Related to Doug Hall’s newsletter at https://blog.doughall.com/newsletters/5-reasons-organizations-dont-pursue-big-ideas-driving-eureka-2
This is the second episode of the Driving Eureka! Podcast. Segment 1: 5 Reasons Organizations Don’t Pursue Big Ideas; Segment 2: Meaningful Uniqueness; Segment 3: Brain Brew Whisk(e)y Academy. Subscribe to learn how to Find Filter and Fast Track Big Ideas.
Economic Downturns Tend to Make Ideas Smaller Not Bigger
Backing Off Big Ideas Leaves You with Ideas Not Worth Doing
Doug’s New Role
Tripp – The Prudent One
Doug – The Big Idea Guy
The Courage to Come Up with Big Ideas
A Whiskey Company is Born
The Noise of New Products and Ideas – Makes Your Idea Get Lost in the Clutter
Go Big or Go Home (with Ideas)
Reason #2 – Organizations Don’t Pursue Big Ideas
Reason #3 – Organizations Don’t Pursue Big Ideas
Reason #4 – Organizations Don’t Pursue Big Ideas
How Bureaucracy and Structure Slow Down the Innovation Process
Reason #5 – Organizations Don’t Pursue Big Ideas
Summary – 5 Reasons Organizations Don’t Pursue Big Ideas
Should You Review Your Capabilities Before Pursuing Big Ideas?
Driving Eureka! Book Excerpt
History of Meaningfully Unique
Meaningfully Unique – The Formula
Tendency for Organizations to Highly Rate their Uniqueness
Big Ideas Spark Other Ideas
The Key to Overcoming Self-Doubt about an Idea
The Driving Eureka! Book – You Need System to Vet Your Ideas
The Four Levels of Driving Eureka – From Basics to Beyond Mastery
Driving Eureka! Video Workbook
State of the Brain Brew Distillery
Brain Brew Custom Whiskey because Everybody Deserves Their Own Whiskey
Using Science to Perfect Whiskey
How Brain Brew Crafts a Whiskey to Your Taste
Two Things that Get Doug Excited about Whiskey’s Future
New Program in February
The Crazy Viking Craft Cocktail
The Crazy Viking – Step 1
The Crazy Viking – Step 2
The Crazy Viking – Step 3
Next Week: The One Thing You to Create a Distillery
Tripp: [00:00:01] Welcome to the Driving Eureka!! podcasts where we share ideas and advice for helping you find filter and fast track big ideas.
Tripp: [00:00:14] Hi I’m Tripp Babbitt advisor to global organizations on the Deming philosophy and host of the Deming Institute podcast.
Doug: [00:00:23] And I’m Doug Hall inventor speaker teacher and whiskey maker. I’m also the founder of the Eureka! ranch and author of the Driving Eureka!! book.
Tripp: [00:00:34] All right so this week in Segment one or feature story is about the five reasons organizations don’t pursue big ideas. And in Segment 2 the driving Eureka! book excerpt is about meaningful uniqueness. What it is and really how to evaluate whether you have it or not. And in the Brain Brew Whiskey segment we will discuss the current state of the Brain Brew distillery and the vision of how you can craft your own whiskey using the Brain Brew system. So let’s begin our first segment talking about the five reasons organizations don’t pursue big ideas.
Tripp: [00:01:20] Doug you talk a little bit in this newsletter about the the pullback in 2008 and that ideas had a tendency to get smaller as opposed to bigger especially during that time period. You want to talk to that a little bit yeah.
Doug: [00:01:39] So so since the 90s we’ve been measuring teams before we work with them and whether it’s teams coming to the Eureka! ranch to invent ideas whether we’re at their side or whether it’s educational programs and just tracking this index over time and what you find is the courage to take action. Optimism really takes a hit when the stock market takes a hit. We I think sometimes it’s just because there when when it when it goes down they all get scared because what are they going to have for a time because they didn’t save enough for something. I’m not sure why it is but it really does go.
Doug: [00:02:20] And in 0 8 it really went nuts and that’s when we really committed full bore to system driven innovation before that I use systems to invent ideas for companies but we never really talked about it because nobody wanted to do it. They wanted a guru. They wanted rent to guru but in 0 8 it changed and people started to look for. They wanted systems they they wanted something more reliable they wanted to grab on to something that was what was better.
Doug: [00:02:48] And yet despite that what they did is they tended to like you would do if you faced fear is they tended to circle the wagons and get more and more conservative thinking if we just do something small maybe that’ll work. And the problem with that is is that when you do that when you do the small stuff you do stuff that isn’t worth doing.
Doug: [00:03:07] And so your failure rates skyrocket and it makes it even worse. And so you know it really happened.
Doug: [00:03:16] And what I found is you know recently as I’ve mentioned I stepped down as CEO of the Eureka! Ranch which I’ve been running for many many years since I founded it. And Maggie Nichols is now the president and CEO and I’m chairman and then my other role is so sort of a corporate governance role basically not do anything except keep an eye on things I guess and hold meetings and have fun with board members.
Doug: [00:03:41] Much more fun to be the chairman with the board members than it is to be the CEO.
