Fueled By Death Cast Ep. 130 - MIKE BROWN RETURNS AGAIN
FOUNDER AND CEO - MIKE BROWN
DEATH WISH COFFEE COMPANY EMPLOYEE SERIES #24
"There are no failures. There are very expensive lessons that we learned, but I don't think there are any real failures.
" Mike Brown, founder, creator, and CEO of Death Wish Coffee Company
ABOUT MIKE BROWN:
Creator and CEO of Death Wish Coffee, Mike Brown, returns to the podcast for the third time! Mike gives details about the new cold brew coffee and the giant Death Wish Coffee truck, and also reveals something that no one knew about! (It rhymes with 'she hipping'). Plus, Mike answers questions from fans and customers about the company, his personal journey, and the greatest prank he ever pulled.
Jeff: Mike, you now hold the record, you are ... This is number three for you on the show, so you have been on the show more than anybody except for me.
Mike Brown: Really?
Mike Brown: I didn't know that coming into this.
Jeff: So you're now three times-
Mike Brown: How many times has Zack been on this?
Jeff: I think twice.
Mike Brown: All right.
Jeff: Only twice, so you even beat out Zack Wilde, take that Zack Wilde. Well, thanks for sitting down, I love getting you on every year because we kind of like check in about how the company's been doing over the last year, what you've been doing, what we've been up to, what's coming in the future. And also, it gives us a chance to kind of, I canvased our amazing community, and I got some pretty cool questions from a lot of them. So we're going to get to those too. I do want to start off by talking about some of the stuff that has been happening this last year that we're really excited about. The first thing I want to talk about is, we were we talked about this the last time you were on the show, which I think was just about a year ago, I think it was last year.
Mike Brown: I think so.
Jeff: And we were talking about how we were creating a new coffee truck. And we were excited, we didn't know what it was going to like really be, but we like were really excited about it. And now it's here.
Mike Brown: Finally, yeah.
Jeff: What do you think of this beast that's parked out in our parking lot now?
Mike Brown: I mean, I think that they must have put that thing together screw by screw, because it took so long for that truck to arrive.
Jeff: Yeah, it really, it really did. But I mean, it's pretty impressive.
Mike Brown: It is. It looks impressive, it's doing the job. When we received it it wasn't perfect, but we've done some test events, since it's come in, and we've made a lot of improvements to it after we've received it, and I think by 2020, we'll probably have, I'll be very confident with it, and we'll actually like send it out more than a couple of times. You know what I mean? We'll probably have like a small team dedicated to it. Right now I'm only planning on sending it out to a couple events this year, because it's a big truck and we're learning a lot, every time we bring it out. You know there's events that we can't take this thing to because it's too big.
Mike Brown: It would take up two trucks spaces.
Jeff: It's 28 feet long. It's got the ability to serve coffee out of it and merchandise, and we're still learning how to juggle that, and do all that. And we like you said, we've done a couple little events in our backyard, which has been I think pretty successful already.
Mike Brown: Yeah, I think so. And the community has been giving us a good response, but we're going to walk before you run with this thing, and I think that's a good strategy. Eventually I'd like all of our customers to get to see this in their neighborhood, in their cities, so we'll see if you guys have a location where you want to see the truck let us know. We'll take note of it and when we're putting together events scheduled for 2020, hopefully we can put that event or that city on it.
Jeff: Yeah, no, I'm really excited. Because I think this truck is going to be something that's going to last us for, like the last track we had we kind of cob jobbed from, I think it was an old bookmobile.
Mike Brown: Yeah it was.
Mike Brown: It was my friend's company. And man, this guy's smart, he always runs it, he's like genius companies and they were just, I don't know what the whole business model was, but they're basically just buying back books from college kids. I don't know how they made money but they're just-
Jeff: How do you make money?
Mike Brown: ... giving money away, but they did somehow.
Jeff: Well, I just think that like with this truck, because we built it to our specs, and it's for what it's for. I think we're going to have this for years and years and years, and as we do more events, those will breed more places to go, and more events to do, and I think it's just going to be awesome.
Mike Brown: Yeah, maybe we can find like a, maybe we can make it so big. Maybe we can put like the podcast in there-
Jeff: I would love to.
Mike Brown: ... and take it on the road every once in a while.
Jeff: I've said this to Mike, and I'm going to say it on camera so we have it on record. If you want to put bunk beds in that, I will literally take it across country and live in it.
Mike Brown: I think we can, those ... So we have these big merch holders, right?
Mike Brown: Which are right now we don't have any merch in it but I bet you we can make those fold out into beds.
Jeff: I would be-
Mike Brown: I don't know what the health department would say about that, we're sleeping where we're making coffee so we'll have to double check that. But maybe we can make a divider.
Jeff: Maybe we can make a divider, fueled by death across America, I think I would, and I'd chronicle the whole thing on the show, I'm in.
Mike Brown: All right, I like that idea. [crosstalk 00:04:31] maybe we can get one of those antennas that look like the news truck ads, like-
Mike Brown: From, I'm trying to think like what I've seen it in. Maybe Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Jeff: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-
Mike Brown: [inaudible 00:04:41].
Jeff: Yeah, yeah. Definitely, definitely, no 100% I'm in, I'm in. If you guys are in, I'm coming to your town.
Mike Brown: Nice.
Jeff: The other thing we were talking about last year, and it is finally just around the corner is, and I got two cans of it, is our brand new cold brew. That's like coming out like in a week.
Mike Brown: Yeah, this is due to be released June 15th, but don't hold me to that. But that's our goal. And I think we can hit it. What's today anyways?
Jeff: We're recording this on the seventh, so yeah and this is coming out-
Mike Brown: Yeah so hopefully this can, hopefully it'll be out on time. It's all in right now, we're just packaging it up, shipping it back out. That's great products, it took us a long time to develop it.
Jeff: Yeah. Can you talk a little bit about the process of developing this? Because, I mean, I think that's interesting. A lot of people you know, we came out with the cold brew, to begin with, this is a completely different product, and it's not just like we were like, we went to a company and said, "Make us a cold brew," and that happened. There was a big process behind that.
Mike Brown: Yeah, there was a vetting process too, we had to find, we wanted to find the best co-producer that we could find.
Jeff: Of course.
Mike Brown: We don't make this in house. But we do work with basically the best of the best, to make the best product for you. And then once we found that production partner, it just went through like samplings and-
Jeff: So many samples, so many taste tests.
Mike Brown: ... taste tests, and small like market studies, is that what you're calling them, where you like have other people try them.
Mike Brown: Yeah, and there's so many food and beverage regulations that you have to follow. And we made sure we followed those to a tee. And I don't know, it's a great product. I'm really excited about the customers response to it.
Jeff: Me too. I can't wait to hear what people think of this.
