to college and 27 00:02:08.400 --> 00:02:14.120 I didn't really have like I didn't really have a passion for anything in particular, 28 00:02:14.159 --> 00:02:16.360 and I dropped out and play guitar and a heavy mail band and I 29 00:02:16.439 --> 00:02:21.840 quickly realized that while my chops were good, they were great and it was 30 00:02:21.840 --> 00:02:24.520 going to be a long road that I was not willing to walk to figure 31 00:02:24.560 --> 00:02:29.479 out where that was going to take me in life. So I just went 32 00:02:29.520 --> 00:02:30.000 back and said, hey, you know what, I'm going to do? 33 00:02:30.039 --> 00:02:32.639 That navy thing that I read about when I was in high school that I 34 00:02:32.639 --> 00:02:37.680 fought was super cool and there was a driving force behind it that I just 35 00:02:37.840 --> 00:02:40.960 I felt like I had a lot to prove to myself and that was an 36 00:02:42.319 --> 00:02:47.400 excellent opportunity to to enter a really, really challenging proving grounds and towards, 37 00:02:47.800 --> 00:02:51.879 you know, a career path that I was interested in, to try, 38 00:02:52.000 --> 00:02:55.360 you know, super cool job. I loved it and and I knew it 39 00:02:55.400 --> 00:02:59.520 was really, really hard to do and I was intrigued by the challenge. 40 00:02:59.560 --> 00:03:00.840 I knew that in my life, you know, I was kind of aware 41 00:03:00.960 --> 00:03:04.680 enough to know that I need a kick in the butt, and so that's 42 00:03:04.680 --> 00:03:07.360 what I did. That was that's hue what it was. I want to 43 00:03:07.479 --> 00:03:10.439 challenge, I need it. I felt like I a lot to prove and 44 00:03:10.479 --> 00:03:15.080 my guitar chops weren't good enough to get me on fixed stage. Well, 45 00:03:15.120 --> 00:03:16.639 by guitar jobs for also that good at the end of the big tage. 46 00:03:16.639 --> 00:03:20.240 I was actually also in a heavy metal band back in college. We definitely 47 00:03:20.240 --> 00:03:23.840 share that similarity there. So what we're sot the hardest moments about becoming a 48 00:03:23.919 --> 00:03:30.120 seal and also being a seal. Becoming a seal, it's a war patrition 49 00:03:30.680 --> 00:03:36.280 right. It's you have you you have a group of people that are already 50 00:03:36.319 --> 00:03:39.960 selected from a much larger group people that are great athletes. Some people look 51 00:03:40.039 --> 00:03:44.639 like they just were like a Greek statue, you know, people totally ripped. 52 00:03:45.319 --> 00:03:49.960 It was. It was a lot of really, really talented, strong, 53 00:03:50.039 --> 00:03:53.080 hard athletes that show up to this thing together. But the thing about 54 00:03:53.159 --> 00:03:58.719 it is becoming a seal is not so much about how fast you can run, 55 00:03:58.840 --> 00:04:02.159 how fast you can swim, how strong you are. It's more about 56 00:04:02.199 --> 00:04:09.039 your ability to drive through adversity and continue on task and stay focused and when 57 00:04:09.479 --> 00:04:15.639 it's more about being able to have the mental toughness and resilience to to withstand 58 00:04:15.680 --> 00:04:20.720 you know, really really brutal things like being cold. But being cold often 59 00:04:20.759 --> 00:04:26.519 it's not just being cold like a ten minute chill baths that everyone does nowadays, 60 00:04:26.720 --> 00:04:29.879 the ice thombs. It's not that. It's like you're living in ice 61 00:04:30.040 --> 00:04:31.600 time. It's not just a nice stuff for ten minutes, it's like a 62 00:04:31.800 --> 00:04:35.600 nice stuff for ten hours. They bring you to the edge of hypothermia and 63 00:04:35.639 --> 00:04:39.639 they bring you back and they bring you they put you back in and they 64 00:04:39.680 --> 00:04:43.000 bring it back and they keep doing and doing it and doing it and it 65 00:04:43.040 --> 00:04:46.480 breaks you down mentally and it's hard. You get to a point where it's 66 00:04:46.519 --> 00:04:50.160 just very difficult to continue on and it takes a lot of resilience and that's 67 00:04:50.160 --> 00:04:57.360 they're looking for people they can they can be resilient under really, really stressful 68 00:04:57.360 --> 00:05:00.079 conditions. On there lots of dress, but in that resiliency and in that 69 00:05:00.160 --> 00:05:06.120 dress that they can have the clarity of mind to perform tasks and to pay 70 00:05:06.160 --> 00:05:12.040 attention to small things that really matter while they're performing those tasks with precision. 71 00:05:12.160 --> 00:05:15.920 So that's actually a really hard thing. And what I found in my experience, 72 00:05:15.920 --> 00:05:18.680 and everybody has a different experience, and my experience along the way, 73 00:05:18.920 --> 00:05:23.240 that some of the people that were the biggest, strongest, fastest, smartest 74 00:05:23.240 --> 00:05:28.839 were early quitters in the program and and maybe that's because they were just they 75 00:05:28.879 --> 00:05:32.360 just had a physical or mental advantage when they were younger and high school or 76 00:05:32.360 --> 00:05:35.800 whatever, and maybe they hadn't tested themselves in this capacity. I was always 77 00:05:35.800 --> 00:05:40.639 mediocre. So for me I was I was always a kick in the butt 78 00:05:40.639 --> 00:05:44.199 to keep up, whether it was school or whether it was athletics. So 79 00:05:44.319 --> 00:05:47.519 I was used to getting beat down and and so the hardest part of seal 80 00:05:47.560 --> 00:05:53.000 training was really it was really persevering through his hard conditions and also seeing your 81 00:05:53.000 --> 00:05:57.439 friends quit. You know, that's the hard part and anybody could be a 82 00:05:57.480 --> 00:06:00.040 seal if they if they put their mind to it. That sounds stupid and 83 00:06:00.040 --> 00:06:04.279 Cliche, but it's the truth, because the people who who graduate are not 84 00:06:04.319 --> 00:06:06.879 the people that you expect. And when you look at the sample it comes 85 00:06:06.879 --> 00:06:11.040 in. So when I when I was checking in so wet my class we 86 00:06:11.120 --> 00:06:14.480 finished, we had about a hundred thirty people class. All there was about 87 00:06:14.519 --> 00:06:17.160 five hundred people were so that had competed to get those hundred thirty slots. 88 00:06:17.160 --> 00:06:21.639 So there's already a pretty big down selection and from those, those hundred and 89 00:06:21.680 --> 00:06:25.759 thirty, only eight of US made it through straight through. Now there was 90 00:06:25.800 --> 00:06:30.360 about there's probably six or seven guys that got injured. They have a lot 91 00:06:30.360 --> 00:06:32.439 of potential. They rolled and they graduated with other classes down the road. 92 00:06:32.639 --> 00:06:36.920 So there's probably more like twenty of the hundred thirty that graduated, but they 93 00:06:36.959 --> 00:06:42.399 went straight through. There was only eight of us. And the funny thing 94 00:06:42.439 --> 00:06:46.600 about it is when I checked into the CEO compound that it was kind of 95 00:06:46.600 --> 00:06:47.240 like, I don't know it was like for you when I check when you 96 00:06:47.319 --> 00:06:50.360 check in the college, but when I checked into college, very different when 97 00:06:50.360 --> 00:06:54.160 I dropped out from college. But when I checked in, I showed up 98 00:06:54.199 --> 00:06:57.199 and add like an admin office and they told me all the different places. 99 00:06:57.240 --> 00:07:00.839 I had to go medical, the dorm and I to walk the Chow Hall, 100 00:07:00.879 --> 00:07:02.560 whatever. I had to walk around and and get everything set up with. 101 00:07:02.680 --> 00:07:06.560 That's it was like when you checked into seal train back back then. 102 00:07:06.720 --> 00:07:10.680 You would show up and they would say, all right, go check in 103 00:07:10.759 --> 00:07:14.560 with the Admin so you can get paid and check in with your with them. 104 00:07:14.680 --> 00:07:15.879 You have to go through all these health screenings. Go do those, 105 00:07:16.399 --> 00:07:20.160 you know, go get your barracks room. So it's just whoever you randomly 106 00:07:20.160 --> 00:07:24.240 show up with becomes your group to go do that. And there was there 107 00:07:24.279 --> 00:07:28.480 was four of us that showed up. There was three John's and Chris. 108 00:07:28.680 --> 00:07:31.959 One of the John's was a Ronnie, little dude, small, older. 109 00:07:32.000 --> 00:07:34.639 I mean I was I was twenty. This guy was twenty eight. I 110 00:07:34.680 --> 00:07:38.360 thought he was like a geriatric at that age. I was like, man, 111 00:07:38.399 --> 00:07:40.279 he's not going to make it through, he's old, he's on age 112 00:07:40.279 --> 00:07:44.800 waivers and I'm gonna make sure he sees this too. So he was a 113 00:07:44.879 --> 00:07:47.160 John and he knows who he is. There's other John is about my size 114 00:07:47.199 --> 00:07:50.480 and Chris is about my size and John, the John, other John My 115 00:07:50.560 --> 00:07:55.800 size, was a sprinter in college. He wasn't very good distance runner, 116 00:07:55.800 --> 00:07:59.560 baby who's really fast for ever and great athlete. And the the other the 117 00:07:59.600 --> 00:08:03.560 other guy, Chris, was just all around great athlete, Big Guy, 118 00:08:03.800 --> 00:08:07.959 pretty fast. And so the four of US checked in together and I was 119 00:08:07.000 --> 00:08:11.240 talking trash, because that's like the first thing I do is talk trash. 120 00:08:11.800 --> 00:08:16.079 So I was talking trash to John Art to John About John. I was 121 00:08:16.120 --> 00:08:18.600 like a John, that John of that scrawny dude. There's no way. 122 00:08:18.720 --> 00:08:20.800 I'm not going to tell you what I said because it's you know, you'd 123 00:08:20.800 --> 00:08:24.000 have to beep it out. I was like that Guy Skinny, he's old, 124 00:08:24.000 --> 00:08:26.720 he is not making it through, he's going to hype out. You 125 00:08:26.720 --> 00:08:28.839 get cars on this bad guys. By the way, it's all good. 126 00:08:28.879 --> 00:08:33.240 It's yeah, well, sorry, thanks, I appreciate that. So fast 127 00:08:33.279 --> 00:08:35.879 forward. That's growning Dude, John was the honor man of my class. 128 00:08:35.919 --> 00:08:39.919 So you know, they picked the guy who did the best on all that's, 129 00:08:39.000 --> 00:08:43.519 all the physical fitness tests and example, he was an our man, 130 00:08:43.679 --> 00:08:46.440 which I couldn't believe, but he was. He's he was a great dude. 131 00:08:46.440 --> 00:08:48.879 He was this witty guy from Boston. I love that guy. So 132 00:08:50.039 --> 00:08:52.639 when we graduated, the four of us were for the eighth, which is 133 00:08:52.679 --> 00:08:58.480 the statistically almost impossible right. So as I as a'T we've finished the ceremony, 134 00:08:58.480 --> 00:09:00.759 I'm walking away and my dad I was are it. I was going 135 00:09:00.759 --> 00:09:03.759 to see him and John, the small strawnage on walked up to is a 136 00:09:03.960 --> 00:09:07.720 I want to let you know that on the day we checked in I was 137 00:09:07.759 --> 00:09:09.799 telling Chris that you were a fat Mofro and there's no way you're making through 138 00:09:09.840 --> 00:09:15.000 training. So we're saying the same thing about each other. So we're brommates. 