Doug: [00:03:46] It’s just a thing to say. But I also took on another role which is really cool which is I’m Chief inventor and you’ve seen those still a lot of the tech companies where the founder goes on to do R.A. or to work the tech stuff. And in my case it’s inventor. So I go to projects and my role at the projects is not to lead it not to manage the clients not to help them through the things but to just be an idea machine. Just coming up with ideas. And so it’s it’s glorious and it’s interesting.
Doug: [00:04:17] If I’d known this was this much fun I would have done it sooner because it is just so much more fun when you can just think you get to think and it’s just been a ton of fun. And I talk about this in this feature article from from from the Driving Eureka! newsletter and and it just it’s a whole different world and it’s like I’m almost thinking like companies need to have somebody that just thinks a thinker because we get we so sub optimized based on all of the stuff all of the politics and the regulatory and the junk that we don’t think enough is something that I think goes on.
Tripp: [00:04:59] You know it’s interesting that you because I’ve heard you talk about this before and then watching you during the course of some of the classes you are constantly challenging for bigger bigger ideas and that’s where I got the nickname the prudent one. So you know I you know is that kind of the role then that you’re playing now is to make sure that people are thinking big enough and pushing them to new levels that kind of this new role is that kind of where you’re going.
Doug: [00:05:33] Yeah it’s it’s some of that. It’s it’s one part with Chuck Thompson who writes on creativity who’s was a good friend. He’s he says a balloon expand expand it never goes back to its same dimensions. So part of my job is to expand the sphere that they’re looking at so that they are looking at something much bigger than they would normally do. And by stretching them out because it’s easier to tame down than it is to build up and make it much easier to do that. The second role that I think I I am playing here and this is still developing as we get into it is you know they say that some of the old ballplayers whether it’s hockey or sports or basketball baseball football whatever it is some of the older ones they get good at trickery and guile.
Doug: [00:06:23] You know they’ve had enough experiences if they can find clever ways around things. And I find myself oftentimes sitting in in when we’re inventing ideas and they say we can’t do that and I go all how I know a way to get around that corporate problem.
Doug: [00:06:39] Well that’s not a big deal. You can kind of do this and run and you can do this. And so you know when you’ve done twenty six thousand or something like that they counted up ideas created and tested. You either get fairly decent at it or you go crazy and I’m not sure which is exactly happened but maybe both. But it’s it’s a ton of fun. And and so there is a value to this and staying full contact engaged and it’s interesting because it’s actually I am more exhausted at the end of the day thinking of ideas than I am doing that you know client management handling. I mean that’s tiring from an emotional standpoint but the brain cells you have to do to really think hard about how do you transform an industry and how do you flip it and how do you do something that’s amazing that’s going to send people into excitement. It really burns you out. It branch out but at the end of the day I’m all fine. I just have a glass of our whiskey and it’s all.
Tripp: [00:07:38] Well you know I’d say you know it’s interesting I know well that always helps.
Tripp: [00:07:43] Yeah it’s an interesting thing I’m reading these books on neuroscience and one of the things that comes out as as we age that supposedly you know the neurons stop in the brain cells disappear and all those types of things but the types of things that you are talking about actually increase the neuron you know and the synapses you know firing and everything in the brain. And so you may be increasing your life Doug by doing that seriously.
Tripp: [00:08:14] I mean it’s amazing that.
Doug: [00:08:17] I’ll have the booze and then and then I’ll make you fire the neurons then kill them and I get it. Oh by the way that’s a tradeoff. I can work with that.
Tripp: [00:08:26] You can you can live with that. Okay.
Tripp: [00:08:28] Well it’s the unfortunate thing is we’re old enough now where you can basically try whiskey and do things like that and know that that’s a good thing and makes you feel good. And then also now you have this added benefit of firing the neurons to come up with with bigger bigger ideas or challenge people to. I think that’s probably the thing that wears you out Doug as you know you arm wrestle my class anyway and trying to get people to think bigger. I mean it was I think I saw more about more of an emotional toll taken on the class in that fashion than probably you just coming up with ideas. Now there is one story that might be that that almost I think fits here. You talked about at one company can’t remember the company and maybe can’t say but where you had the best ideas voted the best idea and one that was the the worst idea.
Doug: [00:09:19] Yeah. That’s Johnson and Johnson actually. OK I held I hold that record at a lot of places.
Doug: [00:09:26] If we . . . and I’m proud of both because what happens is when it comes to meaningfully unique ideas they’re going to change the world that are gonna make a difference. I mean let’s face it mostly it is just too small to matter. They just don’t matter. People don’t change for the sake of just changing to you. You got to be a lot better and and but when you push the edges when you really push the new and different sometimes you can be you know ahead of your time. And it can be really good or really bad you know cause really unique can go both ways. And but the key is to have the courage to do something that’s never been done before to really stress and push the system. And and that’s that’s the key. And interestingly trip as I’ve been doing this I started to observe the people around me and now recognize my goal is I’m not leaving the project so I don’t have to get them there I’m there to just put it out there.
Doug: [00:10:20] If they’re not going to take the horse to water but I don’t have to make them drink. That’s not my job. I’m not managing anyway. It’s way better. What’s more fun. You know I don’t have grandkids but I guess it’s the same. You get to play with them and then they go home. It’s the same thing here. I just get to think amazing thoughts and and really you know push myself to reinvent it.
