Lisa Barnett is the Co-Founder, President, and CMO of Little Spoon, a fresh, direct-to-consumer baby food and early childhood nutrition company reinventing the modern parent’s experience of keeping their child happy and healthy.
Lisa and I discuss her journey (which has a unique twist as she left a coveted job in venture capital to start Little Spoon), the importance of identifying an enemy when honing the focus of a company, special marketing tactics that everyone should embrace, and what her ideal legislation would look like if she could implement sweeping government changes to the food industry.
What is your enemy? What problem are you trying to solve with your business?
Special thanks to Lisa for joining the podcast.
Mark: Lisa, thanks for being on. You've become a bit of a marketing whiz in the space.
And you're a co-founder of a company called little spoon. But before we get into all that, I want to run through a little bit of your background because I think it could be instructive to folks who are listening.
Lisa: Great. Well, thanks for having me here. Okay, great.
Mark: Starting off, you did track and field at Penn.
Am I right in that we're going
Lisa: real far back. Okay. Oh yeah. We're doing that. Yeah. Yes. I ran cross country and track at Penn. It was unplanned. I walked onto the team a couple of weeks into starting my freshman year.
Mark: Interesting. Tell, tell us about how far you went in that, but also, do you think that journey has helped you in any way in business?
Lisa: Yeah. So, I mean, basically for full context, um, I was always really into fitness and athletics, and that was always my whole life spent, you know, every weekend, as I'm sure you do with your children, um, running around to games and tournaments and things like that. Um, Decided not to pursue a sport in college.
And then when I got to Penn a few weeks in, I was really bored. I didn't understand what people did with their time. Uh, you finish your work, you hang out and then what else? Um, I started getting better at running. I would say I was definitely like mediocre. Um, in my college level, uh, I always saw myself as mediocre, even in high school, but I was starting to get better at my, I called up my coach who, um, was well connected with a bunch of the collegiate coaches and she set up a meeting for me and I walked down there and I was like, Hey guys, I would like to try to walk onto this team.
I'm a 400 800 meter runner. Um, I've just done, you know, spring track and they're like, You can walk on and we'll see what happens, but you're not a 400 meter runner. You're a distance runner. You were doing cross country. And that therein started my very first season of cross country at the collegiate level.
Uh, I was terrified out of my, out of my mind. Um, I had never run. Erase that was longer than two laps around the track, let alone doing a six K um, so that experience, um, and I think, I actually think about this a lot. Going back to your question, that experience has shaped a lot about me and how I approach, uh, startups and just like life in general.
Um, it forced me to really. Trust my training and trust myself. Um, I used to get like a lot of anxiety before races. Um, I would be so nervous. I can barely talk to anyone. There was a rule in my parents would come to my meets. Like they weren't allowed to talk to me until after I ran my race because I was so nervous.
I couldn't even engage in a conversation. And over the years of running track, I ended up doing 12 seasons of cross country and track. So every year to three season sport for distance athlete, um, in the collegiate level, um, I got a little bit better and better and learned that. You can't have assurances life doesn't have any assurances, no matter what you do, there are things that are going to be thrown at you that you can't predict.
And you kind of just have to like, believe in yourself, trust yourself, and know that, you know, whether it's a race where you adjust in the middle of the race, or you adjust your goals and priorities. That's just like a good life lesson. Um, especially coming from someone who I think immediately, um, Really wants to be able to control those outcomes and wants to be able to like get in front of everything.
It's just impossible. And as a founder and you, you, I'm sure you're laughing because you're obviously a serial entrepreneur. You can't control like anything. You can only control your reaction to things and your focus. That's literally it.
Mark: Yeah, we live in
Lisa: chaos. We thrive in chaos. Yeah,
Mark: absolutely. Some of us thrive in chaos, but we're all living in
Yeah. Unfortunately we are all living in it. Um, so I think that was a really big learning. And I also think just like the discipline, um, and. Focus on like execution, um, everyone's given any talents. Um, but there are, there's no kind of like sacrifice other than, you know, how hard you work. Um, and that's really, what's determining.
Who's succeeding in the startup world, right? Because like everybody has the same ideas. Like I don't think I could ever claim that I've had a novel idea, idea. Ideas are a dime, a dozen. And I think what I learned from just being a collegiate athlete was. It matter if you are the most talented or if you had the best idea relating it to startups.
Um, if you're working harder and you're training and you're consistent and you are ruthless about what you're pursuing, um, you'll see the benefits from that. And you'll, you'll win. That is the surefire way to win. That's the only thing you can control is how hard you work. You can out execute a lot.
Mark: That's fantastic. What attracted you to marketing? And I think when I look at your background, It's kind of a, it looks like a linear marketing story, right? Uh, all the way back to the beginning, I noticed you studied psychology in college. Uh, I find that very often careers are a windy road out the front windshield, but in the rear view mirror, it looks like a straight line.
Somehow. It all kind of makes sense if it goes the right direction. So, uh, what got you to marketing in the first place? Yeah,
Lisa: it's a little bit of hindsight, 2020. I feel like every time I talk about my career path, to your point, it sounds so linear. And not that it wasn't planned out as very thoughtful about what the experiences I wanted to have in my, in my career, but I actually attribute most of the, the.
Linearness, uh, that's even a word too hindsight, 2020. You can piece it together once you look at it. But in the, in the moment I was really just pursuing exciting opportunities, um, that, that I was passionate about. Um, so I started out actually in management consulting. I was at BCG, so. That was kind of like the general experience that I needed.
I had no idea what business really was. I mean, my dad is a small business owner, so I saw him build from the very beginning. Um, but I hadn't even heard of the industry of consulting until. My junior year in college, when everyone's talking about these on-campus recruiting events and everything, and consulting came up, literally never heard of it as a sector.
Um, but decided that was a good first step because I didn't really know exactly what I wanted to do. Um, so pursued that and while I was in consulting, I ended up working on. A lot of consumer brands, CBG, retail, and doing a lot of work. Um, both in like deep data analytics. Um, I was fun fact. I was like a couple of courses, short of a stats, uh, major in college, never finished it.
It was just like accidental that happened, right.
Mark: Psychology and stats. And then ended up in marketing.
Lisa: Yeah. Yeah. Um, so, so did the consulting thing for a couple of years, um, and then quickly realized, okay, I have a good understanding of lots of various activities. Um, what can I do with that? And this is where sort of the opportunity.
And, you know, just being open to trying new things, I think really pays off in your career, especially when you're younger. Um, I just like stumbled across, uh, an opportunity at Estee Lauder companies. Um, the role wasn't even exactly the kind of role that I would have, like put on paper that I wanted. But as I got to talking about the people I'd be working with, it became very evident that.
