EP 003 / 25.01.2022
SPEARHEADING HINT WATER
INTO A $150M BRAND
Kara Goldin 00:00
It frustrates me, frankly, when I hear that women are only a small percentage can't raise money can't do all of these things don't allow other people to build your walls up for you. Right? It's you there is there are a lot of different avenues for capital. For example, there are a tonne of angel investors out there, in fact, 60% of our cap table, not necessarily by percentage, but in terms of participants are women. And so we've had a number of individual investors who have reached out to us who have said I loved Hint, hint helps me every single day, enjoy water, get off of sweeteners, and they are advocates for the brand. And so know that it is possible to go and do things can you join a large company and go and become a CEO? Maybe, maybe not.
Farah Nanji 00:58
You're listening to the mission makers show, a podcast that inspires humans to get into the mindset of success. My name is Farah Nanji, and I'm the founder of a business in the motorsports industry that explores leadership lessons from things like Formula One. I'm also a DJ and music producer in the underground electronic scene, and a public speaker on key topics like resilience, building high performance teams, overcoming learning difficulties and stimulating creativity. And to tie it all together, I love writing thought provoking content as a journalist for these industries, which is so unique in themselves. On this show, I'm sitting down with some of the most inspiring and driven people I've met around the world to talk about their processes, their failures, the lessons they've learned, and how they're truly making an impact for this world. Hello, and welcome back to season three of the mission makers podcast. For this week's episode, I'm joined by one of the most powerful CEOs in America. Her name is Kara Golden, and she is the brains behind hint water. A fast growing beverage company that's a favourite in some of the biggest boardrooms in Silicon Valley. With a recent valuation of $150 million. She's won countless awards from fortunes Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs, Forbes 40, under 40 and Fast Company's most creative people in business. We talk about her journey in growing Hent entering the industry with zero experience of food and beverages. How she continually pushes outside of her comfort zone, and what her visions are for the future. To catch a full episode dropping this Wednesday on Apple, Spotify, YouTube and wherever else you get your podcasts. Car Welcome to Mission makers. were so delighted to have you on the show today. How're you doing?
Kara Goldin 03:04
I'm great. How are you?
Farah Nanji 03:06
Yeah, I'm good. Thanks, I believe are you currently in San Francisco,
Kara Goldin 03:09
just outside of San Francisco and Marin County. So about 20 minutes over the Golden Gate Bridge.
Farah Nanji 03:15
Oh, nice. It must be getting cold that now.
Kara Goldin 03:18
It is but it's a it's a brisk fall day. So it's, it's quite nice. I live in an area that has lots of hiking and lots of wildlife. So it's, it's it's fun kind of seeing many animals go into hibernation and and it's it's very sweet in many ways.
Farah Nanji 03:40
eautiful. So your journey to get to where you are today has been absolutely incredible. You started at timing straight out of university. And then you moved into sales at CNN and then AOL as the VP of shopping and E commerce, where you helped to grow the company to about a billion dollars in revenue. So what inspired you to take a step back from an already established career and, and make the plunge into starting your own business?
Kara Goldin 04:06
Yeah, I know this when I was leaving PTAC when I was at America Online, and was running the direct to consumer and E commerce partnerships, but I had started my family and I kept hearing from so many people that you can't take a break, right? You can't go and have a family and have a career. It just doesn't work. And so I thought, Okay, well, I'd still have my family here. And I want to go and spend some time with them. And I'll figure that stuff out whether or not you can have it all or and do both later on. And as I was taking that time, that's when I really started to think about things that I think many parents think about when they have children which is what am I putting into my kids bodies, what kind of diapers do I put on them? What kind of stroller do I buy all of those things? I was experiencing myself. And as I share with new parents, every everywhere that I never felt so stupid as when I had my first kids, right that I thought I was really smart and tech, and then all the sudden I had these children that I had to care for, and I have to make all these decisions for them. But while this process was going on, I was really looking at my own world of not only, I didn't obviously have a stroller for myself, but I but what I was putting into my body, and I felt like I was a little dishonest about, you know, telling my kids that they need to, you know, not have this and not have this, but then what was I actually was I practising what I was preaching, and again, not really consciously thinking, Okay, this is how I'm going to figure out what I'm going to do next. This is what my next company is going to be. But it was when I started looking at ingredients. And when I started looking at my diet soda, my diet coke and killer, I realised that the ingredients were possibly not getting me as healthy as I want it to be. And so I I did a little test one day, not even knowing whether or not it was going to work or not. But I swapped out my diet coke for plain water. And when I did that, that's when I realised that I felt better things that I had been trying to solve for years, like my adult acne that had cropped up over the last few years, I didn't even have acne as a teenager, suddenly went away. And I thought, Okay, well, maybe water is better for me. But it's still really boring. I mean, why I can't stick with this, this is crazy. But I thought if I can figure out a way to drink water, without without all the rest of the stuff that's in these sodas, then maybe I'll be okay, so I started slicing up fruit, and throwing it in water. Still not thinking that this was my next career, my like, next product that I'm going to start that I was starting not only a new company, but also an entirely new category. For me, I was solving a problem for myself. And when I had solved that problem for myself, in the first three weeks, little shy of three weeks, I lost over 20 pounds, I lost 24 pounds in two and a half weeks. And I thought, That's nuts, right? If I can do that, then I bet I could share this idea with a lot of other people and help people to get healthier. So