Doug: [00:10:40] But as I’ve been doing it I’ve been observing as I been talking to executives about wanting to do something outrageous you know. And we’re sitting there and you know we got a crazy Whiskey Company where we make whiskey in 40 minutes in a time machine. And so we’re sitting there having some. And then like how do you do this. How do you do this. And and so I made a list and let’s just go through them real quick. Yes sir. At 5:00 I made a list that I put in the newsletter of the five top reasons I’m hearing and and feeling that people are doing big ideas that holds them back.
[00:11:13] And the first one is the success standards adjust to. I think most corporations standards for what is a good idea are too low by about two standard deviations. I mean it’s just too low. What used to be okay in the 80s and 90s. In today’s world you’ve got to be a lot more unique. For anybody to give a darn about you. I mean you just can’t have those hair splitting differences anymore. Is that is that you’ve got to.
Tripp: [00:11:43] Is that is a cause. Doug I’m sorry. Just interjecting is that. Is that because there’s so much noise out there now with new products and ideas or what’s the reason for that.
Doug: [00:11:54] That’s right. That’s right. There’s so much more stuff so many more things are happening to break through the clutter. You have to do something much more significant much more significant that you do it. But the standards haven’t changed for two reasons one is because the people setting the standards aren’t resetting them they’re not thinking about this. The standard is the standard is the standard. I got one Fortune 20 company. It is a joke. They said all our ideas meet our test is not working and I said Da you don’t change your test standards the 30 frickin years. You know it’s not the same. It’s not the same it’s changed. You’ve got to push bigger you know go big or go home. If you want to break through the clutter the other really is and they don’t do it. And I find this accompanies because I go into companies or brick ranch not me anymore. It’s been Maggie and the team they go into companies and when they’re sitting with companies to go through stuff and we would run and take their existing pipeline and test the ideas and under our standards which are much more market facing much more aware most of the projects aren’t worth doing. And they go Well we’ve got nothing else. We’re like oh well they’re going to fail and they go Yeah probably. But I got to do something because it’s in my KPI for the month.
Doug: [00:13:11] So I hope you know. And so you’re working on stuff that you don’t care about so first off is success standard. OK.
Doug: [00:13:17] The second is they don’t trust their development systems so they look at an idea and this is where as I joke with you practical prudent impacted they they look at an idea and they go Well our team can’t do that. So let’s let’s back off on it. Let’s back off. And so the sub optimized their ideas before they even begin they just they’re just setting them down at a lower level. So tonight so they’re getting what their expectations were which are just not reasonable. I tell teams if you already know how to do the idea why the hell didn’t you do it last year. I mean this is ridiculous development means we’ve got to discover the excitement of innovation. I mean if you want to drive Eureka! you’ve got to be pushing yourself to discover new things to find new answers to find new ways of doing things. I mean just before I did this I we have a we have a partner down in South Africa we’re talking to who wants to take our whiskey aging process and apply it to Brandy. And so just before this I had an opportunity while somebody else to do the job I had to sit and taste a whole collection of luxury brands that we’re making so.
Tripp: [00:14:35] So this interview could be a lot more interesting than what I originally planned for your time.
Doug: [00:14:40] Well it’s well at least for me it is. OK. Not now. No no no wait. We spit out after yeah. Oh yeah. You know any budding tasting the stuff we don’t know anything about how brand works with. This is our first time tasting it.
Doug: [00:14:52] It didn’t act the way we expected it to. It went into new things and it immediately opened up our brains to new ideas. That’s what we need to do is we need to push people to do stuff. OK. So that’s number two.
Doug: [00:15:05] Number three the aim of the system is to control not enable. I think fundamentally big most innovation systems have been put in because somebody had a failure and they’ve been put in to prevent failure at all costs. And they do that because they prevent any idea at all cost and so not only how are we playing it safe but we’re designing the system to prevent bold ideas from getting through.
Doug: [00:15:34] Number four. We have no ability to fail fast and fail cheap in development. In other words it is command to control all the way through and the feedback loops. You know if like I talked I was in Philadelphia. I gave a talk to a big organization soccer team one of the product developers this lady is a big dog at this company big multinational company I said How long does it take you to do a paired comparison test. So say you’re working on a product you want to make sure that this product beats this other product you wanted you a paired comparison test performances. How long’s it take. Oh she says about three months I said three months. She says Yeah yeah. It’s three months. It’s a it’s a long process. And I go How do you get any work done. How do you do anything bold. So that means you got four cycles a year. She says no I got like two cycles because then after the report I have to do a whole bunch of meetings about it and then get ready and started again.
Doug: [00:16:26] So that’s ridiculous. She said well how what’s your cycle time on the whiskey business. I said well 24 hours she said Well that’s ridiculous.
Doug: [00:16:35] I said what’s ridiculous. She says it’s ridiculous that you get to do it in 24 hours and it takes me forever. That’s not so.
Tripp: [00:16:42] So they’re not able to have to fail fast fail cheap just because of their own bureaucracy. Then in essence that that’s what’s slowing them down. They have to fill out reports and go to meetings and real it. Mm hmm.
Doug: [00:16:53] And the processes are too slow and the systems are too slow.
