Business insights from MBA students, professors and alums. We look to share wisdom, focusing on the hard-lessons learned through different career, school and business endeavors and share insights into how you can put a business education to best use.
Reef, DC Shoes, Sanuk & the Road to Becoming a CMO with Michael Minter
Michael Minter has had a very successful career as a creative marketer working with some of the world’s largest footwear brands. Michael is currently the CMO of Reef, a 40-year-old legendary sandal brand that has recently seen an expansion in its product catalog and growth in eCommerce sales. Prior to Reef, Michael was the Global Head of Marketing for DC Shoes, leading many of the company’s iconic collaborations with the likes of the Andy Warhol foundation and the Mandalorian.
Michael and I discuss how his upbringing in the remote jungles of Papua New Guinea allowed him to approach brand marketing from a very unique perspective. We talk about his formal educational training first at SCAD followed by San Diego State University, and Michael provides his advice for anyone looking to become a CMO or creative director.
This podcast was a lot of fun for me, because I also got to geek out on skate, snow, and surf culture, and we debate the topic of keeping aging sponsored pros on the payroll or not. Both of us disagree slightly on the topic, but it makes for some interesting takeaways for brands.
If you are interested in creative, marketing, brand positioning, partnerships and collaborations, then you will enjoy this episode.
(1:34) Growing up in Papua New Guinea.
(4:35) How an analog youth in a remote village led to a unique cultural perspective.
(8:20) Brands that Michael admires.
(12:19) The role good creative plays in marketing strategies.
(22:48) Creative education.
(26:28) Advice for trying to become a CMO at a major brand.
(31:06) The importance of collaborations for brand growth.
(43:51) Keeping legendary team riders on the payroll.
(51:29) Working with Ken Block.
(55:26) Growth potential for Reef.
(58:40) Rapid fire.
Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition & Nomadic Business Ownership with Bakari Akil
Bakari Akil is a visiting lecturer at Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management teaching students how to buy a business. Bakari is also a successful search fund entrepreneur and independent sponsor.
Bakari recently sourced the acquisition of a burlap bag manufacturer, secured equity financing, closed the deal, then recruited and hired the CEO to operate the business. Bakari shares his inspirational story about growing up extremely poor and discovering Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition to provide generational wealth. We talk about how ETA is a great path for anyone, particularly if you don’t have an MBA or went to business school.
Bakari is currently traveling around the world as a digital nomad managing his numerous ventures remotely. He provides great advice for anyone looking to use entrepreneurship and a distributed support staff to live a dream lifestyle.
This podcast is for anyone looking at Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition as a career choice or for anyone who loves a great entrepreneur story.
(2:10) World travel and advice for remote entrepreneurs.
(9:40) Not financial advice … the best financial advice.
(18:32) Going into ETA or Private Equity.
(26:05) The New York Times & Bakari’s entrepreneurship journey.
(32:29) Learning ETA without going to business school.
(40:22) Advice for searchers.
(50:00) Bakari’s NYP search deal and investment thesis.
(1:00:45) Rapid Fire.
The Entourage Effect & Plunge’s Parabolic Rise with Ryan Duey
Ryan Duey is the Co-Founder + Co-CEO of plunge.com. Plunge has seen fantastic growth with increases in demand for cold plunge and contrast therapy coming out of the pandemic. Ryan and I go deep into what caused the company’s parabolic rise and how he and his co-founder Michael Garrett were able to both help create and capitalize on the current cold plunge boom.
We talk about getting free organic exposure from Lebron James. Plunge’s origin story during COVID lockdowns. His appearance on SharkTank, goals for the future and his honest advice for young entrepreneurs. A really fascinating insight is Ryan’s concept of the entourage effect. I had never heard of the concept before, but I think it is a genius and a big reason why the company and cold plunges in general took off so quickly in the United States.
If you like health and wellness or a great founder story that involves taking risks and pivoting during adversity, then I think you will really like this episode.
(1:17) Icebreaker: study abroad.
(3:16) Lebron James, Tony Hawk, Andrew Huberman and more.
(14:37) Why did cold plunge go parabolic in December 2022?
(21:30) The entourage effect.
(24:09) Which celebrity has the coolest house?
(30:47) Plunge’s origin story - necessity is the mother of invention.
(38:12) Sharktank … was it worthwhile?
(43:00) Sauna launch.