people always say to me, you must have you must have been a fearless risk taker, you go and start, take on big soda and go and decide to start an entirely new product and an entirely new category. I'm like, it actually wasn't as complicated as that. For me. It really was this purpose in this mission that drove me that made me see that even if I failed. Even if I could only get a little bit of traction. I thought the fact that I just tried is enough. And we'll see what happens and and so that was the story of started kins. I call myself an accidental entrepreneur because I, I didn't actually put up this big goal, this big plan of I'm going to go start a company like that's way too daunting for so many people to go to. Instead, I encourage people to think about, if you're going to start a company, start with your purpose. Start with your why why? What's your mission? Why? Why do you think this can actually work. And if you're doing something, if you have an idea, that's actually gonna help a lot of people globally, it, it doesn't matter how long it takes, it's the idea that you can actually get traction and just keep going along the way and helping people which I fully believe Kant has done that really continues to lead you and drive you and gives you that type of energy, even during those times when things might be a little tougher.
Farah Nanji 09:32
Yeah, I absolutely love that. I'm a huge advocate of adding essential oil into my water and, you know, like even the line of work that I do, you know, when I was young it was it was a passion and just so lucky to be able to turn that into work but in a way you know, you're much more motivated and driven by the sort of flaws that you experienced as a consumer versus the you know, sort of planning it out to the tee and, and sort of maybe not being so passionate about something because you You don't identify with that pain point as much. And so the meaning of your name Cora is Karen Beloved. And I'm curious if you've ever thought about how this might translate to your life or even your destiny.
Kara Goldin 10:13
It's so interesting. I mean, Kara is, is a, I remember hearing it for the first time. I was named after if anybody who followed the Kennedys my parents were huge Kennedy, John F. Kennedy fans, and there was a nice name Kara Kennedy. She passed away a few years ago, but I was named after her. My maiden name was Kenan. So I think my parents thought, okay, Cara Kennedy, Cara Keenan. And I remember I had a friend when I was when I was little. Angela, to Sony, and her father was from Sicily. And they were first generation. And came came over to the US from Italy. And he would always say kata me, I was like face, you know, it's got all of these different meanings in all in all these different countries. So I think for me, it was it was kind of a recognition as a young kid that it means something good to many, many people in a lot of different countries. And maybe that's the reason why I would ultimately want to do good, I guess. And that it, it's it's got that kind of meeting that makes people smile and gives people hope in some way.
Farah Nanji 11:35
Definitely a sort of subconscious vibe to what you then went on to to empower other people through what what do you think is the greatest challenge with that? What was the greatest challenge you face starting a company that sort of went against these huge giants in such a well established industry?
Kara Goldin 11:55
Great question. I, I think more than anything, I didn't know what I didn't know. And so it sounds great to come up with an idea that you can help a lot of people you can go save the world, right in some way. But when you start to realise that there are little hurdles along the way, there's there are walls being built every single day to prevent you from moving forward. And often those walls are within yourself, right there only increased by others, confirming what you are ready, kind of even if it's just a speck, believe that you can't. So that may be people sharing with me, you're a tech executive, you're not a beverage executive, why do you think you can go and get traction? Why do you think that you could actually build a big company, you don't have the right experience? You don't have the right education, to be able to develop something like this. And, and again, it starts with you. It starts with you being able to be okay with not having all the answers be okay with being humbled. I think often. I'm sure you've experienced this as well, when as you grow in any industry, I think that the challenges is that people have expectations about what you should be doing, versus what maybe you want to be doing. And for me, I see so many people who have grown in the corporate ladder, women and men who find themselves in this position where they're no longer learning anymore. They're they're supposed to be mentoring, managing, doing what they do really, really well. For me, I had this craving that I wanted to go back down the ladder, and I wanted to go start something new. It's very difficult to do that in your own industry, right, unless you go and pop over into another industry. And you say, Okay, I've proven myself in this other industry. Now, let me go do this. So I think that the big answer to your to your question is that, while I didn't know what I didn't know, I also didn't know if I could, because I listened. In the early days, I thought that I had to hire people with lots of experience, I thought that I wasn't going to be able to get traction. But then when I kind of reset myself, and reminded myself that I had figured out really hard things in my previous life that I was capable of a lot more. It was it was that voice inside my head that I had to reset on my own and I had to take responsibility for it to know that I wasn't in a hurry, like to take my time to do this. And I was doing this as a choice that I didn't have to be doing what I was doing, but I did it because I wanted to do that. And, frankly, that was that was ended up to be a journal. And I started writing these things out. I didn't imagine that that would turn into a book. Right. So a lot of what my book is undaunted was actually about my own voice talking about these experiences along the way that I would run into so many people have read it, and have shared with me, I never thought about being an entrepreneur. And being an entrepreneur, becoming an entrepreneur until I read your book, because I thought, if she can do it, all the stuff that she learned not only about an industry, but also about herself, what I was capable of doing, that it's it inspires you to live and and live a full life that lets you know that you're capable of going out and doing much more than maybe you ever thought that you could.