Doug: [00:16:56] And then the last thing is there’s no pride of work. You know the ability for people to be passionate about stuff. We’ve got analysis paralysis that defined subsegments of subsegments in this thing that in theory in their spreadsheets my guys in labs like you talk about spreadsheet people but the way they do in the spreadsheet to predict this thing and there’s no heart and soul in it. And as I said you know last week you got to love it. You got to love it. And if you don’t love it.
Doug: [00:17:30] So the top five reasons standards are too low. Don’t trust our development. So we play it safe the aim of the system is control not enable you have no ability to fail fast fail cheap and there’s no pride to work. And that’s what I’m learning.
Tripp: [00:17:47] Ok. And is there one that really stands out more than the other they kind of have equal weight.
Doug: [00:17:53] Pretty much in the order that I said them. OK. So that is OK with the standards. It really does start with the standards if because see what happens is as if I go from an okay score to a great score something is really meaningful unique. You have to cause a lot more disruption. You have to be doing stuff that’s really different and people are scared.
Doug: [00:18:19] I just did a call today where somebody said well you know when we’re creating ideas should we should we review our manufacturing capabilities and what we can make. And I said no this is why because I said I don’t care what we’re. But what we want to make sure that we can make it. I said what you can make is what you make now. How are we supposed to be creating something new. The lady and said Well but but what if we can’t make it. I said. She says we can’t afford to put in new equipment. I said OK start if it does a billion in sales. Could you afford new equipment. She says while yes obviously. I said if it did 900 million in sales could you have. All Yes. Sure. I said. She says I get your point. I said the fact that you have to put in new equipment is irrelevant to this conversation. It’s irrelevant what’s important to say is can we come up with an idea that can make a meaningful difference in our customers lives. Then we look at the death threat. What’s it going to cost to do it and we figure that out yes it’s a different mindset.
Tripp: [00:19:23] Yeah. Now that’s that that provides a lot of clarity.
Tripp: [00:19:26] That’s very cool.
Tripp: [00:19:38] It’s time now for the Driving Eureka! Book excerpt with legendary inventor Doug Hall.
Tripp: [00:19:51] Well let’s go to the next segment which is the book excerpt if I can say that.
Tripp: [00:19:56] And you’re talking about and we touched on it and some of our previous conversations but the the operational definition of meaningfully unique and that coming out of the book Driving Eureka! what’s just did dig into that and give you baby. Provide us a little bit of history on what meaningfully unique is.
Doug: [00:20:19] So we did a pile of research couple PHD Statistician and I because we had the value of a whole pile of ideas that we had the original scores on how customers perceived they would like them and then what really happened in the marketplace. And so with that you can start to model these things and you start to see what’s most predictive and classically people will ask you know the very simple what seems like the simple question which is how likely are you to buy it. And definitely would buy probably would buy etc.. And what we found is that that was an OK measure. But when we did the modelling on it the best predictor was asking them how likely they were to buy it as well as asking them how new and different it was and there was some scale differences. We used the Juster probability scale zero to 10 instead of probably would buy scale in some other D2 technical details which also matter.
Doug: [00:21:18] And then you weight them 60 percent towards the purchase and 40 percent to the new and different and that is far more predictive of not only trial but repeat word of mouth awareness distribution. I mean it’s a chain reaction of positives. And you said quite simply I mean we later found we we took that back around to Harvard Business Review article that said you actually when you are when you have high purchase in new and different you have like a 5 x greater chance of profitable success. So it really is it’s a it’s meaningfulness. It has value to the customer they get it and it’s unique. It’s an original. It’s not been done before.
Doug: [00:22:02] Another way to think about it is our customers willing to pay more money for it because if customers don’t spend more money just for the hell of it they only spend more money when they feel like they’re getting something that’s a value to them that they can’t get elsewhere. And you know companies will tell me we’re very unique we’re a very mean innovative. I said OK so what’s your margin versus your competition. Oh heck you know it’s terrible we have to fight on price since you’re a commodity. The basic definition of a commodity and people hate that you’re not being very nice is I’m not being me. You made the decision to sell the same old crap as everybody else. They got one now we got this difference in this difference. And I go you know this is a hair here’s a split here. You know forget it. You got nothing.And so you got to really push it.
Tripp: [00:22:53] Well the things that you get out of doing this type of research you mentioned in here that you get word of mouth you get you know if and you just actually gave it to when you were saying you were testing some things for the brandy or know sparking other ideas as you’re testing and then I must be one of the benefits of kind of going through the research process anyway and also patentable ideas too. And these are the results then right.
Doug: [00:23:24] Yeah they’re the results and they also help you there another way for you to derive that the thing really is meaningfully unique. OK. So I’ve got a quantitative way that we validated Dr.Lynn Kahle and I in the Journal of Consumer Marketing wrote an article is one of the most cited business articles of all time – on this research. But we’ve also qualitatively will they pay more money when you hear the idea.
Doug: [00:23:48] Does it spark a bunch of other ideas you know because big ideas do that because they immediately open up our minds to like it’s like we’ve opened up a door to a whole new world and we’re seeing things for the first time and is it patentable because patents are a clear measure that you have something that’s not been done before because the definition of a patent is it’s not obvious to somebody with ordinary skill in the new art or said the other way.
Doug: [00:24:15] If your idea is obvious to somebody with a certain areas not like that’s very innovative right. You know it’s got to be a leap. It’s got to be a disruptive leap.
