This is the twelfth episode of the Driving Eureka! Podcast. Segment 1: Thinkers and Doers Best Work Together or Fail Spectacularly; Segment 2: Using Diversity; Segment 3: Brain Brew Whisk(e)y Academy and the Boulevard Cocktail.
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Introduction to Episode 12 – Thinkers and Doers Best Work Together or We’ll All Fail Spectacularly
Handoffs are Killing Ideas
False Cures for Handoffs and Functional Separation of Work
Big Companies vs. Small Companies in Innovation
Why Universities Don’t Operate Well
When is Too Late to Innovate or Save a Company
Myth: First to Market Loses
Much of the Research is in Doug’s Previous book, Meaningful Marketing
The Driving Eureka! Segment
Diversity – Not a Melting Pot, but a Salad Bowl
The Math of Diversity
Operational Definition of Diversity
Research About Diversity, Not Just Life Experience
Brain Brew Whisk(e)y Academy
Diversity, Thinkers and Doers in The Whiskey Business
Listen to Employees and If Not Sure -Run a Test
Make Products You Aren’t Proud Of
The Craft Cocktail Recipe – The Boulevard Cocktail
The History and Story Behind the Boulevard Cocktail
The Boulevard Cocktail – Step 1
Making the Flamed Orange Peel
The Deckhand Rye is Coming
Tripp: [00:00:01] Welcome to the Driving Eureka! podcast where we share ideas and advice for helping you find filter and fast track big ideas. About
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: [00:00:22] 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: [00:00:35] This is the 12th episode of the Driving Eureka podcast. This episode is a discussion of Doug Hall’s newsletter letter available at Doug Hall.com. You can click on the menu “newsletters” and you can sign up for his weekly newsletter. The feature article this week is thinkers and doers best work together or will all fail spectacularly. And this week’s Driving Eureka! book segment is about leveraging diversity and the Brain Brew Whisk(e)y Academy Academy is the importance of bringing together the thinkers and doers in a whiskey distillery our craft cocktail recipe is the boulevard cocktail. So Doug we’ve got a theme this week talking about thinkers and doers. And when I first read this piece I was thinking OK we’ve got the thinkers over here and then we got the doers and never the two shall meet. And maybe that’s just the way that it plays out.
Doug: [00:01:46] It seems to be that mean and we can. Sadly we see this over in in the UK with Brexit in the US with Congress and all the rest of the stuff. It’s like we have this desire I think to create checks and balances in a sense that if we have checks and balances and people are just battling with each other that will save us from anybody being stupid. Maybe I think Franklin had it right. We must all hang together or most assuredly will all hang separately as Ben Franklin said. And this was inspired I went for a walk.
Doug: [00:02:19] I was in Prince Edward Island over the holidays and where we have a farmhouse there and I was walking the shore of New London Bay and and it hit me that so much of organizations can be split into and for whatever reason and I’m stereotyping and so it’s not exact like this but I’m going to exaggerate for effect.
Doug: [00:02:40] But there are people that think the great thoughts and the people that actually do the work you know the marketing people tend to think the big thoughts about the product and then that salespeople actually have to go you know face to face with the customers and sell it to them whether it’s industrial or consumer whatever it is.
Doug: [00:02:57] There’s the engineering people that do the designs of the equipment and then the production people who actually have to make it work. I was told a story but one large manufacturing company very famous one they said the problem we’ve got is our engineering department create stuff. They put it into the plant. They came back a month later and the plant has rebuilt it so to make it work. So what’s the problem. These are all engineering is mad about it. Well I said that engineering should design it right the first time. And so so we’ve got this divergence between these and an idea is we. We have Henry Ford in our head that you have your task just do your job and then the next person does theirs as you hand your work to the next person.
Doug: [00:03:41] And it’s these handoffs from department to department that creates at least half the failure of new ideas because you know the success rate of innovations for large companies is about 5 percent and at least half this comes from these handoffs because we just have to figure out a way to make it happen now.
Doug: [00:04:01] There’s some false cures for this. That makes management feel good. They go all in all that’s not a problem I’ve taking care of that we have the thinker team have representatives from the doer team. We have a representative on sales there well the problem is is that persons usually such a low level person they don’t have the understanding or authority or the seniority to say no when something’s being unrealistic and if when they say there’s a problem they say you’re not being a team player just buck up.
Doug: [00:04:31] It’s like this buck up and this stupid you know at the second way the management says we do oh no no I I’ve taken care of that.
Doug: [00:04:40] I have my thinkers do a walkthrough they’ve walked through the plant or they’ve driven along with a salesperson. When do they do that. Well ten years ago when they started OK. Nothing’s changed in 10 years. I mean hello. Hello. You know and sadly most thinkers think they’re so intellectually superior that they get it.
Doug: [00:05:03] They already know it and they don’t. The world is different.