I say modern companies, which is, you know, a beauty giant that owns 35 plus individual brands in their portfolio. They were facing a really interesting inflection point. Um, with regard to consumer behavior, people are moving from the department store to many other channels, too. By their beauty products.
Um, and unfortunately Estee Lauder companies was looking at their portfolio of brands and saying, gosh, North of 80% of our top line is coming from a department store. The department store is on the decline. We have no ownership over our customer and they're watching all of these startups. Then at the time to orient you, this is like, when.
Warby Parker and dollar shave club were really becoming, uh, forces in the retail environment. And they were looking at that saying, we don't even have a concept of a CRM. Like you have to buy in traditional beauty. You have to buy your data from Macy's to even know who your customers are. You have no, no idea.
Um, and so I was joining right at that time when they were focused on how do we change our business models and. This sort of lead me, not into specifically marketing, but into this world of direct to consumer and e-commerce and brand building outside of the traditional channels. And so my directive, why was there was really to understand what can we do with the existing portfolio and how can we even potentially start up or incubate other brands that are more, uh, suited to these high growth channels?
Like digital, like e-commerce stuff like that. Um, so that was kind of how I inadvertently I didn't even join in a marketing role. I was in a, I was in not kind of like office of a CEO type role working with M and a and corporate strategy. And I was just kind of deployed in random, but
Mark: was a marketing issue, generally.
Lisa: I, yeah, it was a marketing issue. It was a business model issue. Um, and I learned most of my chops in marketing and any commerce from that experience, at least that served as the foundation. W when
Mark: you look back at the large companies who are head-on with this new breed of e-commerce, how do you
Lisa: think they're going to fare?
This was already how many years ago? Uh, like eight, nine years ago that I was at Estee Lauder companies. And, um, It's it's a little funny because we're still having the exact same conversation now. Like how do we fight against these startups that are doing things differently and blah, blah, blah. You know what I think about this a lot, because my background is from the corporate world.
Um, it was more recently that I, you know, started spending all my time in the startup space. Um, I think that corporations. Big companies, the fallacy is that people think they're unaware of what they're doing wrong. They're actually extremely aware of the holes and the gaps in the market. It's that there are these institutional barriers that prevent them from solving the problem in the way that like, uh, an underdog started up.
Can, um, well, an example of this would be even just how. How they are able to make decisions in a large company, right? Like the people who are on the ground, seeing customer behavior, aren't empowered to make those decisions to respond to it. So it has to go up a rank and a ladder, and you have to gradually convince people who are further and further away from the problem that it's worth investing in resources to try something unproven.
Um, out, uh, and the risk reward is not there for a large corporation. It's, they're better off taking a sideline approach, seeing how the market plays out, let the startups take all the risk. And then once it's proven we'll go and pursue it, except they're always starting from a disadvantage. Um, this is why there's so much opportunity for startups to.
Tackle problems where they should lose, because they're so significantly under-resourced compared to the incumbents. Um, I think that's going to continue. These institutional barriers are not going anywhere. I mean, they're certainly big companies that are trying to change the org structure change.
Decision-making try to get rid of these, but I don't think we'll ever. Be able to fully, fully, uh, take down all those barriers. So I think they will continue to struggle, but that's also the relationship and why there's a good market for startups because these companies need startups to help solve those problems for them.
Mark: you were running Estee, Lauder, what would you do differently?
Lisa: Uh, without getting in trouble? No, I'm kidding. Um, what would I do differently? I think I'm thinking
Mark: about the position these folks are in. With, you know, organizations that are not able to be dynamic and an onslaught of innovation coming at them.
What's the move.
Lisa: The move is to, well, they're a complicated company because there's a lot of different brands playing in very different segments. Um, but I think generally. The first thing I would probably do is look at the organizational structure. So Estee Lauder companies, like a lot of large international corporations is a matrix organization.
So there are roles at the corporate level that are then repeated at the brand level and repeated at the region level. So there's a lot of redundancy and that creates, uh, it slows you down a lot when you're making decisions because you end up having to coordinate. With a lot of different people because you're technically in the same role, just focused on a different part.
Whether it's a region or a specific brand and you share resources. So I think one thing would be rethinking the org structure. Um, and I'm, I'm definitely not going to claim to be an expert in org structure for massively complicated companies. But, um, I think that's an overlooked area that can actually unlock a lot of value for a large corporation.
Um, and thinking about how do you find the right nodes in your organization that are going to be the people that ruffle the feathers? Um, because the way the corporate. Environment is structured unless you're really comfortable being aggressive and upsetting people. You don't reward the innovative thinking.
Um, and it's, it's not on purpose. It's not intentional, but it happens because it's just the way, you know, the hierarchy of a corporation works and how difficult it is to continue to get promoted and grow within a larger organization. Um, so I would think first about the org structure and how you can empower and identify who those nodes are in your company.
Mark: you, so you would retool to structure more innovation within. Versus take a defensive strategy of acquiring companies earlier on, or,
Lisa: well, I think you kind of have to do a combination of, of both. Um, I think for sustainable, you know, to have a competitive advantage and build that foundation, you have to start from, from the organization, not foundation, I think on the M and a side, I mean, depends on how the company is structured and what they can stomach.
If you're a public company, you can stomach, you know, you have different risk. Profile I'm in the beauty world. Estee Lauder companies is significantly smaller than their biggest competitor, which is L'Oreal L'Oreal, but pleasing both the prestige, like luxury beauty segment as well as mass. So they have a lot more cash.
Um, they can pay up for companies where Estee Lauder companies can't, um, they don't have the same cache and tolerance for paying up for a startup. So if you're a company like ELC, You need to tackle it at the foundation level, cause you're never going to win entirely just from buying up companies. Um, cause you can't even compete with your other incumbents who might take that strategy and they have a very different cash situation
Mark: on the reorg point.
There's a story that stuck with me. I once heard from another VC that they had hired in a new CTO, into a company and the company was having a really hard time getting their, uh, development cycles sped up. The product was just getting built too slowly. They get the CTO in. They've sent them down there and like, what do you need?
You have a blank check. We'll hire whoever you want. We need to accelerate throughput. The guy stops and thinks for a minute, leans over and says, how many people can I fire? It's exactly the opposite.
Lisa: I love that. Um, it was, that is, that concept is actually ingrained in me because I was in venture capital right before starting little spoon and one.
There are a few things that stuck out from my short time, especially relative to your career in venture capital, but one of them was that companies bloat way too fast and a little bit a starvation mode is a good thing. So we were very intentionally slow to grow little spoons team. Um, and I think we extracted a lot, a lot of value out of constraining resources in that way.