(51:29) Advice for young entrepreneurs.
(53:33) Rapid fire.
Product Development, Market Fit & Minimum Viable Businesses with Chris McKleroy
Chris McKleroy is the founder and CEO of Nocs Provisions, a company which has reinvented binoculars. Chris is a successful entrepreneur with a proven track record of designing disruptive products and bringing them to market.
Prior to Nocs, Chris was the Head of Product and Co-Founder of Boombotix, one of the original Bluetooth personal speaker brands to enter the market. Chris helped scale the business from $200k to over $13 million in annual revenue. We discuss the lessons learned from massive growth, raising venture capital and what it was like partnering with Wu-Tang.
Chris and I discuss product development, prototyping and why product market fit is so critical. He shares his insights on how to bootstrap a business idea and talks about the importance of finding your MVB “Minimum Viable Business.” He shares his advice for overseas manufacturing and how to disrupt established markets with innovatively designed products.
If you like product development, direct-to-consumer marketing and design then I am sure you will love this episode.
(1:28) Working with Wu-Tang.
(10:08) Business & design programs for Entrepreneurs.
(17:12) Scaling Boombotix to a $13 million business.
(24:12) Bootstrapping Nocs Provisions.
(30:51) Advice for Entrepreneurs.
(36:45) Product design process.
(44:46) Manufacturing products in China during COVID.
(58:10) Minimum Viable Business.
(59:00) Rapid fire questions.
Start-up Exits, Social Impact in Surf & Venture with Bradley Harris
Bradley Harris is the principal and CEO of A-Frame - a venture studio built for sustainable growth. Brad and I met on acquire.com, an online marketplace for buying and selling startups. I was looking to purchase the surf and board sports business that he had founded. I loved what he had built and his focus on being a socially minded entrepreneur. Brad ultimately sold the business to someone else, but we have stayed in-contact and have helped each other on our respective entrepreneurial journeys.
Brad is a 3x founder and advisor with a deep understanding of go-to-market strategies, brand management and mobile technology. His super-power, however, is being able to position brands for social impact in ways that are authentic and resonate with consumers.
We talk about how he positioned his surf eCommerce business Good Wave to meet an underserved portion of the market, namely surf parents. We geek out hard on surf culture and board sports and how brands can be better leaders of social impact.
Brad is a great guy with a lot of wisdom to share. I hope you enjoy.
(1:14) Brand archetypes in action sports.
(6:18) The best winter ever and finding your why post-exit.
(11:42) Building a business for surfing parents and families.
(28:32) Product development process.
(37:40) Advice for selling on acquire.com.
(52:17) Vision for A-Frame ventures.
(54:40) Rapid fire.
Investment Crowdfunding & the Future of Fundraising with Will McGuire
Will McGuire is a seasoned entrepreneur with a passion for helping startup founders raise capital. Will and I take a deep dive into the JOBS act and how equity crowdfunding came to be in the United States. We talk about a bill that just passed in the house of representatives that would improve access to capital and how accredited investors are defined.
We also talk about how his business Incolo.io is leading the charge for helping level the playing field for who gets funding. We discuss whether adding influencers to your cap table is a good idea or not and a step-by-step guide for raising money through equity crowdfunding and whether it is the right choice for your business.
(2:40) Icebreaker Multipotentiality
(7:42) The Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act
(16:10) The growth of equity crowdfunding.
(17:20) Incolo’s origin story.
(25:29) Traits that make founders investible.
(28:36) Step-by-step guide to raising investment crowdfunding.
(35:52) To use influencers or not on your cap table.
(42:30) Building the best outdoor music venue in the southeast.
(46:13) Rapid fire questions.
Solid narrative to business education
Solid narrative to business education.
Amazing Real-World Learnings
Gavin always does an absolutely fantastic job with these podcasts. One podcast and I feel that I learnt more here than in 2 years of my MBA program at an IVY league school. The way he breaks down the nuances of the businesses in these interviews is incredibly insightful. The podcast on liquid death is freaking amazing. Please do MORE and MORE of these!!
The Secret Sauce of Brand Building
Gavin does an excellent job of bringing out detailed and contextualized insights from his impressive cohort of guests. My personal favorites are how a chocolate bar took over the hearts of millions via TikTok and how PBR beer ended up becoming the accessory of choice at high-fashion gatherings.
Revenant for entrepreneurs and intrapreners alike.