Over drinks at a restaurant in downtown Boulder a couple years back, professor Jeff York shared some exciting new research with Brad Werner, director of teaching at the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at Leeds. Midway through York’s analysis, Werner stopped him.
“This is fascinating stuff, Jeff, but how is it useful to an entrepreneur? A student? An investor?” It was a good question—one that needed answering.
They came up with “Creative Distillation”— a podcast that brings entrepreneurship research to the masses by breaking down academic papers into usable, tangible insights. Werner is the veteran entrepreneur, who challenges York to “explain the study to me as if I were a 5-year-old.” With the help of the paper’s authors, who join remotely, York and Werner distill the research into usable takeaways.
“Truthfully,” said Werner, “it is apparent that a few of our guests have not lived in this entrepreneurial world and cannot relate to the day-to-day pressures of starting a new business. I love putting them in the hot seat.”
To kick off each episode, York and Werner sample a craft beverage at a local distillery or brewery and interview the establishment’s founder before tackling the paper du jour. So far, they have analyzed everything from pinot noir to IPAs, sour beers to Japanese single-malt whiskey.
“We want it to be approachable and candid and entertaining, with the hope that we’ll provide one thing an entrepreneur can take away from the paper.”
-Jeff York, Associate Professor, Chair of the Division of Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Research Director of the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship
“This part of the show is an exploration of the emerging sector of craft beverages and entrepreneurship in Boulder,” York said. Plus, he added, sampling drinks just makes it more fun: “We want it to be approachable and candid and entertaining, with the hope that we’ll provide one thing an entrepreneur can take away from the paper.”
As the podcast enters its second season, it has more than 20 episodes, over 1,400 downloads, and more than 2,000 listeners under its belt. As for the content, York and Werner have put together some unlikely pairings: Pinot noir with research on the transformation of the yoga industry; a rice-based vodka with a paper on rural ventures; malt whiskey with research on hierarchies within cooperatives; and a hazy India pale ale with a study on cannabis’ influence on new venture ideation.
In an episode taped last spring at Avery Brewing Co., York and Werner sipped a Belgian-style white ale while struggling to decipher “Taking Trade-offs Seriously: Examining the Contextually Contingent Relationship Between Social Outreach Intensity and Financial Sustainability in Global Microfinance.” Even for academic minds, the title alone was tough to crack.
Thankfully, there was beer.
“Creative Distillation” is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud.