Community//

“Why it’s exciting.” With Len Giancola & Troy Ivan

I can’t imagine an industry more exciting than the cannabis industry, there’s uncertainty, greed, drama, intrigue, ignorance, brilliance, politics, propaganda, taxes, profits, health care, big pharma, big tobacco, agriculture, huge demand, rapidly changing social norms, and so much more its really nothing short of a revolution and incredibly exciting. We are so fortunate to have […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!

I can’t imagine an industry more exciting than the cannabis industry, there’s uncertainty, greed, drama, intrigue, ignorance, brilliance, politics, propaganda, taxes, profits, health care, big pharma, big tobacco, agriculture, huge demand, rapidly changing social norms, and so much more its really nothing short of a revolution and incredibly exciting. We are so fortunate to have been an early mover and have a front row seat to the show I can’t think of anything I would trade it for.


As a part of my series about leaders in the cannabis industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Troy Ivan of ExtractCraft.

Troy has more than 20-years of international experience in the financial industry, building startups in difficult business segments, and launching new advanced trading technologies. As a hobby he teaches people how to fly small aircraft in and around the Rocky Mountains.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve been unbelievably fortunate to have had the experience of a lifetime working in the financial markets in various global centers with most of my career being in Asia. Having said that, by 2012 at the age of 41 I was burned out, I decided with my wife to retire from the markets and find something that would be more personally fulfilling and allow me to spend more time with my wife and young children. My daughter was 7, son 4, and my wife was pregnant with our second daughter. It was time to get out from under the soul crushing environment of the institutional financial sector and find something new, but I had absolutely no idea what that would be. After considerable deliberation we decided to leave Tokyo and start anew in Colorado. Colorado was appealing because of the wide-open space and active lifestyle with year around outdoor activity. I love the mountains. We took a house hunting trip to explore different areas around the state, purchased a house in Boulder County, and moved about 8-months later. Boulder felt right because it’s beyond beautiful, very active, and most important to my end goal was its renowned startup and investment community that I prayed would be useful in finding a new and interesting path. I wanted to take my time finding something that fit well, would be interesting, and would be the base for which I could build a future for myself and my family. I decided on a two-path approach of flying airplanes and looking for business opportunities. I knew it would take a long time to find a good fit and I didn’t want that time to be wasted so I reasoned that learning to fly would be a great skill to have and possibly a source of employment if I failed to find the meaningful business opportunity. There was, and still is, a huge pilot shortage that presented a viable career path with flying so it’s not as crazy as it sounds. I decided to race the two paths to see how far I could get with flight training before an interesting opportunity presented itself. I hit both paths as hard as possible flying, studying, and chasing down all opportunities all day, 7-days a week. I started flight training at Boulder Municipal Airport and attending every startup and investor event I could find. After 2-years in Colorado I’d made one investment in a local startup that was floundering and probably not going to make it, received my Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) certification and was teaching at the local flight school, but I was still searching for that illusive ‘something’ I knew was waiting for me. In 2014 at an early morning Longmont Startup morning coffee group I saw Lee Sutherland do an investor pitch for ExtractCraft’s seed round. It was so far out there, nearly a pipedream, the dreaded hardware sector, in an incredibly uncertain cannabis related market at the time, but I could see the application and a glimmer of opportunity where nothing like this had ever existed. I became one of the original investors, spent another 2-years hunkered down in my garage figuring out how to make what we had into a real product with reliable processes, I joined the management team and here we are.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