People are. People are awesome. They're creative, they're scrappy. But like if you cushion them, you're training them not to be that way. Um, so I like that CTO. Maybe I should hire him. He sounds great.
Mark: Before you jump over to little spin, which I want to get into, um, the venture fund you went to is a big name, ma Maveron.
That is a fund that is known around the country by everyone in the venture community. Most entrepreneurs know it. Um, do you want to give a little overview on the, from, for people listening? Just so they know.
Lisa: Yeah, sure. Mavron is an early stage venture capital fund that was started by Dan leather, the time and Howard Schultz who started Starbucks.
Um, it would, they have a diversified set of LPs now, but it's around $150 million fund where they look to invest in. Consumer brands, um, that are obviously leveraging technology, whether that's in the form of e-commerce or, or otherwise, um, in a purely, uh, brand first, uh, mentality. Um, they do see it in series a and they stop there.
Um, so they are, um, They were right in my sweet spot. I've always been obsessed with consumer brands. Um, and I got introduced to someone who was at the firm at the time while I was in my first year at Wharton. Um, and I actually started working with them. Part-time in my first year, remote from Philadelphia, and then came on board, um, like that summer and that fall.
And I stayed out in the Bay area and continued to work with them until I then jumped to another VC firm after that.
Mark: Um, But eventually you did something that a lot of VCs think about, but don't do right. VC is very hard. The job is very hard to get. I think it's harder to get them to do. And so once people get a spot in VC there, it takes a lot to get them to relinquish it.
Right. And you stepped out to start little spoon, which we'll get more into in a minute. Uh, how did you think about that decision? I think. Most well, if you, if you get most VCs and set them down and say, Hey, would you think about going and starting a company they'll pay lip service to the idea of getting more hands on operating experience, because it will make them better investors it'll make them better board members.
But the fear is that if they step out of the game, they might not be able to get back in. So you made a choice to step out. Can you take us through that decision?
Lisa: Yeah, absolutely. Um, so I mentioned earlier, I grew up with a father who has always been in small businesses. He's always been running his own, his own show and grind grinding away.
And I think, uh, And he's an extremely passionate, optimistic guy. Um,
Mark: what does your dad, do you have to tell us a little
Lisa: more now? Uh, well, growing up he was doing, he was running a bicycle company. Um, he is like a Jack of all trades kind of guy. Now he runs a bunch of different e-commerce sites. Um, literally everything under the sun.
Um, he has a bobblehead business. Um, my dad's a quirky guy. Uh it's it's very fun. Um, He, he, I think instilled a very strong desire that I didn't Arctic know how to articulate to myself early on of really wanting to be able to build, um, and be on the frontline and on the ground and, you know, for, for both good, good reasons.
And I think some sometimes have. Negative, uh, byproducts. Uh, he very much instilled the value of hard work and grinding. Um, very early on, uh, everyone in my family is, are incredibly hard workers. Um, and there was just something that in that was inside. I, that was like, I know I'm meant to be an operator. Um, I sort of fell into venture capital actually, to be honest.
So maybe I just didn't value the job the way everybody else did. Um, I'm saying that like slightly facetiously, but, um, I went into business school with the intent of getting into the startup world. I worked on a bunch of different ideas that I had while I was in business school. And none of them really.
Stuck. And then I got introduced to Maveron and I was also working on dorm room fund, which is students investing in students with its subsidiary of first round capital. And I sort of fell into the VC world and I went with it because it was interesting. I was learning a ton. Um, but you know, I think a year into it, I started.
Seeing so many ideas come across the table and I'd find myself getting really frustrated when I was sitting in a room with founders because I just wanted to, to do it. Uh, I, you know, there's a lot of value VC can provide, but when it comes to operating the company, Um, the best VCs, like take themselves out of those, those granular decisions.
It's not their place. Um, and I hated that. I would see all of these challenges that the founders are going up against and, you know, have ideas and want to get more detailed. And it just wasn't my role. Um, so I, I realized pretty early on that I needed to just get on the other end of the spectrum, but I. I didn't immediately have an idea.
And I kind of learned, especially from being in business school, one of the positives was, um, I was knocking my head against the wall, trying to think of an idea. And this goes back to my earlier statement. I was actually going about it very incorrectly. I was trying to figure out an idea. I wasn't focused on a problem.
Um, and VC actually taught me to care a lot about the problem. And so I started thinking about problems that I care about, and I've always been really interested in kind of the health and wellness industry. So that was always kind of in the back of my mind. Um, And I started noticing, especially being a consumer brands investor, that there was just this pattern of pretty much every consumer category was getting innovated to respond to the needs of a, of a very dominant new generation.
This millennial generation and billion dollar opportunities were being created in dog food in mattresses. Like literally every consumer category, um, targeting them, launching products and experiences that. We're convenient, high quality, like transparent speaking to this generation. Um, and you know, that struck me as, as interesting let's shelve that.
Um, and in the process, I was also just starting to notice these generational shifts. I was like, Hmm, we're innovating in dog food. We're innovating in here, like what happens next? Um, and I realized that, you know, no, I think this was a couple years ago, like 2016, four out of five babies that were being born were born to millennial parents.
We had an inflection point where now this generation that was creating all this value and change and opportunity. And the other consumer categories were bringing those same behaviors to parenting. Uh, but you know, This generation didn't have any products or brands or services that was speaking to them, whether it was because the products were, you know, shelf stable, crappy baby food, which I'll get into that.
Um, or they were too expensive. Uh, you know, I think that I started to spend a lot of time, um, Thinking about these parents and thinking about my own life, which I am spoiler alert. I'm not a parent yet. Um, but want to be one, one day. And I was starting to see how nobody was really like speaking to this whole new generation of parents that are coming into the fold and that there has to be incredible opportunity to solve problems for them because it's incredibly difficult to be a parent.
And at that time my sister had her first baby. And then I got into the fold of my sisters. Like my best friend were super tight. So I was living and breathing what she was living in breathing. Um, and she was struggling and this is a well-educated smart person in the health industry. And she called to my attention like, Hey, I want to feed my child.
Well, like, this is incredibly important to their development, but all of a sudden three months, and I have to go back to work. And I literally can't figure out how to make sure my child is eating and the things I want her to be eating. And it's like, how is that a problem? How is that not solved for, um, I started diving into this baby food category and I realized all the things I now know to be true, which is that baby food know convenient baby food that would help solve the problem for this working parent, which side note.
Another interesting part of millennials parents are that, you know, it, they are more often than not a dual income household. Which is not a quality of a previous generation, meaning like. There's generally someone staying at home. Um, that really is a big paradigm shift in terms of the businesses and the products and services that are available to parents.