Mike Brown: Yeah. Because I mean, I don't know, something you worked so hard on for so long, and hopefully you're already seeing people like, yeah, this really embodies you know, what we think Death Wish Coffee should be in a cold brew form. It isn't a nitro brew-
Jeff: Yeah. Can we talk a little, I know that's a huge question in the community because our first one was a nitro brew, and this is not, and what kind of the difference of that is.
Mike Brown: Yeah, we moved away from that because we wanted a more pure form, a pure taste of the coffee The nitro when it was in there, it did add like a velvety touch to it. And to be quite honest, there are some great nitro brews out there right now, and maybe in the future, we'll move that direction. But for this one, we're like, oh let's just like capture, you know what Death Wish Coffee is all about in terms of flavor, and strength. And I think we did a great job. We also have three versions this time, which is a little different than the first time around, and we have a different sized can.
Mike Brown: So we had a, I think 11 ounce can when we released the-
Jeff: I think it was, yeah.
Mike Brown: ... nitro brew.
Jeff: The fatter, shorter can.
Mike Brown: Yeah. It was too much for me, it was too much for a lot of people. They were like, "Yeah, we got to drink this in halves," so we're like, why don't we just make an eight ounce can. This one is just as strong if not stronger.
Jeff: 300 milligrams of caffeine per can. Now we've tried off three of these, coming out of the gate, obviously the black is coming out, and then the slightly sweet is coming out. And then later this year, we're releasing a latte version, which I'm really excited about as well. And you've tried all three, do you have a favorite?
Mike Brown: I mean, I'm a purist I like the black. But honestly, even the slightly sweet one, I tasted and it's not even, can I open this?
Jeff: Yeah, I mean, they're they're not cold, but why not? Yeah.
Mike Brown: All right. I don't know if like these are like, I don't know, just for the show.
Jeff: I don't know I took them off the shelf. You own the darn company, you can do whatever you want.
Mike Brown: Even though slightly sweet one is, it's not, I don't know it's not overpoweringly sweet, it only has five grams of added sugar and 10 grams, I'm sorry, nine grams of total sugar, or total carbohydrates.
Jeff: God that's good.
Mike Brown: Yeah, there's only how many sugars in here? Is it five grams, or nine grams?
Jeff: I think it's five grams.
Mike Brown: Five grams.
Jeff: Yeah, I think it's really, really small. And yeah I like them both, I like the, I'm a purist too, though, I really like the black, but that's slightly sweet. I definitely do not like an overly sweet, anything when it comes to coffee. I used to be a cappuccino drinker before, like when I was a kid.
Mike Brown: Yeah.
Jeff: Because it's literally desert, you know, it's like they're more sugary-
Mike Brown: And the latte version is, the samples I've tried, the reason we haven't released the latte version yet is, we're still formulating it and it's not 100% perfect yet. And what I mean by that is, I think it's a little too sweet, and I think a couple people think it's a little too sweet as well. And we wanted to have, you know we want you to be able to taste the Death Wish Coffee, and to be like, "Oh, yeah, this is Death Wish Coffee with a little cream and some sugar. And this is how I make it at home, this is how I want to drink it. So we made three different versions, because there's basically three different taste profiles out there-
Mike Brown: ... in our customer base so-
Jeff: I think it's really-
Mike Brown: ... We want to make up.
Jeff: ... really exciting. I also want to say as a fan of the product, I think that this is truer to form than the nitro. I liked the nitro brew that we came up, the original cold brew, but it was very different than Death Wish Coffee because of that velvety nitro thing in there.
Mike Brown: Right.
Jeff: This I feel is as close to a hot cup of Death Wish Coffee, as you can get only in a cold version. I think it's so on brand. I'm just so excited about it.
Mike Brown: Yeah, that's great. When the nitro, I don't know the nitro when you put nitro gas in something, you know it is a gas and most gases have flavor and nitrogen does too to an extent. So you did taste that a little bit. Some people would say it gave it a slightly sweet taste, and I'd agree. But without it, I think it's more pure. And I like it better personally.
Jeff: I do too. And what are your plans, the other question that is on everybody's lips is, what are your plans for the product? We're obviously releasing it online first, but do you see this in stores everywhere? Do you want this in like ... Where do you see the cold brew in the next year or three years down the road?
Mike Brown: Down the road? I mean down the road I see this product everywhere. I see it in your gas stations, your convenience stores, and your grocery store coolers, hopefully at the registers. The amazing team here at Death Wish Coffee has been doing a great job of expanding our distribution network. So all of our customers are going to be able to get our product faster, easier, simpler. I mean, that's the whole thing for us is like, we want to make it as convenient for you as possible to get the products you love. Yeah, and they've been doing an amazing job at it. And I think we're going to probably take this as far as we can domestically first before even thinking about anything international.
Mike Brown: I believe, I could be wrong, but it does have a little bit too much caffeine for some international markets so. We're going to-
Jeff: Oh well.
Mike Brown: ... yeah, we're going to have to kind of hold off on some of those and do a newer research before we decide to take it international. But yeah, fantastic product-
Jeff: I can't wait to see it everywhere.
Mike Brown: ... strong, I don't know, I'm a, I don't know I feel like I have this like anticipation for it that's, it's calm but it's like, you just kind of like want it to, just been waiting for so long.
Jeff: Yeah. Well we've been-
Mike Brown: And I know you guys have too, so.
Jeff: And I think that's what's great though is like, we took our time, we made sure that we had a product that we're really, really proud of, and we're taking our time on the retail side of it too. You know, I mean, I'm with you, in three to five years, I see this everywhere, gas stations, at the counters, everywhere, but that just takes longer you know.
Mike Brown: Yeah.
Jeff: It's nice with eCommerce we can be like, we're going to release this and we put it up on our channels on eCommerce and we can do that, but it will start to trickle into retail and I think that'll be really exciting.
Mike Brown: Right. And then there's already talks of like different sizes for these, and they might make even a smaller version. That you can kind of just take a shot and take on-
Mike Brown: ... your day.
Jeff: Shots. That'd be great.
Mike Brown: A larger version for inside your fridge, you can just kind of like pour out for your husband or wife in the morning.
Jeff: I love it.
Mike Brown: So there's options out there.
Mike Brown: And we're thinking about them. It's not like we dragged our feet to get this out either, man we worked hard.
Mike Brown: And it just, it was just a very intense selection process to find the right person and ...
Jeff: One of the coolest things about working at this company is, and I mean this sincerely, is that we don't settle. With any product ideation, with any piece of merchandise, with any new type of consumable, we're not just, let's get it out there for the masses, because it seems like a good idea. We vet all sorts of, even down to our T-shirts. We vet like the quality of the T-shirt, the feel of it on, we get all sorts of different samples. And I really think that that's true to what Death Wish Coffee is all about, and what you've always said fueling people's passions.