Doug: [00:05:07] And the third way they try to do it is they say well if we just do more planning and this is the it’s called Waterfall we plan the whole thing and then you just give it to the folks. The reality is is there’s so much complexity in today’s world and how people going to react especially to new ideas that you that just doesn’t work so the solution to this thinker do or divide is really simple.
Doug: [00:05:34] Big companies are 5 percent success rate with innovations. Small companies have a 50 percent are still in business after three years. That’s better. Fifty five. And part of the reason why it’s the case is because at small companies the silos are not if they are there at all. They’re berries. They’re not very rigid. And the CEO has line of sight to everybody. And everybody is much more engaged in all of the elements. This joint ownership on the on the mission see the big coat. They’re more interested in their silo than the organization at the small company. It’s the organization that matters. And so that brings them together much much more. And so it’s that collaboration that we need to bring. Which is what we do and I talk about in the book is how to bring teams together under a common mission. What’s the mission. What’s the innovation project mission the blue card and then bringing them together with software that brings them together and then giving them tools to be able to quantify and to test and experiment. So they come together as a team where everybody is sharing in everything the product people writing marketing ideas marketing ideas finding ideas for products. We are a team as opposed to a collection of individuals.
Tripp: [00:07:04] So. So Doug are you trying to recreate then with any large organization what a small organization would operate as.
Doug: [00:07:13] Yeah. Can I have my own way I just get rid of all the departments. Same thing at universities. I get rid of all the colleges.
Doug: [00:07:19] That’s half the problem.
Doug: [00:07:23] Just break them down now the fact is is that and then be dotted line to the department and solid line to the business right now.
Doug: [00:07:35] We got it reversed the solid line to the department and dotted line to the business all messed up then work and so what what in essence is the process then of of doing that.
Tripp: [00:07:56] What is the what. I guess trying to visualize in my head how you’re breaking this down.
Doug: [00:08:03] So what we’re gonna do is this instead of having a mission that’s focused on your silo product development sales marketing we’re gonna have a mission that is more important than your departmental mission. How we’re going to change the world of whiskey how we’re gonna change the world of hotels how we’re gonna change the world of mooring systems for deepwater oil rigs. What is the mission and why is that important to people and that’s going to overcome the departmental. We need something bigger than ourselves and see this happens at companies when they’re going out of business
Doug: [00:08:45] When they’re going out of business suddenly departments disappear in the corporate mission becomes a mission. We’ve all been through situations where we’ve been in something it’s a bad situation. Everybody comes together quickly Well it’s the same thing here. That’s what we’re looking to do. It’s the same thing.
Tripp: [00:09:01] But sometimes they come together quickly and it’s too late right. That’s right. Yeah that’s right. It’s just too late. It’s just too late.
Tripp: [00:09:10] And why are there recognizable I don’t know when you when you talk to organizations what are the characteristics of those that have you know come to see the light too late.
Doug: [00:09:24] Well there’s usually a history of letting people go. They one thing I know is I say well let’s run a survey to see their attitudes towards innovation they say no we don’t do any surveys anymore. I go why you don’t. Well they always come up ads. The CEO said stop surveying people.
Doug: [00:09:44] That’s helpful. That’s helpful. Mm hmm. And the problem is is what you end up with first is adverse selection. So the people that are great bolt because they have options and so the people you’re left with. That’s a good.
Doug: [00:10:04] Not always the case. Not always a case. There’ll be some that will believe in the mission of the organization and they’ll stay. So to be clear there’ll be some they’ll say but as a general rule you know. Point for point. It becomes pretty painful.
Tripp: [00:10:17] So. So let’s just just just play this out a little bit. We’ve got a scenario even as we speak. You’ve got Sears right. They’ve been closing stores month over month. They’re you know letting people go there. They’re closing these stores.
Tripp: [00:10:34] You know it’s funny it kind of reminds me of the Iacocca book Lee Iacocca. You know when he was that well first Ford and then later Chrysler. But you know you would have the what he would call the bean counters would all come to him and say look you know I know we’re closing two plants but we need to close you know. And then Iacocca would interrupt and basically say well we need to close them off because they’re all losing money. You know if we if we go if we go into it with that attitude you know that’s right. We’ve just going to close everything down and I almost see this kind of playing out. So.
Tripp: [00:11:09] So when you look at something like Sears you know I mean here here’s a name that’s been around for ever literally. They made retail and you’re looking at an organization like this that you know the layoffs have been happening I don’t know what they do on surveys but wouldn’t you.
Tripp: [00:11:28] What would be your advice to them what would you. You know when you look at I know you don’t know the details of it but where would you where would you begin with a company like that.
Doug: [00:11:38] Well and so there’s there’s other elements going on with your situation in that you’ve got an investment bank that owns the thing and the truth of the matter is is that they’re getting all their money out because they’re selling off. They’ve sold off real estate and leased it back and they’ve done all kinds of games already. And so. So you don’t have owner operator. You know you’ve got you know money changers and things in play that’s happening.
