The H Spot

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How does private equity work and what can it do for you?

Wayne Wu - VMG Partners - How does private equity work?

Some of what Dave and his guest, Wayne Wu of VMG Partners covered in this episode includes

  • People should focus on partnerships and who can be helpful.
  • Can you rely on hero SKUs to carry your business into the future?
  • Supporting innovation that changes the health and wellness profile of consumers. 

Wayne says, "We want to get to know people and hustle to get to know folks and try to be helpful. In the spirit of meeting interesting people, we're going to make interesting investments along the way, as long as we've been genuinely trying to be additive and helpful to the ecosystem and meet a lot of interesting people and good things will happen.

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How does Costco work and how you can sell to them?

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Presenting one face, and the truth of the internal brand are a big part of today's discussion. Some of the highlights include where Dave brings up, "With Costco, obviously, very limited selection compared to a grocery store which will have tens of thousands of items in it. It's a direct ship model, there's no distributors and they have a very small sort of 10% to 14% margin, very straightforward with vendors. So it's a very different model. And it seems like their mantra has always been."

Dave's guest, Jeremy Smith, CEO of Launchpad gets right to it. "I think you ask a few vendors and no, they'll debate you on how straightforward they really are. They like to think they are, but it's like I always say, Costco will lay out to a broker or to a brand, all the rules, because they have all these rules you have to read. And then you go in and see the Kirkland Signature items which violate 70% of the rules. So just because it's something as simple as a MasterCard, which is supposed to have at least an inch and a half lip on it, that's supposed to be a strict policy and certain buyers really enforced it. But on the KS items, it's all over the place."

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Progress has been made in diversifying boards, but how about our every day life?

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Boards are making a lot of progress. Dave’s guest, Abby Adlerman attributes this to recent California laws:  SB-826, SB-AB979 known as the Women in the Boardroom and Diversifying Boards laws. Details here

 

Thinking about board and executive succession plans, if the CEO was hit by a bus, who would be in line? CEOs are spending more time thinking about the impact of this and putting forth their wishes, grooming them so several would be good candidates, rather than not having any choices. Diversity is also finally coming into play. Diversity will give longevity to the vision of the organization.

Dave pulls his own covers as he reviewed his lists for past and near future podcasts. He's not very diverse, so he took a look at that and asked the question is it due to he only knows certain demographics? Is the food industry that narrow? Abby validated his observations and they talk about new lenses to try on.

 

Tips for Boards to Stay Ahead of Risks, Mandates, and Trends

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Dave's guest is Abby Adlerman, Founder of Boardspan. Traditionally, people think, especially with a public company about taking care of the shareholder, but it's always been broader. The constituency's always been more than the shareholder. And thankfully just in the last couple of years, corporate America has woken up to acknowledge and recognize the responsibility for boards to go way beyond just this year.

Listen to this episode if you need a board, have considered serving on a board, or want a better understanding of what is involved in being on a corporate board including what to prepare for before unforeseen situations hit, such as a pandemic or natural disaster.

Linking Surviving Survivor and Ice Cream

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Even if you think of a business as a game - in theory - numbers, strategy, that doesn't mean it's fun. Neal Gottlieb was part of Survivor Season 36. As you learn in this episode of The H Spot, what led to Three Twins Ice Cream, and then, sadly, to its demise. Listen to some behind the scenes stories from being on the show Survivor. You'll also hear about the aftermath of that letdown later, the excitement of building another adventure from scratch, and then being open to the next adventure without resentment, but with a big smile as you remember all the steps that led you to where you are today. Even if you are not a fan of the show, there is that curiosity as to how it really works and how those skills are applied to business.

Staying Laser Focused to Earn Your Spot on the Shelf

Patrick  Ford of Ford's Gourmet Foods

People think because they have a recipe for a sauce that everyone raves about that's enough to pour your life savings into the launch. Dave's guest is Patrick Ford, Vice President of Ford's Gourmet Foods. Patrick attributes the success of their family business to some guiding principles that came from his grandfather, "...being from the produce side, we have a saying, 'The further you get away from cash, the worst your deal get.' Because when my great-grandfather and grandfather used to buy fields of produce, they would pay for the field in cash in Florida or wherever at the time they bought it. And so if you didn't, if you needed credit, your price would be really high, and you wouldn't get the first call if they had a field. And so it allowed us to get the best product cause we paid the fastest.

Tune in to this episode of The H Spot to see how this correlates to his Bone Suckin' Sauce, learn a bit about the grocery business and how to avoid common mistakes in launching a food product.

Is four year college sometimes killing an ant with a baseball bat?

Bob Marcucci is Dave's guest on The H Spot Podcast

Listen to why Bob Marcucci's dad told him to be whatever you want to be, but don't be a fireman. Service was ingrained in him. The path he took was following his militant passion about public education. He whistfully wonders what would the world be like if everybody chose to come together and send their kids and spend their time and their resources into the public schools? That's what keeps him motivated. His concern and what he sees with standardized testing is this, "They publish our test scores and everybody says, that's a good school and that's a bad school, and most people don't really dig in to get the whole thing, to understand the whole dynamics of a school and all those things that a school has that add value that you can't quantify."

Join Dave Hirschkop and his guest, Bob Marcucci, Assistant Superindendent of San Rafael Schools in California.

End of a War, Women and Urinals, PETA, and Firm Principles

Philip Hirschkop on The H Spot Podcast again.

 

Dave continues the conversation with his dad, famous attorney Philip Hirschkop. They cover his favorite case about opening the University of Virginia to women. They continue on a path through ending the Vietnam War, PETA, and Philip's firm principles being tested. Philip also gives us insights into practicing law. It isn't all about trials and corporate wrong-doings, and he admits, all lawyers aren't always amazing – some are just average people who are not sure what else to do with their lives. 

Mike Burgmaier: From Children’s Advocacy to Natural Products Investment Banking

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Too many long water cooler conversations. I just wanted to get sh*t done." Dave's guest, Mike Burgmaier was given significant responsibility at a young age to lead a lot of projects, and learned how to bring people together. He found that at non-profits, you can be given work to do when organizations lack resources and can't pay much; he found they focused on trying to find younger talented people and then “put them to the fire” and see where they can go.

Later at business school, he found a third of his peers went into investment banking or private equity, a third went into consulting, and then a third other. He had no desire for banking or venture capital back then. Ironically, he later became a VC and now owns an investment bank. At business school he thought he’d try consulting: work with companies and help solve problems. He liked what he saw from Bain & Company when they came to recruit and gave their pitch on who they were. He put all his chips in on trying to get a job there and “fortunately, it worked out somehow”. Listen to the rest of his story in this episode of The H Spot.

Pancakes, Green Berets, and Civil Rights

The H Spot guest - Philip Hirschkop

This is the first part of an in-depth interview with Civil Rights hero, veteran, activist, advocate, and my dad, Philip Hirschkop. Some of what we covered in this episode include:

  1. Were you a trouble maker as a kid?
  2. His experience as a Green Beret and how he got in there but never got promoted. 
  3. Why go from a Civil Engineering degree to Law School.
  4. You'll hear the story about congressperson that showed up at a protest tent and asked everyone to leave.
  5. The Loving case chronology and how it flowed.  What were the Lovings like? How accurate was the Loving Story Movie?
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