A few weeks ago, I went back to school. Specifically, we started a 16 week intensive course (think mini-MBA) on rapid growth companies with a really cool organization called "Start-up Junkie". We are hanging out with some pretty cool folks. I think we are in the middle of the pack, some are ahead of us and some are little earlier in the process. I am excited to learn as we leave the "startup" phase and get to the growth phase.
What does that mean? It means building a company with processes, so that we are repeatable, so we can scale (more chocolate, more retailers) and also shed some things (things we don't need to do) and making sure we are in sync with our customers.
We entered this phase of our lives having some unique skills and experience. Undergrad in Electrical Engineering, 3/4's of a MBA 4 times over, 10 years in manufacturing, custom building robotics, part of the Microsoft XBox launch team, and 15+ years in corporate sales. We brought all that experience into Kyya and it is part of who we are today.
One thing my dad taught me, as well as previous employers Microsoft and Dell, is if you are not constantly learning, you will fail. My dad was a encyclopedia of knowledge growing up. As a kid, I usually sat at the foot of my dad at night after dinner listening to the day's experience. Dad was always starting, fixing or turning around a manufacturing operation. He spent close to 35 years in Pharmaceutical manufacturing, which gave me the unique privilege to say my dad made drugs for a living (a tongue in cheek joke in our house), but I learned so much at his feet. It is a large part of what made me who I am today.
Kyya is replicating what my dad taught me. Even as Kyya starts year #4, we are still in a learning mode and always will be. I want my team smarter than me, willing to try new things, build on the things we have learned, so we can learn more about our farmers, how we can help and how chocolate can be a lever to change the world. And that means as we learn, we share. Today alone, we had over 50 students come through the shop and on average 100 people per week tour the factory.
So work, the work we do making chocolate, trying to impact lives around the world, goes hand in hand with learning, trying new things and thinking outside the box. It's one reason decided to make our products square, as it reminds me about the box. Over the next few months, we will share some of the outside of the box things we have been learning with you.