Farah Nanji 15:58
Definitely and and how long was it before when you started that? That journey before hint, started gaining traction, and even getting into into sort of companies like Google and other huge sort of other companies?
Kara Goldin 16:12
Yeah, you know, it's funny traction for me is such a, it's it's such an interesting question. I was just, I was doing a keynote right before this. And somebody asked me that. And, you know, we've continued to grow every year, we've never had a down year. And it's all been really exciting. I think part of what's been so exciting is that we've always looked for new holes in the market. And so for us, one of the big kind of holes that we saw, and truly by accident was getting into, we call it corporate food service. So the offices like Google and Facebook and some of the others, I was actually headhunted to after I had started hints I had I was in a carrying cases into the local supermarkets and a friend called me from Google and said, I don't know what you're doing right now, I know you took a few years off from America Online, and you're staying at home with your children. But would you be interested in talking to me about a job and I thought, oh, I can actually go have lunch with adults right now and not be working? Maybe I'll go and hear him out. See, it was probably one of those days that I had, you know, wondered whether or not I was going to be able to be successful at doing my company hint. And it was during that moment, I had a bottle of Hinton in my bag. And I it was a friend that I knew in my previous experience, who was working at Google meet for Dasani. And Mead said to me, he said, So what do you think? And I said, I mean, I have to be honest with you, I really appreciate you reaching out to me. But I've started this company. And he said, You're kidding. And I think he thought it was another tech company. And I said, No, it's this beverage company. And I pulled a bottle of cucumber hint out of my back. He said, you started a beverage company, do tell like let me This is so cool that you would take the risk and go and do this. And it was funny, because that was the response that I was getting from so many tech executives that they thought it was a little crazy that I had gone and done this. But they were inspired by the fact that I thought I could. And I thought every time I would have one of these conversations, I thought there has to be something here that when I would talk about the purpose of trying to help people drink water without sugar or diet sweeteners in it. Even if they weren't addicted to diet sweeteners, like I was, they were intrigued by it. And they saw the purpose early and I thought I just need to find the people that really need this product. And so the more I think that I would start to have those conversations, that was another thing that I that I saw really early on was that as I started to share these conversations, people want it to be helpful to me, even if they weren't in my industry. And so the case of Google in particular, Amin said to me, you know, we have shops that are cooking for us on Google campuses right now. Maybe we should actually order some of your water. I think he was kidding, initially. But then he connected me with the person who was the head chef Charlie, and Charlie said, Sure, we'll try some of your water. If the people don't like it, we're not going to continue ordering it. And I said, Sure. I get it, that's fine. And then suddenly, they were ordering, you know, 300 pallets, every couple of weeks. And so they became huge customers because they wanted to help in some way. So that was a huge moment of traction, I guess. But the other thing that, uh, that I think is probably the most interesting about some of those points where we started to get traction was that it created this this poll for us as if we became big inside of Google, then suddenly Facebook came on the map. And then Facebook saw what Google had. And then they would reach out to us. And they'd say, we would like to carry your product as well, or a local store would hear from a consumer who worked at Facebook or Google and they would bring a bottle of Hinton to the store. And they'd say, you should have this product as well. They've become our, our, you know, Salesforce and our, you know, Affiliate Network, however, you want to look at it to be able to help us drive those sales. So I think that there were so many points along the way that that really helped us to get the traction. And truly it was it was by accident, more than anything.
Farah Nanji 21:06
So why, why the name hen? What does that name mean to you and to the company.