It wasn't caught up yet to service an extremely time-starved couple. Um, and so as I was diving into like what's available to help my sister. What's convenient. I just found all baby food processing crap. That's sitting on the shelf. That's older than the child eating it. And it was really crazy to me that this was the only convenient option for parents.
Um, and it occurred to me that parents just really aren't set up with the right resources that meet their lifestyle. Um, so me and my co-founders decided to create little spoon. Um, and I got into this in a, in a bit of a long-winded way, but like, as I started getting into this space, It didn't even occur to me like, Oh, should I leave VC or start this?
All I could think about was this. It wasn't even like, I wish I could tell you I was mulling over this decision. I honestly barely thought twice about it. It was just a natural step. And I was fortunate enough to be working with co-founders who were separately, very passionate about this space for different reasons.
My co-founders are all coming from the food industry. Um, To have people to build this way. Um, that's one of the hardest parts about starting a company, um, is finding the right partners to do it. And I had that and the stars were aligned and I, you know, was, I don't know how old I was. I 26 at the time, 25 at the time.
And was like, yeah, like what else, what else would I do? Yeah,
Mark: that's great. There's a something you hit, you hit on. Most people define entrepreneur as a risk taker. I've always hated that definition. I'm an entrepreneur and I've never considered myself a gambler's someone who's going out and taking risks.
The definition I like is opportunity obsessed, and it sounds like you smelled opportunity and grabbed onto it and everything else. Wasn't part
Lisa: of it. I could not agree more. I could, I am not risky at all. I hate taking risks like that. I like adventure. I like excitement. I like opportunity, but I don't consider myself a risk taker either.
This is very calculated.
Mark: A lot of people in your life looking at you starting this company, probably think, you know, you're doing something very risky.
Lisa: Oh my God, Mark. You don't even understand when I got on the phone, especially my parents, people are talking about the parenting industry. Now there's really been an interruption of.
Innovative brands that have come out of, I think all these macro factors that I was talking about earlier when it comes to this generation of new parents, um, no one was talking about BB food, kids, food. I remember getting on the phone, my mom. And I was like, so I'm gonna leave my, my cushy VC job, uh, and going to start this company.
And yeah, I still have my student loans by the way. Um, and she's like, you're gonna work on BB food. Like she was speechless. She was like, what? And my, and my parents are very supportive. So I'm lucky in that regard, but like they were scratching their heads, like. How did she end up here? Um, I do think a lot of my decisions in life to an outsider appear very risk-taking and could even appear random, but in reality, it's been such a natural progression of what I'm interested in and what makes sense.
At that time. Um, so I got that a lot. I got that a lot from the venture community. I was out in the Bay area at the time when we started little spoon we're now are located in, in New York. But, um, I got that a lot. People are like, you're leaving,
Mark: you gave up a seat at the table, very hard seat to get, to go chase something.
Cause you were obsessed.
Lisa: I was obsessed. I have been known to get obsessed about things. So yes, definitely.
Mark: That's real entrepreneurship. I love it. So that's a lot of buildup. Tell us about little
Mark: That's great. I think, I think everyone's going to want to know what you guys do now. Yeah. Now
Lisa: we should tell you, well, obviously we target parents.
Um, so little spoon is all about. Making this experience of being a parent and keeping your child healthy, which is obviously one of the chief responsibilities as a parent. Uh, how can we make that easier for parents? Um, so we are a national direct to consumer children's food and nutrition company. So we make everything from fresh, organic BB food to find clean vitamins, to natural medicines, to kids' meals.
Most recently that we launched a few months ago. Um, Accessibly priced high quality ingredients and as easy and simple to get that to your door and in your child's body. Um, so that is
Mark: what makes it so easy, right? But what, what, what steps have you taken out for folks that were there before? Um,
Lisa: a ton of, uh, a few different parts of this experience.
So when you look at keeping your child healthy, nourishing your child, um, from the beginning, your child starts solids. Um, so that means that for those of you who are not parents out there, that means you're taking them from formula or breast milk, which is all they're consuming for the first. Four to six months of their lives and then starting to introduce real food.
Um, usually that comes in the form of a puree, um, or something blended up or mushed up together because a child obviously can't chew very well in the beginning. Um, and so that whole process from figuring out what do I feed my child? When do I feed my child at, uh, how do I make sure that the food is prepared in the way I want it to be prepared?
Usually you'd have to do that yourself or rely on. A preservative pack, shelf, stable pouch or jar little spoon says, okay, we're going to cook all that food the way you would want to do it at home. We literally just use organic vegetables, fruits, super foods, green stuff like that, puree them up, deliver it to you, ready to eat and cold.
Um, you can store it in your fridge and you feed your child and you do not have to think. Outside of that because we've done the work for you. Every delivery evolves as your child gets older so that, you know, if you're not sure what to be feeding, that if you're not sure how to evolve their pallet, get them exposed to lots of different ingredients.
We're automating that process for you. And on top of that, we have a number of different parts of this consumer's experience to help. Uh, parent, uh, learn and make decisions for their child. Um, we have a 24 seven customer care service. You can text in our, to our customer care team at any time and ask them any question.
Um, that is actually really empowering to a parent, especially a new parent who has a ton of questions.
Mark: Absolutely. It's confusing and there's no manual. There's no handbook,
Lisa: absolutely no handbook. And through the depths of the internet, there's still not enough information because the issue is the curation part.
Every situation is slightly different than what you read about. And you're nervous as a parent, you shouldn't be nervous. You have a big responsibility to keep your child healthy and like they're more durable than most new parents think. But you still want to make the right choices. Um, so we're trying to provide them with the.
The tools to be able to do that in some of our consumers are hyper involved and want to handpick every product and every blend that their child's getting. And the majority of them are like, great, put me on autopilot because I'm not sure what to do anyway. Um, and are very grateful for that service. We have different parts of the experience as your child gets older, that changes as they become a toddler and a big kid.
Um, but at least for our baby food, you know, product line, uh, this handholding and this ability to give your child, um, you know, fresh food that also doesn't break the bank is, is really empowering for a parent and incredibly simplifying, uh, in your day to day.
Mark: Yeah. I have two children they're beyond diapers and beyond baby food.
But there was a lot of time spent with the blender early on. It was a lot of work. Every everything was a big process and it's a
Lisa: big mess. And one of the most important things when your child is starting, solids is just diversity of exposure to ingredients. Think about how many different ingredients you cook for yourself.
Not, not many, most people have like five, 10 different ingredients that they regularly cook with. And then all of a sudden you're told, Oh, your child should taste the rainbow. Make sure they try all these different greens, all these different rides, all these different oranges, like whatever it is. And it's like, I don't want to buy this entire large, you know, eggplant for my child to eat two ounces of it.