139 00:09:15.039 --> 00:09:18.559 So anyway. So, long story short, you can't really pick the 140 00:09:18.600 --> 00:09:22.399 people. It's it's the people that can they can deal with adversity, that 141 00:09:22.519 --> 00:09:26.320 can deal with loss, they can still maintain a focus on the mission even 142 00:09:26.360 --> 00:09:31.200 in the hard times and and most of all, the people who can really 143 00:09:31.240 --> 00:09:35.000 handle the cold, because that's what sets the seals apart from any other special 144 00:09:35.080 --> 00:09:37.000 operations group is we do a lot of training in the water, and the 145 00:09:37.080 --> 00:09:43.159 difference between running a long distance on land and swimming along distance and water is 146 00:09:43.200 --> 00:09:46.559 on land you can just stop running and water, if you stop swimming, 147 00:09:46.559 --> 00:09:50.200 you're going to drown. So you're already you already have like your security blanks 148 00:09:50.240 --> 00:09:52.000 taken away. And then on top of that, with the longer exposure, 149 00:09:52.080 --> 00:09:56.960 your body temperature drops and you start to get hypothermic. But you get hypothermic 150 00:09:56.000 --> 00:10:00.480 actually when you're getting into the stage of HYPOTHERMIC, your body starts to spasm 151 00:10:00.519 --> 00:10:03.840 a little bit. You start to feel like these really warm sensations and your 152 00:10:03.919 --> 00:10:07.200 muscles are spasming because they're trying to heat themselves up, and then after that 153 00:10:07.279 --> 00:10:09.200 you kind of start going numb. I've been in all those phases and that's 154 00:10:09.240 --> 00:10:13.519 where you really just start to separate the separate out the people who really really 155 00:10:13.519 --> 00:10:18.159 want it and they're willing to take the punishment and find a way through adversity 156 00:10:18.200 --> 00:10:20.399 the people just thought it'd be cool to have them the resume or be cool 157 00:10:20.480 --> 00:10:24.759 for a instagram photo, you know. So it separates people out for sure, 158 00:10:24.799 --> 00:10:28.559 I love that. Also quite good training in just as you say, 159 00:10:28.600 --> 00:10:33.159 the bill that show up at the same time that you happen to show up. 160 00:10:33.200 --> 00:10:35.600 Hey, that's your crew, that's who you're going to be you know 161 00:10:35.720 --> 00:10:39.519 working with and you know that's your team, and so it's almost this random 162 00:10:39.559 --> 00:10:43.879 way where it's not you know, hey, let me like pick and choose, 163 00:10:43.879 --> 00:10:46.600 for example, like you would do maybe in like, you know, 164 00:10:46.720 --> 00:10:50.879 normal life, per se right. Right, yeah, there's no, there's 165 00:10:50.919 --> 00:10:54.240 no picking and choosing. You're just you're just trying to survive. You're sent 166 00:10:54.399 --> 00:10:58.440 right, man, that was the hardest part of being like becoming a seal 167 00:10:58.440 --> 00:11:01.399 in the thing about the seal teams, and I can only speak to that 168 00:11:01.440 --> 00:11:07.000 because that's my experience, but they're very, very focused on your ability to 169 00:11:07.000 --> 00:11:11.360 operate with precision, on their dress right. So the main reason when you 170 00:11:11.360 --> 00:11:15.279 get more advanced than people don't make it through, once you get through all 171 00:11:15.279 --> 00:11:18.879 hard like you know, early on you have a lot of gut checks. 172 00:11:18.919 --> 00:11:22.720 Two things that were you're hell week and you're going without tons of sleep and 173 00:11:22.960 --> 00:11:26.200 you're all you're always exposed at elements throughout me. What you know your whole 174 00:11:26.200 --> 00:11:28.960 time of seal teams that's is a given. So you get pretty tough. 175 00:11:28.000 --> 00:11:33.480 But the thing about it is it's the thing that really starts to get people 176 00:11:33.480 --> 00:11:35.279 when they are near the finish line. They don't make it as it or 177 00:11:35.320 --> 00:11:43.360 safety violations are their inability to actually to do the task in the extreme dress 178 00:11:43.360 --> 00:11:46.399 and that's where you get that final level of separation from the pack. I 179 00:11:46.480 --> 00:11:50.039 even had when I when I went through, we would go we finished seal 180 00:11:50.120 --> 00:11:54.159 training and you we go to a team and that the team. You would 181 00:11:54.159 --> 00:11:58.639 go into a probationary period and then, upon successful completion, I probation your 182 00:11:58.720 --> 00:12:01.360 period. You going from an oral cord which was all these old school frog 183 00:12:01.440 --> 00:12:05.519 and that spent twenty years being seals, and they would ask you questions and 184 00:12:05.559 --> 00:12:09.240 you'd be putting like breaking down, putting together guns, popping people with ives, 185 00:12:09.600 --> 00:12:13.919 doing equations for, you know, for dives or jumps on the white 186 00:12:13.919 --> 00:12:18.600 board while you're being pepped. The whole time you're just getting in you just 187 00:12:18.639 --> 00:12:22.679 like a two or three hour dissertation of everything you've learned and that's and then 188 00:12:22.759 --> 00:12:26.120 there's a vote on past fail that's how it was. It's changed a bit 189 00:12:26.200 --> 00:12:30.919 since for the purposes of efficiency, but I think that there was like two 190 00:12:31.000 --> 00:12:33.120 or three guys that got all the way to that point and they didn't get 191 00:12:33.159 --> 00:12:37.440 their tried and they didn't ask to test. They didn't have they didn't have 192 00:12:37.480 --> 00:12:43.480 the wherewithal to handle that academic element and in that session and do it successfully 193 00:12:43.480 --> 00:12:46.360 to make that next step. So there's a lot of places along the line, 194 00:12:46.639 --> 00:12:50.919 along the way, where people wash out. Wow, I can only 195 00:12:50.919 --> 00:12:54.240 imagine how that funnel is right, which just the number of people that want 196 00:12:54.279 --> 00:12:56.919 to be seals and then kind of pass through, pass through all that tests. 197 00:12:56.919 --> 00:13:00.720 As you say, you're you know, for the a people that actually 198 00:13:00.720 --> 00:13:05.240 passed that during that cohork. What was the transition leg from being a seal 199 00:13:05.399 --> 00:13:09.039 to civilian life? It was very difficult. It was very difficult. I 200 00:13:09.080 --> 00:13:11.399 found that, you know, there were a lot of different dynamics there. 201 00:13:11.399 --> 00:13:18.120 One, you know, trading on the the seal background at that time was 202 00:13:18.120 --> 00:13:22.120 not as easy. We weren't as wellknown. People wouldn't you say you're CEO, 203 00:13:22.159 --> 00:13:26.000 they don't believe you. It's very weird. There's a lot of fakes 204 00:13:26.000 --> 00:13:28.799 out there. A lot of people with stolen valor as a real thing and 205 00:13:30.000 --> 00:13:33.480 there's a lot of people pretend that they did something that they didn't do, 206 00:13:33.720 --> 00:13:37.480 and so there's that little bit of like validity you have to get over. 207 00:13:37.519 --> 00:13:41.159 But there was also a lot of there's a lot of struggle and like finding 208 00:13:41.200 --> 00:13:46.480 your footing after something intense like that, like an elite military unit or if 209 00:13:46.519 --> 00:13:50.639 you imagine if you're a professional athlete, that might be a little different because 210 00:13:50.639 --> 00:13:54.039 you're loaded so with the differences. Mean use seal teams. You're not loaded, 211 00:13:54.120 --> 00:13:56.679 but it's really hard because your identity so wrapped up in in this this 212 00:13:56.799 --> 00:14:01.200 passionate job that you know. That's the one of the hardest things about being 213 00:14:01.240 --> 00:14:03.159 a seal is is not being a seal. Like you have to be passionate 214 00:14:03.200 --> 00:14:07.440 to get there and it's such an all encompassing this endeavor that it's your whole 215 00:14:07.480 --> 00:14:13.840 life. It's your friends, you're always traveling, your family has to kind 216 00:14:13.840 --> 00:14:16.279 of more for around the idea that your seal and saying the other way around, 217 00:14:16.399 --> 00:14:20.399 and so it's very it's very difficult. So when you leave that your 218 00:14:20.440 --> 00:14:24.080 identity time it goes away. It's such a it requires such a level of 219 00:14:24.120 --> 00:14:28.600 commitment it's hard not to have that as like your primary identity, and so 220 00:14:28.600 --> 00:14:33.480 so that's so there's the struggle of you know, you go from being in 221 00:14:33.519 --> 00:14:37.399 the top percent of the US military and the hardest, more of the, 222 00:14:37.639 --> 00:14:41.120 you know, arguably most challenging special operations units in the world, to here 223 00:14:41.159 --> 00:14:46.279 I am. I get a job and that's really tough. And then getting 224 00:14:46.360 --> 00:14:50.360 there, you know, the respect that you think you deserve from circles outside 225 00:14:50.399 --> 00:14:54.080 of outside of your community, and then you're walking away from all these things. 