Published: Aug. 31, 2023

Stefani H  0:06  
Welcome to another episode of Creative Distillation. Your hosts Jeff and Brad from the University of Colorado Boulder is Leeds School of Business discuss entrepreneurship research while enjoying fine craft beverages. Previously on Creative Distillation, Brad and Jeff conducted field research at Twisted Pine Brewing in Boulder, Colorado. Speaking with Brynn Keenan, founder and CEO of Grist Analytics, they discuss brands background and Grist work in providing QC services to breweries of all sizes. This time for our final episode of season four, we're still at Twisted Pine with Brad and Jeff taking questions from Leeds School of Business MBA students on a number of topics. Brynn sticks around to lend her expertise to the proceedings. There's a lot to learn in this episode. Enjoy and cheers!

Jeff York  1:00  
Welcome back to Creative distillation where we still entrepreneurship research into actionable insights are still at twisted mind brewery here in lovely Boulder, Colorado. And people are having a great time as you might be able to hear in the background, because we are in line with the second annual cohort of our executive MBA program, and we are doing tonight, what is become a tradition so quickly. You guys know me because we just did an episode. But for those of you who this is your first list of grid displays, you're like holy cow, is the energy always like through the roof. And no, it's never ever like that at all. But I'm Jeff York, I'm the Research Director at the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder, and I'm joined by my co host and

Brad  1:50  
I am Brad Warner and I am here to answer your question.

Jeff York  1:53  
And I'm really here to answer your question. We also

Brynn Keenan  1:56  
have a guest, I'm Brynn was grist analytics. Happy to be here.

Jeff York  2:00  
Brent was our guest in the last episode. So if you didn't listen to that, go back to it because she's running a really cool company doing analytics for breweries as they grow them and figure out how to run their operations more effectively and make even better beer. Which is amazing because some of our clients are some of the very best breweries in Boulder, which means, in my humble opinion, some of the very best breweries in the world. We sampled some great beers here at Twisted pine. And now on to the main event. One thing

Brad  2:23  
Jeff do. So brand website, do you have a website that people can reach?

Jeff York  2:30  
Like that? You have a website?

Brad  2:33  
What our listeners don't understand how it's actually

Brynn Keenan  2:35  
an order software company.

Jeff York  2:43  
Two Pearl Street.

Brad  2:47  
Three people coding in the back. Hi, Krista.

Brynn Keenan  2:50

Brad  2:52  
I'd love that. Okay, so Jeff, how's our game gonna roll tonight?

Jeff York  2:56  
You're gonna introduce it, I made it up. So you introduce it.

Brad  2:59  
Okay. So here's my understanding. My understanding is that we have a group of executive MBAs we do and the questions I've learned get better as the drinks get

Jeff York  3:10  
through because last year, none. Let's not throw anyone under the bus here. But the question does not get better as the drink. Oh, okay. Wait a second.

The last question was absolutely it was her that was more.

So, so if you are experiencing an existential crisis about yourself, we can't really help you.

Brad  3:34  
Just about any question.

Jeff York  3:36  
But seriously, ask whatever you want, though. But yeah. So are there any rules?

Brad  3:41  
Or no rules whatsoever? No rules. What else? So I'd say I would say is the reason that Jeff and I do this podcast is Jeff has a lifetime based in research. And I have an adult lifetime in venture creation. And so we come from this. We come from this low at different angles. And so I'd like Jeff to when you ask your question, first run through maybe relevant research that he can recall. And if you can answer a question using that that would be really interesting. If not, I'd say just about kind of interesting, and marginal marginally. But if that feel free to answer the question, and then I'll follow up. And what we'll do is we'll we'll take turns with the lead to answer the question, the other person will have a chance then to follow up if there's any maybe advice that we could help you and

Jeff York  4:27  
what are we putting on the line last time it was a piece of schwag from the brewery of the winners choice? It was call and should we let Brent in on this like and if so, like we don't make her buys anything or like you know? I got a feeling were you buying swag for Bryn?

Brynn Keenan  4:45  
I'll give you $15 of equity. Wow.

