My food porn dinner I cooked the other night
Healthy Breakfast Tacos & Grilled Asparagus
Tacos: Organic eggs (scrambled), grilled red peppers, sautéd baby bella mushrooms, cooked spinach, feta cheese, whole wheat tacos
Asparagus: drizzle in olive oil, top with parmesan cheese, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, bake 12 minutes @ 400 degrees
I’ve always wondered how a libertarian CEO like John Mackey - running a company popular with liberals - deals with the touchy subject of charity. It’s a fact, Whole Foods ‘donates’ a lot of money to charity. But after having my cereal this morning I discovered something really interesting printed on the side of the box.
They’re not actually “giving” money away, in the traditional way you think of charity. Instead, they’re providing microloans, which bridge the gap nicely between the ideology of their CEO and the pro-charity ideology of their customer base.
“Alleviating Poverty Worldwide. The mission of Whole Planet Foundation, a Whole Foods Market foundation, is to fund poverty alleviation worldwide by empowering the very poor living in communities that supply whole foods market stores with products. Through grants to microfinance partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America, Whole Planet Foundation provides microloans. Microloans are small loans, usually $200 or less, requiring no collateral or contract. With a microcredit loan, an impoverished woman entrepreneur can create or expand a home-based business and have the opportunity to lift herself and her family out of poverty. Providing the poor in these communities access to credit enables them with an opportunity to escape the vicious cycle of poverty THROUGH THEIR OWN ENERGY AND CREATIVITY.” (emphasis mine)
So considering 95.5% of their micro-loans are paid back in full, Whole Foods isn’t really “giving” anything except free credit. This is awesome, a win-win for both sides of the ideological table. An inspiration for business owners, CEOs, and others faced with social pressures to give their money away in the name of charity.
Healthy lunch: Salmon Salad
Sockeye salmon filet from last night’s dinner, served cold and flaked over organic lettuce bed
Organic grape tomatoes
Sliced Jarlesberg light swiss cheese
Whole Foods mustard & dill marinade as a makeshift dressing
Sign me up. I’m joining legendary founder of PayPal and tech investor Peter Thiel on the high seas! (and cool to learn he’s a Libertarian). Great overview of Seasteading pros, cons, and challenges. This should resonate with startup founders and entrepreneurs.
“The idea is to convert a cruise liner into an offshore “incubator” for small, high-tech start-ups and position it just outside American territorial waters off California. The attraction for the start-ups is that they would be able to hire foreign engineers and scientists without the hassle of getting work visas for them.”
I know it sounds crazy, but a sovereign government in the ocean or in space is going to happen within our lifetime! Kevin’s convinced me. It might be corporate-run, but that would be interesting…
“Given the huge costs and risks involved, perhaps the ideal builders of seasteads will not be small groups of innovators like the Blueseed team, but giant engineering firms such as Mitsubishi, India’s Tata group or Samsung of South Korea. Indeed, as Mr Keenan notes, the most viable political model for a seastead may not be a libertarian democracy but an enlightened corporate dictatorship.”
What do you think?
“I have had the privilege of observing a number of founders grow their companies from just a few people to over a hundred employees. Leaving all the other growth challenges aside, I have come to conclude that personal scaling is the most important issue. By personal scaling I mean figuring out how…”
I’m going through this now and it’s really hard. For years I’ve read about how hard it is for founders to ‘give up control’ but man, it’s difficult! It’s such a weird feeling to have people working for you, not really knowing exactly what they are doing, only knowing the high level goals they’re trying to achieve, not knowing how they’ll implement something, realizing it will always be different than how I’d implement it, etc. Basically realizing you’ll never know everything, and no matter what you have to trust them that they’re doing the right thing, learning on their own, asking the right questions, etc. I could go on and on, maybe I’ll write some posts about this.
What makes the problem a bit easier, and reminds me I absolutely have to figure it out, is the advice is universal. Everyone says you have to give up control to grow and take it to the next level. There’s not a lot of startup advice that’s universal, so when it is, you better listen up!
Have you gone through this process already? Would love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment please!
I love iced tea. Only problem is, 95% of prepackaged ice tea at stores has way too much sugar. Just found Steaz at Whole Foods, super tasty varieties with less than 10g evaporated cane juice per serving. And lots of flavors without any sugar. Yum!
