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Great start-ups are like great wine

by on May 23, 2013

Wine & Business

There are similarities between a great start-up and a great wine.  A great entrepreneurial company goes from concept, to productization, to launch, into the hands of the customer;  a great wine goes from concept to vineyard to barrel to bottle to wine connoisseur.  Each evolves and transforms into something special … perfected with age.  Each requires the passion and wisdom, the risk and reward to become great.

That’s good isn’t it?  I wish I wrote it.  It came from the website of Entrepreneur Wines.  More on that below.

I was lucky enough to attend a lovely wine event hosted by my friend, Randy Haykin, recently.  Randy is an amazing person; a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and venture capitalist.  Yes, he’s made money for himself and for that he is very lucky, as well as smart.  But what sets Randy apart from most people is that he is truly grateful for it.  And that’s the point of this post.

Quite often we in the business world are focused on our jobs and our performance is measured in money.  How much we make, how much we create, how much we pay.  But we need to be grateful for everything we have and what we’ve been given, and use our gifts to give back to others.  Because I believe that it is through giving that we receive.   As business leaders we typically measure performance in profit and return, but social entrepreneurs, like Randy, also take into account a positive return to society. Social entrepreneurship typically furthers broad social, cultural, and environmental goals and is commonly associated with the voluntary and not-for-profit sectors. But it doesn’t have to be.

Randy has started a couple of different ventures to give back to others; the Gratitude Network and Entrepreneur Wines.  The wine event was to learn more about both.

The Gratitude Network – The Gratitude Network is combining a Silicon Valley venture approach, with a not-for-profit foundation and a global network of mentors – to tackle some of the biggest social issues of our time. Gratitude Network funds social entrepreneurs who are embracing innovation to create change in education, environment, and poverty eradication.

At this event I was lucky enough to hear from one of the companies in The Gratitude Network portfolio, Matchbook Learning.  Matchbook is a national non-profit hybrid K-12 school turnaround management organization, was founded on the premise that traditional non-technology based innovations in public education have failed and will continue to fail to scale the breadth of need in our nation’s struggling schools and that online and blended learning represent the first and best chance for scalable success at the levels we aspire to in our nation.  Its founder, Sajan George, is passionate about the changes they’re making and can make.  Matchbook is turning around our nation’s underperforming public schools and making a difference in the lives of students.

Entrepreneur Wines – Near and dear to my heart, and my taste buds, is the concept of combining wine with business.  Entrepreneur Wines makes very good wine.  Their cabernet comes from Napa Valley, specifically from Mt. Veeder appellation.   The chardonnay is sourced from the Sonoma Coast and the Russian River areas.

The social vision for Entrepreneur Wines recognizes the passion, commitment and vision of entrepreneurs around the world, particularly those who create companies to benefit society in areas such as education, poverty eradication, sustainability, health and environment.  That’s why a 50% of the profits from Entrepreneur Wines will flow to social entrepreneurs around the world through The Gratitude Network.  Now that is wine with a purpose.

People are affected by what we do in business.  We are capable of doing some really big things.  But we need to give back when we can.  Kevin Durant is donating $1 million to the Oklahoma Tornado Disaster Relief Fund.  That’s more than admirable but few of us are in a position to do that.  Randy has found several other ways to do that.  Randy has set a good example of how we can creatively give back, use our skills and talents for the benefits of others. I intend to do the same.


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From → Venture Capital, Wine

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