Jeff York  4:50  
My biggest stockholder? All right, let's do it. $15 of equity versus a piece of swag from twisted So the way we're going to grade this is we have a very highly scientific process. We're going to take turns answering first. Yeah. And at the end, we will call on each person's answer. And you guys will applause and Laurie will have her very highly calibrated applause Oh meter. She will say who got the most applause. That person will get one point. First person to, we got three people, we can't play three points. We'll be here all night.

Brad  5:29  
You're the Game Master my friend. Well, we'll

Jeff York  5:30  
play that we'll play the three points. And if we get sick of it, we'll just say whatever. Alright, sounds good.

Brad  5:36  
All right, let the games begin.

Jeff York  5:37  
All right, question.

Kevin  5:39  
My name is Kevin. I work at McDonald's. Just down the road from here. Okay. So

Jeff York  5:48  
question is putting you through the Executive MBA? Perfect. Yeah.

Speaker 6  5:52  
No, it's good. It's awesome. Go McDonald's. It's EI. Okay. I am more of a scotch and wine drinker. I'm here holding a beer in this event with you guys. So you know, one of the issues that I have is this whole idea of hoppy IPAs and happinesses and IBUs. I had asked a colleague, what does Ibu mean? International bitterness unit. How do I explain this to somebody like myself? Who does not like beer? Very much. I have a sour in my hand because it's good. So hoppy kind of IPA. IBUs? Is that an acquired taste? Like how do you acquire that tastes? But haven't quite acquired that? And what does that mean, as a beer drinker to like that kind of beer versus like a stout or, or a sour? Because I just can't get on board. So please, please help me.

Jeff York  6:45  
I love this question.

Brad  6:46  
What the hell kind of Kevin from McDonald's? Yeah.

Brynn Keenan  6:52  
Do you think the best way to build a flavor preference is through logic?

Kevin  7:01  
We had a conversation at the table about? No, it's not over yet. So

Jeff York  7:07  
this cohort is much stronger than even off the rails with the three questions

Brynn Keenan  7:15  
that I just answered.

Kevin  7:19  
Please do. Let's do it. I'd love to hear it.

Brynn Keenan  7:22  
Technically, you add hops. And if you add hops in the beginning of the boil the Alpha acids that come in, I summarize and become bitter, so it's intentional. And then if you add hops, in a later stage of the brewing process, it doesn't add any bittering charge to the beer. It's all aroma, which is all like citrusy and fruity or piney. So convoluting a hoppy beer with beer with high IBUs can be misleading. Like you might really like something with lower IBUs. But still really hoppy. Because it's just really a real move forward. But it came about because it's anti bacterial. I summarized Alpha acids. So when they're shipping beer really far across the world, it was a way to stabilize the beer before you know other preservatives, essentially. And I think people just kind of acquired the taste out of necessity. But there are 20 Bitterness receptors in your body biologically. So it makes complete biological sense that it's not something that people naturally like.

Brad  8:27  
Why are we done? Awesome answer.

Speaker 6  8:34  
So what I what I took from this is Oh, no, no, no, no, no.

Jeff York  8:40  
Sorry, Kevin, from McDonald's. Well, this is a competition. You can give us your insights after this. First, we need to hear from Brad on this top.

Brad  8:49  
This one is easy. Stick with scotch and wine.