Tripp: [00:24:27] Well I think that’s one of the problems it kind of creates fear. You know all throughout my life and I you know I know a lot of people like this because kinda have a tendency once once you go to your class discuss with this with other people is you think you’ve got this great idea. And then all of a sudden you ask your wife for your best friend or somebody like that and they’re like that’s not a good idea and so you just kind of give it up.
Tripp: [00:24:51] Is that pretty prevalent. And how do you mitigate that kind of self-doubt portion that people have is that in essence the process or our ideas just dumb on the surface anyway.
Doug: [00:25:09] I’m try. It’s a great question and I’m really thinking to try to do. I’ve got a lot of flip that.
Tripp: [00:25:15] You can kill me. You can say well your ideas are dumb everybody else has got something and I’m okay with that too.
Doug: [00:25:24] I’m trying to honor it.
Doug: [00:25:25] And to really answer it because for me it’s so foreign. But I’ve got bad breeding or something. I mean it came from my grandmother and our second daughters got the same bad genes because if somebody says you can’t do it it just gets me more excited because one of the fundamental definitions of a patent is it’s not obvious. And so if an expert tells me it can’t be done I go huh could be patentable could be bad. This is sick. By the way this is a sickness because I just get more excited. In other words why is it that when I hear you can’t do it I just get more excited and normal people hear I can’t do it. Okay that’s right. I’ll not do that I’m going to stop I mean. I don’t I don’t know. I don’t know. Part of it is is I guess I’ve done it so many times.
Doug: [00:26:19] And I also have systems and teams and I’ve got teams of people around me.
Doug: [00:26:27] My wife calls them enablers. She says stop enabling him some of my ideas are many most are bad. But I find it out pretty quickly. And so I I guess if it’s worthy and mission focused if it’s gonna make a difference and I think that matters. I don’t really give a damn what people say. I mean you know I just don’t care. And and that’s probably not a reasonable answer.
Tripp: [00:26:55] Well I think it’s a reasonable answer.
Tripp: [00:26:56] I think that I think the portion is maybe a better question to ask would be how how is driving Eureka! going to get me out of that mode. You know what’s in here that’s going to take me you know you’ve got this meaningfully unique component. But if that’s my mindset now and you admittedly said you’re the unique one you know when it comes to new ideas how do you get those people cause that’s really your challenge right. I mean that’s what kind of being the chief inventor is getting those people out of that kind of mindset of self-doubt about what maybe a good idea I mean maybe not. Or could spark other ideas.
Tripp: [00:27:36] What’s the what’s the magic.
Doug: [00:27:40] Well I so. So let’s take. I think it’s in levels. I think it’s a level by the way. That was a really cheesy way to put the book back in by the way. I think that was good.
Doug: [00:27:47] That was awesome by the way. But it is it is a good question.
Doug: [00:27:52] And maybe that’s reason why this book took nine years probably 10 to read. Right.
Doug: [00:28:00] I wrote it three times it took nine years to write the damn thing because my publisher pushed me. This book is actually less words than any other book I’ve done the business books. And by the way that’s a lot harder to do with fewer words and still say something important not write a puff piece. I think if the first 150 pages the first of the book really start to lay out the system to do it and so I think those levels I think there’s the people who think they can’t do it at all which is the majority of population and they have no idea how to do this. And they don’t even know that there are tricks. You know we’re not geniuses. I mean I made the top half of my chemical engineering class possible I graduated to point something. But the difference was I approach things as a system and I’ve got systems for doing it I don’t just try to make it up each time is a one off thing. There are methods reproducible lessons and laws that when you do them it allows you to create ideas or largely be more persuasive but allows you to find death threats. But if you’ve never been taught that which is the way it is of most people they’ve never been taught unless you’ve had one about innovation entering courses on campuses on the college campuses and universities then if you never knew it you never knew it.
Doug: [00:29:21] And so I think the first level is you can take the people that don’t think they can do it and you can make them functional and that’s what our fundamentals course which is basically what’s in this book that gets you to that fundamentals. Those first hundred fifty pages are basically the fundamentals for doing it.
Doug: [00:29:36] Now the back half of the book is advanced which is the mastery level which is you know it’s a black belt thing and then you get a new undergraduate minor or a graduate certificate for it but that advanced courses at a different level. So I think you know let’s let’s divide it in this four levels is the people who don’t think they can do it that the fundamentals which we can make you functional and that we can get everybody to be able to do it. There’s the mastery level where you really get to do it and then there’s this level that happens after thousands and thousands of hours of doing it that takes you to another space. And then there are people like that Dave Buck was one of those guys that did that and and I’ve known and John Ruffly was one of those guys. And and I’ve met people over the years who who have got that ability but they’ve been doing it for so long they can just quickly come up with ideas because they’ve just got so much experience and so they’re the abnormal ones which which I am now in that in that group probably took.
Tripp: [00:30:38] So so basically Driving Eureka! book is going to give people more like me I guess would be the prudent ones a method to help them get more comfortable then.
Doug: [00:30:49] That’s right. And it’s gonna get you from denying it to being comfortable with it you know and and then what you’ll find is that after you do it because we know building unshakeable belief which is a key concept we’ll be talking about in some future episodes this concept of unshakeable belief you can only get it by applying it.