Kara Goldin 21:11
So the original name for the company was wah wah. So as my husband said, I think you've been hanging out too long with your young kids. When I originally came up with this idea for the product called wah, wah. I don't know, maybe that's how some people including me, that tried to get my children to understand the word water. And there's a large grocery or C store chain on the east coast of the US called Wawa. And my husband being an attorney, said, it's a really bad idea, you'll never get the trademark for Walla. So we shouldn't even apply for it. And that's when I sat there and thought about names. And I said, Well, we're putting just a small hint into into the bottle. Maybe we're giving people hints. And before I knew it, I had come upon this word that I thought was perfect. It was easy for people to remember, it was wonderful. And my husband again, the lawyer kind of killed the idea initially and said, it's a four letter word, you'll never get the trademark. He was not my favourite person at this moment. And I said, just apply for it. Stop being so negative about it. And and so we did and we got the worldwide trademarks on on hint, that's
Farah Nanji 22:39
awesome. Talking about your family and your your children. So I know that you when you were starting when your kids were under the age of six, so what advice would you give, you know, to our listeners, who are our fellow parents and entrepreneurs or thinking of starting their own business about really sort of carving out that work life balance and having that support?
Kara Goldin 23:01
Yeah, I think we we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be balanced. If there's nothing else that I've learned, especially over the last few years, it's just stop thinking of yourself as always having to be balanced, there's going to be days when you're not so balanced, because something comes into your circle that is disruptive in some way. And I think more than anything, what I focus on is, is really being able to manage those days that are, you know, not so fun that are unexpected. But I think also as it relates to children. One of the chapters that I share in the book is around my my son, Keenan, who is now 19 years old, but at the time he was 12 years old, and he was watching Sheryl Sandberg on television talking about leaning in and balance and and he said mom, I just realised that women don't run companies. They're not CEOs of companies, but you've always been a CEO. And I thought, okay, where are we going with this conversation? And, and he said, You know, I just never really realised it seems so normal to me. I don't really understand what the problem is. And that's when I I realised that there was a huge situation that had gone on over the years ago, I wasn't even aware of I was teaching my children, what normal should be right and that they were seeing that their mom had come up with an idea had switched industries had had recruited her husband who was the lawyer into being a chief operating officer for the company and helping me so lots of things that maybe I guilted myself at some points along the way. wanted to be more balanced wanted to be, you know, wondered if I should be spending more time with them, they were actually living in an environment that they that they could later see as a learning environment. And now I think what my children would say, if two in university have one in graduate school and one still in high school is that they are looking at their studies today as something that interests them today. But also they want to do something that they're really passionate about, that they're really curious about. And they also know that they can change I mean, no longer do we think about university, or we shouldn't think about university, as whatever we do in university is what we're going to be doing for the rest of our life. I mean, how many of your friends went to university for something or didn't go to university at all, and are doing something totally different? Right? It's, it's more than anything, find your curiosity, find your find your difference, find your gifts that you've been gifted to kind of think through and tackle in some way. So I would say that that would be the thing that I think back on for myself, but also, what I think my kids think about and are encouraged to think about, whenever possible.
Farah Nanji 26:24
Hey, you, we hope you're enjoying today's episode. We're on a serious mission here to create one of the world's best podcast series. And we'd be so grateful if you could support us in any way by becoming a patron of the show. There's a tier two suit every level from earlybird tiers where you get downloads to all my music with some super cool ninja stickers to our VIP mission, make it here's where you get Epic Rewards like exclusive footage that never gets add the chance to submit questions to our guests with signed copies of books from them, DJ lessons, one to one coaching and a whole load of super cool ninja measure making merchandise, you can start supporting us for less than what it costs you to fill up your car for a month by simply heading over to wwe.patreon.com forward slash mission makers. Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the show. Yeah, I think this whole time in recent couple of years has really challenged the whole notion of education and what we, you know, spend our lives sort of pursuing and really the purpose and mission and passion behind that. I'm talking about gender imbalance, you know, we're still here today 2021, and only 8% of fortune 500 company CEOs, women. So what do you believe, you know, can be done as a society or in sort of those executive positions to kind of just swing the balance and get get more or more females into leadership positions?
