Wednesday, September 25

Mission in a Bottle

 What has inspired you lately?  Last week, I was fortunate enough to be included in the Press Club launch of Mission in a Bottle: The Honest Guide to Doing Business Differently—and Succeeding, presented by the co-founders of Honest Tea, Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff.  Also participating in the event was  their friend, Gary Hirshberg, founder and chairman of Stoneyfield Farm, Inc.  The conversation ranged from how to launch a socially responsible start-up to the health/food crisis in America, which made for an energizing and inspiring evening.  The presenters were informative, humorous, and filled with memorable anecdotes to illustrate their points, just like their book---a business book written in comic book format!
What made the evening uniquely inspiring was that it was equal parts entertaining and educational.   I was delighted to learn that the values upon which the author-entrepreneurs founded and built their company are in line with the core value of connectivity that I describe as the key to success in my recent book, HUM.  I also really appreciated Seth and Barry’s ability to laugh at themselves, the situations they created, and those in which they found themselves. I laughed out loud at their explanation of how the name ended up to be  “Honest Tea” because Nestea challenged their trademark application, claiming the name could be read, “Ho Nestea.” They went back and put a space between the words “Honest” and “Tea,” and received their trademark approval.  On a more serious note, though, they described their first hand experience of just how tough it is to go up against the big business forces in the food industry, including not only manufacturing, but bottling, distribution, pricing, etc.  
If you are in need some new inspiration of your own,  you should definitely check out the book.  I recommend it highly to anyone interested in social entrepreneurship, food and health policy in the US, balancing work and personal commitments and partnerships—or just in search of a great read that will expand their understanding and appreciation of what it takes to bring about large scale change (or even small scale change, for that matter).  It’s a great read for every member of your family old enough to read a comic book!

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