“For the first thirty years of your life,
you make your habits.
For the last thirty years of your life,
your habits make you.”
— Hindu Proverb
My 30th birthday is here (dirty thirty), it’s going to be a great natal year — I can feel it.
Although at 30 years old, I didn’t expect to be broke, have a clunker that leaks oil faster than I can add it, and living with my parents with my wife and kids. See, life doesn’t always work the way you expect it to be, you have to work hard to do the unexpected. And although it may look rough on the outside I can see the light, even though it’s a speck, it gets bigger and brighter every day — that’s what I’m working for, progress.
In my early 20’s I was doing what was expected: getting a good job, saving up for a house, trying to fit in. But I later realized that it I wasn’t getting to where I wanted to go. I loved being an art director at an ad agency, come up with challenging ideas, designing art that can be seen all over the city, working with highly creative people, I didn’t love the idea of working for someone else. Waking up everyday for the hour-long morning commute and not being in control of my life. So I quit my day job and made a change.
Change the World
Sensation is my gateway drug into the food industry and now that I’m in it, I can change it. The food-industry is a failing system that’s made up of highly-process crap that people no longer want. For the next thirty years of my life I want to disrupt the broken food industry — that’s my main goal.
So for my birthday, I’m not asking for much, I want you to help me change the broken food industry simply by the way you eat. On your next meal, try to make it something that is natural, real, or local.
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in my last 30 years on this planet, it’s this: Slow down and listen to yourself. Before you can change the world, you have to change yourself first.
Do it big.
A year and half ago when I first sat down with Jay Ducote, he told me his story of how he got started in the blogging world and rose to be a prominent food blogger in the South. He also mentioned a barbecue sauce that he was working on. Well, he’s kept his word because a couple weeks ago he launched his magnificent Louisiana Barbecue Sauce to retail stores in Baton Rouge. Between managing a popular food blog, radio show, and launching a new product, he also competed on Food Networks Cutthroat Kitchen recently.
I had the pleasure to hangout with Jay at his stylish office in Baton Rouge to talk about his experiences launching his first retail product.
I’ve adopted a new policy lately that I’ve found to work pretty well. It’s the art of Binary Thinking: to go all in or all out, to think yes or no, to say let’s do it or let’s not. So whenever I’m thinking of working/doing/starting something new, if it’s not an impulse Hell Yeah! Then I say no. And by saying no to things that I’m not truly passionate about, makes room to do the things I love.
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In a world of great gourmet foods and options, Mark Ramadan discovered that ketchup has always been just ketchup. Mark, and friend Scott Norton, had the idea to make a better ketchup than the standard highly processed brand on the market. While still in college the two cooked up a mess in their apartment (photo) and decided to have a party amongst friends to see if this idea had legs — It did. Over a period of 6 years, they grew their company, Sir Kensington’s — maker of gourmet condiments like ketchup (spiced ketchup is legit), mustard, and mayo — into over 4,000 retail stores and over 350 restaurants/hotels nationwide.
I had the pleasure to talk with Mark (via Skype) from his office in New York, NY to talk about what it really takes to grow a company. If you’re a food entrepreneur, you can’t afford to miss this.