We have had a number of engineering and product development challenges in creating and bringing this brand new tech to the market. We make it look very simple but it’s actually very complex to balance internal temp, external temp, internal vacuum, ambient pressure, evaporated vapor, condensation, ethanol collection, and maintain a continuous controlled pool boiling of ethanol with the push of a single button. In developing the EtOH PRO we began working with different algorithms and tighter vacuum and heating controls than used with the smaller Source Turbo. Development of the product was extensive and took a long time but after we sent out the first wave of units customers were experiencing variable and inconsistent bouts of very slow production rates. Customers would call, we would troubleshoot, we wouldn’t be able to pinpoint the problem so we would have the customers send the unit back. The EtOH PRO is pretty big and quite heavy so customers were not happy about having to send back a brand new unit but it was the only way we could identify the problem and hopefully solve it. When we got the unit back, inspected and tested it there was no problem and it would run like a champ. We couldn’t get it to fail, so we would clean it up and send it back, only to later get another call from the same customer having the same problem once again. This began to happen more frequently and we were becoming more and more concerned that there was an unidentified programming or design problem we could not fix. It became so distressful Lee actually traveled thousands of miles to do customer onsite visits in Florida, Massachusetts, and Alberta to see if we were missing an environmental component that was causing the problem. No matter what we did we couldn’t find the cause, but we were finally able to replicate the problem. After running the same ethanol under vac then reusing it the performance of the machine would essentially go to zero even though diagnostics indicated it was running properly. For a long time we focused on heat delivery, heat timing, vac/heat combinations, and surface considerations, we were throwing everything at it and getting nowhere. After 3-months of tearing our hair out, chasing a ghost, we were standing over a machine, defeatedly watching it do nothing when for some reason we decided to empty the contents of the unit into a large jar, give it a shake, put it back in, start the machine, and it took off like a race horse. We couldn’t believe it and kind of stood there in shock. Simple aeration, that’s all the problem was, you just needed to shake your ethanol to get air back into it. After months of banging our heads against the wall it was just air, the answer was air. We are the first ones to successfully control pool boiling of ethanol under vacuum and heat so this was something completely new that we can’t find a reference to anywhere. So, what did I learn? I think I learned that getting frustrated is easy and having patience is not, while having patience is helpful and frustration is not. Being so far out on the edge and developing such new tech, especially on a shoestring budget, requires a whole new level and type of patience than I actually knew existed.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Wow, there have been so many. I’m not sure if it’s funny, but it’s something that made me look like a complete idiot and taught me a huge lesson. After I made the investment in ExtractCraft I wasn’t working for the company but working in tandem in my garage trying to understand the process and understand exactly the boundaries of the Source’s potential. At the time no one on the ExtractCraft team had any cannabis experience and they weren’t cannabis consumers at all, so they barely had a foggy idea about what a concentrate was, and “barely” is generous. They were working with an old hippy they knew in Boulder that had ‘decades of experience’ in the cannabis underground as a consultant to develop the extraction process. Even though I started smoking cannabis at the age of 11 and partaken in cannabis consumption for most of my life, the US concentrate revolution happened while I was working overseas so I didn’t have any concentrate or processing knowledge either. I thought we were lucky to have such an experienced hippy to help us shorten the learning curve and teach us the magic secrets of extraction. He showed us how to take the cannabis, mix it with ethanol, put it in a blender for at least 10-minutes, strain it, then run it through the Source to remove ethanol and magically you’d have this dark black, swamp smelling concentrate that everyone LOVES! I was very grateful for him sharing this closely held wisdom. We had no access to any other sample or comparison at the time, we were flying blind with this beacon of cannabis knowledge showing us the secret to success. I raced home, repeated the process and was overjoyed to find out that I was able to make a beautiful dark black, swamp smelling concentrate that everyone would love. The next day I went to a smoke shop in Boulder to do some market research and educate myself with the market, tools, and what’s new. I was speaking to this amazing girl that was a huge fan of concentrates, a treasure trove of knowledge, and was very generous with her time because it was mid-afternoon, and the shop was quite slow. She educated me on various cannabis topics, so I mentioned, using the same words as my hippy mentor, “I have this new alliance that makes concentrates that people are killing for.” She got really excited and offered to try it and promised to give me honest feedback. This was awesome! I had someone that could provide some feedback on this new killer concentrate I made but had no idea how to smoke it myself. I rushed home and rushed back to the shop with my black gold. With great excitement I passed my treasure over the counter for her and a coworker to be amazed, but I was met with a look that combined ‘who farted’ and ‘I need to throw-up.’ This was the ‘funny’, more like humiliating, point where I realized that no one in the company actually had any idea how to use the equipment to make a product that people would want.

I learned the huge lesson on that day of humiliation. The vast majority of what you hear from people in this industry, especially when it comes with “I’ve been doing this for 20-years,” must be treated with caution and nothing can replace putting the work in yourself. This is when my work in the garage changed from curiosity to a serious effort to learn everything I could and develop processes for anyone to make high-quality extractions with the Source. There’s an ocean of cannabis and cannabis processing information circulating that’s bad, inaccurate, confused and antiquated; people really need to be careful with the information they take on and forward as fact.

Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We actually never stop working on exciting things, we are constantly looking at new materials, new solutions to old problems, how to make things easier and safer, or anything that takes us to the next level and provides even greater support to our customers. We have quite a few hardware projects in the works but one of the more exciting projects I’ve been trying to make time to develop is a line of project boxes and materials customers can buy directly from us to use with our equipment. Examples of the project boxes would be kits that have the materials to extract, ingredients to make a formulation, and special containers for the final product. Think of kits like lavender-mint lip balm with vitamin E and honey, it’s the best lip balm I’ve ever had. Custom hot sauce kits where you extract your own chilis and make the hot sauce as hot as you want. Gourmet espresso-vanilla sugar kits to make anything from caffeine charged lava cakes to espresso-vanilla-cannabis cotton candy. Or a citrus peel anti-inflammatory arthritis pain rub kit that is incredible. All of these kits can be made as is or medicated to your liking, all with your own extractions. Additionally, we will be selling high-quality hemp for our users to product their own high-quality full-spectrum CBD oil that they can combine in any formulation they choose or simply use as is. While the kits will help people by opening their eyes to the endless possibilities and range of scents, flavors, and medicinal properties of various botanicals, making your own full-spectrum CBD oil will give people the cleanest, purest, most holistic form of the medicine that is truly off the charts. We will be bringing extraction projects of all sorts that will blow people’s minds while improving their health and lifestyle.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Absolutely, we don’t get anywhere on our own whether we realize it or not, every interaction we have influences us in some way in the long term. There are a great many people I owe thanks to for contributing to my development into who I am today, but for this forum I would like to focus on a few that have had direct influence on my success with ExtractCraft. Obviously, the first was the young lady in the Boulder smoke shop that taught me dark black, swamp smelling concentrates are not to kill for which began my scouring search for information. At that time there was very little information anywhere and most of the information available was inaccurate or about making concentrates by blasting butane. I got lucky and found SkunkPharm.com (the original website) when Gray Wolf was still involved. The legal landscape then was dramatically different than today and Skunkpharm was the best source, and just about the only source of information at the time. It set me on the path of to understanding what we really had to work with. I was able to visit him, hangout, and him tell him personally how much I appreciated his work, it was a wonderful day.

ExtractCraft wouldn’t have the success we have today if it wasn’t for my partner Lee Sutherland who invented the original Source, leads the development of our groundbreaking technology, and works tirelessly developing the new tech we’re known for. I’m the face of the company and get a lot of credit for our success but his work behind the scenes is just as important. Lee develops the tech and I develop the product, one can’t be successful without the other, so I’m grateful for his efforts.

This industry is young, dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?

In the big picture marketing is very similar to any other retail customer facing hardware product position with some additional advantages and disadvantages. The major advantage with our position is that we have so many markets we are able to address: cannabis (THC), hemp (CBD), aroma/scenting, culinary arts, apothecary and home remedy. This gives us the opportunity to really use our great crossover position in these markets to address each market as well as blend them together with our messaging. We really work on normalizing cannabis and hemp with the more traditional markets, easing people into understanding that cannabis and hemp are not the enemy and can be easily integrated into our everyday health and beauty considerations. Maybe that’s one thing some legacy companies may consider, instead or just preaching cannabis and hemp as stand alone topics, find ways to present an integration with more general everyday products and topics. This may not be possible for many, but it’s at least worth considering. Another great advantage for all of us compared to other markets is the enormous growth of cannabis and hemp markets projected to continue into the foreseeable future. This implicitly provides a continuous population of new potential customers to find and target. The great growth also poses one of the major disadvantages, meaning that this flood of new potential customers requires a lot of cajoling and education to get them to a point where they are comfortable enough to consider trying cannabis, then trying cannabis, then making the effort to understand cannabis, and finally down the path far enough to have the interest, familiarity, and confidence to attempt to craft their own concentrates. We took that disadvantage and approached it as a challenge, deciding to make education a cornerstone of our marketing efforts. We use our website, social media, YouTube, blogs and highly proactive customer service to get people comfortable with cannabis, educate them, and continue to support them with great, reliable information and advanced techniques as they continue to learn. Customer absolutely love us for this. We prove to our customers from the very beginning we will be there for them and they can count on us for help in a very confusing market place. Our focus on education and support has helped us concur the other major disadvantage of not having access to mainstream marketing programs and platforms. Anything cannabis is pretty much blocked out from mainstream marketing channels so word or mouth and education really helps spread our message. Having said that, we have also been more successful than most with advertising on large, mainstream social media and internet platforms because we work on our crossover message much more than the cannabis message. In fact, if you look at our website you won’t find a single reference to cannabis. While cannabis is important for us, our position is more for all botanicals and that’s our message. Again, the thing that gives us more to work with in the marketing landscape is our crossover postion and our ability for find numerous applications that work both with and without cannabis. I think all companies should follow in our footsteps on the cannabis and hemp side by providing real, accurate, and well thought out education but almost none do so I think they are giving up the ability to win new customers that they can convert into loyal long-term customers. Most companies will have trouble taking advantage of a crossover position as we have, but if they can find that angle they should use it

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?