Mike Brown: Yes.
Jeff: We want you to be passionate about what we make. So we're passionate about it, we're passionate about making it, and I think that's awesome.
Mike Brown: Yeah, let me be passionate.
Jeff: Yeah, exactly.
Mike Brown: The caffeine's hit me right now.
Jeff: Yes, yes, yes. I kind of wanted to touch upon-
Mike Brown: Fuel my passions.
Jeff: Yes, exactly. I kind of wanted to touch upon speaking on the cold brew side of it as well. What your thoughts have been about retail. We have now, since we talked from last year, our wholesale, our retail has like blossomed. I mean, just last year when we were talking, we were we were thinking, man I hope this works. Like we were just starting to ink those deals with Walmart, we were just putting it out into a wholesale portal and getting this like on shelves and different things. And like, man, I hope people like it. And now what do you think of the retail sales?
Mike Brown: Yeah I mean it was always a big question mark for me. Because you know I've tried to put myself in the customers shoes all the time and it's like, okay, do they love this product because it has that exclusivity factor, or do they love it because it's a great product? Or do they love it because it's got a skull and crossbones on it and it kind of fits in with their identity, and they don't want anyone else to have it? And you know what, we had to look back at our company values for this and our number one value was customers experience and enhancing value. Like how much value can we deliver to them, and we had to think through and be like, hey, if we had this product, if we're the customer of this product, which we are drinking every day but and, but the good thing about me is I can get it whenever I go to work.
Mike Brown: But if I didn't work for Death Wish Coffee, or owned Death Wish Coffee and I loved it, and I ran out of coffee one day, how pissed would I be that I'd have to like go online, order it, wait three days for it to be delivered, and then like, I don't know. I don't know about you but I don't like waiting-
Mike Brown: ... for anything.
Mike Brown: So it just made so much sense. Okay, let's roll this out to these stores, they're asking for it, our customers are asking for it, they want it. And I mean did I think that it was going to, our distribution network was going to grow like it did? No, absolutely not. But we are having some pretty, I guess ... the thing is I'm still like green to the wholesale world, by wholesale I just mean grocery store. I'm like an eCommerce guy, I sell online. So when we started moving into these stores, we had to bring in consultants to help us because we don't like you know we're a small company, we don't want to be like taken advantage of by these large grocery-
Jeff: Walmart conglomerate type things.
Mike Brown: ... yeah. But to be quite honest, Walmart's been fantastic to work with.
Mike Brown: Very transparent, very fair, and you don't hear that often from a small business.
Mike Brown: But they have been. And same thing with all of our grocery store partners. And I believe we have, Jesus we probably have like 35 now. And I'm not going to be able to name them all-
Jeff: No, I know.
Mike Brown: ... But we're going to be in, by the end of the year over 10,000 grocery stores across the country.
Mike Brown: Which is wow.
Jeff: I know that number. Wow, that's incredible.
Mike Brown: 10,000, I think we are in 7,000 now. And yeah we have some big ones coming on board. Kroger is starting up soon, so if you live near Kroger and hopefully it's okay that I'm saying that.
Jeff: Oh, no, no, we've already announced that, we've definitely already announced that, we're excited to, we're just finalizing-
Mike Brown: I got notes here it says like what I should and should not say. I'll just put it away because it's like, well, I don't know what.
Mike Brown: I'm just going to roll with it, it's cool. I can't get in that much trouble, right?
Jeff: No, of course not, who's going to get you in trouble?
Mike Brown: That's right.
Jeff: I'm going to put the link in here too, I believe it's deathwishcoffee.com/stores, you can go, we have a store locator on our website. And as we add new stores, you can kind of find out where it is near you. And it's funny, like speaking on the Walmart side of it, we push back on Walmart. I mean just when I started here a couple of years ago, it was on the table. And I remember you being like, I don't know, I don't know if it's the right move for such a small business being in something like that. And it's like, people look at it and it's like, "Oh, did you sell out now that you're in Walmart?" But I've heard it from the community like you said, like not waiting.
Jeff: People who are even on our coffee subscription, will run out because their in-laws came in for the weekend or whatever, and drank them out of all their Death Wish Coffee and they can-
Mike Brown: The exact thing happened to me the other day.
Mike Brown: Walmart was closer than the warehouse so I went to Walmart. And I mean I felt a little weird buying the product but, it's all good.
Jeff: That's really funny. No but I mean, I think that really adds to the customer experience, like you said, and it's exciting to see retail grow as much as it is. And that kind of leads me into a line of questions we got from our incredible community. You know, we have this community on our social media channels, especially on Facebook, on that official Death Wish Coffee community page over there on Facebook, which is, I think almost like 4,500 people now, which is just-
Mike Brown: I know, and I-
Jeff: ... insane. It's just like, it's crazy to even think about it. They're all so amazing, because it's just all brought together for love of this little product that you came up with.
Mike Brown: I know. I know but it's ... even though I came up with it I don't know, I feel like it's not my product anymore. It is their product, it is your product, it's the team's product.
Mike Brown: When I get credit for it, I almost feel like very sheepish. And almost like, I don't know what the word is. It's ... actually I was just reading-
Mike Brown: ... I was just reading something in a book where it's very like, it's like the difference, I'm not even going to try to say it. But anyways, it was basically, the guy who starts a company really has nothing to do with the success of it, it's the combined force of everything around it. The market conditions, the customers, the team that's developed, a lot of timing. So it basically just said, like, the CEO and the founder basically has nothing to do with the success of the company, or how a product does. And I don't know that made a lot of sense to me. So-
Jeff: That's funny.
Mike Brown: ... Thank you guys and thank you Jeff and the team so.
Jeff: Oh hell yeah. And that kind of ... what I want to start with is a question from Michael Kornberg on Facebook. And actually, it's not just Michael, I saw this from multiple people. And it was, what caused the creation and founding of Death Wish Coffee? Now I want to preface this by saying, we have talked about this before on this very podcast, we also got the incredible chance to do a talk at Google. Remember that?
Mike Brown: Oh yeah, that's right.
Jeff: That was a lot of fun that you can find-
Mike Brown: Google it.
Jeff: Yep, you can Google our talks at Google. And we break down, we really go into depth about really the creation of it. But I wanted you, I always think it's great to kind of have fresh eyes on it. Can we do kind of the cliff notes of-
Mike Brown: Yeah.
Jeff: ... the creation and the founding?
Mike Brown: Hopefully I don't like keep changing the story. I'm just kidding. No, it was pretty simple. I owned a coffee shop in Saratoga Springs called Saratoga Coffee Traders that I bought in 2008. And I ran that into the ground pretty quick, didn't know how to run a business. But I did learn a lot of valuable lessons. In 2011, I was making things meet, making ends meet for a while, but I did have to borrow money from my mom and like, have some lifestyle changes. But-
Jeff: No more Guitar Hero.