Doug: [00:31:09] And by the way reading the book won’t make it happen for you. What you’re going to have to do is you’re going to have to apply it to your life you’re gonna have to take one of the things and try it and if you want help with that we have a video workbook where you read the chapter like a book club you read the chapter and then you watch a short video and then you have an asylum and if something to do an action to do because that’s where the real learning happens and you can find out about that on the web and this different information on it. And that’s something you can work with. You make a note to put in a direct link to the video workbook with you.
Tripp: [00:31:48] There are people who will do that. This is the Brain Brew whisky Academy podcasts where we’re going to take you behind the scenes on what it takes to build a whiskey distillery business. The Eureka! Ranch team led by Doug Hall are creating a craft whisky company like has never been done before
Tripp: [00:32:27] Doug. One of the knocks on people who give advice or consultants is that they don’t practice what they preach. And so you’ve built this whiskey business and we covered off a little bit of it in our first newsletter talking about the purpose and the distillery itself but this concept that you have talked about that really intrigues me and I at least want to have some initial conversations about is this whole concept of craft whisky and getting people to kind of brand their own thing. Where are you in that process. How does that happen? I mean I’m having a hard time understanding if you’ve got an individual out there and they’re interested let’s say and their own craft whisky for a wedding you mentioned that in our previous episode or whatever have you taken them through at least you’ve. Give me a few notes here. You may have I think you said you’re still working on it.
Doug: [00:33:35] Yeah. So yeah. So we’re we’re very close.
Doug: [00:33:38] So where we are with the whiskey business right now is where we have our federal permit but the TDB from the federal government we are about a week from our state of Ohio permit and in the absence of those we’ve been doing production over in Kentucky at another distillery using their permit filed the paperwork so that we can new products into there. So we were manufacturing it there you have to have a licensed location for it. So that’s been able to get us up and running as we’re doing it.
Doug: [00:34:10] And so we’ve been doing a lot of research on figuring out how to do it. And it’s built around some simple things so we go back in time for a little bit first. Prior to prohibition when alcohol was made illegal across the US everybody had their own whiskey there were set 70 distilleries in Cincinnati alone. And that doesn’t count all of the blenders who would take whiskeys from those 70 and make their own and literally every restaurant every bar every individual would have their own personal blend of whisky with grains and whatever they wanted and it was very common after Prohibition.
Doug: [00:34:48] There were just a few companies that got permits during prohibition to do medicinal alcohol. So they were able to keep spirit in barrels and had product when prohibition ended and they pretty much took over the market and did it the Canadians came down and then Cutty Sark came in from Scotland and and the little guys were basically gone right at that point what.
Doug: [00:35:14] My vision is is when I make a whiskey like our Relativity product that’s one that I crafted and I take that product and I serve it to people. It is such a cool thing to tell them the story of why I use the grains I did. Why do you use the compression. I did what I was trying to do. It’s just it’s awesome. Okay. It’s like a piece of art but that you get to drink which makes it even better. And I thought wouldn’t it be cool if everybody could do that exact same thing and go through that and our line is basically Brain Brew Custom Whiskey because everybody deserves their own whiskey. Now how does it work. What when you work with whiskey.
Doug: [00:36:00] As I’ve said before there are tribes we don’t have any tribes. We’re just about green spirits and how they work. They’re typically made for big grains are: corn wheat rye and barley corn is obviously the predominant grain in bourbon. Wheat whiskeys are very popular. They’re very small but they can be very luxury and wheat is oftentimes put in the highest end bourbons. They’ll use wheat will be the central ingredient after corn rye is the big spicy one it’s kind of the IPA of whiskeys rash or it’s usually higher alcohol and barley is the product of Scotland. That’s what they use in Scotland single malt barley is what they use. And so it’s kind of a Scottish so corn is bourbon barley is Scottish rye is are growing they typically were Canadian and wheat is the underappreciated one which is a magnificent grain but it’s hard to work with. It’s hard to work with but it is magnificent when you make it right. It really creates an elegance to it. I think my mind and so we can take those products and because of our time compression technology where all we do it’s 100 percent natural.
Doug: [00:37:19] All we do is we take the spirit and we put pieces of wood in that we’ve charred and things staves whatever pieces we want to do and then we take it through heating and cooling cycles just like the barrels grow through just like Woodford Reserve in the wintertime they heat their warehouses and then they call them the heat and they call them it’s no different no different than what we’re doing. We just happen to be doing it with very very high precision super reduction of variance in the process is what we do. And so we’re able to make amazing whisky in about 40 minutes. We can mimic what the season’s a barrel aging or like in the old world which would be Scotland. We can mimic what’s it like to do it in the US where it’s a general rule at least through this way that the Ohio River Valley Ohio Kentucky Indiana it’s it’s obviously a lot warmer than it is in northern Scotland.
Doug: [00:38:12] And so what people do is they come to an artisan whisky experience where they taste the deconstructed whiskeys so corn wheat Ryan barley they’ll taste it first New World style then they taste it old world style and they’re shocked because they usually you go to a bourbon tasting or scotch tasting you never get them together and so they’re going to taste it and then the last set are predominantly corn wheat right barley but now done in a more craft style. And the new craft styles are much more creative than different you know might be multiple Woods could be different things in it. And then we give them a pipette and they literally take a graduated cylinder and they start to make their own blends. They’ve rated them individually now they put together their own and they go through some fine experiences and some food and different stuff. And then at the end of that they give a secret recipe and we make it for them and they get it the next day.