Kara Goldin 27:47
I think entrepreneurship is the perfect opportunity for for women. I mean, how many women have have you come across over the years who have great ideas, right? They're very creative, but they just don't go and do those opportunities. They just don't try them. And so one of the things that I like to tackle in and tack I tackle in my book as well, and daunted is that you actually can do things when you think about, it frustrates me, frankly, when I hear that women are only a small percentage, can't raise money can't do all of these things. Don't allow other people to build your walls up for you. Right? It's you there is there are a lot of different avenues for capital, for example, there are a tonne of angel investors out there, in fact, 60% of our cap table, not necessarily by percentage, but in terms of participants are women. And so we've had a number of individual investors who have reached out to us who have said I love Hint, hint helps me every single day, enjoy water, get off of sweeteners, and they are advocates for the brand. And so know that it is possible to go and do things. Can you join a large company and go in become a CEO? Maybe, maybe not, if that's what you choose to do, but why not go out and start something based on an idea that you have to actually solve a problem? I think that when you do that, you control the dialogue, you control what your ability is to actually rise to the top or not. And I think that that's something that people need to be reminded about.
Farah Nanji 29:37
Yeah, definitely in your story only really embodies that further talking about challenges. What do you believe at the moment are some of the hardest things about the sort of beverage and water industry? And also what do you see as the opportunities at the moment?
Kara Goldin 29:54
Well, I think that one of the things that's pretty unique, first of all, for those of you who have never heard of him We're only in the US today we're the largest privately held non alcoholic beverage in the US that doesn't have a relationship with Pepsi or Dr. Pepper Snapple. I would love to be in the UK and and Europe and Asia, we've had many people reaching out to us, particularly during the pandemic and a time when people are paying more and more attention to health. I mean, health and wellness, I think, is one of the number one priorities today worldwide for people. And cancer is a product that does nothing but helps people really stay hydrated and, and really continue to stay healthy. I think that the opportunity more than anything in the beverage industry is to help people and away when you look at the 1000s of other products that are out there, I don't think that they can actually say most of those that they're doing, what products like cantar, to actually help people get rid of their type two diabetes control some diseases and issues that they have. And so I think that that's what the big opportunity is. And again, when you are working on a product, whether it's in the food and beverage industry, or in some other industry, where you're really focusing on helping a consumer in some way, that is really the bat the Mecca, right like that is where somebody can, can really get behind your brand. And and I think the other piece of our product that a lot of people talk about in the US is almost 40% of our overall business is direct to consumer. And so that may seem like, well, you know, of course it is well, not so fast. I mean, the majority of beverage companies out there are really focused on getting into stores getting into Grab and Go cases within different Starbucks or different food chains across the US. And you look at what happened during the pandemic, that it was really unpredictable when when many of those places would be open or movie theatres or sports stadiums. So a lot of those large soda companies were hit very, very hard. And beverage companies were hit very, very hard for us, because we already had a direct to consumer business in place, that business just continued to grow. And a lot of people have asked us like, well, just because you have this way of getting to the consumer. What happens to those sales? I mean, is it does it cannibalise the existing sales, does it? You know, what exactly does it take the place of it many ways, especially during this time? No, I mean, what we saw was that people still would go to Costco, for example. And if we had a different pack size, or we had a variety pack, where we typically are not promoting those online, they would still go in and buy those variety packs inside of Costco. But I think it what we saw is that they they feed off of each other and it's truly an omni channel approach that I think is what we're where we're headed, whether you're a beverage company or a shoe company or an eyeglass company, I mean, that is the key to where we're at with retail today. It can happen anywhere as long as you are focusing on satisfying that consumer and where they want to be purchasing.
Farah Nanji 33:48
Definitely. And so no pun intended, but we've hinted a little bit here towards your book undaunted, so talk to me about the journey around that. And what inspired you to sort of, to open up and write that book.
Kara Goldin 34:00
Yeah, well, as I had hinted about early on, I was writing in my journal for years and kind of thinking about a lot of these different issues and how, you know, more than anything it was there were things that would come up that I was trying to tackle along the way that really were hard at times. And when I I felt daunted but I thought, once I kind of regrouped once I figured out a way to break through. It never was as bad as I thought it was going to be or I also believed that when days look really dark, what you have to do is really look for the light, right? You have to look for those different opportunities. I'm sure you've had those days when you thought, Oh, I lost a customer or I lost a partnership of some sort. When you sit there and really focus on the good and figuring out what did I learn from this challenging time? Did I put too much trust too much faith in something? Did I have too many of my eggs in one basket, right that I was too reliant on this? That's the opportunity, right? When we learn from our most challenging times, and so things like that, I would share these with my children, with my friends with my colleagues, employees. And I thought, you know, that's really where we, that's the opportunity, and that, that we need to all be aware of, and so I thought, I should write these notes out, I should publish these notes that I've, I've written down over the years and see what would happen. And a friend of mine, who's authored a few different books said, You mean, write a book, and I thought, Oh, I can't write a book. I mean, that's way too hard. I'm a CEO of a company, I wouldn't when I have time to write it. And then when I looked at my notes of about 600 pages of your journal, that's when I thought, Okay, well, maybe I can hire an editor to help me push these notes down into something. But more than anything very similar to our product in, I wanted to write a book that really helped people that really helped people to see that it was going to be okay, and that they needed sometimes to get out of their own way to go figure things out that they were smarter and much more capable than maybe they ever thought they were. And the only way to actually figure it out, was to go try. And also to be able to laugh at things along the way. I always felt that even if this didn't work out a starting a beverage that I could go back and detect and I would, you know, be the life of the party telling people how I had failed, it's okay to fail. Right. And I think it's, it's your ability to be humbled, it's your ability to own, what has happened to you and why you did things is where you get the most appreciation, it doesn't mean that no one will ever take a risk on you again, just because you fail. I think it's your ability to actually share what you learned along the way is where you benefit the most from it. And I wanted to share so many of those learnings, not only with entrepreneurs, but as I said before with other people who don't take risks, because taking a risk, you could fail, right? You could something bad could really happen to you. And what I've learned is it's typically not as bad as you can ever imagine. It's not as scary as as maybe those dreams that you had when you were a little kid about what was really going to happen. It never really is that bad. But can you pick yourself back up again, is another theme and just lessons that I've learned that I think could help a lot of people as well.