And then I'm gonna and wanna throw it out. And by the way, I don't even know how to spice it or season it or count I season it. And you know, there's all these. Uh, worries that go through your mind. So we're trying to automate that process. And as your child gets over older, we try to solve for different things.
So when your child's now eating a full meal, uh, we have our new line plates, which are kids' meals. And the whole idea there is truthfully, how do you get your child to actually eat what you're putting in front of them? When your kid becomes a toddler, they become distracted and picky. Uh, they, you know, I chase, I have a five-year-old niece Adelyn and we, I like follow her around house with a plate because she's just busy.
Like she does,
Mark: everyone knows his problem. Every parent understands
Lisa: it's a huge problem. So for us, um, when we were figuring out how do we build a solution for that problem? Um, we wanted to use kids classics, um, dishes that kids actually recognize and like, But just make them a little bit healthier, make them something that as a parent, you don't feel bad about giving.
So as opposed to just taking some frozen chicken nuggets, putting them in the oven and giving to your child, we'll make a chicken nugget where 50% of the chicken nuggets actually vegetables. Um, we we'll pan sear and instead of frying it, we will make sure that we're using organic ingredients, antibiotic free chicken, um, all the good stuff.
Um, but to your kid, it's just a fun chicken nugget. Um, and so that that's really the concept of that whole product line. Um, and we built that in partnership with our community was way, uh, way more, um, We felt way more confident with our plates line than we did with our baby food, because we were building that line when we had a community already.
So we were able to use our customer base to essentially help tell us what they want, what they need, um, what would work. Um, we have a great consumer feedback loop. Now that really drives our innovation process.
Mark: Well, as you know, I'm a big fan of the company, but taking even a bigger step back, you, you come from an e-commerce family.
Spent better part of a decade training and marketing, more or less finance and a few other things. And I've now applied it to the baby food industry. So you've become a little bit of a marketing guru. I don't know if people, you know, I'm gonna embarrass you a little bit here, but you've had, you've done public speaking at conferences you've been, uh, in major publications.
Uh, one of the things you've written about. Is the idea that, uh, some of the best marketing strategies rely on identifying an enemy who is little spoons enemy.
Lisa: Yes. I feel very strongly about, about how to build a brand that really lasts, um, that has a lot of drives, a lot of business value and sustainability.
Um, to answer your question, little spoons enemy is this paradigm of parenting. Uh, so unlike what you would expect me to say, um, or maybe not you personally, but one would expect. Me to say, uh Gerber's or, you know, some brand of a competitor. And they're absolutely a competitor that's different than an enemy.
So taking a step back, a big part of this theory of brand building that, and my philosophy of brand building is a lot about thinking about building a brand as you would a social movement. Um, and a cornerstone of a social movement is having a. Oh, status quo in a reality that you're not happy with that people band together to change, um, for a little spoon.
It's not that the options like suck it's that there's an unfair trade off for parents over and over again, for every decision they have to make. They're met with. Unnecessary trade offs and, and a lack of transparency and support, um, in that
Mark: trade off, are you referring to, what is it
Lisa: for? I mean, most relevant to little food, the trade-off between spending a ton of time spending a ton of money, but getting, you know, the kind of product that you want for your child, or having to sacrifice something related to quality their health, um, because you just don't have the time and don't have the resources and you need to go the convenient group.
Mark: the quick, the quick and ready baby food products are not healthy is what you're
Lisa: saying. Correct. They're packed with preservatives. They
Mark: tell us about it. I think most people assume if they're for babies, they assume the government has regulated it and it's
Lisa: healthy. It was actually a baby food and kids food.
Um, since we play in both realms, um, are not independently regulated. They're regulated by the FDA. Um, so same as any other food that you're going to eat. So obviously there are consumer standards, but. What people don't know is that most baby food that's sitting on a shelf has under went a process that essentially renders the food.
Um, what is actually called commercially sterile. So your does that mean? It basically means you cook the food to death because you need it to be able to have a shelf life. Unrefrigerated. For multiple years on average. Um, so by cooking the food to extreme temperatures, multiple times in the process, you are able to basically deactivate a lot of the nutrition that's in the food.
Um, that enables it to just sit there on the shelf. Um,
Mark: that's a problem are the labels then that say, Hey, it has this vitamin or whatever, is that not accurate is like the vitamin in there, but. Sterile as it you're saying
Lisa: the vitamins. No. I mean, the labels are accurate. The issue is that the nutritional density of food is significantly less than if you're going to have fresh food, um, that doesn't undergo this heat process.
Many people, even if you haven't made baby food are aware of the industry have over cooked broccoli, right? When you over cooked broccoli, it loses all its color. It loses its taste. And in the process, you actually use a lot, lose a lot of the nutrition. Yeah, because you literally cook it out. You could see it in the, in the texture and the flavor.
And in the, in the, uh, coloring of that broccoli, that's essentially what's happening when a baby food is undergoing heat. Pasteurization,
Mark: is there any, has anyone studied to know the impact of this? Are there known health ramifications of this diet?
Lisa: The known health ramifications to me, um, when I was starting even to look into, uh, the space.
It's all of this stuff we're dealing with leader in life. It's obesity, it's diabetes. Um, all of that's happening because we don't give parents, um, access to high quality nutrition for their child at a time when their brains are forming, when their bodies are developing at the fastest rate that they were ever developed.
We know that food and nutrition. Dictate your health. That wasn't always the case. Uh, when I was growing up, that was not, that was not language that people use, but this generation, the research is not, I'm not saying it's specifically on like, this product caused this, but we are seeing all of these issues later in life.
And then when you look at the options of how you started your life, Uh, most people are being fed junk, um, or nutritionally neutral stuff at best. Um, which is no good either. Um, think about it. If your brain is developing, uh, at the fastest rate that it's developing nutrition helps fuel all of that development.
Uh, if you're lacking the impact of that deficiency is way higher or lead than if you were lacking later in life. Um, so this is really, I see what we're doing is tackling these issues like obesity, um, right at the source and making quality food, more accessible to the kids who need it most.
Mark: Is there an affordable solution?
I think a lot. I imagine a lot of families who are doing quick service, fast food, they're having. Breakfast to McDonald's because they're time constrained and they're off to a low-income wage. What solutions do they have that are both quick? And, uh, nutritious. Yeah,
Lisa: I mean we not many, um, little spoon does our best job at making what we're giving as affordable as possible.
Our kids' meals are under $5 a meal for a fully formed meal using organic ingredients, no processed, um, elements. It's it's. Pretty affordable. Um, but you know, we're, I'm not going to claim to say, we're, we're solving world hunger here. We're not, um, but our role and, uh, a big part of, um, the role of a startup in solving certain societal problems is very much to understand where your places in that problem.