Jeff York  8:55  
And then you will miss out on a world of flavor and adventure. Kevin. So as as Britain was alluding to, the whole name of the beer comes across from the idea that the British Empire was shipping beer across to India during their colonial horrible occupation, as they are wanting to do as most colonial countries are, but they wanted to get the beer there. And so it was sort of an accidental style in a way they weren't trying to make bitter beer. They were trying to make beer that would hold up to the voyage in the heat of India and still maintain some British flavors. Now what happened is a bunch of people that started craft brewing in the United States got hold of that and said, But God, we're America. So we're gonna make it more happy than then Brits. And they made a lot of really fantastic beer basically kicked off the craft beer revolution. Breweries like Sierra Nevada comes to mind for me. And then there's just so many great IPAs that came from the West Coast. And then it started to become this like, contest to see who could put the most bitterness into their beer. And then that got even worse when a thing called East Coast IPA came about and they said, Hey, can we make a beer that's actually painful to drink. And a company name Heady Topper came up with that, more or less. It's a beautiful beer, but everyone else is kind of screwed that up. So here's the deal. What do you want to do to develop this tastes good, you want to go to the brewery, you want to say I'm interested in a beer with a really, really interesting, complex, hot profile. But without a lot of bitterness. Don't worry about the Ibu saying, don't, don't even just put that in your head doesn't matter. Don't worry about it, sniff the beer before you drink it, what you're looking for is an aroma that probably has sense of like strawberry, maybe lemon, some watermelon, things like that. So the things Bran was alluding to some kind of fruit estery flavors that you find appealing. And just sip a little sample of if you don't like it, don't drink it. But you will find beers with a lot of hops and a lot of flavor that are not bitter and that are appealing. But the reality is you will have to go through a lot of interviews to get there, perhaps. And I would also actually, I wouldn't say what Brad said, because I've actually taken Brad on a bit of beer journey over the past two and a half years, I'd say he started off where you are and what kind of beer do you like now, Brad?

Brad  11:10  
I mean, I'm a lager person through and through, I love them. But you guys pay in 200 grand to get the answer to that question.

Jeff York  11:21  
A couple of beers, like a question about fear. And one guy who really is. All right, so now you may now you may respond, Kevin, we just had to do our answers there.

Speaker 6  11:32  
Thank you. Sure. Yeah, thanks for your answers. So like, I think what I took from this, even after all of you spoke is that there's people who like to eat the fruit, like an orange or watermelon. And then there's people who like, like the orange peel and the watermelon rind. So yeah, I get it. Thank you. Well, I guess,

Brad  11:50  
I think she'd like to rephrase that when you're working in McDonald's. Big Mac versus what I flee a fish.

Jeff York  11:59  
Meal versus adult meal is the time to make your choice here.

Speaker 6  12:03  
But it's an acquired taste. I will work on the choir. It's not fair

Jeff York  12:06  
for me to call for this. So Kevin, why don't you call for the applause meter? or individual answers? Yes. Brian?

Kevin  12:20  

Jeff York  12:24  
the person that Brad is hired,

Brynn Keenan  12:28  
like you planted her?

Brad  12:39  
Yes, she does. Yes, she does.

Jeff York  12:41  
Shocking that that would happen.

Brad  12:48  
These questions? Unbelievable.

Jeff York  12:50  
Okay, question about entrepreneurship. Business.

Eloise  12:54  
I have one, I have one. Oh, hi, my name.

Jeff York  12:58  
This person literally gets paid by Brian.

Eloise  13:01  
Now these are unpaid hours. These are unpaid. That's

Jeff York  13:06  
paid hours.

Eloise  13:12  
So as a young entrepreneur, or an aspiring entrepreneur, my greatest battle is life and work balance. And I just want to know, what you guys have all experienced through this is being an entrepreneurial life takes over your life, or can you still enjoy it? And what does it look like for you on a daily basis? I think a lot of younger entrepreneurs want to know about that.

Brad  13:39  
Great question. I think, Brian, you should try teed up. You're there. Yeah.

Brynn Keenan  13:42  
I feel like it's a complicated one. I feel like the life balance with the business there are, I found that there are little things I can do to make my life like joyful, and fun to live. Right now while I'm running a business like keeping my mornings clear, because I know that's when I'm most productive, and only taking meetings in the afternoon, and not releasing new code on Friday afternoon, when I know that inevitably, it's going to take till 10 o'clock at night to actually get it out. And they're all these little things that are compromises that don't affect the business in a severe way, but affect my life in a pretty substantial way. And those I can make on a daily basis. But then there is this kind of element of like, me, this is a bad way of phrasing it but like binge and purge, with the company where it's like, at least I with my personality feel like I need the times of binge to push it forward and they're inevitably a bit unhealthy. And then I bounced them like with, you know, checking out for a little while. Oh, yeah,

Brad  14:58  
that sounds really really great. Right? Jeff, you want to go for it?