226 00:14:54.080 --> 00:14:58.200 Is Support Network, the people, the you know, the skills, 227 00:14:58.240 --> 00:15:01.279 all these things that you've been honing and and your life, it's around with 228 00:15:01.399 --> 00:15:05.000 this revolved around, is just gone. I mean, you're not jumping out 229 00:15:05.039 --> 00:15:09.039 airplanes anymore. It's actually really expensive to do if you're not doing it for 230 00:15:09.080 --> 00:15:11.919 a job. You're not diving every day. That's you know, that's a 231 00:15:13.000 --> 00:15:16.120 vacation when you're in the real world, you know. So it's like you're 232 00:15:16.159 --> 00:15:18.440 not you can't shoot guns every day because AMMO's expensive. I used to get 233 00:15:18.440 --> 00:15:20.840 it for free. You know, it's like all the things that you do, 234 00:15:20.879 --> 00:15:24.039 like you don't have. You're not going overseas with a group of guys 235 00:15:24.080 --> 00:15:28.200 that just want to they're just pipe pit ors. They're doing their job like 236 00:15:28.279 --> 00:15:31.159 that doesn't exist anymore. You know, you don't have the you don't have 237 00:15:31.200 --> 00:15:35.559 the luxury of the you don't have the the stability of the military system, 238 00:15:35.600 --> 00:15:41.039 with health, with income, with housing, with all these resources are available 239 00:15:41.039 --> 00:15:43.639 for you. That's all gone. People take that for granted. They don't 240 00:15:43.679 --> 00:15:48.399 really realize until they leave what all they did have. And and then they 241 00:15:48.399 --> 00:15:52.480 don't have the community, because the community operates in a certain way where once 242 00:15:52.519 --> 00:15:54.879 you're out, you're out. I mean the the veteran community is very, 243 00:15:54.960 --> 00:15:58.960 very strong. But when you're not operational and your friends are operational, your 244 00:15:58.960 --> 00:16:03.759 friends are operational and you're not, like it literally there's a divine because they're 245 00:16:03.759 --> 00:16:07.960 in their world doing their thing and you're not. So so it's I mean 246 00:16:07.000 --> 00:16:11.639 so it wags on you, emotionally, financially, it community wise, like 247 00:16:11.720 --> 00:16:17.200 it's definitely a it's more of a to you. It's a worse seat change 248 00:16:17.200 --> 00:16:22.000 than did you would expect. Yeah, I can only imagine how drastic but 249 00:16:22.120 --> 00:16:25.240 shift and a change that is. And also as well, you know, 250 00:16:25.279 --> 00:16:27.279 employers and when you're, you know, looking for a job, not quite 251 00:16:27.279 --> 00:16:33.879 maybe understanding what the seals is and how special it truly is and how tough 252 00:16:33.960 --> 00:16:37.480 it is to be a seal. In recent years there a lot of programs 253 00:16:37.480 --> 00:16:38.440 that popped up, which has been good to see, and a lot of 254 00:16:38.440 --> 00:16:41.919 older guys like me not that all but, you know, relatively speaking, 255 00:16:42.000 --> 00:16:47.039 have gone in, supported devoted time to those programs to help with transition. 256 00:16:47.120 --> 00:16:51.720 There's something called the honor foundation that's supported by the navy seal foundation and it's 257 00:16:51.720 --> 00:16:56.440 literally a pipeline to take high performers in the military from the special operations community 258 00:16:56.480 --> 00:17:00.039 and help them find opportunities and companies they're willing to take a take a fly 259 00:17:00.200 --> 00:17:03.240 on a higher performer from military, bring them into their system, teach them, 260 00:17:03.240 --> 00:17:07.240 teach them business and let him go do the thing, and that's a 261 00:17:07.279 --> 00:17:10.400 really cool program that just didn't exist. You know, there's something called merging 262 00:17:10.440 --> 00:17:12.119 bets and players. That's something that was started by, I think, Jake 263 00:17:12.240 --> 00:17:17.920 Laser, and it's the the idea there is that athletes and military have this 264 00:17:18.000 --> 00:17:21.720 commonality and that their idea is wrapped up in their uniform they take it off, 265 00:17:21.720 --> 00:17:25.480 and this really this really helps to people that are really struggling to find 266 00:17:25.519 --> 00:17:29.400 community when they get out of these organizations, and we've supported local chapter in 267 00:17:29.440 --> 00:17:33.000 Atlanta quite a bonch because these people are our people and we let them use 268 00:17:33.240 --> 00:17:37.119 our facility once a week for their sessions. They bring this big group in. 269 00:17:37.160 --> 00:17:41.000 They do mixed martial arts. Half of our office space is actually a 270 00:17:41.000 --> 00:17:45.559 fitness area and so, like you know. So those there's things that popped 271 00:17:45.640 --> 00:17:49.319 up that have really, in recent years been, you know, really developed 272 00:17:49.319 --> 00:17:52.480 to help solve the problems that, you know, a lot of veterans were 273 00:17:52.480 --> 00:17:56.799 facing ten fifteen years ago. That's awesome. That's awesome with with all the 274 00:17:56.839 --> 00:18:02.279 programs that you're running. So how did you meet todder? Like, I 275 00:18:02.279 --> 00:18:04.920 know he's not one of the John's or the Chris that was part of the 276 00:18:04.920 --> 00:18:10.720 for I know obviously he's the seal. And how did he find kill cliff? 277 00:18:10.759 --> 00:18:12.240 All right, so, so todd alike, for the people that don't 278 00:18:12.319 --> 00:18:18.680 know, because the founder of kill cliff, he's he's a very interesting guy. 279 00:18:18.680 --> 00:18:22.359 He's he's a ginger and he's about five foot tall and he's bought Corp 280 00:18:22.799 --> 00:18:26.359 and Todd and I served at seal teammate together. We had established. So 281 00:18:26.480 --> 00:18:30.480 todd was a couple of years ahead and me and you know, getting into 282 00:18:30.519 --> 00:18:32.960 the seal teams. He was he's a little bit older and May I think 283 00:18:33.000 --> 00:18:37.240 he's he's getting close to fifteen. How so todd got there before me and 284 00:18:37.279 --> 00:18:41.519 what happened is the guys that he was really tight with when they did their 285 00:18:41.559 --> 00:18:44.519 second Patuon, I would they were with me. So I was a new 286 00:18:44.559 --> 00:18:47.119 guy and I was in the tune of all told Todd's peer group. And 287 00:18:47.160 --> 00:18:49.839 so todd and I even though we were on different schedules, because one of 288 00:18:49.839 --> 00:18:52.480 things when you're in the seal team is you have all these platoons are on 289 00:18:52.519 --> 00:18:56.400 different schedules. So you have friends. We you never see him except for 290 00:18:56.440 --> 00:18:59.480 the guys you're in up tune with. So I became friends with all the 291 00:18:59.480 --> 00:19:02.920 guys that were in Todd's peer group, and so todd and I naturally met 292 00:19:02.960 --> 00:19:06.759 over time and became friends, and so that's and then that's that's really how 293 00:19:06.880 --> 00:19:08.839 me and thought met. We know each other since I think ninety eight maybe. 294 00:19:10.079 --> 00:19:11.880 I remember when he started killed cliff. So I had been in the 295 00:19:11.880 --> 00:19:15.480 startup world as well and I was on the tech I was in the tech 296 00:19:15.519 --> 00:19:19.680 business, so I was doing all where he ass ass passed that type stuff, 297 00:19:19.720 --> 00:19:26.240 and todd was he just started kill cliff and I I just relocated back 298 00:19:26.319 --> 00:19:29.880 to Atlanta, which was my hometown. I've been in Washington DC for a 299 00:19:30.079 --> 00:19:33.440 few years and todd and just started kill cliff and he's like hey, dude, 300 00:19:33.440 --> 00:19:34.240 I need someone to come help me run this thing. You want to 301 00:19:34.279 --> 00:19:37.240 do it? And I'm like man, he's I just put so much effort 302 00:19:37.240 --> 00:19:40.559 into this other business. I got to see you through. Like I just 303 00:19:40.559 --> 00:19:42.599 didn't feel like I could desert the people that I've been working with and billing 304 00:19:42.599 --> 00:19:47.400 this other business and todd was just getting a drink company off the ground. 305 00:19:47.440 --> 00:19:49.960 So I was like, look, we're at different stages of starting, but 306 00:19:51.039 --> 00:19:53.200 I'm a little further longest starting phase right now, so I might keep doing 307 00:19:53.240 --> 00:19:56.640 this thing. And but we just, you know, we kept the conversation 308 00:19:56.720 --> 00:20:02.039 alive and then I got involved in kilcliff in two thousand and eighteen. So 309 00:20:02.279 --> 00:20:07.039 there's literally like it's like seven years later I get involved in kill cliff. 310 00:20:07.880 --> 00:20:10.960 I was about to say so because it was started in two thousand and eleven. 311 00:20:11.039 --> 00:20:12.799 Is that right? I've been working off for a few years before it 312 00:20:12.799 --> 00:20:17.880 officially incorporated. But well, yeah, two thousand and eleven, the first 313 00:20:18.559 --> 00:20:22.640 what was the main insight behind kill cliff? And like the opportunity that initially 314 00:20:22.720 --> 00:20:27.000 that it be todd founded, as well as what attracted you even to obviously 315 00:20:27.079 --> 00:20:32.640 work at at kill cliff. So for Todd, and I'm going to speak 316 00:20:32.640 --> 00:20:34.319 for him. If you ever want to talk to him, I can set 317 00:20:34.319 --> 00:20:37.200 that up. But Todd, he was very interesting. He's always had a 318 00:20:37.240 --> 00:20:41.599 startup mindset. You know, he's worked in out of private equity and he's 319 00:20:41.119 --> 00:20:48.799 always been very entrepreneurial and he was intrigued by the idea of creating a beverage 320 00:20:48.880 --> 00:20:52.200 that an ATC AL would drink at the literally at the base level. That 321 00:20:52.359 --> 00:20:55.079 was it. It was like well, if you look at the market and 322 00:20:55.119 --> 00:20:56.920 you got to go back to when you were playing, you know, in 323 00:20:57.000 --> 00:21:00.960 your metal band, go back to that are like, I can think about 324 00:21:00.960 --> 00:21:03.640 where we are today versus then in terms of you if you want to use 325 00:21:03.680 --> 00:21:06.839 the phrase functional beverage, right, that's a popular phrase. It's to catch 326 00:21:06.839 --> 00:21:08.759 all for everything that doesn't fall in a category. So call it that. 327 00:21:10.039 --> 00:21:11.960 But think about like if you were going to go get a bite to eat, 328 00:21:12.039 --> 00:21:17.279 your choice is like coffee, ICED tea, Cooke. That's your choice. 329 00:21:17.400 --> 00:21:18.200 If you you know, if you're looking for a picking up in the 330 00:21:18.240 --> 00:21:22.039 Middle Day, your choice is a red Blo or monster like. The choices 331 00:21:22.119 --> 00:21:25.519 really weren't there. If you wanted the mean there is a whole item of 332 00:21:25.559 --> 00:21:30.000 our thing happening. That was interesting, putting functional ingredients into a water with 333 00:21:30.039 --> 00:21:33.440 some flavor, likely flavored water. That was an interesting idea at the time 334 00:21:33.960 --> 00:21:37.440 and it hadn't been happening before that in a meaningful way. And much of 335 00:21:37.440 --> 00:21:41.839 the made the products on the market. As you know, if you look 336 00:21:41.880 --> 00:21:45.039 at the label, there's a lot of our official ingredients, are official flavors 337 00:21:45.119 --> 00:21:49.279 or official sweeteners or there's a lot of sugar. And clearly as a society, 338 00:21:49.640 --> 00:21:53.359 especially in our younger cohorts were kind of people are moving away from that, 339 00:21:53.400 --> 00:21:56.680 you know, they want more choices, and so todd was like, 340 00:21:56.680 --> 00:21:59.119 Hey, I was want something that if I'm a seal, I want to 341 00:21:59.200 --> 00:22:02.000 drink it. It's going to you know, it's going to give me energy, 342 00:22:02.039 --> 00:22:04.400 but it's also make me feel better. He putting he put ingredients in 343 00:22:04.440 --> 00:22:10.720 the drink specifically to help reduce and flate inflammation in the body. At least 344 00:22:10.720 --> 00:22:15.799 there's research. It supports that idea and to give you natural energy, initially 345 00:22:15.799 --> 00:22:18.640 without a lot of caffeine either. So that was the concept. Something