Doug: [00:12:07] So what the challenge is is I don’t know that there is a way to save Sears. I don’t know that anybody cares about saving Sears except for maybe the employers employees and those communities that do it because you don’t have somebody up there who have what Deming would talk about is constancy a purpose a long term survival of the organization.
Doug: [00:12:27] The actions taken. Selling off their best brands selling off the real estate you know what needed to happen was 10 or 15 years ago they needed to start three or four experiments to reinvent them.
Doug: [00:12:40] I mean this is the company that was the Amazon of the world. They the original Amazon. Remember the big Christmas gift book. If it wasn’t in the Sears catalog you didn’t need it. This is the original Amazon for crying out loud.
Doug: [00:12:55] They were it now. Is it hard to change. Yes it’s hard to change. Get over it. That’s why you’re the big boss. No I’m nuts. That’s your job. And so they need to see the future they need to see the things that are going but now they’re so far behind.
Doug: [00:13:10] I just don’t know that it’s you know you had to confront the reality what does this thing become in its new life and why does it need to exist.
Doug: [00:13:27] You’ve got to know when to hold em know when to fold them. And I I I I hate to be negative but you know I don’t know enough.
Doug: [00:13:35] I mean I tangentially was involved in some conversations with people about craftsmen and different things. And and I can’t get into specifics but who’s leading.
Doug: [00:13:46] Where are we going. That’s the key. Where are we going. What’s your vision for where this is gonna be.
Tripp: [00:13:52] Okay so so this goes to a common theme we’ve talked about in previous episodes which is you know the time to innovate is now not once somebody is already disrupted you yeah.
Doug: [00:14:06] Now you don’t have any energy resources.
Tripp: [00:14:09] Well then it also feeds into some of the data that you’ve talked about before too that you know you’ve got to be the first to market you know where where it’s in it is. There is a prevailing thinking that exists in the marketplace about the fact that you don’t want to be the first to market.
Doug: [00:14:27] Right. Right. And those people that say that I mean just I got a book it’s called Jumpstart Your Marketing brain or meaningful marketing in hardcover and I cite 100 years of research on this and they’ll say well I saw this thing that happened I saw this thing that happened. Now the data says that to the Pioneer goes the reward and do pioneers fail yes to follow it fail. Yes. But when you look at it all. If you want to play the odds the odds are you’re going to make more money if you’re the pioneer and not the follower. OK by a lot by a factor of two to three to five. Right. OK. That’s that’s that’s the truth. Now you say well now that’s the case I know of a case I guess. Yeah I know and I know somebody that bought a lottery ticket by standing on one foot and patting on the head but that doesn’t make it a system. You know it’s ridiculous random events happen. The question is is how do you make more money. You got to pioneer. And if you’re not unique you better be cheap. And so you’ve got to pioneer. And by the time you know you have to do. I mean I’ve been at companies where they say well we’ve tried everything else. We fired all the people we’ve changed everything we’ve cost Scott. I guess we’re going to have to innovate. Well for crying out loud. That’s not the attitude. You know guess what. It’s too late.
Doug: [00:15:38] It’s probably too late now with superhuman effort you can do it if you can buy yourself some time you can do it but you’re gonna have to double down and triple down and the fact is there will still be people who still believe in the organization. It amazes me they’ll still be people who care and they can be activated.
Doug: [00:15:57] You ask for volunteers you put together a team and our case will oftentimes do you reconvening so we accelerate even faster than with innovation and sharing because they just need to get. They have to show they can win quickly. They’ve got to show they can win. Quickly.
Tripp: [00:16:12] Yeah. So you basically you know you look at Sears they’re out of time and money right.
Tripp: [00:16:18] It’s kind of where we’re I guess they would place. OK. All right.
Doug: [00:16:23] Game’s over. Game’s over.
Tripp: [00:16:24] Yeah that’s a dead end and yet it’s unfortunate but it can’t be a good lesson to other organizations too. But we seem to be learning the same lesson over and over and over again which is the problem that we’re trying to mitigate.
Doug: [00:16:41] Yeah. And just so we’re clear Tripp I’ve made the mistake over 35 years of having Eureka! Ranch I’ve made mistake where I got fat dumb and happy and we stayed with where we were and we didn’t reinvented our Eureka inventing is on it’s like eighth or ninth version now. But I had times when we were making a lot of money. Business was great. And I just said we’re good we’re good. And I didn’t reinvest in it right now. This year we made the biggest investment in history the company biggest investment history of the company and reinventing our education our software our methods and our tools. Biggest ever. And so it’s a bright. It’s the best of times right now. It feels good having that when you don’t have it that’s really stinks.
Tripp: [00:17:27] And as you said the data plays it out that you need to be the pioneer that you need to be the one leading this.
Doug: [00:17:35] Ok. That’s a perfect that’s a perfect segue way to our book excerpt
Tripp: [00:17:46] It’s time now for the driving Eureka book segment with author and inventor Doug Hall.
Tripp: [00:18:02] Leveraging diversity. And how does this fit in then with this whole thinkers and doers concept.
Doug: [00:18:09] Well big picture what we’re talking about is diversity and collaboration and we end you know when we say diversity we think it’s like standing in a circle and singing We Are The World great song but not the answer.
Doug: [00:18:24] It’s about constructive dialogue debate where people from different views come together to create something great.
Doug: [00:18:34] It’s what created. I mean the US was created by a whole bunch of immigrants. My mother’s being a first generation immigrant a whole bunch of immigrants came to this country from different beliefs and different structures and different views and together they created this new thing this new thing in Philadelphia. And it was a bunch of different people. It wasn’t a monoculture. It was a diverse culture. People said it’s not really a melting pot. It’s really more like a salad bowl melting pot means that go in and they all become the same a salad bowl you still have the onions radishes cucumbers you know they retain their individuality but together they create something wonderful in this in this wonderful salad.
Doug: [00:19:13] So it’s about leveraging diversity and the numbers just connecting to what we just talked about and what I write in the newsletter here is I took an excerpt from the driving Eureka book it literally it’s not diversity is not additive it’s not multiplicative. Two times two. It’s exponential and literally the impact of diversity is exponential. Like I give the example you know if you have stimulus mining is to add diversity is one to race to the one powers to if you double the stimulus to a fore and diversity stays one you not got a for but if you take the form of stimulus mining and take diversity to a six you get over four thousand ideas and that’s the kind of impact we’re talking about. That’s the impact we’re talking about when we bring together people but it takes patience and courage to put up with. It’s not for wimps. It means people that disagree with you.
Doug: [00:20:18] You know my problem at the Eureka! Ranch is I had all these independent thinkers who think differently and they keep doing it and sometimes I say to them I say you know in the old days this was a lot nicer.
Doug: [00:20:28] Everybody just did what I said I smile when I say it. But the fact of the matter is is you know was it Drucker or somebody said we hire all these bright people and then we encourage them to not think anymore. I mean what was going on. I mean it’s crazy. I may have that wrong but you get the idea.
Tripp: [00:20:45] Right. So. So give give me your operational definition of what diversity looks like.
Tripp: [00:20:54] What what does that mean. I mean I mean community you know. Politically it means something you know. What does it mean in the innovation world.
Doug: [00:21:02] Well it’s interesting because we’ve been in a debate with this because I my it means yes it means departmental differences. You went to an engineering school you went to a business school you went to a finance school. Okay got it. Whatever it means knowledge basis difference it’s silos of departments that are different. And yes it’s age and sex and race. Yes I remember sitting with a company in Mexico. All men oh macho men in the room and they sold products. This was like This is I happen to be consumer products it was industrial companies working with and a consumer products at the same time in Monterrey Mexico. And and and I walked in and I said Who do you sell your products to.
Doug: [00:21:43] I said they said all women. I said all women are all women. I said Man you guys must be really good. So what I mean is I’d like to get some advice for you. They said well what do you mean. I said all of you guys understand women so good you don’t need to have a woman in leadership you know everything about how women work.
Doug: [00:22:04] Can you teach me a little.
Doug: [00:22:09] They didn’t. They laughed but politely they got the point. You know whatever. Get over it.
Doug: [00:22:18] The fact of the matter is is that there are all these others but the one that I think is the most powerful and and people at my office that they disagree with me on this just because they think in particular that the most actionable one that’s the difference is getting the thinkers and doers to work together that that’s the thing and that this there’s some truth to that for the short term winds is to get these people to not just put up with each other but to truly be a team where you’re willing to sacrifice for your side sales is willing to sacrifice for marketing or marketing is willing to sacrifice for sales that their job becomes harder to make the other person better but for the whole to win.
Doug: [00:22:58] I think that long term the bigger difference is cultural differences from different countries in my life. What I found is when I’m sitting and working in Asia or working in Europe or wherever it might be South America. The cultural differences which is not just age sex and race but it’s a whole world view it’s different. I mean just looks at the world in a whole different way. To me that gives me more richness than anything else. When they have a complete mindset that’s different and that comes from these different different countries which is what created America in its fundamental it’s the driver but the immigrant program in Canada. It’s these different cultures coming together that just has a has a richness to it it may not be short term but long term I think that’s what really gross and how did you conclude that.
Tripp: [00:23:58] How did you get there. What what what life experiences what what what what what has led you to say that it’s cultural diversity that’s the most important one to you know the long term.
Doug: [00:24:14] I came from my dad it really came from my dad.