Jeff York  15:02  
Sure, that's fine. There's actually a lot of mounting evidence that entrepreneurship is not particularly good for people's mental health. Like, I mean, you should actually realize that I think a lot of times, in popular culture and in education in business, we have a tendency to have this, this idea of the heroic entrepreneur, that puts it all on the line, and they sacrifice everything. And that's how they succeed. And the reality is, that's actually pretty accurate, too. And that's why it's harmful to people's mental health. Because it's really hard when you're doing something that you've put your whole life's work and your passion into. And your identity is completely linked to it. And you've got possibly family members, definitely people you care deeply about online caring about it, it's really hard to put that away at the end of the day, and try to balance your mental health. And there's actually growing evidence that that is harmful. So I'm supposed to be the the research guy, so I'm just telling you the research, it can hurt you. So you have to be careful. What do you do about that? Well, I mean, it's the same mental health advice that we have for everyone about balancing our work life balance. I think the best entrepreneurs I've known, and the most successful entrepreneurs and the serial entrepreneurs I've known, and I'm not trying to blow smoke, people, like Brad have figured out is how to do that. But then also hold on to their family ties, and their friends, and keep them close to them and value those people as being really important in their lives. There's not a whole lot of research about this is just what I've seen through successful entrepreneurs, I think you have to very much prioritize the non business elements of your life, I don't think you have any time to waste on non important relationships. You don't have time to just like, waste your your non work hours of like drinking in a bar, which we're doing right now. We're working? Actually, yeah, we are working. And what I mean by that is, I think, I think you have to really place a high value and do things that really enrich your life and give you a positive effect. Otherwise, you know, I have seen many, many people unfortunately end up in a pretty bad place in their entrepreneurial journey. It's something to be cautious of. And I think it's our responsibility to be honest about that.

Brad  17:22  
Yep. So before I answer, I just like to hold the room. And I think that that question is valid. And I think it's valid for a young entrepreneur, and older entrepreneur, and wherever you are in that stage of growth. And I just want to see, maybe it's make a sound or something. I hope that this question resonates with everyone in this room, because it because it's really important in my cracks. I think, Eloise, I think you hit it, you hit it on the head. So I can speak anecdotally to this. I am a workaholic. I am and I've started more businesses. I've invested in more businesses than I even know I also started became an entrepreneur, when the word was considered a disease. And that's something that was and my family didn't understand what I was doing. And it's really hard on family, especially if you're working 80 hours and you come home, you know, when they the the kids want to go to the park? Are you seeing you? Right? We've all lived that. So through my life, I've learned that there's no such thing as work life balance, it's just life. So how do you want to set up your life and you're talking to a guy that went to his cabin for two years, because I was depressed, because I had partnership issues. It didn't talk to anyone for two years other than my dogs. And my my direct family turned my phone off. So I recognize this and actually coming to see you and working with people like you is has greatly helped me understand what this is. Thing is, is when you when you're on to something, you become emotionally, you're tied to it. Right? And actually, it's really dangerous because you need to follow the data versus my heart is telling you this right? Your customers need to say, Hey, this is going on. So I would just I would just my answer is take it from an entrepreneur with every freaking battle scar that you could imagine. It's come out on the other end really well. But going through the process is extremely brutal. You have to be self aware. You have to listen to your family. You have to decide what's important to you, and build the life that you want to live that you're proud of living. And I would say one of the ways to do that is work with people that inspire you. I think that if you work with people that inspire you and really you love them, I think it gets you through a lot and so that's my advice.

Jeff York  19:43  
That's awesome. Awesome. Well, okay, I feel kind of bad about even doing the applause meter on that one.

Brad  19:49  
Because you'll lose.

Jeff York  19:52  
Your student asked the question. Save yourself for why the way

Brad  19:57  
though everyone in the room resin added with the question.

Jeff York  20:00  
Oh, of course.

Brynn Keenan  20:02  
Right? That was a great question.

Brad  20:04  
Right? Okay, pause a meter. I need point A, we'll start here.

