What are going to be the key takeaways from your keynote?
Nick Gilson: We will be addressing the topic of growing a young, craftsmanship-oriented business in the midst of massive and deeply entrenched competitors. I will discuss the critical role of fast and iterative failure, and the importance of perseverance and creative thinking. I’ll share thoughts through the lens of the Gilson Snow origin story, and will then open the floor to a broader conversation on growing sustainable businesses in the midst of mass-market competitors.
How will your message be relatable to distillers in the audience?
While we may work in seemingly unrelated industries, there are common threads in our work. All of us deviated from “the path.” We quit our traditional jobs in pursuit of something we care deeply about, and we’re up against similarly massive competitors with deep pockets. We cannot run the traditional playbook that our much larger competitors are running. We need to get creative, and we need to build more meaningful relationships with our partners and community. We are facing the same challenges, and we stand to reap the same rewards if we are creative and successful.
What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to entrepreneurs?
Fail quickly, fail cheaply and then Get Creative. While failure may be painful, it is our opportunity to learn the most. When something goes right, all you can say is “don’t touch that dial.” When something goes wrong, we get to ask why.
What drives you in your day-to-day business?
The people. The people on our team making it happen, and the people in our community enjoying our work.
What appeals to you about the craft distilling community?
The craft distilling community is made up of rule breakers—people who deviated from the social norms and quit their jobs. We only live once for all we know, and the people in this community figured out that there is no reason to settle for something less than what you love. It gives me great energy to be in a room with people who are working long hours in pursuit of their passion. Plus, I really love the fruits of the craft distilling community’s labor.