Um, for us, we're very focused on the middle that gets squeezed, um, in, in a perfect world, which we don't live in, but in a perfect world, The government should be helping the lowest of the low income who really can't solve that. And traditionally, the, you know, the private sector has helped the very wealthy and what happens time and time.
Again, everybody in the middle. Is left to, to kind of fend for themselves. And so that, you know, if I have to articulate sort of how we think about creating accessibility, there's this balance between making sure we're giving you a high quality product. We will not cut corners on that, but we will make.
Only the necessary decisions, um, to give you the highest quality product that doesn't have to be priced out this middle, uh, this middle population that I don't believe is getting served, um, both in the nutrition category as well as many other categories, um, in our consumer culture,
Mark: if you were able to write some laws for the government, Right.
You're dealing with a movement, a real public health issue. You're doing it as a private company. If you could wave a magic wand and get through all the political morass, what would you want changed? What rules would you want enacted?
Lisa: Um, better transparency around how a product is made. Um, that's the biggest challenge at least on the baby food side is that you see broccoli in a pouch.
You see it's broccoli in a pouch and that's okay. Very fair assumption. Um, but there's no requirements to disclose how that food was made. Meaning did this undergo high tore key pressure where your food is cooked to 500 degrees for hours at a time? And you know, nobody knows that. So I think having that information out there is important.
I think also putting the burden back on, uh, The private sector companies, like there is a responsibility that, that we should be held to, um, to bring products to market that are also helping people. Um, you know, they're in different segments of the market. Not everyone could be the cheapest option, but, and that's fine.
That's why we have competition. Um, but I think that I don't know exactly what the law would be, but there's certainly some incentives that the government can create for companies to do the right thing when it comes to food and food quality. I remember reading maybe a year or two ago. Um, whenever like Lunchables, um, had their 50 year anniversary and I was reading this quote from the CEO of Lunchables, his article in the Atlantic and.
It was something, either the writer asked some question, it was something to the effect of like, you know, how do you sort of re reconcile the size of your company, which it's a massive business, um, with the fact that like, you've come under fire for. Putting out really unhealthy stuff for kids. And his response was something to the effect of like, well, people are buying it.
And like, I was disgusted by that. I mean that that's not an appropriate response and frankly, it's very uninspiring and uncreative. The cool part about being an entrepreneur is that. You get to the onus is on you to figure out how to make money, solving a problem in the right way. And that's the challenge.
And that's exciting to a lot of people like probably you, um, and my fellow founders. Um, but that was not something that he at least articulated in that article. Um, and that is, that is a perfect example of the issue, um, that we're trying to, to change. And we're trying to change that. That paradigm and eliminate some of these unnecessary trade-offs and the lack of resources that an average parent in the U S has, um, that they shouldn't, all of this is become exacerbated by COVID by the way, um, where parents are becoming tutors, teachers, coaches.
Oh, and, but they also have to maintain their jobs. Uh, and they're doing it in one household or one apartment or wherever you are with no additional resource from anybody, unless they happen to work for a company that decided to help them. Um,
Mark: so, well, that's a pretty clear example of the enemy you were referring to before.
Lisa: Yes. Yes. It sure is. And it really, you know, the whole idea. Is about activating a group of people or a group of consumers in the same way that a social movement would inspire people to come together and make change. Um, and that can help really drive, you know, people to care and want to tell your story for you.
Um, if we were just talking about, Hey, we have this better product, it's way higher quality. And like, you should totally hate on Gerbers. That's not inspiring. What people care about is like, Hey, I'm struggling as a parent because it's hard to do X, Y, and Z. And this group, little spoon, this company is trying to open up the conversation and the dialogue we're trying to create solutions together to change that reality.
That's exciting. Uh, that's empowering.
Mark: So you've had a lot of success in turning the community, which has around this cause into a marketing force. What's the formula for other entrepreneurs listening who are maybe in totally different industries, what are the best practices? What are the things people need to understand in order to make this work for them?
Lisa: Yeah. Um, I'm obviously a big believer in, uh, building a community and that driving true sustainable, like. Business outcomes. Um, the formula, I mean, there is a rough set of activities that I think as you're building your brand and it's never too late, even if you've launched, you can still do this after your product is out there.
But the goal here is to really, and I keep referencing this concept of a social movement because. It's really inspired me to think about brand building in a very different way. And so when you're thinking about how do you generate a community? It's very hard to like. In organically started community. You kind of like can't, um, I there's so many startups and companies that run Facebook ads to like join a Facebook group.
And it's like, that's not how it works. Those things exist as byproducts of people coming together. So how do you get people to care and come together? One is in, you pointed out very aptly. First step is. Define your enemy and design it in the right way. You know, we talked a lot about little spoon, but if you think about other maybe, um, very well known companies, like I think about Glossier, for example, There are enemies, not a specific brand.
It's not a specific, um, it's not even a specific like shopping experience. It is literally the eyes, the beauty ideals, uh, the industry, the beauty industry, which has told us what, how we should book and what kind of makeup to use Glossier. Very markedly says no. The consumer is the one who should be dictating that they should be.
And that's why they create products that you could layer that you can make them, you know, very aggressive or very subtle, um, because no one should be top down telling you how you should look. Um, and that is threaded throughout glossies, a brand. And there are, you know, they are. Undeniable example of a powerful community that's driven, uh, the company's growth, um, after you've established that, that enemy.
You want to give people, uh, you know, Oh, communicate the why? Like, why do you exist? You have to get out there like a reason for your existence. So the first step is like, why are you frustrated about that? You're trying to change. And then how is your solution to a lead to alleviate that pain point? And how can we get that out there?
Um, so for a little spoon at launch, we wanted to highlight what we were collectively up against, which is like this unfair trade off between quality and convenience, um, that parents had to make when it came to their child's health. Um, when we related to that unfairness, You know, in our launch video, on, in our micro site, we have a micro site called numeral baby food.com.
Um, that was really the way that we were showing the contrast between kind of the status quo of feeding your child something convenient and the. Way we wanted to see things change, which is everyone should have the ability to give their child fresh, organic baby food. And this rally people and actually led to us formalizing our army, um, and community that has now ended up in been kind of harnessed in a community that we call is this normal, which I'll talk about later.
Um, and then once you establish that. Reason for existence. You want to create these like moments and events to make the story very tangible and relevant. So this can be something that's very organic that just like happens in real life. Um, for example, Ashley Graham, who, for those who don't know who she is, she's a plus size model.
She's a new mom. She has, she, she has become very. Vocal in being very real about her experience as a mom. And she posted a picture after coming home from the hospital in her postpartum diaper. Do you want to know what most of my friends reacted to that picture who don't have children yet? Some of them pregnant.