Farah Nanji 37:54
Definitely, I mean, 90% of it really is that journey, no matter what happens through that. It's the it's looking back and experiencing that with people and as you say, sort of sharing the learnings, is there anything that you like to do as an activity or, or also that really pushes you out of your comfort zone?
Kara Goldin 38:13
You know, I think more than anything, I I like to kind of scare myself a little bit. And to doing things that maybe seem really hard to people are seems sort of counter to what I'm comfortable doing. And I'm always encouraging people to kind of go into that. That zone, right where maybe things are just a little bit tough for you that you can't imagine I one of the things that I talk about in the book, another chapter in the book is, is a personal kind of fear that I've had for years, which is a fear of heights. And so I talk about my journey to this wonderful place called the Grand Canyon, where I went hiking in and out of the Grand Canyon in a day, it took a lot of energy just to even think about the idea of training for something as big as this but more than anything, I kept thinking about the the down part, like how my how my body was going to react about how my mind was going to react to that. And what I found was that there were things that were totally different. And the journey down that I experienced I did what I could I planned as best as I could to journey down I was I start at four o'clock in the morning when it was still dark out so that I couldn't actually see the bottom of the canyon as we were going down. But lots of things happen along the way, running into snakes and coyotes and almost was killed by a goat that flew over my head. I never predicted any of those things. But when I was surfacing out of the 12 hour experience, that's when I realised all that I have learned as an entrepreneur and all that I had been through and, and how my journey along the way made me stronger in business and in life, and that I knew that I wasn't going to die in the canyon that this wasn't going to be my last rodeo, right, this was going to be challenging and hard. But I had to figure out how to take those steps. And so that's what I like to share with people too, that oftentimes you're placed in these positions where you think, Oh, that's much too scary, I can't do it, instead, figure out what you can do. Because maybe that little glimpse is actually helping you, if you say yes to it, prepare for something much bigger that you needed to, and it may not turn out the way that you really want it to turn out. Or maybe you don't succeed, or maybe you fail along the way. But maybe you need to go through that room, that journey, that tunnel in order to be able to be stronger for that next in order to have the proper learnings to get to the next step. And so I think that that is something that we all need to embrace that just because something didn't turn out the way we want it to just because something you know, was a situation that we failed in more than anything. Maybe that is what you needed in order to find success.
Farah Nanji 41:41
Yeah, definitely. Sometimes, you know, you can get to you in your own head, and then you don't take the plunge and you know, that obviously, the situation we find ourselves in, you know, the pandemic, something none of us could have predicted, and yet we're all face to adapt to, to switch and to really just, you know, figure out a way to thrive somehow, if we can through this through this time. And you talked earlier a little bit about, you know, the the potential interest to expand into the UK or to Europe. So what's your kind of vision for the future of the company? did it evolve through the pandemic? Or is it still pretty much what you thought it was going to evolve into?