Doug: [00:24:18] My dad had worked with Deming and then he did the licensing of carbon paper technology to Asia Europe South America and I spent a lot of time talking to my dad. And then he he took us in fact to remember going to Yugoslavia way way back when it was Yugoslavia still and spending time with the folks that he’d worked with there and he would just teach me about how much he learned from these different ways you know being in Mexico with the workers and my head was fiercely conservative and but at the same time he could just see the people and what he learned from the people and it’s amazing when it came to work. He was incredibly liberal. I mean he was the same guy politically conservative. But you did think the way he would talk about the workers and how much he could learn from these people that he was a total liberal. It just struck me. And then you know he taught me how to you know when you’re at these places he says when you land in Europe pieces the first thing you do is you you fly overnight. He says get out and start walking the streets and stop into the local coffeehouse or pub or whatever the time is and just start talking to people and start to feel what people are saying and doing. And and I’ve done the same thing when I flew to Korea. I set up we had a partner there a licensed partner for the Eureka ranch there and he set up his daughter who’s in college to take me on a tour and around and we stopped and I met with her friends and I got to get a sense in and it just it just gave me a world view that was different that helped me when I led the session that I was leading over there.
Doug: [00:26:08] And I do the same thing other places. It’s like you’ve got to come in and don’t put your view on it but come in and learn from the people how they’re looking at the world their values their trade offs what’s worth things. Money to them what’s not worth money to them. What are their dreams their aspirations.
Doug: [00:26:28] And it just yeah the challenge we got is what is it like 30 or 40 percent of Americans have a passport. So most have never been out of the country. Right. And so you know again it’s what we’ve talked as Deming would say How could they know the importance of international if you’ve never been there. All right. If you’ve never been there I’m not going to throw stones. I’m not. And if you’ve traveled you’ve seen. I remember sitting in Paris once and my wife and I and we were in a cafe and in Paris and Paris is Paris and and this you know what we would we’d be called an ugly American a Texan with a big hat comes in and I’m not throwing Texas under the bus but he was and and he gave a lecture on how they do it in America.
Doug: [00:27:13] And you could just sense the stupidity of this. It was like dude. And are you getting anything from this. You learn if you should have stayed in frickin Texas. If you want to be Texas be in Texas. He we’re having this elegant food that is spectacular in this incredible romantic place. And you’re mad because you didn’t get your steak big enough. I mean dude. Yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Let me tell you. You ordered the wrong freaking thing. So so sorry. I just.
Tripp: [00:27:44] Yeah thinking that it just gives me this nothing that gets you’re not learning you’re in essence just imposing. That’s all right. Yeah.
Tripp: [00:27:53] So in this book segment you put in the math and you put in the meaningful uniqueness equals the stimulus to the power of diversity. That’s right. With the denominator being you know driving our fear which we’ve touched on before too but that’s the thing. You said you say it’s experientially. And yet I know you it’s kind of a researcher. Is there any research that’s been done on an association with the diversity or is it all just your life. Experience.
Doug: [00:28:24] No there is. There’s quite a bit so. So one of the things we measured was we had all these teams we had thousands of teams that came through the ranch and we measured the teams at the moment of creation.
Doug: [00:28:36] Thank you for bringing this up because this is actually based on fact and I skipped right over it because I’m just well I just skipped because you have life experiences. So what happened is Dr. Chris Stormann and I we measured teams in the act of creation we asked him all kinds of questions we asked him about stimulus and we asked him about fear and we asked him about the diversity of the group and different things and literally stimulus diversity loaded in exponential when it came to explaining the number of meaningfully unique ideas but invented by the teams. And we did it like three different ways. We did it longitudinally vertically or horizontally and we track people over time and there’s a whole multiple collection of studies that we did on it. And so it truly is exponential. That’s not just me saying it. It truly is. Now that diversity is all of the diversities I will my team says it’s the silo diversities that the biggest blockage. They’re right on that to me long term.
Doug: [00:29:32] The biggest bang is when you get these cultural diversities. That’s the real value.
Doug: [00:29:38] Okay. But it’s a fact it’s the fact. And that’s the potential stimulus diversity is your potential. Divided by the level of fear we asked the question for whatever reason I didn’t say all ideas that came to mind. And when that question went up the number of ideas went down they literally held back from talking it.
Doug: [00:30:01] We created less ideas. All right. We literally track the sessions average about look at them over time. And you have less ideas from a group that was like that. I mean it’s a factual point. I mean it’s just it’s reality and it’s confirmed by other research.
Tripp: [00:30:17] This is the Brain Brew Whiskey Academy podcasts where we will take you behind the scenes so you can see what it takes to build a whiskey distillery business Eureka! Ranch team led by Doug Hall are creating a craft Whiskey Company with Patented technology like that’s never been done before
Tripp: [00:30:41] Ok. Let’s move to the Brain Brew Whisk(e)y Academy.