Eloise  20:15  

Brynn Keenan  20:25  
you had my vote.

Jeff York  20:31  
Next year, I'm not doing the research.

Brad  20:34  
I'm sure the research actually is really strong in that area. It's

Jeff York  20:38  
actually not just emerging. It's interesting because like, academics have the same thing. Like people that study entrepreneurship. Most of them have been entrepreneurs at some point in the past, and those that haven't really think entrepreneurs are really cool. Entrepreneurs. And so there's like, really, really, I mean, really, only in the past, like, couple of years, have there been studies where people are taking things more from our organizational behavior and psychology, and looking at the actual negative downside of entrepreneurship for people? It's not what people want to hear and read about. Right. But it's the truth. Right. And it's something I think we owe it to our students to know about and be able to talk about, yep. And what there isn't really good research about I mean, we have good research showing, yeah, there are negative downsides to entrepreneurship, definitely linked with epic depression with mania, I mean, all kinds of mental health problems. But we don't have really great research about how you solve that. So that's actually interesting opportunities. So cool. Okay, next question. Yep. All right.

Bonnie  21:41  
So my name is Bonnie, I'm actually trained as a nutrition scientist. I'm in the EMBA program now. And my question really is for you, Brian, is as a scientist, who are the three most important people you've surrounded yourself with, to develop a successful business?

Brynn Keenan  21:58  
So really good question. I can't think of a single person who's been with me the whole time. But at every stage, I surround myself with somebody I'm very tight with, and has what I need. And it seems to change, not super frequently, but fairly frequently, like, depending on what stage the company is that so like, when I first started the company, I didn't know how to write a business plan. I didn't know anything about raising money, I didn't know anything about software like I was, I knew nothing. And I surrounded myself with somebody who I just happened to know that had advised a bunch of other companies. And he was great. And he knew two software developers who were already financially successful, that could do this project for equity. And at first, like, I just latched on to that first person who had what I needed. I was like, he, I don't even need to talk to him every day, I just need to know what I need to do next. And he can tell me what it is that I need to do next. And then I can Google it. Like, I just need some guidance. And then the software developers became the most important people. And they were the ones that I was just with every day, and then kind of like still talking to this other person. And then we started to get traction and breweries were coming on board. And it became somebody who knew a lot about partnerships that became the most important person to have close by, I think I was like in this constant state of not going to like tech meetups and like, all the startups stuff, but just like getting connected with people. And I, it was just, it was a, it was an intuition. When I met somebody where I was like, they have what I need next. And those people, I would give them what they needed to be. And usually it's just like, they're happy that they can help, you know, they didn't even really need that much. And, yeah, now and now we're at the stage where we're hiring employees, and we hired two employees. One of them worked out and one of them didn't, after the raise, and one of them I would trust him with my life. I think that he's incredibly logical. He's very methodical. He can work through problems. The other one wasn't it it was a really painful process. But letting that person go and finding somebody for that position. That was the right fit was one of the hardest choices I've had to make so far, but just show the right choice. And yeah, that's my answer is is sort of like having a wide enough wins. You know what you need in the long term, but like a narrow enough scope to be like, this is the person I need now. And like letting those relationships grow and fade as they need to

Jeff York  24:47  
read Who do you think the three most important people are that Bryn has surrounded herself with you, me

Brad  24:53  
and Joel? Yeah. That's easy.

Brynn Keenan  24:59  
Oh, I'll add to that, that we do have a advisory board. And I lean on those people really, really heavily. I've