Mike Brown: Yeah, exactly, no more Guitar Hero, had to sell a few things. But anyways, around 2011 I started reading up on, oh no, actually, let me preface that. My customers would always come in and ask for the strongest coffee. And then I decided to get online, I Googled, what is the world's longest coffee? There was nothing out there. At that point, I was like, well, Christ, I've been working at this coffee shop for so long and it hasn't really been that busy. So I've been doing a lot of research and I know how to make a strong coffee. Put together the strongest coffee I could find, tried it out on my customers, they liked it, gave me great reviews. And at the same time, this is what I was going to say before.
Mike Brown: At the same time, I was like reading up on eCommerce and studying because I needed to make ends meet, and I didn't make a couple bucks. I think I needed to make like $5,000 a month to make ends meet at the coffee shop. So once I had this product that the customers are raving about in my coffee shop, I made this website, and made this brand, Death Wish, it actually looks totally different back then than it does now, but-
Jeff: You can find those original-
Mike Brown: Oh my God, yeah.
Jeff: ... logos online, yeah.
Mike Brown: That's kind of embarrassing. But anyways, I started selling it online and got some great reviews. And then it just started to like, it really started as like a I don't know how to describe it, almost like a very, very slow process of like, we sold one bag of coffee, a month later, we sold another bag later we sold two. But the good thing was, the sales kept coming in and they kept coming in in a quicker rate, and they started to snowball a bit. And I think the most surprising thing for me, the moment when I knew I had something special was the reviews I was getting from the customers how this coffee was changing their lives. And it was like the best coffee they ever had.
Mike Brown: And I was hearing things from the online communities that I was hearing from my customers in the store. And I was like, all right now we have something here. And that's how it started.
Jeff: Yeah and then it just-
Mike Brown: Kind of like slow progression.
Jeff: ... snowballed from there. A question I never asked you, how long was the mad scientist moment for you with this product? Because I mean, you were figuring out not only how to start a business, but you were also figuring out how to come up with this incredible blend of coffee. And so how long did it take you from ideation to get into the point where you have the recipe that became Death Wish Coffee? Do you even know that?
Mike Brown: I mean, do I know it off, no, I don't. Let me think. It wasn't that long.
Mike Brown: Yeah, I don't think it was that long.
Jeff: Was it a eureka moment?
Mike Brown: It was probably a few weeks. I mean I knew enough about, I knew what, actually, there was a eureka moment.
Mike Brown: Yes, thanks for bringing that up. When I was in, I think it was Boston, it was Boston or Seattle at the SCA conference. I was walking the floor, and the SCA conference is a special tea coffee association conference, and they have like these big trade show once a year where they have different farmers come in from different countries with their coffee beans, packaging, it's a giant trade show with anything coffee you'd ever imagine. There was this just one aisle where there really wasn't much going on and I was walking down it and they had a, they had this table, looked just like this. A table and the people behind it were from India, and they had this Indian Robusta coffee. And I had heard like Robusta coffee is you know, it's more than double the caffeine, it doesn't taste very good and ... you know you hear all these things and it's like it's not even specialty coffee, and hear all these bad like things about it.
Mike Brown: Because at the time, the whole specialty third wave coffee movement was kind of shit non Robusta coffee, even though it has some very, very great qualities. It's high in antioxidants, it's easily grown, It's resistant to disease, it has a lot of good things about it. Anyways, throughout this table and they had some air pots out, I tried it. And it was the best coffee I had at the entire show. And I was like, at least for me, everyone's taste is different. And I'm like, Oh, this is fantastic. And then like, I think as I was leaving that show, I put two and two together, like okay, I'm trying to make this strong coffee for my customers, this is the strongest coffee I've had here and it tastes amazing. I'm like, I'm going to contact these people.
Mike Brown: And actually I don't think I went through them because their product wasn't organic and fair trade. But it found an organic and fair trade supplier of a very similar bean and that's pretty much when Death Wish started once I got those in.
Jeff: Wow. And that is the eureka moment. And it's cool because like at that time, like you said, there really was this stigma against Robusta-
Mike Brown: Yeah. And there still is to this day to an extent but.
Jeff: I think though this company, especially obviously putting into the coffee conversation, let's call it, we really kind of started that world's strongest coffee kind of conversation. We got that conversation rolling, and now there's other incredible companies doing stuff and everything-
Mike Brown: Yeah, absolutely.
Jeff: ... But I think on the other side of it, we kind of got Robusta back into the conversation as well, because there weren't, hardly any companies utilizing that bean. And now, I think because of us, people are kind of looking at it in a different light.
Mike Brown: Yeah, there's a market for it now and I mean, it's a very important bean for the coffee industry as well.
Mike Brown: I guess they're making hybrid versions now-
Jeff: Which is crazy.
Mike Brown: ... because I mean like I said, it's resistant to disease. Unfortunately, Arabica beans are very perceptive to disease and, with climate change that's affecting some of their crops. And luckily you've had like record output years of coffee recently, but that could change if global warming continues. And I'm not an expert on that, so I'm not going to try to speak on it at all.
Jeff: Of course, of course. But the science behind it is crazy too. Just last year they broke down the genome for Robusta, so now we know the true origins of Arabica and the true origins of Robusta, and like you said, they're making these crazy hybrid plants now, that can do all sorts of different things. It's awesome. It's way ... stuff that I don't even understand but it's really, really red. So let's keep going here with some questions. Here's one that I thought was interesting. Daniel Ryder said, "What do you think has been the biggest failure for this company?"
Mike Brown: God damn it, Daniel. There's no failures. There's very expensive lessons that we learned, but I don't think there's any real failures.
Jeff: That's a good-
Mike Brown: I mean-
Jeff: ... that's really good.
Mike Brown: Honestly, if we pick a bad vendor, that's usually a failure, and that's on me for not doing my homework. And usually that results in like a poor product that we put out, that we didn't see a flaw in. Or time when a customer, a group of customers get angry with us, because they're they "Hey, why'd you put this out?" I don't know, some that didn't work out, they didn't like something about it and we're like, oh, my God, why didn't we see that?
Mike Brown: And we'll go on and like refund the customers for those purchases. But I mean, yeah, picking a poor vendor, and not doing our homework behind them, before we get into business with them and checking all the references, that can be expensive.
Jeff: But like you said-
Mike Brown: But I mean, that's like regular course of business. Every business has to deal with that and-
Jeff: You have to make mistakes-
Mike Brown: Yeah.
Jeff: ... to kind of have success, you know.
Mike Brown: Right. So I mean like real failures, yeah I don't know.
