“Being a Pollyanna actually works in your favor in business since you don’t really understand all of the obstacles.”
Orion had an intuition that he was onto something a few years back when he and business partner Aaron Hinde went on a domain registration spree for all things ending in “aid” and found that just about every iteration they tried was still up for grabs.
From hustling to get their first product into golf course pro shops (GolferAid) to rapidly scaling and simultaneously running out of product while broken computer systems left them unable to match inventory to customer orders, it turns out that original intuition was correct.
Orion and I talk about the challenges of managing a company growing so quickly that things start to fall apart, and LIFEAID’s mission to change the landscape of beverages outside of the fitness subcultures that got them their start.
Check out the full conversation with Orion below to learn:
- How Orion learned to feed off the energy of the crowd – and adjust on the fly to keep them dancing – as a house DJ – possibly some carryover to the role as CEO of a rapidly growing beverage brand? Who can say?
- How to prioritize as you’re scaling – and how to know what to allow to break as you grow and what needs to be a top priority
- How LIFEAID plans to stay true to their mission as they expand outside of the fitness subculture into more mainstream markets in grocery stores – and why just helping already fit folks get fitter isn’t enough for LIFEAID
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Check out more from Orion and LIFEAID here:
- [01:43] Orion’s seemingly contradictory background as both a certified financial planner and a DJ, as well as his early entrepreneurial ventures (including a record store).
- [08:30] The process of crafting a DJ set – and balancing your own desires with the desires of the audience. The differences between being a “technical” DJ and going off the feel of the crowd, and developing DJ skills in a time before comprehensive DJ software.
- [15:25] Starting LIFEAID with multiple different SKUs, and figuring out how to prioritize the many different options. The benefits of understanding direct response marketing and split testing offers with different markets.
- [24:33] How to manage ultra-fast growth – and how to figure out what you’re going to let break and what you’re going to stay on top of. And why being starved of capital during a growth phase is better than being flush with capital.
- [33:18] Breaking into the very high barrier to entry beverage space through direct response marketing, understanding the long tail and subcultures, and hiring during rapid expansion.
- [40:47] How LIFEAID plans to manage its expansion from a niche community (CrossFit) into mainstream areas like grocery and convenience stores while maintaining the vision for the company. Just continuing to create products for already healthy people doesn’t serve the mission of getting the population off of sketchy energy drinks.
- [52:45] How to find the optimal balance between optimizing things that are already working while still being innovative and expanding into new markets. LIFEAID’s goal of solving different problems for their customers throughout the day – the goal is to have products for all the different “jobs” customers buy beverages to accomplish.
- [01:00:32] How to think about the sequencing of growth in a company and do things in the correct order. Crafting new quarterly vision statements and creating alignment across the team based upon objectives and key results – as well as creating an environment in which the best ideas can percolate throughout the organization from the bottom up.
Links and Resources Mentioned
- Frankie Knuckles
- Robert Owens
- Model 500
- Juan Atkins
- Acid house
- DJ Dan
- Donald Glaude
- Aaron Hinde
- Phil Knight
- “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight
- OKRs (Objectives & Key Results)
- Peter Rahal
- Andreessen Horowitz
- “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel
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