Brad  25:08  
never said this publicly before, but I'm a co founder of a company called xumo, az UML. You can all Google it xumo started in practically 2010. And my partner is a scientist. He is a PhD in optics from MIT, and found a way to bend the fiscal rule. So I have a different experience when we were growing. He was the engineer, we had an entire team of engineers and probably 50 or 60, by the I don't even know. But it was there were four people that started the company. And we relied on each other. And so it was different for a long time, even when we hired, we hired for specific roles. But for me, the connection was always with this brilliant inventor. And I trusted him in his intellect, about inventions engineering, and this is an optical engineering company optics and what photons could do, and he trusted me in business and those types of things. And I still would say that that's my relationship with the company is that I trust this person with my life. And we've talked about starting other companies beyond this. So it was never, I think that the quest for knowledge and to answer questions that your company is going through at a certain stage is really important. But I've had a much longer term relationship with my partner at the business than this person could fill my needs, right, we would hire for some of those things. So I would say if you're a founder or co founder, choose your founder or co founder, your partner's very, very carefully. And you can't always bet as much, especially in CNBC in the room, you can't bet as much as you'd like, because people aren't going to tell you things about them that happened. And I can tell you some stories offline, that are really incredible. So there, they are putting on a show a little bit for you. But over time, you get to know people. And I still feel that I was fortunate to meet a great friend and a brilliant person in a field totally different than I was versed in. And he trusted me to do what I did as well. So I think that was for me, that's what works. Can I ask how you found that person? It was actually random through a third party? Yep, just happened?

Jeff York  27:21  
All right. I'm not gonna wait points here. But I'm gonna actually answer your question. Don't surround yourself with three people. Yeah, one person, a partner. All of the research shows, founding teams of two are more successful than single founders, and especially more successful than founding teams of three. The reasons for this are having a partner allows you to debate those ideas. As Brad's, describing having someone from a different background is helpful, as long as you have a good relationship with them, and allows you to get them to challenge what your beliefs are about what the business you do. But having two people also let you get to some kind of negotiated agreement, even when you disagree. And this goes way back in psychology, if you have three people, you guys know what happens? Anybody have been on teams or three? Somebody loses? Exactly. And is that good when everybody's in a high stress situation and trying to do a start up and make decisions? No, it's really not. Because what happens is a whole lot of infighting and nothing gets done. Quick answer when me points best, what the research shows,

Bonnie  28:27  
that's actually really, really cool. And I actually

Brad  28:29  
believe the research, these were the cards that I was dealt, right. So I think that that part of my success in this venture, there's some luck and timing and things that are outside of your control. And the idea was so so strong, though, that the idea actually trumped those issues that we had issues like that keeps the three suck. Actually partnerships have forced me into it. The Northwoods. So Right. Just never frickin though, but make sure that there's somebody there that you can truly relate with, I think is just a power move. Yeah,

Brynn Keenan  29:01  
I will say that I am a solo founder. And I have navigated my way through that. But it Gosh, it would have been nice to have somebody else there.

Jeff York  29:10  
Absolutely. But not to somebody else's. I mean, I'm not saying I mean, obviously, this is not like some ironclad rule. I'm just telling you what the research shows, all else being equal. You're better off with two than your arm one or three.

unknown  29:23  
I want to add one thing, I have a friend who was in business with four other people, and they actually hired a psychologist, and then they made him a partner in the business.

Brynn Keenan  29:36  
Oh, that's amazing. True story. I love that. Like, are you available next Tuesday for a board meeting? anymore?

Speaker 9  29:51  
That's a true story. All right. Are we doing the applause meter?

Jeff York  29:55  
I don't know. Sure. Why not?

Bonnie  30:00  
Gonna start with Brynn, hold on here. Okay.

Brad  30:07  
Jeff? Me

unknown  30:15  
Oh my god, Bonnie, you made it.

Jeff York  30:19  
Oh, I would like a recount.

You had a woman screaming beside you

on $15 equity

Brad  30:35  
question not even a student could do open mic night?

Jennifer  30:42  
This is a general question. Sure. My question is what are the key lessons you've learned about finding the right people for the right roles? And what are the key lessons you've learned about getting someone out of the role that they should not be in?

Jeff York  30:57  
That? You mean? Okay. That second part, do you mean like keeping them in the company, but the role or do you mean, just getting them out of the company? Okay, fair enough.