Kara Goldin 42:21
Yeah, I think we would love to bring it outside the US. I think more than anything, we are looking at opportunities to grow where we can help people and and in the US alone, I don't know what the world's statistics are today around type two diabetes, but you know, type two diabetes in the US is the fastest growing disease. There is. And it's a it really is at epidemic levels were 16. and a half years ago, when I started hint, one and a half percent of the population in the US had type two diabetes or pre diabetes today, 40 to 45%, has type two diabetes or prediabetes. 16 years later, it's grown out and given major shortage of insulin. In the US, it's not clear if it's a shortage or if it's actually people's inability to be able to afford insulin. So can you imagine I mean, I think about this a lot, I knew a few friends who were type one diabetics, the difference being that they were born with type one diabetes versus acquiring it, which is what type two is and the fact that people can't afford to have insulin and so they're actually deciding that they're just not going to have insulin at all. I mean, it's a huge problem and yet we're not looking at the cause we're not looking at I think most of the people today who have type two diabetes would say that they're not going out of their way to have 12 cupcakes or pieces that take a day what they're doing is they're not able for whatever reason to you know, really monitor their and deal with their insulin levels inside of their body and so it's why aren't we looking at these diet sweeteners and kind of the effects that they're having on people systems if it is true that they're not actually having full fledged sugar in in overdose, I think that what else actually feeds into this addiction to sweet and the addiction to to people still wanting and still believing that it's okay to have these diet sweeteners and today, I think that there's so many words that are out there globally that kind of trick consumers into believing that things are, you know, healthy, healthier than they are healthy perception versus healthy reality. As I term it, but it's um, you know the word natural, for example. Yes, today the diet sweetener of the, of the kind of the winner of diet sweeteners, stevia. And it's starts out as a natural leaf, but then it's processed. And so what is that process? What is that doing to actually, once it actually hits the human body, what happens. And today, here's a really interesting thing to noodle on. But today, a Diet Coke today is 30 times sweeter than a Diet Coke when they were introduced in the, in the early 1980s 30 times. And so every year, we two years introduce a new version of these diet sweeteners, oftentimes the consumers of even know, they just might like it better. And, you know, it's, it's like an addiction to crack. I mean, we're sitting here, feeding it to people and saying here have more, have more, and people are getting more and more addicted to it, yet, they're not actually getting healthier. And wasn't that the goal? Wasn't that the whole purpose of people pushing people over into eating low fat and drinking diet and eating diets and watching calories? Is our society getting healthier? Or are they getting sicker? And I think we all need to be looking at that globally, and really figuring out so if I can actually help people by providing a product that really does help people to get healthier, that for me, would be would be the goal level?
Farah Nanji 46:52
Definitely. And, you know, as you say, as you're talking about that, and it's me, you know, also question, where are the regulators and all of this, you know, if we're looking at the cause, and the, the core and the root, you know, what, and I'm sure many millions of people have questioned it. But, you know, we as consumers, we still we really have to demand more from the people that regulate these industries. Yeah. Car, what kind of leader would you say that you are personally?
Kara Goldin 47:22
very empathetic, passionate. I think any leader today, who was leading through a pandemic, can probably can probably relate to the fact that you have to be one on one with your team when, when necessary, that it's a, I think everybody sort of threw the rulebook away, that people were all going through their own situations, whether they were, you know, dealing with family members who were ill, or dealing with their own mental health issues, or homeschooling schooling children at where, you know, they had to sort of deal with maybe situations that they had never dealt with, and frankly, situations that I hadn't dealt with, as well. So I think often not trying to focus on balance so much, but instead trying to make sure and comfort people to know that it's going to be okay, when they needed to hear that. And they needed to hear that there. The support was there. And, and I think, also, more than more than anything, I think that people would say that I'm transparent. And in that I have, you know, there were days that were challenging for me. And I think that you have to be able to really be honest with people about what you're going through and not not trying to hide in some way, when you've got challenges that arise. It's
Farah Nanji 48:59
definitely agree. And, you know, there's it, we're human in the end, you know, and that's, and that's it, we're all we're all, we all come from the same cloth in the end. So we all have similar fears and values and hopefully care about our families and bit, having that empathy at the core is, is definitely so important. We're going into our audience q&a, we've had two questions that we've selected from our audience. So Patrick from Ireland asks, is there a skill that you've yet to master that you'd like to
Kara Goldin 49:33
skill? I know if it's a skill as much as I wish I were more patient. I you know, I've been I've been growing this company for 16 years. I think for me, what seems so obvious to me from my own experience, I wanted everything to be accepted. I want things people to get it right. And so I think for me, it's It's less about a skill. It's more about a it a state, I guess, in some ways that I think And frankly, I think a lot of entrepreneurs have this problem, right, this challenge in front of them that they want it tomorrow, right? It's very, very difficult to be patient, it's very hard to be to have a vision for something and have to wait for the audience to catch up to where you're at. So if that's you that I'm speaking to know that I totally get it. And it's something that I I still work on to this day.
Farah Nanji 50:36
Thank you so much for sharing that with us. Shelley from New York asks, Is water your element?