Brad Feld, a local Colorado VC, just wrote an interesting article about Boulder’s startup space problem. I couldn’t resist and left the following as a comment on his post…
I know this won’t happen, but I secretly wish the Boulder entreprenural community was transplanted to LoDo Denver. Specifically, the part of downtown North West of Market Street. LoDo is remarkably similar to downtown Boulder with many advantages. It has the same feel, 1800’s brick buildings mostly three stories and under, yet it doesn’t have any of the problems Boulder is plagued with. As a startup CEO who’s lived in both Denver and Boulder, and moved my company from Denver to Boulder back to Denver, let me explain why this pipe-dream would be great…
1. You have a valid point the “space crunch” keeps entrepreneurs together. Just like SoMa SF, and the startup-dense parts of NYC, LoDo denver is small. Yet not a “bubble” and has lots of options if you outgrow it.
2. Tons of great restaurants, coffee shops, etc. WAY more variety than Downtown Boulder
3. The bigger startups that outgrow LoDo office space can move 2 blocks to the SE and choose from literally a million square feet of office space in the “high rise” part of downtown, and still interact with the smaller startups in LoDo.
4. Better public transportation - FasTracks will connect all points of Denver and DIA to LoDo via the amazing redesigned Union Station. Already there’s wonderful light rail and bus service to the LoDo area from all over. Public transit in Boulder is terrible, especially for people living outside of Boulder proper. It’s a massive traffic jam getting into Boulder each day with no train, no HOV lanes, no nothing. And because of Boulder political views, I doubt they will increase the highway capacity. Boulder is a bubble, one road in one road out, not good for commuters.
5. The hip, young, startup crowd has tons of neighborhoods to choose from, from trendy to family oriented, all within 15 minutes of downtown. Boulder has a massive “age gap” between college-age and 30+ with families. Lots of young people I know involved with the startup scene don’t like living in Boulder and choose to commute from Denver, or not locate in Boulder at all, because all the twenty-somethings live in Denver and it’s a lot more fun. Boulder is really boring for post-college twenty-somethings without a family. This is the primary reason I moved away from Boulder back to Denver.
6. The cost of office space in LoDo is similar, or cheaper than downtown Boulder. And taxes are lower. And there’s true class A space, almost impossible to find in downtown Boulder.
7. The cost of living in Denver is about 20% less than in Boulder, primarily because housing is a lot cheaper. This is a major factor and could position Colorado as a “low cost startup hub”.
8. Denver government is very pro-business compared to Boulder. These are just some reasons I’ve observed first-hand having office space in LoDo and then moving to Boulder, and back. I know it’s a pipe dream but a larger city like Denver, if we could start over, would be a lot better in my opinion.
Curious to hear your opinion, leave a comment on Brad’s blog or here!
A great example of how the government ‘runs’ a company. Un-freaking believable.
For the record, I have no problem with any business restructuring or cutting costs however they see fit. But check out the backwards way the government goes about it, largely because of the massive bureaucracy and handcuffs they’ve chained themselves to. Having to run every change by Congress, a Congress afraid to do anything because next year is an election year, is a recipe for disaster.
For example, instead of immediately stopping Saturday mail delivery, which is pretty pointless and incredibly expensive, they bump first class mail to 2-3 days.
“The changes would provide short-term relief, but ultimately could prove counterproductive, pushing more of America’s business onto the Internet. They could slow everything from check payments to Netflix’s DVDs-by-mail, add costs to mail-order prescription drugs, and threaten the existence of newspapers and time-sensitive magazines delivered by postal carrier to far-flung suburban and rural communities.”
The USPS can’t eliminate Saturday delivery is because Congress has to approve the change. Whereas they can eliminate next day mail delivery without Congress’ involvement.
Image if the board of directors of private companies took literally years to approve major decisions. It would literally destroy our entire economy. But in Government, this is standard operating procedure.
Another question worth bringing up is why do we even need a USPS, especially if a private company would never deliver a letter for 45 cents anywhere in the country.
“In the event of a shutdown due to bankruptcy, private companies such as FedEx and UPS could handle a small portion of the material the post office moves, but they do not go everywhere. No business has shown interest in delivering letters everywhere in the country for a set rate of 44 cents or 45 cents for a first-class letter.”
So if no private company wants to “serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality.” why do we allow the Government to do this for us? Sounds like communism to me. I realize we’ve set a precedent in rural areas which may be hard to break, but this is slowing innovation. If sending a letter to bumfuck Alaska cost $15.00 instead of $0.45, you can bet companies and consumers would adopt online billing years sooner. And this is just one example!
When the government masks the true cost of doing business and hides behind billions of dollars of losses we all suffer, especially the innovators and entrepreneurs trying to drive progress.
Thanks Kevin for this gem!
The shortest path usually has barriers.
So true! This graph keeps coming up in our strategy meetings, it really helps to remind yourself that sometimes the two steps backwards are actually forward progress, because it’s helping you to learn how to take three steps forward tomorrow. Our personal version of this graph is a bunch of triangles protruding up above, and down below the 45 degree line.
Thanks Kevin! You’re great at reminding all of us of this!