Tripp: [00:39:10] That’s unbelieveable.
Doug: [00:39:10] So this is this is whiskey and you can do and we have them sign the bottle artisan whiskey spirits buy them if they want then use fancy labels printed. But fundamentally this is less about a label and more about the product. And they can get their own personal taste and the looks on their faces are amazing. I mean it’s just it’s just the coolest experience to make your own bottle.
Doug: [00:39:36] I mean whiskey has a place in society that is different than beer. Different than wine. I mean it is that ultimate end of the night beautiful taste. It’s something magnificent about it.
Tripp: [00:39:52] So they’re really just trying different things to find out what maybe their real taste is. And then you find the right mixture for them and in essence.
Doug: [00:40:01] Yes well they’ll put it together. OK. And we’ve got we’ve got some artificial intelligence things that will give them some recommendations and we give them coaching on how to put it together. But here’s the amazing thing. So they put it together make their own taste their taste buds I don’t know their taste buds they’re going to do their own but every time we do it we keep getting more and more data. So eventually we’ll be able to also give them a computerized recommendation which and then they’ll make it themselves. But what’s interesting about it is all the ones they like and we tell them this they’ll say Oh I like these three I like old world barley I like new world corn and rye and then they put those together and they got that taste terrible. I go it’s the interaction is a system it’s an interaction of the parts it’s Dr. Deming would say and it can work. And I said now you’ve got to start to think about think about it like a musical note what’s the high note the middle notes the bass notes what are you trying to do.
Doug: [00:40:56] And they start to get into it and people just their minds go because at the beginning they thought I’m never gonna be able to tell the difference in the whiskeys. I can’t tell the difference. Well I can tell you ladies and gentlemen these twelve whiskeys are all distinctly different. It’s not like sometimes you know you get a Scotch you get bourbon taste five of them they all taste the same. No. These are by design twelve unique tastes you will like them hate them you’ll rarely be neutral to them but when you put them together you’re going to want to put like we’ve got a smoked product number twelve. You might want to have five percent smoke in there because it gives it a backbone that’s kind of nice or you want to keep the light weed in it because you want the freshness and the lightness to it. And by the time you get done people say well well isn’t it Scotch about heritage. I go Yeah that’s what it is today. But you know what it is now you’re making your heritage when you’re crafting your own product.
Tripp: [00:41:54] That’s pretty cool.
Tripp: [00:41:57] The other thing this does for us. The other thing this does for us is it enables distilleries to start to craft products just like it was pre Prohibition and eventually every bar every restaurant every hotel is going to have their own whiskey you’re not going to have Jimmy and Johnny’s you know Johnny Walker and Jimmy Beams. That was nice. I want mine.
Doug: [00:42:30] I want my own whiskey and so that to me is the future. And to me what delights me about this is one the WOW!! for the customer to be able to get their own thing and finding that there are whiskies that they like and it’s magnificent. That’s just fun. I mean that’s just the culinary aspect of serving that. The other part that gets me excited is we’re gonna enable folks that are making maybe vodka and gin to be able to do world class because we went double gold medals at competitions in Los Angeles and all that stuff and and we’re gonna enable those people to have their own whisky to do whiskies and to do custom whiskeys for people. And so we’re gonna help those entrepreneurs make more money. And in the process they’re gonna discover things we’ve already got a rye that’s coming out that was discovered because of some work people were doing messing with the rye and where we’re gonna find other new ideas as people do this as we look at not the individuals but we start to look at the patterns and we put it in an artificial intelligence computer and we start to look at what is some of the roots and the patterns that people are doing not one person but hundreds and hundreds of people as that data builds up it’s going to help us discover new things and new tastes.
Tripp: [00:43:43] So who are you looking for now are these just people that want their own brand or is these four people are reselling is it a combination of the two of them or are you just kind of messing around at this point to see what you come up with what.
Doug: [00:43:56] Well we’re we’re setting up and we’re setting up in in Cincinnati. We’ll be running it here and then we’re in conversations with people and a bunch of different countries and across the U.S. where we’re gonna set up some beta sites doing custom whiskey and we’re gonna license them and enable them with the technology to get going. And obviously if they’re to still Stella they’ve already got the permits but if they don’t have a permit they can go through the process to become a blender and they can go into whiskey. So rather than spending millions and millions of dollars for a fraction of that you’re gonna be able to go into the whiskey business and we’re gonna announce that program in February we’re going to the craft spirits conference. We’ve got booth space up there in Minneapolis in February and we’re gonna make it so that anybody that wants to go into the whiskey business you can. That’s so cool. Easy. All right it’s easy.
Tripp: [00:44:52] That’s that’s amazing.
Tripp: [00:44:53] I’m I’m fascinated by the whole what the capabilities are and what’s interesting to me and we really haven’t talked about it and the episodes that we’ve had so far as you know you talk a lot about diversity and you’re actually ability then by virtue of having these crafted whiskies these customized whiskeys and you’re getting other insights into what could be made.
Tripp: [00:45:17] Yeah it’s very interesting.