Why do you come home in a diaper? Literally every woman is sent home in a diaper that is not talked about. Nobody tells you that. How is that something that we're not aware of? And she was kind of, this is, this is sort of under it underscores the issue, this paradigm in parenting of like the lack of transparency in the honest conversations to support parents do a very difficult process.
So we use this incident to communicate why little spoon exists. To break down these misperceptions in parenting in a very newsworthy relevant way. But if somebody, it doesn't happen in the news, you can manufacture it. You can construct a moment or an event. You can write an op-ed rallying, the troops and, and making that relevant.
You could write a manifesto and posted everywhere, um, and, and create a new moment, create the news yourself. And that, that gives people well, something to start to pay attention to. And then it's just about building an on-ramp and getting people. To gradually participate and display their association with your company, your brand, your philosophy, um, fans, and this loyal community can be created.
You have to cultivate it. You have to, you have to feed it and give them opportunities that are first small, and then bigger and bigger and bigger. Um, and then you start to build a real community that cares. And you can start to leverage them in all aspects of your business, customer acquisition, product development.
Um, And these are really the activities that, that the formula to building that community, um,
Mark: are platforms you use, is it an email newsletter? Is it Facebook? Twitter? Where does this live for you? So
Lisa: everywhere it, and that's what makes it difficult. And so once you've rallied troops, You have to be methodical, methodical about setting KPIs to measure the impact.
Um, sometimes that's from like a pure customer acquisition perspective, but you could also measure it in terms of engagement in terms of, um, you know, follower growth. Um, so it depends on the medium that you're on. We have a platform called is this normal, which is a separate site from little spoon.com.
That is an advice portal and content hub. Um, so lots of different ways to measure, um, engagement and growth and conversion through that. Um, we have a newsletter that's become very popular, um, with parents. Um, we have half a million subscribers to it. Um, never paid a dime. Um, that, uh, you can measure IBCD effectiveness there.
We also use Facebook groups. We use, um, private Instagram accounts. We have a Slack group with, uh, our ambassadors. We've harnessed a section, a subset of this community and created a chat . We wanted to treat it as a performance marketing channel. So we said, okay, let's take this subset and start reinventing what it means to be an ambassador of a, of a brand.
Um, and, and think about that from a performance marketing perspective. So we do this on a number of different, uh, you know, channels and ways. Um, it's, it's actually quite complicated. Uh, people look at community as like this fluffy thing. It's actually extremely programmatic and methodical.
Mark: So of all of that.
I mean, you, you guys are leveraging a lot of different marketing channels. What's the one people aren't paying attention to. Is there some sort of marketing channel that no one's thinking about that every company should be leveraging? It sounds like I, I heard a stat recently. 60% of every venture dollar raised is dumped into Google and Facebook ads.
Uh, I don't know if that exactly holds true, but probably not completely wrong, probably. Right. Yeah. And it's, you know, we have a marketing agency, you know, that the math can work, but it gets tighter and tighter. And so creative strategies, other channels are always very helpful. What's what's uh, maybe you could share a secret with the folks listening.
Lisa: Well, might be a little evident, but I think that there are two non traditional marketing channels or people don't necessarily think about it as a marketing channel. One obvious, I think based on everything I've said is literally your customer. Um, how do you it's it's it's actually so basic, right? Like everybody wants word of mouth from your customer, but.
They really are your most important source of acquisition, especially in a category that we're in parenting, where most people learn about things from like their WhatsApp group with other moms and dads. Um, so it's, it's a hard quote-unquote, I'm air quoting since people can't see me, but, um, it is, uh, it is a very hard channel to scale, but if you.
Well, methodically create programs and ways to measure how your customer can be your sources source of acquisition, whether that's through a loyalty program and ambassador program. A lot of my roots in beauty. Um, have, have influenced how we've sort of created these engines. Um, Sephora, uh, is known for having one of those powerful loyalty programs that exist.
Um, some of it's more retention oriented, but there are a lot of elements of loyalty programs that drive acquisition and drive talking about your brand. Um, so making that programmatized, um, and measuring it, uh, is actually a really powerful channel, but it does require. Patience and investment. And that's the challenge with startups, especially venture backed startups, where you're under pressure to show ROI.
That's why people end up, um, pushing money through Facebook because it's, it's more, it's closer to a faucet. You put money in and you get sales out. Um, and it's not a bad thing that if you're on Facebook, I mean, we, we do Facebook ads to that. The challenge is that over a long. Term period, you don't own your audience.
So like Facebook changes the algorithm. Facebook undergoes a lot of changes due to privacy laws, which by the way, are going to happen. Everyone should get ready. Uh, we're not going to be able to target and measure it in the same way that we were and the companies that have created a community and have figured out how to turn customers into, uh, marketing channels will be the ones that survive through that.
Um, the other channel that I think people don't think about, and this is a little bit further down in the funnel. So once someone's aware of your, of your brand and if your company, um, is actually customer service, um, Many prospective customers, uh, will write in, they'll have questions. They want to understand the product.
Um, that's an opportunity to build a relationship, to communicate who you are as a brand. Our customer service team is treated as a marketing line item, not a cost center. Um, and that's because we can attribute. Conversion to our customer service team. And there's a way to do that. That's scalable that you can scale a level of personalization in your business.
It's not easy, but you can do it. Um, and that is a very important piece of a company, like little spoons marketing stack, um, there, so those will be, I guess the two, maybe less thought of marketing channels.
Mark: Yeah, no, it's smart. It's smart. And I think the mission's fantastic. Um, as a call to action there's a lot of people are gonna listen to this who are, would be entrepreneurs.
Maybe they're not already in a space. Maybe they share your passion. Are there other segments of the children's space that need help? How can other would be entrepreneurs listening, have impact? What are the problems that are out there to
Lisa: solve? I would love, and I would love to back and work with someone who can figure out the childcare challenge.
Um, childcare is. It is. So it is a Bismal how little support parents have when it comes to childcare, um, particularly in the baby and like pre first grade stage. So like when you need daycare, right. Um, The industry is, is terrible. The options are it's extremely expensive. Uh, the quality is questionable.
There's not great regulation around it. Um, it's honestly crazy that we ask people to go back to work. Three four months in and like, no one, no one it's like, yeah, figure out your kid, like right. $10,000. Um, you know, I'm, I'm gone next week. I'm, you know, I might be exaggerating little, it depends on your market, but that is a hugely broken space, um, that someone needs to solve.
I do think there's a role for startups, I think, to, to solving that, that problem. Um, but it's incredibly complicated.
Mark: Uh, your story is fascinating. And when, when you take a step back, as I said before, it really looks like it was an intentional path, or is this going, or do you see yourself in 10 years?