Tripp: [00:30:46] So you know we’ve talked before Doug about this the concept of thinkers and doers and and you know leveraging diversity. How does this play out in a whiskey distillery. What’s going on with that.
Doug: [00:31:01] Ok. So you know I’ve talked about. Thinkers and doers and the need for collaboration so that we don’t become like the McCoys and the Hatfields. You know and we got to come together. The problem is is that right. You know creating a distillery takes money and so oftentimes we get investors or different people involved in it. And they’ve been successful in the business world and the way they know how to do things is to set up organizational charts and departments and allocate who does what things. I mean that’s just what they know. That’s what they know. And so you know at as the company gets going for efficiency purposes. No you just do your job you do your job and somehow magically all the connections work together. Now that’s when it’s run by a corporate person when it’s run by a true entrepreneur somebody who started up companies many of them like I started my first one at age 12 I started doing things I’d been doing it forever. You don’t tend to have that. You tend to have more of a collaborative community and while everybody will have maybe a job they do they all have a blend of knowledge about everything else and in fact what I found it’s like if you if you sort of magically showed up at the distillery which is in the former garage of the Eureka! Ranch just just west of the ranch and there was a meeting going on here you would hear somebody talking about say we’re working on a new idea for a new product. Somebody might be talking about packaging and other won’t be talking about supply chain. Can we get the wood then somebody else might be talking about the economics is. So what to do. Another person may maybe turning around and say OK so if I was to pitch this to a bar here’s what I would say.
Doug: [00:32:47] And you would hear everybody doing it and the same person that talked marketing would suddenly be talking about product. OK. And you’d have a hard time figuring out who did what. You might figure it out but it would be pretty hard to figure out who’s doing what. Because everybody’s involved in all the decisions and that’s not to say that we debate to compromise but because at the end of the day as a leader it’s my job to make the final decision and they respect that. But they’ve all been heard and we’ve all debated it. And most important of all when somebody feels really strongly about it I never make the call. We just run a test we just run a test. I mean we had a debate recently on on some of our products on the next generation of products and finally said Screw it let’s just run the test. We ran the test and found out one of them yes we should change it. The other one no it wasn’t a good idea. I just ran a quantum test read that night had the data and and so even when you’re wrong the facts are there and so everybody feels like I’ve got a voice in this. I’ve got a voice in this. And so when you’re building your distillery you’ve got a setup from the beginning to get people to understand. I know you’ve got somebody who’s just running the stills fine but they gotta know how to sell the stuff to the people that are out front who are selling. And in your tasting room have got to understand how the products actually made and they’ve got to understand the math and the consequences associated with different decisions. Russ you’re only going to use a part of their brain if you want to get them fully engaged they’ve got to know more. So you got to help them understand so.
Tripp: [00:34:24] So is it you suits you you know you said as a CEO you make the decision.
Tripp: [00:34:35] But people don’t feel like they’re being stepped on from from a standpoint of coming up with an idea or something like that because you’ve built in to the system saying OK if we you know I don’t know what what the determining factors are maybe somebody feels strongly even though everybody else disagrees with them then your action that is to say well what’s wrong with test.
Doug: [00:35:02] Yeah. Most of the time. OK. Most the time when it doesn’t. Now there are exceptions. OK. There are exceptions. Legality issues. All right.
Doug: [00:35:13] Regulatory issues where there’s financial or legal exposure I’m sorry. That’s not negotiable. Okay. Those are those are facts. We never have ethical issues because that’s just not the type of team in some organizations that might be ethical issues. But we just don’t have that because that’s not the way we are. But there are certain times when there’s decisions where the leader has to make it. And even when those consequences is like we had a product where you know when it’s mission focused you know we had a product that was OK it was OK. It was OK. It was good. Some of our partners wanted to do it. It was OK. And I turned around and I looked at the test data and it was close. It was OK and I finally said to the team I said anybody proud of this product.No no no it’s just it’s OK. I said Screw it let’s not do it let’s blow it up. And so we blew it up and I said Make something that you’re proud of. I know I saw crappy product. I said That’s my new standard.
Doug: [00:36:15] Don’t sell crappy product and of course everybody laughs.
Tripp: [00:36:21] That’s a low bar there, Doug.
Doug: [00:36:21] That’s kind of a cool concept only got to do stuff you’re proud of.
Doug: [00:36:25] We’re not going to sell crap. Yeah it’s a good concept. Now the problem is it’s in the spirits business. There’s many people selling the number one the craft whisky association do a survey of bartenders to say what’s your advice to to craft spirits things and the number one thing they said was you’re going to make better quality products. And because aging takes so long they sell products too soon and they just ruin their reputation and they just the products are just not very good. Now that’s why our time compression is helpful to them because they can sell time compression products. They can build a nice business there. And in addition to not in place of our products can be like their you know their volume products that specialty products allow people to make their own custom whisky while their products you know classically age can be like their single malts as in their you know their premium expression. And I can buy them the time that enables them to be able to wait the appropriate time to make the product actually wonderful.