All right. So

Brad  31:10  
what was your name? Again? I'm sorry,

Jeff York  31:10  
Jennifer. So Jennifer, I don't I can't think of a good research answer. So I can talk about my experience entrepreneurs manager, what you're asking is an organizational behavior Question Nine entrepreneurship question. If we're talking about fields of research, I'm sure my OB colleagues who tell you all about this, I can't. Because usually, it's just not something to think about. But um, I think like getting the right person into the right role. The most important thing I've learned is finding a person you like trust and respect, based on of course, their accomplishments. That's how they even get in the door, right? Because otherwise, why are you talking to them, if they can't show something they've done that makes them a good fit for the role. But then I think developing that personal connection with them, and I can't tell you how to do that other than spending time with him talking to him, and talking to people who know them, to try to vet them. And what I've learned actually is as much as humanly possible, letting them co create or create their role rather than you dictating the role to them. When I've done that, people perform exceptionally well. Now, if, from a scientific perspective, what you're selecting on the dependent variable, right, you're saying, Well, I'm gonna pick a person for the role, this was the role. But, you know, that works a lot better, in my estimation, than trying to take someone who you think is talented, like you're a great engineer, but I really need someone to be like, you know, our chief communications officer by like you. So I'm going to try to get you to do that anyway. And you take someone who's like enthusiastic about the company, but not about the role. And it just never works. I've never, ever, ever seen it work. I think this is almost as much about being a leader and a manager is is about being an entrepreneur, because I think entrepreneurs have to be leaders and managers, but leaders and managers happen in every walk of life, really understanding what the person's goals are, what they want to achieve what they want to get out of this relationship. And CO creating that role together is way more effective than trying to slot people into a role, in my humble opinion, getting people out of the wrong role. Alright, so the question, first question, is this person valuable to the organization? If not, then you've just got to get rid, and you've got to fire them. I mean, any organization doesn't matter if it's entrepreneurship, academia, this brewery, whatever, if you have someone who is not bringing value to the organization, better to fire them, than to try to coach them over and over again, I'd like to try to get people one shot. After that the guy go. Now, if they're valuable to the organization, but not in the role, they're in the question, you have to ask yourself, can we afford to keep them and fill that role? If so great. Let's try to craft a new role for them. Let's try to move them towards that. Let's move their accountability, someone else who will enjoy that role more. But you know, most entrepreneurs don't have the luxury of that, as I'm sure you've all know. But in a large organization, you can pull that off. That's my experience. I don't know what the research says is one my OB colleagues.

Brad  34:00  
I think it's a great question. And I've lived this many times back to anecdotal. For me, it's all about culture and values. When we're talking about hiring, we could talk, I could specifically talk about engineers, but I'm talking about 100. I can't remember how many people I've hired. But it's looking for a culture and values fit first. Engineers, in a certain level could have the same amount of skills and you want them to be trainable. If they buy into your values and the values that you're setting up. The first thing that I look for, I would say is do no harm. Do no harm to your current team. Right. Great. I mean, the new hassles rule. Yeah, right? I mean, seriously, and you know, and I've never said this to things. Wow, give me another beer. So when I'm interviewing some someone, the first thing before we actually started about the questions about what have you done in your life, I start talking about my dogs, and if they don't like dogs, they're not gonna hire. I don't I don't know if that's a right or wrong thing, but I He because because it goes to my values. But

Speaker 5  35:02  
I also would say though dogs go to your value love dogs, right? I don't consider that.

Brad  35:10  
But it goes back to the culture. And I can I can give you stories, but I always say it's just getting to know someone right beyond just a job interview.

Jeff York  35:18  
Because he'd academics, people know,

Brad  35:21  
because if you do well, number one, the hiring number two, the firing actually becomes much scarcer. And that's what you're trying to do, because it's expensive to onboard people. And so when you get them on board, if they resonate with your values and the team's values, and the culture of the business and your mission, and they like dogs, then I think that number two is much rarer, much rarer events. So to eliminate firing, do a better job at hiring. Sometimes you feel like you meet somebody today, it's much better to wait a week, a month, six months and get the right person than it is bringing someone in having to get rid of him in two months. So that's my two cents.

Jeff York  36:04  
Actually, I agree with the dog rule two person.