Jeff: I like that-
Mike Brown: I don't think of them as failures-
Jeff: ... yeah, expensive mistakes.
Mike Brown: I mean everyday I make a small mistake probably.
Jeff: Yeah. No, I really like that, I like that a lot. Here's a great one from Will McCain also on Facebook. Being so customer friendly in a world full of bad customer experiences, what drives your ideas to consistently give back to your customer base? And on that, what ways do you think you will continue to build on improving your already industry leading customers experience?
Mike Brown: Wow, thanks.
Jeff: I know, right? That's so high praise-
Mike Brown: That was a real question?
Jeff: ... right there.
Mike Brown: Did you write that?
Jeff: No that was Will McCain, not prompted.
Mike Brown: Thanks Will for telling us we have a great customer service. No, we do have a great customer service team here, Kayden leads it, we also got Mike and Christine, and they're amazing. They come in every day, work hard and do, I mean do amazing work, they do. So I think it's partly them that put that great customer service forward every single day, and are consistent about it, and come in with a smile and leave with a smile. Customer service isn't always the easiest job. Not everyone is super nice to our customer service team, when they have problems.
Jeff: It's true.
Mike Brown: And I told them in the beginning, put yourself in the customer's shoes, you don't want to have like a shitty experience with a company that you're like giving, your forking over your hard earned money, your $20, that you probably worked an hour, an hour and a half for. And it's like, that right there is, that's a big extension of trust. And for a company to, well I would never do, but it's happened to me. Like for a company to, after you extend that trust, to give them your hard earned money, if they don't provide an equal or greater value back to you, I don't know, then there's like a little betrayal there. And we try to think of it like that.
Mike Brown: So, if a customer ever calls us and they're not 100% happy with the purchase or their experience, I tell them, like do whatever it takes, make them happy, make them happy. We want them to leave it, if they're not a customer of ours going forward, let's have them have something nice to say about us to their friends and family or others, or at least nothing bad to say, you know?
Mike Brown: But customer experience and customer satisfaction, that's a number one value here. So it's really something we drive home every single day. So what are we going to continue to do in the future? I mean, it's top of mind, it's top of mind in every meeting, so there's no shortage of ideas. I wish I could say I come up with them, but it's usually the customer service team, the marketing team, Jeff to some extent, our sales team, they're the ones come up the ideas to make the experience better. But I will tell you one thing, what I want to see, and I'm going to make it happen. And I haven't talked this over with anyone yet.
Jeff: You're hearing it first.
Mike Brown: I haven't even talked it over with Keith or CFO so.
Jeff: Yeah I love these things.
Mike Brown: I might ... But it's something I'm committed to, and I'm going to make it happen soon. And I don't know how much it's going to cost the company, it's probably gong to cost us a fortune. But-
Jeff: What is it?
Mike Brown: But I don't think we should be charging for shipping anymore, like shipping on our website. Amazon doesn't charge for shipping, and people can go to Amazon right now and buy our product for 20 bucks. But then when you go to Death Wish site, if you buy a bag of coffee, you have to pay for the coffee plus shipping. I don't know, that doesn't seem fair to me. I know, Amazon has the size and the-
Mike Brown: The logistics to make that happen, we probably don't. But at the same time, I put myself in a customer's shoes and I'm thinking, hey if I go to this website over this website, it shouldn't make a difference getting the same product. I shouldn't pay more when I go to the home site.
Mike Brown: So anyways, yeah.
Jeff: So maybe in the future we're going to see-
Mike Brown: Oh it's not maybe, it's going to happen, it's definitely going to happen in the future.
Jeff: It's going to happen soon.
Mike Brown: Whenever this airs, I'll make sure it happens by that day.
Jeff: Oh, my gosh, well this is airing next week so.
Mike Brown: I'll make it happen by that. I promise.
Jeff: Oh my gosh, that's amazing. That is absolutely amazing. I love hearing stuff like that. Because, that was really striking to me again, as someone who saw this company on the outside and then was hired by you just a couple years ago. From the get go, and I've heard your story 1,000 times of how you started the company. From the very beginning, that's always been number one on your list of values is, customer experience, customer trust and customer satisfaction. And I think that is one of the reasons why you've seen so much success with this company, honest to God. Because you are you are making sure ... because at the end of the day, sure you can put out a good product. Sure you can make profit on that product. Sure you can do all these other things, you can lead the new products, and you can do all these other things, but at the end of the day, you still need a customer to buy the product. That is, should be-
Mike Brown: Well why do you buy a product?
Jeff: ... number one.
Mike Brown: Why do you buy a product? I buy a product from people who I like, companies that I like, I care about their values, I care about, whatever. I like their stores, I either like their website, or I don't know. Or it just feels like it's a good fit, you know?
Mike Brown: It's not always, I don't know it's not always, it doesn't always go down to the product level. Sometimes it goes a little bit beyond that. Even if I like a product like, oh, man, I'm not going to tell you the name of the shoe company. But, I bought this, I was wearing these shoes forever, and I had one bad experience with, they shipped my shoes of the wrong address, and then I tried to get a refund, and then like, Oh my God, they just put me through the ringer. And I'm like, oh, man, I love these shoes and I'm never going to be a customer of these shoes ever again. You know, it's like-
Jeff: Because it's the customer journey. It's the customer journey.
Mike Brown: Yeah and like these guys don't even care about me.
Mike Brown: And I'm like, wow, lesson learned. From now on I want every one of these customers to know that, we care about you, and we're thinking about you with every decision we make to make this company better.
Jeff: Yes, yes, and I love it. I absolutely love it. Okay, so here's an interesting question from Ryan Pomeroy again on Facebook, "With coffee prices generally declining over the past two years and the rising popularity of coffee shops like coffee traders and things, have you considered opening up Death Wish Coffee shops or stores, brick and mortar stuff, around the nation to help meet the growing demand we are seeing?
Mike Brown: You know I was just in New York City and every coffee shop there, about 90% of them were Starbucks, were packed, you know what I mean?. And even up here, it is busy. There are a lot of coffee shops opening up, it is a tough business model, I've been in it before.
Jeff: Yeah. It's a whole other-
Mike Brown: But, yeah it is something we're exploring. I don't want to say any definites yet, but it's something that we're looking at hard, and we may do a few, what do you call them? Like stores-
Jeff: The popup shops?
Mike Brown: Yeah, we may open a pop up shop.
Jeff: It's like a test kind of like-
Mike Brown: ... test it out. See what like if you know, do you guys like just getting your coffee at the grocery store? Do you like having it delivered at home? Or do you want to come out to the coffee shops, like meet the team? And get the Death Wish experience there? And what does that experience look like?
Jeff: Right. I mean that's so much fun to think about.
Mike Brown: Oh my God. Yeah it's really fun to think about-
Jeff: What the inside of our store will look like.
