Seth Goldman, Honest Tea
Honest Tea is not your typical beverage company. Yes, they’re the biggest seller of organic tea drinks in the US. But more interesting for me is how they got there. This is one of those “blue ocean” stories where the founders asked themselves, “What do we need to do that’s different to stand out and flourish?” I’m lucky to be speaking to one of those founders today. Seth Goldman founded Honest Tea back in 1998 with Professor Barry Nalebuff of the Yale School of Management. And in the last ten years they’ve had nothing but success. They’ve had about a 66% annual compound growth, and in 2008, Coca Cola purchased a minority interest in the company so that they’re able to get better distribution around the country.
Seth graduated Harvard in ’87, the Yale School of Management in ’95, he won Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year for the Mid-Atlantic region, and was also running his company. He founded Bethesda Green which is a local sustainability initiative helping convert grease waste from restaurants into biodiesel.
We talk about:
- Seth’s surprise to find himself an entrepreneur and a champion of sustainable business
- The basic calculation that allowed him to take the leap to begin Honest Tea
- The dynamic of his partnership with his co-founder – and why being so different is so important
- The impact on their reputation of selling part of the company to Coca-Cola as a feisty independent.
Listen to my interview with Seth Goldman.
0:16 Michael introduces Seth Goldman
3:16 Seth’s surprise to find himself an entrepreneur and a champion of sustainable business
4:23 The basic calculation that allowed him to take the leap to begin Honest Tea
11:44 The dynamic of his partnership with his co-founder – and why being so different is so important
16:46 The impact on their reputation of selling part of the company to Coca-Cola as a feisty independent.
20:42 How to sustain Great Work
24:44 How to find out more about Seth Goldman
26:23 Michael closes the interview