Brynn Keenan  36:07  
I gotta be honest, I hate dogs. Okay, yeah. I know, it's an unpopular opinion, much like session IPAs. I hate dogs,

Brad  36:18  
you are never getting hired.

Brynn Keenan  36:19  
I know. I know. I just I felt like Yeah, I like some of them. I like I like as many dogs as I like cats, so most of them. But like some of them, I'm like, I don't know about that one. I would go like 80% Dog Lover. People love her. Anyway,

Brad  36:40  
hiring, hiring and firing, hiring and firing dogs or dogs.

Brynn Keenan  36:47  
I think that they had great responses. And I've had some recent experience with this where it was both very painful, very expensive, and took a very long time to let somebody go, that wasn't a good fit, especially at a stage this early. And I keep returning to this almost Montra lately when I'm thinking about who to bring on next that I want to be able to change their mind and I want them to be able to change my mind. I want them to be open enough that they can admit flaw that they can use somebody else's perspective. And they can do it quickly. And that they are an expert enough in their round to provide some insight that I haven't thought about before and feel comfortable enough bringing it up to me that they can do it and you know, an eloquent way and we can make decisions fast and quickly and there's no ego. And I think that's sort of applies to any area really,

Jeff York  37:48  
it's probably more important than their qualifications really like It's like more can we collaborate? Oh, no. Please more personality personally, but anyway. Okay, I always had to fire a guy for carrying his firearm to work. So until you fired someone who is carrying their firearm to work for fear carrying their firearm door, out their firearm, you haven't really lived anyway. So let's get to the question.

Brad  38:16  
What do you think Jennifer? Did we help you or did we answer your question or?

I love cats. Okay, time to time. So Jeff

me I guess I'm a second

Jeff York  38:45  
TA TA is sitting right by the mic

yeah, there's a rush. But we got to wrap this up. I think Brad actually already won two rounds. Thanks to the screaming lady over there. Right. It's really close. It's really close. Brian has gotten to so so you Oh, bread $15 in equity. Lawyer, Brad. Hey, you guys have a great audience. Thank you very much. We appreciate you doing Thank you. It's been it's been a lot of fun. You are infinitely better than the first cohort because you're now filling out MCQ on me next semester and the last cohort is done with that so yeah, they weren't very good you guys clearly far more intelligent hardworking and I must say a much more attractive group as well. So so thank you for joining us on creative distillation We hope you have fun evening we certainly had and that's a wrap for season four. Wow one fast a little way to go out then you as a two timer this I'm winning this damn thing make sure that I swear

Brad  39:56  
next year we're picking a trophy.

Jeff York  39:57  
Yeah, we Oh yeah. We can have a trophy. Will you be like our Our research director Eric who like likes to have a trophy for being the loser of things, and like take pride in the scrappiness and creativity of the solution. Yeah. Anyway, we are doing that. It's been an awesome season, Brad. Good friend I've enjoyed Yeah. It's been awesome hanging out. And I love dogs someday. That's it for great distillation. I'm Kostas Brad. We're here as always, and we hope you enjoy season four. We'll be back in season five, and it's gonna be a wild ride, I think. Cheers. Cheers.

Stefani H  40:39  
We hope you enjoyed this episode of Creative Distillation recorded in front of a live audience at Twisted Pine Brewing in Boulder, Colorado. Learn more and order merch at Learn more about Bryn Keenan on her LinkedIn page and We hope you enjoyed season four of Creative Distillation. We are already working on season five and look forward to returning with more spirited tastings and the latest findings in entrepreneurial research. Thanks for listening!We'd love to hear your feedback and ideas email us at, and please be sure to cubscribe to Creative Distillation wherever you get your podcasts. The Creative Distillation podcast is made possible by the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado Boulder's Leeds School of Business. For more information, please visit That's D-E-M-ING and click the Creative Distillation link. Creative Distillation is produced by Joel Davis at Analog Digital Arts. Our theme music is "Whiskey Before Breakfast" performed by your humble hosts, Brad and Jeff. Thanks for listening. We'll see you back here for another episode of Creative Distillation. If you've enjoyed this episode, you may also enjoy Leeds Business Insights, check them out at