Mike Brown: Oh man. Yeah that's a fun part to think about. Then there's like all the other stuff that goes with it, that's when that's when you kind of have to be like, okay, who are we going to put on this? Is it going to be great? Is it going to be able to deliver the experience we want?
Mike Brown: I think it will.
Jeff: I think so. This is already out there, the press has already talked about it. We are actively exploring this exact idea of a brick and mortar Death Wish type store, right in our backyard in Albany. Because honestly, that's the easiest way to do it rather than, we're going to open one in Seattle across the country, or something. If we try this model, I think the best way to do it would be right down the road, so we can kind of be hands on and see how it works, and see where it goes from there.
Mike Brown: Yeah. And this wasn't something that was planned, actually it was planned, but wasn't planned for a few years down the road. But New York city has some great programs right now that we're working with to kind of speed this process up. And it's exciting for us, hopefully, we get what we need to make it happen. And we'll test out some concepts, we'll try it out, we'll see the reaction we get and if it's successful, we'll duplicate it and move to the next city. And same thing, let us know, what cities, you'd like to see a Death Wish Coffee shop in the future. Like I said, it's probably going to be years, it's not going to be like tomorrow.
Jeff: But it is cool that we are toying with the idea, and thinking about it. Because just two years ago, you would have been like, hell, no. That's not even on my radar, I'm not thinking about that.
Mike Brown: But I mean, same thing as the grocery stores. I want a cup of coffee, I'm at work, okay, I'm not going to go to the grocery store, buy a bag, bring it back to the office, I don't know. But if there's a coffee shop down the street, I'll swing it.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah, for sure. Okay, so a couple, let's see a couple quick, rapid fire questions here. One from Gail Don Meyer, again on Facebook and you probably all know Gail-
Mike Brown: I love Gail.
Jeff: ... If you're part of the official page. She asks, "What type of future collaborations or partnerships are you considering? Anything that is, like obviously, we have NDAs with stuff that we're working on so we can't talk about some of those.
Mike Brown: What? I don't even know. Oh boy.
Jeff: But anything in your brain that you like, man, I'd love to collaborate and make something like that happen?
Mike Brown: Boy, I think I mean, if we find like collaborations that fit within our values and our purpose, feel people's passion, that's we want to do. If we can find products that kind of have that same impact with their customer base, those are the ones we think about. I mean, we have the vodka already, we've played with beer in the past. We have so-
Jeff: That was another question actually from Jason Eckert, do you think we'd ever come back with the beer?
Mike Brown: With some type of beer? I mean, I'm not going to shut it down, it's something that I'm open to. I'm open to, I wasn't open to it the first time around, but the team really wanted to do it so I was like, all right, let's give it a try. And it turned out to be much more, I don't know, it turned out to be much better for me and for the company, I think than I realized initially. So I'm open to it but there's nothing planned, there's nothing in the works right now.
Jeff: I've told people this before too, like we partnered with a local brewery, Old Saratoga, which now is defunct, unfortunately, and that's why we don't do the beer anymore. But it was a really interesting experience to have, locally, and well they had some distribution-
Mike Brown: And the community loved it.
Mike Brown: I mean I learned a lot about like their industry.
Jeff: Yeah. But it is again, a whole other monster to have a coffee product, and now have to do an alcohol based product, and all of the legal ease, and all of the stuff that goes in with that. So I like that we think about it, but it's not something that we're just like, let's do it immediately.
Mike Brown: Gail tell us what you want to see.
Jeff: Yeah, exactly.
Mike Brown: Please. You hold a lot of credibility in this-
Jeff: Yeah I mean, if-
Mike Brown: ... and in this company so.
Jeff: Exactly, exactly. So let us know Gail. Here's a fun one from Timmy Medley across the pond.
Mike Brown: Love Timmy.
Jeff: He asked if we have any pet names for our roasting machines?
Mike Brown: I don't know.
Jeff: I don't think we do.
Mike Brown: No, I think they do actually.
Jeff: We'd have to ask Dave and Anthony.
Mike Brown: You know what, I didn't bring my phone in here. But I could text Dave right now and he'd tell me. I think they do have a name. Because they have like pictures around the roasters.
Jeff: Yeah, I know that our old hopper, which was-
Mike Brown: Maybe that's what I'm thinking of.
Jeff: ... Which was basically the big, stainless steel thing that would funnel all of the coffee into like, the K cup machines and stuff like that. We had pictures of Dennis Hopper on those, and they were the Dennis Hoppers all over the place.
Mike Brown: Yes it was.
Jeff: But, yeah-
Mike Brown: I call them 35 and 70, I mean-
Jeff: There you go.
Mike Brown: ... not a pet name it's just-
Jeff: We'll have to come up with some names if we don't. If we do, I'll report back to you Timmy.
Mike Brown: Like, yo, how's that 35 running?
Jeff: Jamie Matthews Hustus, I hope I got that right, from Facebook said that she loves seeing the strong female mugs that we've been doing. And do we think that we're going to continue doing strong female characters on our mugs and T-shirts and more merchandise?
Mike Brown: Yeah, sure.
Mike Brown: I think it's a great idea.
Jeff: It's a great idea. I love seeing this kind of stuff. Because sky's the limit with what we get to create. We have Thomas, Drag and Eddie at the helm of that, and basically just like-
Mike Brown: I actually have much less of a role probably than anyone things in-
Jeff: In ideation.
Mike Brown: ... some way. But also anyone's like, "Do you think this is a good idea?" I'm like, yeah, yeah. Sounds, that's great [crosstalk 00:42:11].
Jeff: Sounds like a great idea.
Mike Brown: I'm really like everyone's worst enemy, because I get people going down these paths and then they either get shot down or not.
Jeff: Well I always tell our customers and our fan base and stuff, if it's something that you like, or something you want to see, let us know. The more you talked about it, the more we'll hear it, and the more we'll put that into practice. So you guys are liking the strong female characters on our mugs and T-shirts, then I guess we'll do more because if you like it, why wouldn't we continue to do something like that?
Mike Brown: Yeah, let's do it.
Jeff: Connie Hannigan asked, "Mike, how do you ever find such an awesome group of employees?" I'm curious about this answer too Connie.
Mike Brown: Well, initially, I just hired people I liked, and then I hired people I needed. And then I hired, now we hire like friends of people that work here, we did that for while, which is good. Because I mean, great people usually work, or hang out with great people. I still kind of kind of lean that way. Like if someone's like, "Hey, I've worked with this person, I'm friends with this person," and they vouch for them, I'm always like, all right let's give him a shot. Sometimes it's a long interview process with tons of candidates, and that's probably my least favorite. But we've got some really great people going through that process as well. I don't know if I answered the question there.
Jeff: I think you did, I think you did.