good 346 00:22:18.680 --> 00:22:22.640 that I can drink all the time and I'm I'm not going to have like 347 00:22:22.680 --> 00:22:25.759 a health problem from drinking. I'm actually going to I'm actually going to improve 348 00:22:25.799 --> 00:22:29.640 my health. And that's what he created. And so when he created it, 349 00:22:29.759 --> 00:22:32.799 and there's a there's a great podcast out there somewhere that that he and 350 00:22:32.839 --> 00:22:36.559 this Guy Gw were on, he didn't have like. It wasn't a contrived 351 00:22:36.599 --> 00:22:38.480 thing. There was no market it. There was no like. He didn't 352 00:22:38.519 --> 00:22:41.359 think like I'm going to build this widget and take it to this market that 353 00:22:41.440 --> 00:22:45.319 wants this widget. He's just like I got this drink that I love. 354 00:22:45.359 --> 00:22:49.359 Who wants it? And so they literally went door to door in Atlanta like 355 00:22:49.440 --> 00:22:52.920 this is the legit like I'm selling my product in the back of my out 356 00:22:52.960 --> 00:22:56.960 of the trunk of My car type of thing. And you know, there 357 00:22:56.039 --> 00:23:00.039 was there were stores that were interested, there were nutrition mom and POPs, 358 00:23:00.079 --> 00:23:04.079 there were liquor stores, there were bars and restaurants. One thing that kill 359 00:23:04.119 --> 00:23:08.000 cliff if not wellknown, it should be. It's a fantastic mixer. This 360 00:23:08.039 --> 00:23:11.680 product is a fantastic mixer and people love that and it's got all the great 361 00:23:11.799 --> 00:23:17.200 ingredients and help you not have such a bad hangover to so there were the 362 00:23:17.240 --> 00:23:22.240 original adopters, were some gems, so, you know, some MMA studios 363 00:23:22.279 --> 00:23:27.599 and some bars in Atlanta and it really started catching fire locally and it was 364 00:23:27.680 --> 00:23:33.359 just right around that time they cross fit became out. came out of nowhere. 365 00:23:33.440 --> 00:23:36.839 Is this behemoth and crossfit was, you know, one of the top 366 00:23:36.880 --> 00:23:40.759 guys and cross fit from the early days. Cofounder was an AV seal, 367 00:23:40.960 --> 00:23:45.039 for he'd been seal team six. And so all the guys in the mid 368 00:23:45.079 --> 00:23:48.079 part of the two thousands, when I was down there, you know, 369 00:23:48.279 --> 00:23:51.599 hanging out with my boys, they were at team six and some of the 370 00:23:51.640 --> 00:23:55.119 other teams at time they were all doing crossbit just wasn't a thing yet, 371 00:23:55.160 --> 00:23:59.400 and so they they made it this thing and and so it emanated from this 372 00:23:59.440 --> 00:24:04.079 community with this influence and they immediately, at that period in time, they 373 00:24:04.119 --> 00:24:08.319 took they latched on to a few things about they saw the brand. People 374 00:24:08.359 --> 00:24:11.680 saw the brand and start spreading like wildfires, like lightning in the bottle for 375 00:24:11.759 --> 00:24:15.880 kilcliff, you know, they saw the you know, the the the ingredient 376 00:24:15.960 --> 00:24:21.640 label being really good for you in Gred us to help with information, stuff 377 00:24:21.680 --> 00:24:25.920 that makes you feel good after a workout. They like that. And and 378 00:24:25.960 --> 00:24:29.799 so we were the first beverage and crossman. We literally came in the Cross 379 00:24:29.839 --> 00:24:32.880 bit as cross this became a thing and blew up and for the first few 380 00:24:32.960 --> 00:24:37.279 years we we sponsored the crossbit games. We were that where the Oge's we 381 00:24:37.279 --> 00:24:41.160 were there with them starting the sport. And so so that's part of our 382 00:24:41.200 --> 00:24:45.839 history. And and so they but they like the military aspects of the brand. 383 00:24:45.839 --> 00:24:48.359 Back then you had a lot of a lot of people, the highly 384 00:24:48.359 --> 00:24:51.839 patriotic group of people. They love the military. They have all these military 385 00:24:51.880 --> 00:24:56.400 workouts, you know, the honor people who lost their lives in combat overseas 386 00:24:56.440 --> 00:25:00.640 and and there was this a lot of line and with the ingredients, the 387 00:25:00.640 --> 00:25:03.839 flavor, the the DNA of the brand as a navy seal brand. And 388 00:25:03.880 --> 00:25:07.680 that's just what that's what kill cliff was. It started a trunk of a 389 00:25:07.720 --> 00:25:08.880 car. And it's funny, you know. People are like, Hey, 390 00:25:08.880 --> 00:25:11.720 I like this, how do I get more? You call me and I 391 00:25:11.799 --> 00:25:14.599 come roll up with my car and pop open the trunk and I give you 392 00:25:14.640 --> 00:25:18.279 a case. So that's literally how it worked. And because of that and 393 00:25:18.319 --> 00:25:22.519 because we grew up in this really this crossfitty community. Early on our business 394 00:25:22.559 --> 00:25:26.759 was entirely different from the standard business model for a beverage company like we were. 395 00:25:26.839 --> 00:25:32.799 We were selling direct to consumer and direct a wholesalers online. In two 396 00:25:32.839 --> 00:25:36.200 thousand and eleven for anyone else was doing we and we it's still it's a 397 00:25:36.240 --> 00:25:40.240 massive part of our business today. We still have a massive directed consumer business. 398 00:25:40.279 --> 00:25:42.039 We still have all those wholesale accounts. We've kept most of them over 399 00:25:42.079 --> 00:25:47.559 the years and we've grown in new new segments. But but that's weet. 400 00:25:47.559 --> 00:25:49.799 That's how we operate because you know, when you're a small bembers brand and 401 00:25:49.880 --> 00:25:52.599 you don't know anybody and you're not in the industry, you don't have any 402 00:25:52.680 --> 00:25:56.640 investors, are you gonna get distribution? Like it's just not going to happen. 403 00:25:56.680 --> 00:26:02.519 So we distributed ourselves. So we started. That's a that's that's amazing. 404 00:26:02.599 --> 00:26:06.079 I mean just hearing about todd selling it kind of doortodoor, and then 405 00:26:06.160 --> 00:26:11.200 also your partnership with crossfit and I guess partly writing that wave of the cross 406 00:26:11.200 --> 00:26:14.880 that wave I remember in like I know crossfit definitely the way started before. 407 00:26:14.960 --> 00:26:17.720 I just remember getting really into cross like two thousand and thirteen, two thousand 408 00:26:17.720 --> 00:26:19.279 and fourteen, there you were, man and early days you probably got a 409 00:26:19.319 --> 00:26:22.920 kill cliff and two. Did you? Maybe I might have. Yeah, 410 00:26:22.000 --> 00:26:26.839 yeah, I was into that and I was in the crossfit and Spartan races 411 00:26:26.880 --> 00:26:30.720 and tough mutters and kind of all that type of stuff. Flashing forward. 412 00:26:30.799 --> 00:26:34.000 Killed Cliff has, the partnership with crossfit, really is become maybe like the 413 00:26:34.200 --> 00:26:38.440 brand in that space and as well as like MMA studios, JIM's. Why 414 00:26:38.440 --> 00:26:41.720 do you then, in two thousand and eighteen, when I guess you were 415 00:26:41.720 --> 00:26:45.440 approached again from todd and like the team of killed cliff? Why did it 416 00:26:45.480 --> 00:26:48.920 make it interesting for you to say, okay, I will come in and 417 00:26:48.960 --> 00:26:52.480 it? What capacity do you come in as? First, I guess everyone 418 00:26:52.519 --> 00:26:56.000 gets to the point the things you're doing were if they'd not found alignment in 419 00:26:56.039 --> 00:27:00.079 their life with, you know, their values and their job in their pursuits. 420 00:27:00.119 --> 00:27:03.440 Hopefully they try to reset and create that alignment. And I've been doing 421 00:27:03.519 --> 00:27:07.240 tech startups and I was kind of at the end of one that I've been 422 00:27:07.279 --> 00:27:08.599 working on for a few years and we were it was going to go a 423 00:27:08.640 --> 00:27:11.920 different direction and I didn't know if I want to continue going. I could 424 00:27:11.960 --> 00:27:14.599 put a lot of effort into it. I was like, I don't know 425 00:27:14.599 --> 00:27:18.240 if this is still something I want to do, and I'd started reach I 426 00:27:18.279 --> 00:27:22.720 actually started reaching out to on our foundation where I serve as a mentor to 427 00:27:22.799 --> 00:27:26.519 help guys that were transitioning. And so, long story short, I was 428 00:27:26.559 --> 00:27:30.039 at a crossroads where I didn't want to keep doing what I was doing anymore. 429 00:27:30.119 --> 00:27:33.200 I want a new challenge. I wanted to give back to the community 430 00:27:33.240 --> 00:27:36.200 because a struggle was really hard for me when I left the navy, and 431 00:27:36.240 --> 00:27:41.319 so I didn't want people to have to go through the same pain, struggle 432 00:27:41.359 --> 00:27:45.920 sacrifice I went through if I could help them by giving them advice and and 433 00:27:47.000 --> 00:27:52.119 I started talking to todd because I wanted to collaborate with kilcliff to bring some 434 00:27:52.160 --> 00:27:57.440 events in with military nonprofits, and todd at that point had been pretty far 435 00:27:57.519 --> 00:28:00.680 removed from the company. He had been I think two thousand and fifteen, 436 00:28:00.720 --> 00:28:06.119 two thousand and sixteen. The investors had put in their own team, which 437 00:28:06.200 --> 00:28:08.640 you know that happens often when you bring in investment, and the founder, 438 00:28:08.759 --> 00:28:15.480 being todd took a board seat and and so. But but then the company 439 00:28:15.559 --> 00:28:22.119 kind of you know, for not for the it's just it gone. It 440 00:28:22.200 --> 00:28:26.000 went a different direction. It started becoming a little bit less authentic, more 441 00:28:26.079 --> 00:28:29.359 contrived, like, you know, stuff that we never did in the past, 442 00:28:29.440 --> 00:28:32.440 focus for groups, things like that, and it was all for good 443 00:28:32.440 --> 00:28:36.599 intention, but it just wasn't right for the company. And so when I 444 00:28:36.640 --> 00:28:38.680 was working on this stuff, there was a sort of I was a I 445 00:28:38.720 --> 00:28:45.319 was making myself available at a time when kill cliff really needed to get back 446 00:28:45.359 --> 00:28:51.519 to its DNA, to its core roots. In the collaboration with Todd to 447 00:28:51.559 --> 00:28:55.839 put together some veteran events, I'd been the reduced to the guy, great 448 00:28:55.839 --> 00:28:59.359 guy who's run the business at the time, but he came from a totally 449 00:28:59.400 --> 00:29:03.799 different background, you know, it wasn't like in his DNA. He asked 450 00:29:03.799 --> 00:29:08.079 me to do a little consulting project form. I'd come from running sales team. 451 00:29:08.160 --> 00:29:11.880 So I gave him my opinion on some of the stuff and processes in 452 00:29:11.920 --> 00:29:17.880 the business and he then proceeded to offer me a job and I thought I 453 00:29:17.960 --> 00:29:19.680 was like, why not? I'm at a crossroads. You know, my 454 00:29:21.200 --> 00:29:25.119 past times are play guitar, I do mixed martial arts. Were Doing Brazilian 455 00:29:25.200 --> 00:29:30.799 Jiujitsu for sixteen years and and I care about by having an active lifestyle and 456 00:29:30.880 --> 00:29:36.799 my health and fitness, and I also like to be me. I don't 457 00:29:36.839 --> 00:29:40.599 like to cover up who I am. So I there was a lot of 458 00:29:40.640 --> 00:29:42.799 alignment there. I was because todd and I were friends, but we didn't 459 00:29:42.799 --> 00:29:47.720 really go deep on the business side. I didn't know that we're kill cliff 460 00:29:47.960 --> 00:29:49.240 was as a brand at the time. I didn't know that it had been 461 00:29:49.240 --> 00:29:52.680 struggling for a couple of years and the kind of lost its way and that 462 00:29:52.880 --> 00:29:56.759 they were challenges. But what I did know is it irrespective of those challenges, 463 00:29:56.759 --> 00:30:00.359 because all businesses face those sorts of challenges and ferent basis of their growth. 