Excite: Wide growth/acceptance/curiosity/demographic breadth, medical discoveries, people taking back their health on their own terms

I can’t imagine an industry more exciting than the cannabis industry there’s uncertainty, greed, drama, intrigue, ignorance, brilliance, politics, propaganda, taxes, profits, health care, big pharma, big tobacco, agriculture, huge demand, rapidly changing social norms, and so much more its really nothing short of a revolution and incredibly exciting. We are so fortunate to have been an early mover and have a front row seat to the show I can’t think of anything I would trade it for. There are so many things that excite me about the cannabis market and they all overlap and weave together into one cohesive fabric but I definitely have a top three that come to mind. First, the incredible growth of the market especially when looking at both cannabis and hemp, it is a market that went from being completely illegal, still technically much of it is on a federal level, to something that will eventually touch every single human being in some way from medicinal, recreational, jobs, to sustainable materials and more. The rapid explosion of acceptance, curiosity, and unbelievable breadth of the demographic is unparallel to anything the world has ever seen, it’s beyond exciting and almost surreal. Second, the medical discoveries are astounding and are touching almost every aspect of our healing and wellbeing. The Endocannabinoid system is only recently beginning to be understood and the medicinal benefits of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are revealing new applications and healing powers every day. The possibilities are proving to be almost boundless from the compounds of a single plant. If you consider all of the proven applications and all the research that we still have to do it leaves me in awe and incredibly excited to think about what new discoveries are coming. The third thing that makes me both excited and happy is the ability of people to take back the power of improving their health and lifestyle with cannabis and hemp. You can grow the plant and use it as your own medicine to medicate depression, anxiety, PTSD, pain, glaucoma, MS, opiate addiction, alcoholism, ADHD/ADD, cancer, seizures, sleep, appetite, nausea, stress, and more. This is why we started making the equipment for people to harness this power and make their own concentrates at home themselves to ensure the medicine they have is clean, safe, and the highest-quality. Will everyone grow their own and make their own, probably not, but the simple fact that they have the ability to do so is incredible.

At this point my excitement for the industry far outweighs any concerns I have, I wouldn’t have been able to say that one-year ago and two-years ago would have been a very different story. All of my concerns revolve around human nature, greed, arrogance and selfishness. First, our tendency to get ahead of ourselves can be counter-productive by making taking the hype to a level the markets and science can’t keep up with. We have seen a steep fall off in cannabis equity values over the past year which are taking a toll on many companies at the moment. Also, exaggerated hype can work against us and the fight against prohibition when the science can’t keep up. Everyone just needs to understand that even in the age of instant feedback and instant change these are still the early days of the green revolution, the equities will recover and continue a long term climb and science will propel us forward so keeping the hype in check can benefit us all and not alienate newcomers when overly ambitious hype fails to materialize. The second concern for me is the ocean of bad information circulating about cannabis, hemp, THC, CBD, consumption, medicating, and making your own products. The internet is a messy place on the best days but in this industry its multiple times worse. People really have to be careful about what they take in as truth and then pass along. Some of the bad information is just from the normal internet know-it-all trolls and a lot of it is unbelievably disseminated by companies just to sell products to new comers that don’t yet know any better. This has been a cause we have taken up and work on very hard, in our user groups accuracy of information is required and education is our priority. We take great pride in that anything you learn from any of our resources can be held as credible and relied upon. The final concern, and the most serious, is how rule makers and regulations are written, or not written, enforced, or not enforced simply due to self-interest. At this point it is really absurd that cannabis remains as a schedule 1 drug, federally illegal, with no access to mainstream banking. There is no explanation for why 9 of 10 dispensaries in L.A., the world’s largest cannabis market, is illegal and operate almost with impunity. It’s almost glaring that some powers that be don’t want laws changed, or some don’t want laws enforced, so they and their cronies can position themselves well to make as much money as possible before changing. I understand that special interest and the power structure impose this influence on all industries but cannabis has been under attack and fighting to be free for so long it’s time that all of the players that are holding up progress simply for their own self-interest need to be held accountable. There is too much good to be done, too many lives to save, to many children to help with this incredible plant to allow the greed, arrogance, and selfishness to continue to slow progress.

Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business”? Please share a story or example for each.

1) PEOPLE NOT BELIEVING IN YOU

It’s pretty well known that hardware is a very difficult business undertaking especially when developing an advanced piece of equipment that you designed from the ground up. There are plenty of products in the market that are simply repurposed tech and even stuff that simple is a challenge, but we have taken it to a whole new level of difficulty. We have brought two never seen before pieces of equipment very successfully to market on a completely impossible budget, with the best customer service around, an amazing online community, an unparalleled education effort, and we grow 60%-100% every year but investors still look at us and say, “I don’t think people will ever do this at home.”

2) THAT MY PERSONAL BANK ACCOUNTS WOULD BE CLOSED

Everyone has had, or at least heard of, company bank accounts closed due to cannabis market affiliation. This is one of the most difficult hurdles for a cannabis company due to federal prohibition and causes a number of problems for those that “touch the plant.” We only produce an appliance that’s used with many different botanicals and we don’t touch the plant so we haven’t had any problems with our business bank accounts, and in fact were able to receive a low interest unsecured loan from a commercial bank. However, Morgan Stanly without notice or discussion closed my personal bank accounts because I wrote a check to ExtractCraft from my personal checking account.

3) ADVERTISING AND MARKETING RESTRICTIONS

Cannabis is obviously federally illegal so not being able to advertise cannabis or talk about cannabis in advertising and marketing stands to reason, I don’t like it but it makes sense. Unfortunately, even guilt by association greatly restricts a company’s ability to advertise and market which as we all know is essential to success of a business. The landscape today is much more accepting and has relaxed immeasurably compared to just a couple years ago. Up to only a year ago, and still happens sometimes, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook would cancel and delete your account without warning, flushing all traction and work that you put into building it down the drain. We have adhered to the rules (mostly) and stayed in our crossover/botanical lane but still ran into difficulties with having advertising accounts, videos, and sales channels shut down unannounced and often without interest in listening to our side of the story. Imagine any startup in any other industry that wasn’t able to freely and openly advertise and market their products, it make survival and prospering exceedingly difficult.

4) STRENGTH OF BRAINWASHING

Where some people are open to the idea that they have been led astray by the government for a number of years about the dangers and benefits of cannabis, like my mother using CBD for stress and relaxation, while my nephew is now having amazing success in reducing his seizures and other medical conditions, many people seem to have a really hard time shaking the negative social stigma cannabis has had forced upon it in recent history. Alcohol destroys lives and kills people every day as it’s celebrated in society, on TV, and on the radio without pause while a plant with so many proven medicinal properties is still treated as strict taboo by many. People are brainwashed into and happy to take anything a doctor prescribes and big pharma pushes on them, with the VA more prone to offer vets in trouble with PTSD a cocktail of opiates than medical marijuana. Just last week I lost a family member who was a doctor to cancer, she simply refused to even give cannabis a try even though I made sure she had access to clean meds. The stigma and taboo of cannabis, and even innocuous CBD, has been driven so deep into us that it’s hard for many to escape and give it a try.

5) THE SHEER NUMBER OF BAD ACTORS AND BAD INFORMATION

The stoner culture of cannabis is still alive and kicking, but the wider audience that’s genuinely interested in the medicinal aspects of the plant has over taken it and will eclipse it in the long run. The stoners are hopefully savvy enough to keep themselves out of trouble with bad actors and bad information, but the new comers interested in learning about and using cannabis and hemp to improve their health and lifestyle run into so much bad information and bad actors trying to take advantage of them it’s disappointing to watch. Where I see the opportunity to help people who are sick or looking for a way to help a loved one others see an opportunity to rip them off. Many of us put a lot of effort into building credibility for the use of cannabis as a viable medicine and every word of bad information and every disservice from a bad actor sets all of us back.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

I don’t feel as if I’ve achieved a sufficient level of success to dispense advice to prospective founders and CEOs because I too struggle with these issues every day. My approach is still being tested on a daily basis in a highly uncertain environment, I believe what I am doing will be successful in the long run but for now we’re still learning and adapting and waiting to see if I’m correct . All I know is what I’ve seen, experienced, and what I’m doing now to lead and survive, so that’s what I can share.