Mike Brown: All right.
Jeff: And that's how you-
Mike Brown: I mean there's no one right way. Actually, I was reading this article in the Harvard Business Review and it was about hiring and finding the right talent for your company. And it was talking about, what is the right way to do it? Because companies are spending more money now than ever to bring the right talent in, to get the right teams. And it basically said what they're doing is wrong, which is basically like spending all this money on like these headhunters-
Jeff: Headhunters, yeah.
Mike Brown: All these like online things, and ... But what it said was, you should take an inventory of everyone who you've ever hired in your company, and grade them, A, B, C, D, grade them however you want, maybe a scale of one to 10. And then write how you found that person. And then kind of go back to the list and you can kind of, well I did it in Excel and I could just sort the lists really easily. And I did find that the people who were recommendations, friends of people who were recommended to the company, they did get the highest grades. But like I said, they're superstars, in each way we like found employees, but at the same time overall, it's like friends of friends.
Jeff: Yeah. Because I mean, if you're working with that person already, you kind of are like-
Mike Brown: Yeah.
Jeff: ... I know how that-
Mike Brown: But it's quite different for every company. And if you own a company, or are in HR, you should give it a shot, Because it was a interesting exercise that I did and I learned a lot. I also found there was a way where, man, we were like a big zero, and we had a couple few hires that way. And it was like, oh, wow, I just recognized, let's not hire people this way anymore.
Jeff: Right. No, it's the truth. And it is a lot of trial and error, especially starting your own business. Kind of on this on this model, another question from the community. Scott Miller asked, "How do you keep your employees motivated and instilling an atmosphere of team spirit?"
Mike Brown: I want to go back to the last question again, real quick. Sorry.
Jeff: Scott, you got to wait.
Mike Brown: Because it made me think about something.
Jeff: All right.
Mike Brown: In a leadership program that we're all in right now. With, you've seen us going to these leadership meetings, with Bill MArtin. And one of the things that he says, that really resonated with me, and I use it now during the interview process is, "See if you can ask the interviewee questions that help bring to light how they see others." If they see good in others, you want to hire that person. If they're kind of cynical, or if you ask someone, "Hey, why did you leave your last job?" And they're like, "The people were horrible." That type of stuff, or you can ask questions, like hint around that, you probably shouldn't hire that guy. But if you hire people who see good in others and they come in every day, and they're like, "Hey, Jeff I really like your shoes today?" It's going to make you be like, oh, thanks a lot. I got some new shoes on, and you're probably going to say something nice to somebody else. And that positive mentality is going to spread.
Mike Brown: And that's, we need more in the office, because around here anyways, it's, we're growing fast and everyone's at capacity. Sometimes people have, their tempers are a little short and yeah, I mean, it's nice to have some positive vibes going most of the time.
Jeff: I think that's really good, and that's really interesting too, especially from the hiring side of it. So then-
Mike Brown: Sorry, interviews.
Jeff: ... on Scott's point, how do you keep us motivated and instilling our team spirit?
Mike Brown: I'm like the ... So also in this leadership class, what we did with first is we pulled out our strengths and weaknesses, and apparently one of my big weaknesses is inspiring. So that's something I'm working on. So I don't think I inspire this team as much as I could or should, but I do know, I think the customers do, their reaction, everyone that works here inspires each other in a way. And our small successes, and our achievements, that helps fuel everyone's excitement to come back to work again the next day. So yeah, it's just you know, it's not me, it's the customers, and the products we put out, and the the coffee, that helps.
Jeff: Yeah, no for sure, no, that's a good ... and I like that you're honest with it, and you you know your strengths, you know, your weaknesses.
Mike Brown: Yeah, working on the weaknesses.
Jeff: Yeah, of course, of course. Okay, a couple more random quickfire questions here. One from Instagram.
Mike Brown: Is this the slowest quick fire questions?
Jeff: Yeah, right? No, we've got good answers, we got good answers. One from Instagram, from smwood2477. "What was your go to coffee drink before creating Death Wish Coffee? Did you have one?
Mike Brown: Yeah. I mean actually it was a light roast believe it or not. It was a Jackie Joe.
Jeff: Jackie Joe.
Mike Brown: Yeah-
Jeff: [inaudible 00:48:20] coffee traders.
Mike Brown: [inaudible 00:48:21] coffee traders. That was kind of my ... it's because I usually worked in the morning, and that was like my morning, I don't know that was like, my morning, first cup in the morning. And then late in the day, I'd switch to a darker roast. I don't know, that's just what I did.
Jeff: All right, all right. I'm sure I know the answer to this question because like you said, with products before, but this has been asked by Wendy Calla Mia, and probably seven other different people. Is there any chance we'd ever go down the CBD coffee route? The cannabis infused coffee route.
Mike Brown: I mean any chance ever? I don't know, I can't answer that. But any chance soon, no it's not.
Mike Brown: And it's not even like in the near future. It's funny I just had a conversation with my insurance guy yesterday. And he asked me that same question.
Mike Brown: Like, "Do you have any plans and going on this?" And I'm like, we've been approached by a lot of companies-
Mike Brown: ... but now I'm like, I'm just really unsure about it right now. He's like good, and he gave me the whole explanation on, and it was actually kind of interesting. And I'll give you guys the quick version. But he's like, "Right now it's still most," well, the forms of CBD that are above a certain level in THC are still federally not legal. And if, it's weird, if we were to sell that, it would kind of go back on our insurance company, where it would look like they were aiding and abetting some type of ... I don't know he gave me some like-
Jeff: It makes sense, though.
Mike Brown: ... some type of explanation where it's pretty much just like, stay away from that for a while.
Jeff: Just for a little bit.
Mike Brown: Until the feds ... And don't get me wrong, I'm not that familiar with the products that are out there right now.
Jeff: Yeah, it would be-
Mike Brown: I don't even though like, yeah I'm very green there. I don't know what the benefits are.
Jeff: He's very green there, I get it. I get it, I get it.
Mike Brown: I didn't mean it like that. But I don't know all the benefits to it. And ...
Jeff: I can say it from this perspective, it is such a new thing, it's not federally mandated yet so I mean, we'd obviously want to wait for that. And we would do it, if we ever were to go down that route, we would go down at the same way we do any other product ideation. We'd vet everything, we'd do our due diligence, we'd do our research, and we would, if that would ever happen, we would come to a conclusion where could this be a product that we'd be proud of kind of thing?
Mike Brown: Exactly.
Jeff: Right. Here's one that came from a lot of different people, and also our nature notes on Instagram. Now that DWCC is truly international, are we going to do more things internationally? Are we going to open up our sweepstakes internationally? Are we going to do golden tickets internationally? Are we going to do more countries available for the product? What are your plans internationally?