464 00:30:00.440 --> 00:30:03.279 They kill cliff had a mission that they had stopped too and that the 465 00:30:03.279 --> 00:30:08.799 investors supported, to support the Navy Seal Foundation, and that was something that 466 00:30:08.920 --> 00:30:12.640 was completely aligned with my worldview because I struggled really, really bad when I 467 00:30:12.680 --> 00:30:17.039 left the seal teams. So I saw that as an opportunity. I was 468 00:30:17.079 --> 00:30:21.240 like, well, you know what this is going by moving this thinking this 469 00:30:21.319 --> 00:30:27.279 career jump from being in the tech world to doing something and CPG, I'm 470 00:30:27.279 --> 00:30:32.799 going to accomplish a couple things. I'm going to align my my lifestyle, 471 00:30:33.079 --> 00:30:36.720 my values, with the brand that I'm ad and then I'm going to be 472 00:30:36.759 --> 00:30:38.920 able to give back to the community that was trying to support. So I 473 00:30:38.920 --> 00:30:45.319 had no experience. I came from totally outside this enterprise, software sales at 474 00:30:45.359 --> 00:30:49.319 the you know, huge multimillion dollar deals that take nine months to develop, 475 00:30:49.440 --> 00:30:53.279 that type stuff. That's where I was and then I you you come into 476 00:30:53.279 --> 00:30:59.720 the CPG's totally different world. And so I came in originally as my title 477 00:30:59.839 --> 00:31:03.759 the time was chief sales officer, but my actual responsibility was a take all 478 00:31:03.839 --> 00:31:11.279 the legacy channels of kill cliff and make them successful. Why? The investors 479 00:31:11.319 --> 00:31:18.240 and the chief executive the time focused on the retail playbook. So after about 480 00:31:18.400 --> 00:31:22.079 six months or so, maybe seven months, the investors asked me if I 481 00:31:22.079 --> 00:31:26.480 would, if I would take over as chief operating officer and President Coo, 482 00:31:27.039 --> 00:31:32.400 and I did and I ran the business from that point four they, I've 483 00:31:32.400 --> 00:31:36.960 read, took leadership to business and I ran it from two thousand and eighteen 484 00:31:37.000 --> 00:31:41.480 through like late year, November time frame, through two thousand and twenty as 485 00:31:41.599 --> 00:31:44.839 the president's but I was there was no one else. That was me, 486 00:31:45.000 --> 00:31:48.279 and then I formally took on the CEO title at the beginning of two thousand 487 00:31:48.279 --> 00:31:52.119 and twenty one. So so, yeah, so it's been a it's been 488 00:31:52.119 --> 00:31:53.880 a big learning curve. But you know, if you're you're passionate, your 489 00:31:53.880 --> 00:31:56.880 focus these is just like going through seal train. There is no reason you 490 00:31:56.920 --> 00:32:00.279 can't do it. I actually think industry biases are the worst things in the 491 00:32:00.279 --> 00:32:05.920 world because you can learn so much from other industries, and especially they get 492 00:32:05.920 --> 00:32:07.960 so insular. Like you know, CPG guys do it their way, and 493 00:32:08.000 --> 00:32:10.759 their ways not always the right ways, just the way they know and and 494 00:32:12.519 --> 00:32:15.720 so I came in with a fresh perspective from the outside and did things differently 495 00:32:15.839 --> 00:32:20.039 and it really paid off. I mean I've come in the band over a 496 00:32:20.119 --> 00:32:23.759 hundred fifty percent since taking leadership with no background in it all. You don't 497 00:32:23.839 --> 00:32:28.440 have to have the background, you just have to be smart to be Agil 498 00:32:28.519 --> 00:32:32.000 and you have to be able to prevent path dependency from happening if the path 499 00:32:32.119 --> 00:32:36.799 is the wrong path, if identify that and be able to switch quickly. 500 00:32:37.880 --> 00:32:39.319 And you have to get to be smart in the bets you make. But 501 00:32:39.400 --> 00:32:43.799 you you never going to grow a brand unless you're you're bold and you're willing 502 00:32:43.839 --> 00:32:46.079 to make bets and you have to be able to make smart bets. So 503 00:32:46.359 --> 00:32:49.880 and then you surround yourself with people as parted you. That's you know, 504 00:32:49.880 --> 00:32:52.319 that's what you got to do. You surround yourself with people from the industry, 505 00:32:52.319 --> 00:32:54.599 but maybe you throw a few people in there are from the industry, 506 00:32:54.640 --> 00:32:59.599 because I'll mix things up and it'll challenge your thinking. So so that's what 507 00:32:59.640 --> 00:33:02.200 we've done. We've really built a great brand. I mean the thing about 508 00:33:02.200 --> 00:33:06.119 the brand is it was it was. It had such a great foundation. 509 00:33:06.960 --> 00:33:08.960 Is a testament to the brand and with todd built it went through a few 510 00:33:09.000 --> 00:33:15.039 really rough years. We're struggling to figure out, you know, how to 511 00:33:15.039 --> 00:33:19.920 move the business forward because he got kind of stuck in this crossfit world and 512 00:33:20.880 --> 00:33:23.359 getting out of it was a really hard thing because all the resources went into 513 00:33:23.440 --> 00:33:27.519 it and I just pulled the plug on it. I mean, I love 514 00:33:27.599 --> 00:33:30.279 crossfit, but I said we're just going to do it differently. We're it's 515 00:33:30.279 --> 00:33:31.440 not that we're not going to do it, we're just going to do it 516 00:33:31.440 --> 00:33:37.119 different and we did and it worked. Can you give an example of something 517 00:33:37.160 --> 00:33:39.359 that the company did that you think, and especially now as you're in a 518 00:33:39.400 --> 00:33:45.559 position to Seeo that you thought was maybe in authentic to the brand. Yeah, 519 00:33:45.599 --> 00:33:49.599 so there were. There were a few things, but I think the 520 00:33:49.640 --> 00:33:52.839 biggest thing is the leadership of the time did not own the brand. The 521 00:33:52.880 --> 00:33:57.920 brand had had grown up as kill cliff. That's what this company is, 522 00:33:57.920 --> 00:34:00.839 whether you like it or not. That's the name of this company. It's 523 00:34:00.920 --> 00:34:05.079 kind of interesting this idea of this aggressive name that juxtaposes with something that's actually 524 00:34:05.079 --> 00:34:07.680 clean and you're never going to forget it. So there's a lot of great 525 00:34:07.680 --> 00:34:10.320 attributes to the name, especially with a where in the CBD World? Where 526 00:34:10.320 --> 00:34:15.599 in the energy world? Where the functional world? So it lends itself to 527 00:34:15.679 --> 00:34:19.480 being bold. It lends itself to the think about the navy seal DNA. 528 00:34:19.880 --> 00:34:22.960 Would images go through your mind? Me Think by Navy Seals. You thin 529 00:34:22.960 --> 00:34:25.840 about guys jumping out of airplane, skydiving, you think about big explosions, 530 00:34:25.840 --> 00:34:30.679 you think about you think about a drilling sports right, if that's what you 531 00:34:30.719 --> 00:34:32.360 think about, and the name Lens itself really well to it. But there 532 00:34:32.480 --> 00:34:36.360 was a lot of there were at the time. They were when I came 533 00:34:36.400 --> 00:34:38.400 in. It have been happening for a way before me. There's a lot 534 00:34:38.400 --> 00:34:44.000 of conversation about diminishing the name, changing the name, distancing from the name, 535 00:34:44.119 --> 00:34:47.519 trying to explain the name, and that's just to me was absolutely wrong. 536 00:34:47.559 --> 00:34:52.000 But that's that's because the the understanding of the business in the consumer, 537 00:34:52.199 --> 00:34:57.880 understanding the consumer was not it was not there. I think it's the idea 538 00:34:58.000 --> 00:35:00.559 was like, can we take you know, as we're trying to get out 539 00:35:00.599 --> 00:35:02.079 of what I said get out. I shouldn't say that, but we're trying 540 00:35:02.119 --> 00:35:06.719 to expand. We don't just want to be crossbit. We Love Crossbit, 541 00:35:06.760 --> 00:35:09.039 but we want to do more. We want more consumers. Everyone can benefit 542 00:35:09.079 --> 00:35:14.320 from our products. So the thinking, it wasn't necessarily bad thinking. It 543 00:35:14.360 --> 00:35:16.800 was just an idea that didn't work right. I want to be clear in 544 00:35:16.840 --> 00:35:21.000 that, because I think the intentions always been let's grow this thing, let's 545 00:35:21.000 --> 00:35:22.519 make it great, let's get back to our mission. That's always been there. 546 00:35:22.639 --> 00:35:28.280 Master OFS right. So, but shying away from the name, really 547 00:35:28.679 --> 00:35:30.280 it just eat. What you end up doing is you separate yourself from the 548 00:35:30.280 --> 00:35:35.920 audience that do you, but then you didn't have a powerful enough brand to 549 00:35:35.920 --> 00:35:38.000 take to an audience that didn't know you. That was what the problem. 