Kara Goldin 50:44
Isn't my elements? I? You know, that's a good question. I think it's definitely my element. I would also say that maybe I'm a little bit fire as well, that I'll want to. I'm a Gemini, so I think I have two sides of me, I guess to some extent, but I want to I I'm okay with igniting things and getting people to think about things. But I'm also interested in in making sure that it flows properly and is done the right way.
Farah Nanji 51:20
Wow, I love the way that you said that. It's very nice. And we're moving into the final part of our interview, which is a quick fire round. So just 60 seconds on question. And we'll start with the first which is what's your favourite place in the world to catch sunset?
Kara Goldin 51:36
Farah Nanji 51:38
Nice. What's currently at the top of your bucket list.
Kara Goldin 51:45
Uh, getting out and hugging people.
Farah Nanji 51:50
If you could tell you'd live with anyone for a day. Who would it be and why?
Kara Goldin 51:58
I'd say Ruth Bader Ginsburg, because it's, it's she was former Supreme Court justice. And in the US, I think more than anything, when I think about all the challenging times and how she went against the grain. It's so easy to know that she was doing the right thing by looking back, but I bet there were days when she wasn't sure. Yeah,
Farah Nanji 52:23
she had an incredible journey. What artist or band got you through the pandemic, if any?
Kara Goldin 52:32
Gosh, so many, um, I would say, you know, I've been listening to a lot of oldies lately, but actually, I just found on on Audible. There's a lot of really great. James Taylor. Actually, I just listened to something on Have you listened to the it's kind of behind the music. Have you listened to some of those on Elena's more set? And, and I mean, there's a number of among their sting has one as well, that sort of talks about kind of the behind the music. So I think more than anything, maybe that's not a traditional way to answer it. But I feel like it's, it's really, I stumbled upon them on Audible. And it's, it's a lot of fun to listen to those
Farah Nanji 53:23
nice. In a similar vein, what is your favourite place in the world to or favourite bar in the world to experience jazz if you're a jazz lover?
Kara Goldin 53:34
Jazz? Oh, that's a good question. Gosh, I wish I There are a couple of places actually in San Francisco. That are that now I'm drawing a blank of the dates of it but but there's a few places in San Francisco that are pretty great for jazz and and now I'm just drawing a blank on on them. But I would say San Francisco.
Farah Nanji 54:02
Okay, fine. You'll have to let us know after and we'll put it bluntly talking about San Francisco. favourite place to hike in San Francisco.
Kara Goldin 54:11
Oh Marin Headlands for sure. Tennessee Valley is is a trail. There's so many the Marin Headlands, the Dipsy trail, they all kind of sort of lead into the same place but it's it's beautiful and and it has a little bit of elevation, but then drops into amazing views that that you're you're really on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, and it's on one side looking out to the left, you look at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and on the right side. You know, if you look way, way in the distance, maybe you'll see some feral on islands and some other things. But just knowing that there's a whole world out there that That is just beyond the Pacific.
Farah Nanji 55:02
Wow. And finally, the last question we love to ask all of our guests is, what are you most grateful for this month? And I know the month only just begun, so we can reference it to the previous month, if you if you will,
Kara Goldin 55:16
your family and friends and and, you know, I think everyone has had their challenge was, I think over the last year and a half. But I think everybody should look back at this time as it was challenging, and you made it right. And I think people should realise that you've endured probably more than you ever thought you would be able to handle handle. And I talked earlier about that, where you'll have times when maybe you have an opportunity to know that you have to go face something, this was an opportunity for people that you didn't have a choice, right, but you went and did it anyway. And take stock in the fact that you got through something incredibly challenging. And what were the learnings that you learned about society life about you, and and what you cared about and what you were capable of?
Farah Nanji 56:19
Definitely, that's a beautiful place to to end our time with ukara. Thank you so much for sharing all of your insights and your wisdom with our audience. It's been a real pleasure to chat with you. And yeah, wishing you all the best. And thank you as well for sending over the, the the case of him. I think I'm one of the few people in Europe or the UK to have them. So thank you very much. And yeah, all the best.
Kara Goldin 56:43
Thank you so much.
Farah Nanji 56:45
If you want to grab a copy of today's show notes, then head over to mission makers.com forward slash car golden, where you'll also find notes from all of our previous episodes. We've got some amazing guests coming on the show this season, so be sure to share the show with your friends and subscribe to us on Apple, Spotify, YouTube and wherever else you listen to your podcasts. You can reach out to me at Mission makers or at DJ dot Edwin NJ on Instagram. And if you're interested in supporting the show and getting some super cool rewards like DJ lessons, and exclusive merchandise, don't forget to visit patreon.com forward slash mission makers. Thank you for listening and until next time, keep it laser focused