As an investor, founder, CEO and business book author, I write about startups, design, how to build a good business, and I like to muse about culture in any form.

If Sam’s sick in the head, then so am I

HARD TO WORK Sam Calagione (he’s the one with his feet on the table) and his employees sample a new batch of Festina Pêche in the brewery’s tasting room.

HARD TO WORK Sam Calagione (he’s the one with his feet on the table) and his employees sample a new batch of Festina Pêche in the brewery’s tasting room.

I love “The Way I Work” articles by entrepreneurs in Inc. magazine.  They recently ran a really great one, by Sam Calagione, the founder of Dogfish Head Brewery.  At the very end of the article, he revealed his evening reading habits:

I obsessively notch the pages, even when I’m reading fiction. If it’s notched up and folded back, it means it’s an actual idea that applies to Dogfish. If it’s notched down, it’s more about the feeling — part of what’s written reflects our off-centered philosophy. Every word that I read, I filter through this Dogfish prism. Every thought that I have in some way pertains to Dogfish. It’s kind of sick in a way — that Dogfish is that prevalent in my thought patterns. But after 5:30, I stop focusing on the nuts and bolts of the business and let my mind wander to the more fun and creative parts. I feel like that’s pretty healthy.

Ditto.  I am exactly like that.  I secretly feel kind of sheepish about this…I mean there is life beyond Grommet.  (And I still want my three sons to think I think about them 24/7, as is their natural birthright.)  But if you really love doing something (and you have a huge responsibility to do it well…) then  obsessiveness seems to be a requirement.

I’m not sure I could think about beer all day.  (Well on a really tough day I do, but only in a one-dimensional get-to-consumption way.)

6 Responses to “If Sam’s sick in the head, then so am I”

  1. Apolinaras "Apollo" Sinkevicius |

    What you bring up is what some articles fail to delve into – in geek terms, you create a second core in your processor, so you can run two transactions in parallel.
    The method I found for myself is to develop more mental “bandwidth”. From exercising so hard you stop being susceptible to stress, to becoming extra selective about what is really important and what to think or worry about. Consequently, you become so good, you find room for that third and fourth “core”. I am not there yet, but with the right motivation that should not be an issue.

    • julespieri

      Curious, and not being challenging, but do you have children, Apollo? I find that each one deserves its own core. Or at least they demand a collective one.

      • Apolinaras Sinkevicius

        Well… I did mention the 3-rd and 4th “cores” that could be brought online, if needed. Children are good motivation for that.
        Unfortunately we have not had the opportunity for that yet.

        But, as some of my former execs have said, with all the cleaning up of mistakes of other folks I have to do while being in ops, I am already like a father.

  2. Daniel Weinreb

    When I see some idea come along, my usual thought is “who do I know who would want to be told about this?”, and then I forward the email (if the idea came from email) or just send an email to that person. (I end up having to tell people “don’t feel obliged to answer me when I send that kind of email”.)

    A very simple example: Recently I was at the Monterey Bay Aquarium gift shop and saw that they were selling the “Twist” products that were a recent Grommet, and I took out my iPhone and sent Jules email about it. More often, I get an email with some news story about a topic that someone I know is probably interested in and I forward it. If it’s about my own job/product, I forward it to my co-workers.


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