Doug: [00:45:19] Yeah. And the future I think is all you know there will always be a place for the great brands. I love Macallan. I love Highland Park. I mean before they were even partners with this I was asked I mean what’s your favorite whiskey. I said Highland Park and then Macallan and I love them and I drink them and I they’re tremendous and they’re wonderful products and I love some of the great bourbons as well. But I also really like to have my own and and I really like to when I travel I like to go to local places and this local thing there’s going to be a percentage of the market that’s going to go to that and I just think it’s wonderful to be able to enable that local energy and creativity because with our stuff you can use amazing wood.
Doug: [00:46:09] So when I was tasting just recently when I was tasting the the Brandy’s a fella had come to us and he had done it’s really amazing that a bunch of them had never done this before but they they bought a piece of land and they developed it with houses they did all the development. I’m like you guys got to be crazy. They said well it seemed like an easy thing to do I said I know I’ve got into those things before and and they did this. And as it turned out there was an old building on it that they saved that had oak boards in it. And so he he got a board and he said would you try making whiskey with it to see what it comes out with. And I just tasted it and it’s pretty amazing it’s already pretty amazing yeah.
Tripp: [00:46:56] Yeah. No that’s that’s that’s outside the box there. Okay. Well let’s let’s talk about this kind of fun section. Your craft cocktail recipe. The Crazy Viking. What is that.
[00:47:11] Yeah. So this is one that actually was last Thanksgiving that this came up I bought a bunch of stuff that I’d never seen before and there was this product called Linie which is a Nordic spirit it’s an aquavit. And that is a it’s just it’s a very unique and taste to it. And so I was just playing with different things and I me this sort of a riff on an Negroni. Now it’s really not a riff on Negroni because Negroni uses gin and I’m using bourbon and he uses Campari and I’m using aquavit.
Doug: [00:47:45] The only thing that’s the same is that it has sweet vermouth in it. So it’s not even close to to that but it.
Doug: [00:47:53] Basically it’s to a rock’s glass full of ice. And again this is in the show notes did you get it.
Doug: [00:47:59] Put an ounce of bourbon in and I prefer our noble oak bourbon which if you got a noble a dot.com you can you can find find it. It’s about half the country right now.
Doug: [00:48:12] And then one ounce of Linie aquavit.
Doug: [00:48:14] And you get this complex creative concoction is the best way I can describe it and I don’t know if it’s the Norwegian aspect of the aquavit but I particularly like it outside when it’s bracing cold. I don’t know there’s just something about it it’s it’s like that and when you see the the picture of it in the show notes I’ve got it. I put it outside on the rocks because it’s just it’s got a just a robustness to it it it it’s got an edginess to it it reminds me a lot of I’ve been to Orkney the island of Orkney which is north of Scotland my mom’s family came from Thurso, Scotland which is on the north shore and Highland Park is made there which is the brother to the Macallan and and it’s made on the island of Orkney it’s the northernmost distillery in the world and Highland Park has some cocktails that have the same you know it that it tends to have a peatedness to it and it’s a ruggedness to it and it’s it’s definitely not not a wussy drink you know it’s but it’s not harsh it’s not bite your face off it’s just Hardy they Highland Park they oftentimes talk about Vikings it’s got that Viking this to it.
Doug: [00:49:31] Well this Crazy Viking has that same spirit which is why I gave it the name Viking as a memory of Highland Park.
Doug: [00:49:39] It’s just a unique taste and I think I think as we go into the winter time I think some folks should should have some although I I drank them this summer on the beach too but especially late at night. It’s particularly good.
Doug: [00:49:52] So it’s a Crazy Viking bourbon sweet Vermouth. I used Dolin is what I usually use. And Lenny aquavit an ounce of each go to the liquor store. Lenny you’ll find it’ll be dusty because nobody buys it and after you get it you’re going to just love it. You’ll only use it for this one cocktail but you’re you’ll amaze your friends people who say they love the Manhattan you give them this they go Man that’s got a lot more complexity than Manhattan which would basically be the bourbon and the vermouth. This has got a lot more complexity if you like Manhattan you’re gonna love this you’re gonna to love it.
Tripp: [00:50:25] Very cool. And you said that Noble Oak is available in about half the country right now.
Doug: [00:50:30] Yeah OK. Much room for a population sample in 17 states but those states include New York and California and Texas. So you know it’s proportionally it’s got a population wise and it’s greater. Yeah OK. Yeah. All right very good.
Tripp: [00:50:45] Well this has been really interesting as far as learned a lot from from your experience in working with different organizations and how they beat down big ideas and make them smaller. That’s certainly a concept that I can relate to. And then also you know getting a little bit more understanding of meaningfully unique and not only where it came from but how it’s applied. And then of course the third segment where basically talked about not only the Crazy Viking VIKING drink but how you’re going to be customizing whiskey for entrepreneurs to be able to kind of sell their own brand or for other things that you’ve mentioned before weddings and things of that sort.
Doug: [00:51:30] People go crazy for ways and just a preview of coming attractions in the Brain Brew Whisky Academy next week I’m going to tell you the one thing you need to have to create a distillery. The one thing you have to have that’s coming up next week on the driving Eureka! podcast as well as in the Brain Brew whisky Academy well we’ll look forward to hearing about that next week.
Tripp: [00:51:58] Thank you for listening.
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