Mike Brown: Yeah, that's all going to happen, and it's going to be a slow rollout.
Mike Brown: I mean it's not like we're going to, the only reason because, we have to set up distribution centers in each of these countries that we're going to offer all these like freebies and stuff, and right now it's difficult to do from the United States and make it affordable for our customers internationally.
Jeff: But it is something we're thinking about a lot.
Mike Brown: But you know I talked about free domestic shipping earlier. I'm also going to do my best to open up distribution centers in, well I'll probably start in here, Canada, Europe, probably then kind of move to Central America, to drive the cost of shipping down internationally. Because right now it is kind of, it's through the roof and I mean, we've already, I think we already have a distribution center in the works in the UK, which will be able to drop-
Jeff: It's going to drop a lot.
Mike Brown: Yeah, drop those shipping costs down, at least throughout Europe dramatically.
Jeff: That's exciting.
Mike Brown: And that should happen probably in the next couple months.
Jeff: That's really exciting.
Mike Brown: Yeah.
Jeff: Yeah. And you know what I mean, it is something, we talk about it a lot. We talk about what can we do internationally more and more and more, and it's an up road battle, it's hard, but it's something that's constantly in the conversation. And I could definitely-
Mike Brown: Yeah I mean, I just got back from the UK with CJ we had to, there's just a lot of paperwork and regulations-
Jeff: Lots of stuff to do.
Mike Brown: ... and audits and-
Mike Brown: I mean it is what it is. It's business, I don't mind doing it, it's going to make it better for everyone.
Jeff: Good, good. The final question from the community is from somebody you might know Scott Swedish.
Mike Brown: I do know Scott. Scott is the owner and manager, I think he's the manager still, he's definitely the owner of Saratoga Coffee Traders.
Jeff: Saratoga Coffee Traders. He says, "What really happened to my grill when I moved out of your house in Albany while taking a teaching job in Binghamton? And follow up question have you made enough money yet to replace it?"
Mike Brown: So Scott lived with me for a while in Albany in my house, and he must have brought a grill over at some point. And he thinks I stole it, or sold it, or something, I don't know. But tell you what, I really don't know what happened to it. I don't know even know what the grill looked like, it was so long ago. But yeah, Scott if you want to grill I'm sure there's one floating around the warehouse somewhere-
Jeff: Yeah we can make it happen right?
Mike Brown: Just go grab it, yeah.
Jeff: We'll [inaudible 00:53:29] something together and you can have a grill Scott, we feel bad for you. Finally at the end here I wanted to touch on two fun topics that were brought-
Mike Brown: No it wasn't a grill, it was like a switcher I think he was ... I'm trying to think a grill, a grill. There was a sweatshirt that he thinks I stole of his, and I think that's, I don't know, maybe it's a sweatshirt too. All I remember is a sweatshirt, I don't know how it happened but I believe Scott you're hearing it here first, that got thrown out the window.
Jeff: Like an actual window?
Mike Brown: Yeah, I got thrown out of a window. But I can't remember why it got thrown out a window.
Jeff: Oh that's really funny, that's really funny. Anyway, I wanted to end this on two fun questions that actually came from our employees here. One of them being on the last episode that you were on. We were on pool duck watch, you were being inundated by this terrible duck that was that was terrorizing your poor dog Hoden, and it was terrorizing your pool. You were trying to figure out a way to get rid of the duck, we want an update, is there an update on, do you still have-
Mike Brown: I mean there's-
Jeff: ... pool duck?
Mike Brown: No, no pool duck, it didn't come back this year.
Jeff: Did not come back.
Mike Brown: My mom actually, she bought me this, it's like this owl and the head spins like a zombie. I put it outside my pool and yeah it just kept the duck away. I don't know if it's the duck or, I'm sorry, I don't know if it's the plastic owl or what but-
Jeff: That's excellent. Well, you're not dealing with pool duck anymore.
Mike Brown: That's right.
Jeff: And the final one that came up from the employees is that, we all know, and I don't know if the community at large knows this. That you are what some people would call a prank master. You-
Mike Brown: I am?
Jeff: Yes. You love your pranks, you love to prank people.
Mike Brown: I do.
Jeff: And the question was, what's the best prank you ever pulled?
Mike Brown: Best prank I ever pulled was probably on Scott Swedish, going back to him again. Man this was good. So, like I said he lived with me for a while, when we were trying to you know, because he was the manager of the coffee shop when I owned it, so he lived with me for a while. And I think he got home from, oh no I was closing the store that day, the coffee shop. So I come home and he's in bed sleeping so. I had this fog machine so I like fogged up the whole house where you couldn't see like 10 feet in front of your eyes. It was just dense, dense fog. And it almost seemed like smoke but anyways, I woke him up I was like, Scott. And we had another guy that lived downstairs, another tenant, his name was Dan. I'm like Scott I think Dan left the oven on and the house is on fire. And he woke up in just sheer panic in his eyes. And he just sprints out of the house so quick, runs downstairs, starts pounding on the downstairs door, wakes up Dan.
Mike Brown: He was like, "Dan, Dan, the house is on fire." And then finally he realized, hey it doesn't even smell like smoke, it's just like this fog machine.
Jeff: Oh, my God.
Mike Brown: That was probably one of the better ones.
Jeff: Oh my God. Well, I mean, it's always fun sometimes here at the office because you'll find something crazy-
Mike Brown: I don't know what I've done in the office. I think everyone else has done better things in the office.
Jeff: The cat in the wall.
Mike Brown: Cat in the wall was good. I had the whole ... I wasted probably like thousands of man hours that day because I got this little noisemaker to sound like a cat that I put in the ceiling and everyone thought-
Jeff: It drove me nuts.
Mike Brown: ... everyone thought there was a cat in the wall.
Jeff: Because I couldn't find it, I couldn't find it. But it would meow every five minutes. I really was convinced that there was a poor animal in the wall for a little bit. That was really funny. But that's what's fun about working here because, we work hard, but we make it fun to work too.
Mike Brown: Yeah, yeah. We try to.
Jeff: We try to, we try.
Mike Brown: I think, yeah, I think we need to focus on that more. But I have fun.
Jeff: Yeah. I know you do, I know you do. Well, I had fun having you back on the show. And-
Mike Brown: Yeah thanks for having me again for the third time.
Jeff: Yeah, third time's a charm. And it was really fun talking to you, and it's always fun, getting updates on where we're going, and kind of what we're looking towards the future. And you know next year I'll have you back.
Mike Brown: Yeah I'm going to think of some more prank. So when we report on this next year, hopefully I'll have some good ones.
Jeff: Excellent, excellent. Well thanks a lot, Mike.
Mike Brown: Thanks.
Speaker 3: This has been fumed by death cast. A Death Wish Coffee Company podcast production. Thanks for listening.