550 00:35:38.039 --> 00:35:43.880 That manifested from that at that experiment, and the experiment was all about expanding 551 00:35:43.960 --> 00:35:46.719 the audience. How do we expand the audience? And there the school of 552 00:35:46.760 --> 00:35:50.559 Fault was, well, we need to we need to be less aggressive, 553 00:35:50.719 --> 00:35:53.079 we need to be less bold, we need to be we need to be 554 00:35:53.119 --> 00:35:57.320 more ingredient, like in your face driven, like we have this business is 555 00:35:57.400 --> 00:36:00.159 this in our products, and that was kind of that was the focus, 556 00:36:00.199 --> 00:36:02.679 for better or worse. I mean, I don't blame any of the folks 557 00:36:04.199 --> 00:36:07.920 who want to do that, because it was when you have limited resources and 558 00:36:07.960 --> 00:36:10.519 you're struggling and you're trying and all your resources are caught up in this one 559 00:36:10.559 --> 00:36:15.119 audience and you're trying to get the new audiences like you, how do you 560 00:36:15.159 --> 00:36:19.559 do it efficiently? Well, one of the ideas was let's repackage the products, 561 00:36:19.599 --> 00:36:22.320 let's create a functional call out on them and let's diminish the name and 562 00:36:22.400 --> 00:36:28.079 let's put a you know, let's put a tagline in there that's it's more 563 00:36:28.360 --> 00:36:32.400 you know, it's a little bit softer. Let's let's put our mission front 564 00:36:32.400 --> 00:36:37.519 and center. And those are the things that have been done and attempt to 565 00:36:37.519 --> 00:36:43.000 to give that brand that next opportunity, but that didn't really take. It 566 00:36:43.000 --> 00:36:46.079 didn't take because it wasn't authentic and then at the same time it started, 567 00:36:46.119 --> 00:36:51.280 because those news were made, we started to lose ground with the legacy consumer 568 00:36:51.320 --> 00:36:55.280 that love all the things that we were before that move. So so I 569 00:36:55.280 --> 00:36:59.480 think, I think that's you know, that's that's like one example. And 570 00:36:59.519 --> 00:37:01.360 another one related to that as we have a mission. We're very proud of 571 00:37:01.400 --> 00:37:05.360 our mission, but the mission was put like front center, top of the 572 00:37:05.440 --> 00:37:08.199 CAN, and that's just not what a navcal would do. I mean you're 573 00:37:08.239 --> 00:37:10.800 not going to put your tried on the front of the CAN, but you 574 00:37:10.840 --> 00:37:14.599 just don't do that. We're I mean we do have the guys who make 575 00:37:14.599 --> 00:37:16.719 a lot of money selling books and there's that, but you got you have 576 00:37:16.800 --> 00:37:23.079 to imagine the community over time has tens of thousands of active members and veterans 577 00:37:23.079 --> 00:37:27.000 and you got like a handful of people are write the books. Right. 578 00:37:27.119 --> 00:37:30.280 So most of the community is very quiet, quite opera or quite professional, 579 00:37:30.320 --> 00:37:34.480 and we don't really want to put our war chest right on in front of 580 00:37:34.519 --> 00:37:37.840 everybody. So so these sorts of nuances were things that I immediately picked up 581 00:37:37.920 --> 00:37:40.519 on. It was like all right, well, we take a step back. 582 00:37:40.519 --> 00:37:44.960 We need to, we need to we need to design. First of 583 00:37:44.960 --> 00:37:47.800 all, we are our own consumer. So let's build a packaging and a 584 00:37:47.800 --> 00:37:52.960 messaging and brand story that would we would buy. Let's do that and be 585 00:37:52.000 --> 00:37:57.280 true to ourselves and just like the you know, metal band tool, let's 586 00:37:57.280 --> 00:38:00.960 be true to ourselves and make investments in that and see where it takes us. 587 00:38:01.000 --> 00:38:05.280 And so that's what we did and it literally was like what happened the 588 00:38:05.360 --> 00:38:07.119 time, like when Todd, you know, start his business. U's true 589 00:38:07.119 --> 00:38:10.639 to himself. It was a manifestation of him, is DNA, and people 590 00:38:10.719 --> 00:38:13.960 loved it. It took off. So when I came in, it was 591 00:38:14.000 --> 00:38:15.960 basically like, you know, I'm todd number two. I came in I 592 00:38:15.960 --> 00:38:19.719 was like, I'm a dad seal, I would never buy this. We're 593 00:38:19.719 --> 00:38:22.519 going to make it look like this, we're going to change it the flavor 594 00:38:22.559 --> 00:38:24.639 to taste like this, we're going to create these callouts, we're going to 595 00:38:24.639 --> 00:38:28.000 put this point sale behind it and then we're going to put it back in 596 00:38:28.079 --> 00:38:30.320 the market and see what happens. In the meantime. Says we can't be 597 00:38:30.360 --> 00:38:34.079 everything to everybody. We're going to focus on the things that we're really really 598 00:38:34.079 --> 00:38:36.920 good at, which is where the brand started, which at that time was 599 00:38:36.920 --> 00:38:38.920 selling online. And if we couldn't have picked a better time to do all 600 00:38:38.960 --> 00:38:42.719 that, because we did all these changes in two thousand and nineteen. We 601 00:38:42.760 --> 00:38:45.440 started rolling out. In Two thousand and twenty the pandemic hit and we were 602 00:38:45.480 --> 00:38:47.440 locked and loaded ready to go and we just were snap in next and cash 603 00:38:47.440 --> 00:38:51.000 and checks. I got some of the proof back here. You know, 604 00:38:51.079 --> 00:38:54.079 this idea of a really authentic artists in can. This is the collaboration with 605 00:38:54.159 --> 00:38:58.440 Joe Rogan, which has been incredible, and you know, you can see 606 00:38:58.480 --> 00:39:01.519 the the care, the duty a care in to making this a super cool 607 00:39:01.519 --> 00:39:07.280 and aggressive can that's also enticing to a consumer. And then you know, 608 00:39:07.480 --> 00:39:10.159 in two thousand and twenty, when we put clean energy drink on our drinks, 609 00:39:10.159 --> 00:39:13.519 no one else was doing it like there was. There was no one 610 00:39:13.559 --> 00:39:16.239 calling that the the subcategory of clean energy. There was no one saying that's 611 00:39:16.239 --> 00:39:20.440 what it was. Everyone's talk about functional beverages and we came out and saying 612 00:39:20.480 --> 00:39:23.440 no, we're clean energy and that's what we did and it really is stocked. 613 00:39:23.480 --> 00:39:27.440 And then now we hear everyone saying it. So we seen that happen 614 00:39:27.519 --> 00:39:30.880 with our business a few times. So anyway, and you have like the 615 00:39:30.159 --> 00:39:34.840 this is a navy seal commemorative can. We raised over a million bucks for 616 00:39:34.880 --> 00:39:37.559 the Navy Seal Foundation. Donated and raised and through, you know, through 617 00:39:37.599 --> 00:39:42.760 all sorts of means over the last I mean just started with Navy todderally can, 618 00:39:42.800 --> 00:39:45.000 a navy sealing Chris Irwin, who's at Kiel cliff for a long time, 619 00:39:45.440 --> 00:39:50.679 influential development of the brand. He's at Navy Seal Foundation now and you 620 00:39:50.679 --> 00:39:53.159 know, we're really proud of our contribution. This has been hard to do 621 00:39:53.280 --> 00:39:58.599 and this is where I'm very, very thankful for having investors that they are 622 00:39:58.760 --> 00:40:01.440 behind the mission, because in our rough years they were still allowing us to 623 00:40:01.440 --> 00:40:05.800 make good with the foundation, which if you didn't have the right group behind 624 00:40:05.840 --> 00:40:07.840 you, that's just not going to happen. Totally, totally. I would 625 00:40:07.920 --> 00:40:13.519 love to kind of understand, too, how you think about launching new skews 626 00:40:13.599 --> 00:40:16.320 and new flavors. Obviously you have the collaboration with Joe Rogan. I know 627 00:40:16.440 --> 00:40:22.119 you also have collaborations as well with UFC fighters. How do you approach collaborations 628 00:40:22.400 --> 00:40:25.239 and kind of partnerships for releasing news cews. How does that kind of come 629 00:40:25.280 --> 00:40:29.719 to fruition? So there's two ideas. They're right, first of all, 630 00:40:30.079 --> 00:40:35.639 on a generic level of releasing news hues. So because we've established a beach 631 00:40:35.639 --> 00:40:38.960 head online, we found that the innovation cycle can be really, really fast. 632 00:40:38.960 --> 00:40:44.599 The traditional process for innovation for a lot of brands is you're going to 633 00:40:44.639 --> 00:40:46.039 want to de risk that innovation right. You want to have a buyer. 634 00:40:46.079 --> 00:40:50.880 So who's your body? You're going to collaborate with a big retailer most likely, 635 00:40:51.239 --> 00:40:53.159 or regional retailer, whoever you have a great relationship with, like hey, 636 00:40:53.159 --> 00:40:55.400 we're going to we have this idea for a product we're going to rolled 637 00:40:55.400 --> 00:41:00.039 out, we're going to make you the exclusive partner for so long. In 638 00:41:00.079 --> 00:41:02.559 a way you're securing commitments for orders so that you're not going to you're not 639 00:41:02.559 --> 00:41:06.880 going to create something to have nowhere to sell. That's their traditional process for 640 00:41:06.880 --> 00:41:09.519 innovation. That process can take a buying cycle or to we could take nine 641 00:41:09.559 --> 00:41:13.880 to twelve months to get the eighteen months and it's a really, really slow 642 00:41:13.960 --> 00:41:19.320 process. We kind of brought on board this idea of agile development and you 643 00:41:19.320 --> 00:41:23.079 know, in creating things really well, really fast, and then testing them 644 00:41:23.119 --> 00:41:29.760 online because we built this massive online customer base. So when we launch things 645 00:41:29.840 --> 00:41:31.960 they're not we might being a retailer, to push them into we will do 646 00:41:32.119 --> 00:41:37.440 we do small runs, limited quantity patches and we see what happens and if 647 00:41:37.480 --> 00:41:39.159 we get good reviews and people like them, that we test it again and 648 00:41:39.199 --> 00:41:43.800 we bring we keep that little flavor going for a while and you know, 649 00:41:43.840 --> 00:41:45.360 if we see it start to tail off and it was just the newness of 650 00:41:45.360 --> 00:41:50.360 it that they drove the sales and it wasn't really something that's going to stick, 651 00:41:50.400 --> 00:41:52.320 then we'll take it off the market. But in doing that we completely 652 00:41:52.360 --> 00:41:55.760 de risk the whole proposition for a launch newse using innovation, we are able 653 00:41:55.880 --> 00:42:00.239 to push out ideas and concepts in the market and we're able to sell them 654 00:42:00.239 --> 00:42:07.039 into our our direct consumer and our director wholesale, you know, powerhouse group 655 00:42:07.079 --> 00:42:09.519 of customers, and we see what they say. It doesn't cost us much 656 00:42:09.519 --> 00:42:13.800 money to do it. Every single every single lasch we've had. We've had 657 00:42:13.840 --> 00:42:16.639 I think five or six launches that we've tested in the last eighteen months, 658 00:42:16.760 --> 00:42:21.519 or maybe maybe twenty month, twenty four months. Every single one of them 659 00:42:21.639 --> 00:42:25.440 we sold out. All the first run within ninety days with positive or away. 660 00:42:27.159 --> 00:42:29.800 Wow, that's awesome. It's great. How, also, do you 661 00:42:29.840 --> 00:42:35.280 approach partnership Savy in general or kind of unique distribution channels? I know you're 662 00:42:35.400 --> 00:42:38.679 the official energy drink of the LANTA Braith for example, which is super exciting. 