Tripp: [00:37:30] So Doug let me let me just a forum for people like me that I don’t consider myself necessarily a you know a complete novice but at the same time when you say single malt for somebody listening that may be new to the you know to some of the language maybe they drink whiskey But you know if they say single malt what does that mean.
Doug: [00:37:50] So that would be a product that’s made generally. So this is legal definition in Scotland a single malt is one distillery one green generally barley OK. OK. And now in the U.S. there is there’s a work going on by the Kraft folks which I encourage which is to get single malt an official category.
Doug: [00:38:14] Right now it’s fanciful marketing words when you say single malt barley whiskey barley whiskey is a category of product. Single malt is sort of marketing puffery because it’s not regulated yet and creating that standard here so that we can do single malt just like they do in Scotland and in other places you can do it now. It’s just not an official category.
Tripp: [00:38:38] Ok. OK. So it’s a difference than the way Scotland does it.
Doug: [00:38:42] Yeah. And I’ll be I’ll be honest with you while while I love Scotch whisky I love final product. Let me count in court no question when I went to the North Pole you know and the North Pole where you drink your drink. Highland Park 18. OK. My favorite classic whisky in the world by five. And I’m a zealot for it. That said if you want creative and amazing new tastes it is much easier to make them. If you’re a whiskey not a bourbon which has which has rules with it. Not a rye not a weed. Not a corn not a barley but your whiskey as in you have a mixture of those just like Bordeaux wine is a mixture of three grapes or maritime from California. Some of the most expensive wines in the world are blends of different grapes. So too I think what you’re going to see long term on whiskey is this said it’s going to be these different grains put together in unique ways and different whiskeys that are going to be what the great whiskeys are gonna be in long term long long term. There’ll always be a place for the single things but you can just do more amazing things when you start to use different ingredients.
Tripp: [00:39:55] Okay. Very good. Well let’s move to our craft cocktail recipe. The Boulevard cocktail. Now how does.
Tripp: [00:40:04] Yeah I’m always curious to know how you come up with these cocktails to fit in with the theme of the episode that we’re doing. So how did the bowl of cocktail fit into all the things we’re talking about.
Doug: [00:40:17] Well this was interesting because I was texting last night before we recorded. I was looking through Dale the graphs classic book The Craft of the Cocktail and I and Dale de Graaf was Windows of the World New York. I had the blessings to spend an entire day with him on a project and we spent the morning tasting a collection of different whiskies that we had and messing with some things and then he took us on a tour of speakeasies in different places in New York and did his flaming orange peel which I’ll talk about in a minute.
Doug: [00:40:49] And and he’s a legend. He’s he’s a legend in the business. And as wonderful a person as you hope he would be. I’ve had an opportunity to meet many celebrities we won’t talk about the bad ones but there are some like Charles Schulz of peanuts and Jim Henson of the Muppets and Dale de Graaf who are just genuinely they’re kind of awesome people that you’d love to just hang out with forget the fact that they’re famous. They’re just good people. And Dale is definitely one of those. And he cites this cocktail coming from a summer fonder of than in the New York Sun of 1935. So I think it was an article that he found that he cited and and it just struck me as something different.
Doug: [00:41:31] It was a little different. And I noticed that I could see the DNA in this and that this cocktail which I’d never had before I just made it literally last night. It has hints of an old fashioned cause of some orange that comes from Grand menu and hints of a Manhattan from vermouth.
Doug: [00:41:50] So so that’s pretty weird. Okay. I mean I’m taking two of the classic cocktails the old fashion in Manhattan and kind of doing like a jazz riff on these things here. You know putting them together and I thought jeez I wonder. It just struck me as what the hell is this. I never heard of this thing from nineteen thirty five. And and I made it and I went Damn it’s quite a it’s quite a cocktail.
Doug: [00:42:16] So the way it works is this and again in the show notes we’ve got the details two ounces of rye whiskey. I use our own Rye whiskey but you know get a good craft rye whiskey.
Doug: [00:42:29] Half ounce a gram and anyway which is an orange liqueur.
Doug: [00:42:34] Half ounce of dry vermouth which I tend to use Dolin just because I like Dolin.
Doug: [00:42:39] And then. And you stir it with ice and strain into a chilled glass.
Doug: [00:42:44] And then here’s the Dale Graff twist on it which is you put a flamed orange peel. Now you can you can go on the internet and just search for it you can see some videos of it being done and you can learn how to do it. But I’ll just explain it quickly.