Lisa: Uh, I haven't had answered that question in a while.
Haven't done a job interview in awhile. Um, where do I see myself in 10 years? Everything that drives me personally is all about being able to have the ability to solve problems. And as hopefully I continue to, you know, succeed in doing that. I hope to have more and more opportunities to either. Play a role or start more companies that are, that are, you know, have an outsized ability to, to change, um, a reality.
That's frustrating to me, into the people around me. Um, it's, non-specific on purpose because I am, you know, very much driven as you said earlier. So, so nicely, I'm very much driven by the opportunity. Um, There are spaces that I love and care about. Um, but like if you had asked me in college or even after college, if I was going to get into the food space specifically, Like there's no chance.
I would have said that. Um, so that's roughly what the future holds for me. Um, I also love new experiences and, and, you know, certainly starting a company's in a new experience, literally every single day. Um, I'm very much inspired and driven by taking new, new chances and new experiences. So I hope to be able to continue to do that forever.
Mark: That's great. Not necessarily wellness, but entrepreneurship, you know, in the innovation economy. Yeah.
Lisa: I mean, I lend myself to brands and consumer the consumer world. That's absolutely my sweet spot and it's what I'm really passionate about. Um, but you know, I think it's pretty unlikely that I'm going to get so excited about some enterprise SAS technology that I like want to devote my 24, seven time to it.
Um, but I never seen it. Right.
Mark: Okay. Here we go. All right. Last two questions. How did your VC background help you as an entrepreneur? I think it's a background that most entrepreneurs do not have, and it's a blind spot when they have to go out and raise money. So for you, where did it have
Lisa: impact in a couple of.
Places, I mean one which you kind of hinted at, um, is it in the fundraising process? Um, it's, it's not necessary surely an advantage because you've, you know, a ton of people, although of course, getting your foot in the doors is half the battle sometimes. Um, and I was able to get my foot in those doors because I was living and breathing in that industry.
But I think that it's also. You know, it gave me an understanding of the kinds of questions and worries. And you know, where, like, how does a VC make a decision around underwriting a company? Um, you roughly can understand that just as like a smart person, which if you're building a company and doing it, hopefully successfully, you probably are.
Um, but having kind of the exposure to the intimate conversations and debates around why you might. Go for one business over another, um, was very helpful for a little spoon. Um, it also effected how I went about the fundraising process because I learned from being on the other side that. Funds often say no, because it's just the wrong problem for them.
It has nothing to do with how good your pitch was or how great your stats and KPIs look. Um, so very much like dating, you just kind of have to find the right match. Um, and I think a lot of founders and I saw this happen being on the other side, we used a lot of time pitching to the wrong type of investor at the wrong time.
Um, and it, it, it. It comes at a cost. Um, yeah. One is the mental cost. Uh, you're always, you're always gonna get a lot of nos, but it's, it's challenging. It's devastating. And you can, you know, it hits you at the wrong time. And like, you could really question what you're doing. Um, it shakes your confidence.
It's something that you have to get used to. As a founder, uh, you get very little feedback and if you're doing things right, you only know when you're doing things wrong. Um right.
Mark: And even worse, all your friends are telling you. It's great, even if they hate it,
Lisa: always, always. Um, so that's one piece. Um, the other piece that I think I gained from having experience in venture capital, um, was just the ability to.
See patterns. Um, of course, in, in types of companies, um, types of problems that I like to solve my approach to, you know, thinking about how to build a sustainable startup is, is in large part informed by seeing so many startups do it incorrectly. Um, so a couple of examples of that one, um, saw time and time again, startups focusing on their other startup competitors and not there.
Consumer's issue and the problem, it can heavily divert resources in the wrong direction because you react to a competitor and not to your customer's problem. Um, that's one huge blind spot that I saw across different types of founders, time and time again, that like, I try to internalize in myself as I'm running my own company.
Um, another example would be. Founders from again, across different types of companies have very common blind spots. Um, and you know, it's a little bit of like knowing psychology. We, we know all these biases that we have as humans. You can't always overcome them, but some level of awareness, I, I, you know, I hope helps.
Um, and one of those was really about, um, Not collecting enough feedback from your consumer. Um, it's very easy as a founder to assume, you know, best, because again, you are thinking about this problem over and over and over again, and you, you do have an out-sized knowledge, but, um, What ends up happening is, um, a lot of really great founders and a lot of qualities of great founders are people who actually rely a lot on intuition.
Um, and the blind side of that is you're not collecting enough feedback. Um, and so at little spoon, I mean, I, and I, I, you know, run our insights team, um, because we are so militant about. Making sure we're collecting and quantifying feedback at every single stage of the business. Um, that enables us to override our blind spots, because if we're seeing a problem arise that we thought we solved for, it's kind of hard to deny the numbers.
Um, so knowing that that's a bias, I try to create the engines that would quantify that so that like, I wouldn't fight against it.
Mark: That's great. That's fantastic. Um, and very wise, I think. So a similar question. I usually don't ask the first one cause not everyone on is, uh, as a VC background. What is the most important thing you've learned as an entrepreneur?
And I asked this of everybody with the hope that there's one little glimmer of knowledge or tip that can help folks listening.
Lisa: I love this question. Um, I think about it a lot. If I have to pick one thing, um, I think it's that startups generally fail. Not because of starvation, but because of indigestion.
So what I mean by that is most startups have a ton of ideas, a ton of things. They want to execute on a ton of products they want to create, and they're all probably great ideas. Um, but the way you fail more often, I think is when you try to do all of those things, um, It's indigestion. Um, you know, it's very hard to internalize this when you're in the thick of things, because you're, you're feeling pressure to move quickly.
You don't know what's happening with the market. Maybe your investors are putting pressure on you. You're putting pressure on yourself because you want to accomplish so many different things. Um, but start at style that indigestion, they focus on doing a little bit of everything instead of identifying key needle movers.
And focusing on executing them to a T, um, and you win with perfect execution, not with mediocre, uh, launches across 10 different products. Um, so I, that would be, that would be the most important lesson I think I've learned. And it's honestly so hard to prioritize. It's so, so hard. It's one of the hardest parts of my job.
Mark: fantastic. Hey, I think this is going to be really helpful to a lot of folks. Uh, and I think it's pretty inspiring what you're doing for the wellness side of this. Thanks for being on
very grateful to Lisa for taking time to chat with us today. Hopefully her story and marketing advice were useful. If you liked what you heard, please look us up with a like, and a five star review and feel free to share with your friends. You can find me on Twitter at MPD to hear more of my conversations with innovators, subscribe on YouTube, Facebook, or any major podcast platform.
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