663 00:42:38.719 --> 00:42:42.400 But how do you kind of opening up to Abe, I want to 664 00:42:42.400 --> 00:42:46.440 say, more mainstream sports per se and getting the hands on kill cliff? 665 00:42:46.559 --> 00:42:50.840 I think about in a couple ways. You know, the thing that and 666 00:42:51.039 --> 00:42:54.679 the brands are, you know, the brands are working on is is obviously, 667 00:42:55.320 --> 00:43:00.159 you know, getting that traction with the consumer and getting in finding their 668 00:43:00.199 --> 00:43:04.239 audience and getting in the right place with the right messaging, all stuff right. 669 00:43:04.280 --> 00:43:07.159 So there's different ways to approach that. The traditional way, is what 670 00:43:07.400 --> 00:43:09.760 I observe, is that, you know, a lot of a lot of 671 00:43:09.800 --> 00:43:15.719 brands is really focus on on building their brand on a singular block of like 672 00:43:15.800 --> 00:43:20.280 one or two retailers, a reasonal retailer. It's very, very focused on 673 00:43:20.840 --> 00:43:23.239 like that's how yeah, like that, and that's not. That's not that's 674 00:43:23.280 --> 00:43:25.280 not the wrong way to do it. And if we do that to some 675 00:43:25.360 --> 00:43:30.280 extent, to but you know, in a hypercombetive industry, the like energy 676 00:43:30.360 --> 00:43:35.360 drinks, for example. How do you get brand awareness out there? It's 677 00:43:35.480 --> 00:43:39.039 you just can't spend enough money to build it retailer by retailer. So my 678 00:43:39.119 --> 00:43:44.559 point of view is it's way more efficient to find the things that are and 679 00:43:44.559 --> 00:43:49.159 give you halo effects the top down. So it's great to have a retailer 680 00:43:49.199 --> 00:43:52.079 that you know that it's very top down their approach, so you can have 681 00:43:52.239 --> 00:43:55.519 may a program within it gets executed everywhere seamlessly. That's a great thing. 682 00:43:55.639 --> 00:44:00.320 So very similar when you're trying to build your brand in a market, having 683 00:44:00.360 --> 00:44:05.199 something that gives you a halo effects so you you're building consumer awareness. It's 684 00:44:05.320 --> 00:44:07.800 it can if, if the econometers are right, it can be way more 685 00:44:07.800 --> 00:44:12.760 efficient to spend on that money on that asset, even though the row ass 686 00:44:12.840 --> 00:44:17.079 is not directly identifiable or trackable. The attribution just might not be a clear 687 00:44:17.119 --> 00:44:22.480 line. But you're way better off doing that and trying to build like if 688 00:44:22.480 --> 00:44:25.760 you're trying to build with like ten retailers, I mean you're gonna have to 689 00:44:25.800 --> 00:44:29.679 spend a ton of money trying to get the brand the stick. So our 690 00:44:29.719 --> 00:44:32.519 approach was like, let's build online, where we can chat, we can 691 00:44:32.639 --> 00:44:37.280 really focus our messaging to our consumer and understand how they respond to it, 692 00:44:37.320 --> 00:44:40.400 and then let's get a couple assets to really turbo charged the brand and give 693 00:44:40.480 --> 00:44:45.559 broad brand awareness. And once we have those things working in concert, then 694 00:44:45.679 --> 00:44:50.079 let's start to build the brand in a more traditional way with retailers. And 695 00:44:50.119 --> 00:44:52.440 so that was the approach we took and we did it because we just use 696 00:44:52.480 --> 00:44:57.119 can't. You don't have enough money to be everything that everyone and and when 697 00:44:57.119 --> 00:45:00.199 I looked at the things to business it done before I got there, it 698 00:45:00.239 --> 00:45:01.800 was more of the traditional, like we're going to build a retail right retailer 699 00:45:01.840 --> 00:45:07.280 approach and the brand wasn't ready and as a result it failed and it became 700 00:45:07.480 --> 00:45:12.719 very, very expensive for the company because then you're throwing money at trying to 701 00:45:12.760 --> 00:45:17.400 move and drive velocities, you're buying these big programs trying to get the consumer 702 00:45:17.400 --> 00:45:21.280 because you don't know who your consumer is, and you're still you're still out 703 00:45:21.280 --> 00:45:24.320 there fishing. So if that's where you are, then I would just offered 704 00:45:24.320 --> 00:45:28.880 that there might be a better approach, which which would be audience, starting 705 00:45:28.960 --> 00:45:34.039 online and then finding the the halo effects with assets that can help build an 706 00:45:34.079 --> 00:45:37.880 embolden that audience so that when you go to a retailer you know exactly to 707 00:45:37.960 --> 00:45:40.679 who you're selling and how you can capture them and then you have alignment in 708 00:45:40.719 --> 00:45:45.639 that retailer with that customer base. So so that's, generally speaking, how 709 00:45:45.639 --> 00:45:49.760 I think about and why we've done some of the things we've done in terms 710 00:45:49.800 --> 00:45:52.239 of partnerships. So Joe Rogan's a perfect example. You Know Joe Rogan. 711 00:45:52.280 --> 00:45:57.400 He's been a consumer or kilcliff for years and we had had a discussion with 712 00:45:57.440 --> 00:46:00.280 him a few years ago and just you know, there was a lot of 713 00:46:00.280 --> 00:46:07.639 alignment between his his lifestyle, his his his priorities and health and fitness, 714 00:46:07.679 --> 00:46:10.719 his mindset and our brand. And he's done, you know, done a 715 00:46:10.719 --> 00:46:19.519 lot to support Davy seals another other military veteran organizations, companies, things like 716 00:46:19.559 --> 00:46:22.760 that. So so you know, it was kind of a we we both 717 00:46:22.800 --> 00:46:25.960 wanted to do it and so he got involved in our brand in a very 718 00:46:25.960 --> 00:46:32.320 meaningful way and that gave us the large ton of brand awareness and it created 719 00:46:32.360 --> 00:46:37.719 these viral effects online. And but what I'll say is that not everybody's a 720 00:46:37.800 --> 00:46:42.480 Joe Rogan. I don't think it's very smart just hitch to a celebrity. 721 00:46:42.519 --> 00:46:45.360 There has to be a level like what cells is authenticity, and that's whether 722 00:46:45.360 --> 00:46:49.800 you like Joe or not, you can't claim he's not authentic. He's is 723 00:46:49.840 --> 00:46:52.559 who he is, and and that's our brand to it's the same thing. 724 00:46:52.639 --> 00:46:55.599 It's we are who we are. You either like us or you don't. 725 00:46:55.719 --> 00:47:00.000 We're going to give you a healthy product, taste great, and you're either 726 00:47:00.079 --> 00:47:01.639 on the kill cliff train or you're not, and we're okay with that. 727 00:47:01.960 --> 00:47:06.239 So we're not trying to pander and be everything everybody, and I think that's 728 00:47:06.280 --> 00:47:09.960 a trapped a los CPG brands run into is a really try. They don't 729 00:47:10.000 --> 00:47:14.079 know who their audience is and they try to just painted everybody, and we 730 00:47:14.119 --> 00:47:16.159 don't. We're we know who we are. So the key, would like 731 00:47:16.239 --> 00:47:20.159 the effect with Rogan, for example, is there has to be the alignment 732 00:47:20.239 --> 00:47:23.000 with a brand it's authentic in the person that you're working with or the partners 733 00:47:23.000 --> 00:47:28.360 you're working with. They have to have engagement that's real. So much engagement 734 00:47:28.360 --> 00:47:31.000 out there right now is purchased. Is Not real. It's bought, it's 735 00:47:31.159 --> 00:47:35.280 you know, it's Bots, it's whatever. So you got to find people 736 00:47:35.320 --> 00:47:39.880 that actually have real engagement, real real influence, real effect, and then 737 00:47:39.880 --> 00:47:44.519 the alignment between your brand and their worldview in terms of, you know, 738 00:47:44.599 --> 00:47:47.360 their priorities and what they what they represent as a consumer and what they want 739 00:47:47.400 --> 00:47:51.360 to put in their bodies. And if you can get those things together, 740 00:47:51.360 --> 00:47:54.760 that you have a really powerful alliance and that can give you a halo effect 741 00:47:54.760 --> 00:47:59.000 that helps you grow your business and some of the you know, Growing Your 742 00:47:59.000 --> 00:48:01.199 Business and retails awesome. It's also really, really hard. We're going to 743 00:48:01.239 --> 00:48:05.760 stage now where it's it's a huge priority for us because we got to the 744 00:48:05.760 --> 00:48:08.760 point where we've done enough brand development work to where it's more efficient now for 745 00:48:08.840 --> 00:48:13.639 us to spend because it's easier to tell people who we are. There's more 746 00:48:13.679 --> 00:48:17.280 people who know who we are and we have this force multiplier effect of the 747 00:48:17.280 --> 00:48:23.480 investments we made and in some big assets that really resonate with our audiences. 748 00:48:23.840 --> 00:48:28.119 So that's, you know, just conceptually, how I think about grand building 749 00:48:28.159 --> 00:48:30.760 and what we're doing. And there is a balancing act because you, like 750 00:48:30.800 --> 00:48:34.800 I said, you don't have money for everything. You can't be everything everybody. 751 00:48:34.840 --> 00:48:37.239 You have to make every dollar count. So that's why it's really important 752 00:48:37.239 --> 00:48:42.679 to find alignment authenticity and engagement in those partnerships and then did just you know, 753 00:48:42.719 --> 00:48:45.559 you have to be creative. To creative find. We find when when, 754 00:48:45.719 --> 00:48:47.800 you know, we don't go into partnerships just looking at like what can 755 00:48:47.840 --> 00:48:51.320 you do for us? You know, we try to make it a when 756 00:48:51.320 --> 00:48:57.960 win scenario where everybody has all boats rise, everybody, everybody has, you 757 00:48:58.000 --> 00:49:02.440 know, great opportunity to enjoy the success of the partnership, and so we're 758 00:49:02.559 --> 00:49:07.559 very collaborative. We're also hyper creative as an organization. So I think those 759 00:49:07.559 --> 00:49:09.639 are two of our strong suits, outside of just having the best stating procs 760 00:49:09.679 --> 00:49:14.559 on earth. Yeah, and I appreciate you. You sharing and kind of 761 00:49:14.599 --> 00:49:17.679 chain some light how you think about distribution, as well as different channels that 762 00:49:17.800 --> 00:49:22.159 you actually can't measure or it's really hard for for attribution. Well, there's 763 00:49:22.239 --> 00:49:25.159 you. There's a huge marketing debate and look, I'm not classically trained in 764 00:49:25.199 --> 00:49:28.960 anything, so you can take it for what it is. You can go 765 00:49:29.119 --> 00:49:31.800 tell me to bouncing if you want, but in my my research, there's 766 00:49:31.800 --> 00:49:36.320 a massive debate on, you know, what's more valuable in marketing span, 767 00:49:36.440 --> 00:49:40.519 marketing is going to work, or marketing into organic and you'll find very very 768 00:49:40.519 --> 00:49:45.079 compelling arguments for both. You know, there's a lot more interest in organic 769 00:49:45.119 --> 00:49:49.840 nowadays than I've ever seen before, and that's because just looking at at the 770 00:49:49.840 --> 00:49:53.599 way society is evolving, the virtualization. You know, obviously social media and 771 00:49:53.639 --> 00:49:57.880 the importance, and it's not. It's not just the importance of social media 772 00:49:57.920 --> 00:50:01.440 as a marketing funnel per se, with pain media and the traditional means. 