Doug: [00:42:58] What you do is you take the orange and you cut just a sliver of the peel off. I’m usually in a bit of an oblong oval shape. Then you hold it about four inches above the glass from the sides the short parts to it. So if it’s an oval you’re going to hold the sides do it with the skin side towards the drink make the skin towards the drink then you light a lighter match torch whatever I like to use like a barbecue torch so keep our fingers away from it and get the fire going first and then you sort of squeeze the peel. And what happens is the oil shoot out and you get this flame and just a real quick flame and then you drop the peel into the glass. And so what it does is it gives it sort of there’s a caramelization that happens in the flame and a little tiny bit of smoke and it just puts a unique orange zest. If you would in the drink and it’s quite nice quite nice actually.
Tripp: [00:44:04] Very good. So how does this fit into what we talked about.
Doug: [00:44:10] Well it’s the same thing. It’s the bringing together of the thinkers and the doers. In this case here. I didn’t see that did you.
Tripp: [00:44:22] Okay. I knew it is in there somewhere I just had it I had a reaction and the Manhattan and it’s bringing them together in this taste which is not an old fashion and it’s not a Manhattan. It’s like if if a Manhattan and an old fashion got together this is what they would give birth to in bizarre way.
Tripp: [00:44:43] AlRight. And what is your Rye whisky again.
Doug: [00:44:49] Well that we’ve got. Yeah we’re about to introduce one which is called Deckhand the working man try and it’s made with five Woods so it’s a big brass.
Doug: [00:45:02] So it’s again the story is that on the riverboats there were the deckhands and these were the ones that would work the the polls to help the boats when they were floating down where they were keel boats or flat boats. And these were the working men and and they would like to have that hardier drink when they had one day they wanted a full impact similar to the bar staff bar staff. Oftentimes the working men there they like the rise which tend to be a little higher and alcohol a little bit more spice a little bit more robustness. And so what we did here was we took the with with deckhand the working man’s rye. What we’ve done is we’ve taken the rye and ninety five percent rye and then we finished it with five words we used American oak young American oak we used two hundred year oak like we used and kill boat and paddle wheel we used European Sherry oak and then we added some maple and some Apple wood and so we take the five Woods.
Doug: [00:46:08] And interestingly on the back of the package we talk about Nashville 95 percent rye but we also talk about wood Bill and talk about show the percentages of the five Woods that we’re using in the finishing process and the net result is you get the gist.
Doug: [00:46:25] I mean the first thing somebody says when they taste it they go Oh my God there’s a lot going on there and it’s just got a lot of complexity and robustness that kind of taste you would get from a much older bigger whiskey that was maybe bottled at even a higher proof at a barrel proof much bigger taste.
Doug: [00:46:46] And so it makes spectacular whiskey forward cocktails and in amongst the you know Rye is whiskey as IPA is to be here you know it’s that more intense and you either love it or you don’t. But in our case here we’ve taken it way up over the top there’s other rides that you can get out there.
Doug: [00:47:09] I just happens to have much more complexity and much more and it just celebrates the working man who made the boats go before there were motors and paddle wheels there were these guys with polls helping push the boat off the shore when it got caught up in and making it go OK.
Tripp: [00:47:26] And is did you say Deckhand is available some places yet. Or is is in the process. Well we’re we’re very close.
Doug: [00:47:33] So sometimes it’ll be available at the distillery and and then we’ll decide where to go. Our products are really made as demonstrations because we were partnering with distilleries around the world who we we use these as inspiration to show them how to create their own business their own brands. So these are really sort of if you were prototypes to show them you know as we’re doing. But our business is helping other whiskey makers or wannabe whiskey makers make more money.
Tripp: [00:48:04] Yeah that makes sense.
Doug: [00:48:06] And we also do it ourselves. Yeah. Because otherwise you shouldn’t listen to me helping you.
Doug: [00:48:13] You better come up with your own damn it.
Tripp: [00:48:16] So so the Deckhand rule with the price range will be that thirty five dollar price that you’re five and up at thirty nine rise more.
Doug: [00:48:26] So you’ve got to try to stay at thirty five but I might be thirty seven or thirty nine. I’ve got to. Again we’re working the math to see if we get some efficiencies but it’s at it’s at a higher percent alcohol usually 46 48 percent alcohol instead of 40 or 45. So that costs us more money in tax than the rest of that stuff. So I’d like to keep it at 35. I’d like the line to stay at thirty five but I got to look at the total math on it. It’s not going over 40 I can tell you that the only is is do we have to push it up a little bit more to make the math work.
Tripp: [00:49:04] Okay. All right. Very good. Another interesting episode. And you know next time we didn’t bring our time to do it this time but we do need to get an update on your distillery. So we’ll do that when we kick off the brain brew whiskey Academy the next episode.
Doug: [00:49:26] Well I’d be perfect because that should be just before the opening of the distillery. So we’re very very close and I think the next step so we’ll be airing just before the distillery opening.
Tripp: [00:49:40] Very good. All right. Thank you. The expansion of the distillery. Yeah. Okay.
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