773 00:50:01.480 --> 00:50:06.199 It's look, I mean one of the great things about our partnership with Rogand 774 00:50:06.280 --> 00:50:09.400 is it's he loves it, it's his lifestyles. Is probably created that. 775 00:50:09.519 --> 00:50:14.639 Like you know, it's not something he's doing for a paycheck. So we 776 00:50:14.679 --> 00:50:17.719 know. When you look at like influencers and the power of influencers the help 777 00:50:17.760 --> 00:50:22.000 you grow your brand, then, you know, what I find is that 778 00:50:22.400 --> 00:50:24.880 you the bench celebrities, unless you get the right one, could be a 779 00:50:25.039 --> 00:50:29.639 just a massive colossuel waste of time, right. So you that's why you 780 00:50:29.679 --> 00:50:32.360 have to find the people that meet those criteria I mentioned earlier. But vital 781 00:50:32.480 --> 00:50:37.039 question to you, Jot, is one, thinks, one piece of advice 782 00:50:37.079 --> 00:50:42.840 that you have for anyone founding today. Yes, that's a great question. 783 00:50:43.119 --> 00:50:46.719 I think. I think there's a few things that are there I think you 784 00:50:46.760 --> 00:50:52.559 need to you need to be all in for the work. Right. It's 785 00:50:52.599 --> 00:50:58.360 okay to side hustle until you're ready to be all in and just test of 786 00:50:58.440 --> 00:51:00.480 waters. That's a great way of doing things. And you know, if 787 00:51:00.480 --> 00:51:02.400 you're if you're founding something and you want to see if it sticks, you 788 00:51:02.440 --> 00:51:06.599 know, doing your spare time see what happens. You know, it's a 789 00:51:06.599 --> 00:51:07.920 way that you don't give up your day job. You have a way to 790 00:51:08.000 --> 00:51:10.920 kind of figure out what's what. So that's the that's the first piece of 791 00:51:10.960 --> 00:51:15.320 Bi second piece advice. When you do, when you do want to get 792 00:51:15.360 --> 00:51:19.920 something going, you have to be all in because you're going to hire people. 793 00:51:19.960 --> 00:51:22.239 If you're not all in there, not all in, they're going to 794 00:51:22.239 --> 00:51:25.679 see right through you. And it's really, really hard whether you take approach 795 00:51:25.719 --> 00:51:30.800 like we took or you take a more traditional approach. Very valid both ways. 796 00:51:30.840 --> 00:51:32.599 You know it's going to take a lot of time and effort that you 797 00:51:32.639 --> 00:51:37.320 need to be fully committed to and you're going to have a lot of setbacks. 798 00:51:37.440 --> 00:51:42.039 You have to be resilient. So just the mindset going into it is 799 00:51:42.400 --> 00:51:45.000 it's there's no easy day. It does take a phrase from a seal teams. 800 00:51:45.000 --> 00:51:47.960 The only easy day was yesterday. There's no easy day. It's going 801 00:51:47.960 --> 00:51:52.079 to be hard, it's going to feel like you're pushing a rope uphill. 802 00:51:52.480 --> 00:51:59.000 But what I would say is, when you start making progress, there's a 803 00:51:59.000 --> 00:52:01.480 few things that you really need to you really need to take the heart. 804 00:52:02.039 --> 00:52:07.679 One of them is you can't, even though you'll want to. You shouldn't 805 00:52:07.679 --> 00:52:12.760 move too fast. Perfect your craft, perfect your audience, understand who you 806 00:52:12.760 --> 00:52:15.679 are and stay true to who you are, because you're going to be challenged. 807 00:52:15.719 --> 00:52:19.519 You're going to have the you're going to have the customer distributor. It 808 00:52:19.519 --> 00:52:22.480 says, you know what, I love everything about this, but if you 809 00:52:22.519 --> 00:52:24.840 just put this on the package or you just call it this, then I'll 810 00:52:24.880 --> 00:52:30.320 bring it in. So what's the price for selling your soul? Right? 811 00:52:30.400 --> 00:52:31.719 I mean, it may be that the upgrade makes sense. You know that's 812 00:52:31.719 --> 00:52:37.920 a good idea, but you shouldn't do something that's contrary to what you believe, 813 00:52:37.039 --> 00:52:40.000 or else it's going to fail, even though it might be in a 814 00:52:40.119 --> 00:52:45.000 near term, a solution that successful. It makes you feel better, maybe 815 00:52:45.079 --> 00:52:50.239 gives you the revenue you need, but if you start making compromises to what 816 00:52:50.360 --> 00:52:55.000 you are and who your as a brand. Then you're going to lose both. 817 00:52:55.039 --> 00:52:58.519 You're going to lose who you are and you're going to lose your brand. 818 00:52:58.719 --> 00:53:02.639 So there. That gets to my last point real quick, which is 819 00:53:02.760 --> 00:53:07.039 when you're ready. In all brands at some point are going to need there 820 00:53:07.079 --> 00:53:10.360 are some they can just they can tool out of lifestyle business, work for 821 00:53:10.400 --> 00:53:15.480 twenty years and and grow. But if you're serious about growing and building, 822 00:53:15.599 --> 00:53:20.039 then you have got to get the right group of investors there in the line 823 00:53:20.119 --> 00:53:22.719 with who it is that you are, your brand is, have the same 824 00:53:22.800 --> 00:53:25.760 vision. They don't want to change your name. They don't want to you 825 00:53:25.800 --> 00:53:30.079 know, they don't want to just like reengineer what you have and put somewhere 826 00:53:30.119 --> 00:53:32.199 else like. There's got to be and there are concessions. There are some 827 00:53:32.239 --> 00:53:37.320 concessions when you're in that process, but you got to make sure that directionally, 828 00:53:37.840 --> 00:53:44.280 there's alignment on who you are and who they are and that you want 829 00:53:44.280 --> 00:53:46.960 to go the same place and you want to go the same way and you 830 00:53:47.000 --> 00:53:50.920 know what that's going to take. And so you don't want to move too 831 00:53:50.960 --> 00:53:53.079 fast. You want to make sure you're well grounded and who you are, 832 00:53:53.119 --> 00:53:57.559 that it's clear who you are that you have a consumer, you've identified who 833 00:53:57.559 --> 00:54:00.599 that consumer is and then when you're the place to bring in capital. There's 834 00:54:00.599 --> 00:54:04.599 a lot of alignment between that. I you know, I want some I 835 00:54:04.639 --> 00:54:07.639 wants to talk to Evan Hey, for the CEO black rifle coffee, and 836 00:54:07.679 --> 00:54:12.679 he told me something and and he said that when he was there was a 837 00:54:12.719 --> 00:54:15.400 point where they were ready to expand and they were bringing in, you know, 838 00:54:15.840 --> 00:54:20.199 some private money, and he I think he at that point. They've 839 00:54:20.239 --> 00:54:22.400 been very, very successful. They he waited a long time. So longer 840 00:54:22.440 --> 00:54:25.280 you can wait the better. I mean I think they got up to fifty, 841 00:54:25.280 --> 00:54:29.280 seventy million dollars before they brought in the capital. I mean they got 842 00:54:29.280 --> 00:54:32.760 a long way down the road and what he told me I found really intriguing 843 00:54:32.800 --> 00:54:37.159 because I come into a business that, you know, there was a lot 844 00:54:37.159 --> 00:54:39.480 of good intention, but some of the things that happened probably weren't the best 845 00:54:39.480 --> 00:54:43.559 for the brand. But you know, that's okay because the good news is 846 00:54:43.599 --> 00:54:46.159 the group that I have we're collaborative and making it right. So we made 847 00:54:46.159 --> 00:54:52.159 it right. So but what I will say is that is that Evan told 848 00:54:52.159 --> 00:54:55.719 me he interviewed I don't know the number it sounded like it was over fifty 849 00:54:55.760 --> 00:55:01.159 private equity groups. He went in interviewed and he showed up exactly who he 850 00:55:01.360 --> 00:55:06.280 was. He's wearing his blue jeans and his plane was sure probably a ball 851 00:55:06.360 --> 00:55:09.719 cap bearded up, just be in Evan, and he walked into all these 852 00:55:09.719 --> 00:55:15.800 private equity groups and he's just this is you know, he was interviewing them 853 00:55:15.800 --> 00:55:20.679 like this is who I am and this is who we are as company, 854 00:55:20.679 --> 00:55:23.760 black rifle coffee, and if you want some of this, then you need 855 00:55:23.800 --> 00:55:29.039 to be aligned with us. So he went in with that viewpoint and and 856 00:55:29.079 --> 00:55:31.440 I think that that we're worked out really well for him and his company and 857 00:55:31.480 --> 00:55:37.760 getting the resource support they needed in terms of building the brand that he envisioned 858 00:55:37.119 --> 00:55:40.159 and that they envision there's a group of those guys and they did a really 859 00:55:40.199 --> 00:55:45.960 good job. So so that's my advice is is you know you you have 860 00:55:46.039 --> 00:55:49.800 to be get to be clear and who you are. If be clear and 861 00:55:49.840 --> 00:55:52.679 what your objectives are, and you got to find alignment it. Be Clear 862 00:55:52.679 --> 00:55:54.639 and your brand is and you have to stick to it, because the second 863 00:55:54.639 --> 00:55:59.039 you start selling out, it's just a slippery sloped at the bottom. Those 864 00:55:59.039 --> 00:56:02.039 are, I mean great, great suggestions, John, thank you so much 865 00:56:02.039 --> 00:56:05.679 for your tie. This has been a lot of fun chatting. Absolutely and 866 00:56:05.800 --> 00:56:08.239 look, I appreciate any time. And you know, make sure to keep 867 00:56:08.239 --> 00:56:10.920 your fridge stock. Fool. So big school and kill cliff. We got 868 00:56:10.920 --> 00:56:14.800 the full gamut. So you know, just we got a little something for 869 00:56:15.119 --> 00:56:17.360 all your proclivities. Yeah, no, thank you. Thank you, John, 870 00:56:17.519 --> 00:56:21.400 I really appreciate that. Fags. And there you have it. It 871 00:56:21.440 --> 00:56:23.719 was Sushi putters. Having of John. I hope you all enjoyed hearing his 872 00:56:23.760 --> 00:56:27.920 story in the story of the kill cliff. If you enjoyed this episode, 873 00:56:28.000 --> 00:56:30.960 I love it if you'd read a review on the apple podcast. You're also 874 00:56:30.000 --> 00:56:35.000 welcome to follow me your host Mike on Twitter at my guelb and also follow 875 00:56:35.119 --> 00:56:58.559 for episode announcements at Consumer VC. Thanks for listening, everyone,