Let’s start with leadership. Leadership must have a clear vision of where he company is going and how to get there. It’s integral to success for leadership in a small fast growing company to have hands-on experience from the ground up, to intimately understand each part of the business in order to develop a company successfully and execute a plan to achieve the vision, but there’s a point where you must distance yourself from being down in the weeds so you can have the space to direct the company’s progress further down the timeline. Extricating yourself from an active hands-on role is difficult so it’s important to develop a plan to pull back well in advance of when it becomes absolutely necessary. The primary factor that will allow you to eventually back away from being full-time hands-on is having a strong team in place that will maintain the same level of performance and quality as if you were still 100% present, and that can only take shape by very carefully hiring the right people and investing in them from the beginning. Finding good people at the early stages of a company on a lean budget isn’t easy, but forming a team that works together to achieve your vision is the company’s foundation. So, the earliest construct and foundation of the company is created by leadership with a clear vision that intimately understands the company from the ground up but has the ability to step away from operations to lead the company supported by a team of quality hires.

In the earliest days of company development employees will forgive a lack of organization as operations get worked out, but creating a culture where employees buy into your vision for the company as it stands now and where it’s going leads to a relationship that’s close, personal, and backed by trust that provides the environment where they can thrive. That environment must give them the space to thrive and encouragement to do so. I try to do this by encouraging employees to make decisions on their own, sometimes they’re afraid to make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes are costly, but in the end they learn deeply and going forward those mistakes are actively avoided. We continually provide employees with more responsibility, new skills, enhanced knowledge, and the feeling of being challenged to maintain an operation where employees can thrive if they want to.

Our company is young and growing fast, so keeping things interesting and providing the ability for employees to thrive is isn’t enough, they also have to want to thrive. Wanting to thrive comes from two things: knowing their efforts will be recognized and rewarded and establishing a personal connection between the employee and company. The reward for thriving can be demonstrated by a compensation component, promotion, or something that enrichens the employee and demonstrates that the company recognizes the importance of their effort. ExtractCraft will be putting in place an employee ownership program where they’ll be directly connected to the company and the fruits of their work. To accomplish the personal connection I try to show them in different ways that they are appreciated and considered valuable teammates and not just employees. I try to include the entire team in decisions that reflect on everyone like when we recently created a new logo and went through a rebranding that came out really great thanks to everyone’s input. At different stages of the decision making I asked everyone from the manufacturing, customer service, and engineering for their opinions. I want everyone to feel like they are heard and able to participate in core decisions like this, I believe they appreciate it and it connectes them with the company on a deeper level. Showing them that they’re valued for their input and effort creates an environment that makes them want to thrive. We tie all the personal connection and appreciation of the employee efforts together with a family style lunch every Friday. I take everyone out for lunch and we relax and have a slow lunch, chat, laugh, talk, and spend time not talking about work. The bond with the company and the desire to thrive is just as important as having an environment where they can thrive.

One of leadership’s basic key functions is identifying problems and providing solutions. It’s most easy to identify operational failures and employee performance problems, but the most difficult situation is the realization that the problem may be with you, and to achieve your company vision you yourself must change and improve. Recently there was a situation where an employee really loved the company and what we’re doing but felt the need to resign because he couldn’t deal with the way I communicate, he felt it was inappropriate and was having a negative impact on his ability to continue working with us. I’m old-school, rough, aggressive, and I roll with a hard edge that was forged from my past career and an age gone by. I realized that even though I thought I was supportive that my communication style could be, and obviously was, negatively impacting a good employee’s ability to perform and I was failing to uphold the vision of the company I was asking him to buy into. It was clear that my vision was on point, but the change that needed to happen for this employee to thrive must come from me. We sat down, spoke about the changes I could make in my communication set, it all worked out, and we’re better for it. Often the hardest thing is identifying your own mistakes and behavior that can cause difficulty in an employee thriving, but as a leader you must take an honest look at yourself and be willing to change and live up to your vision yourself. That self-awareness and employees seeing your willingness to admit mistakes and improve yourself are very important and build an essential trust employees must have to really commit to wanting to thrive in your company.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’m barely an influence at all, let alone a great influence. Aside from large general ideas like world peace and people being kind to one another as a practice, I would focus on something we are already working on and I may be able to achieve to a small degree. Hopefully I won’t be found like Jeffrey Epstein or floating in a swimming pool for saying this, but I dream of a world where our society is not subjugated to the profits of such an evil pharmaceutical industry and corrupt healthcare system. It’s astonishing to me that people’s lives, and often the lives entire families are decimated by a single health problem of one family member. I understand the need for profit as an engine for development and progress, but the state we currently find ourselves in is unconscionable. I wish I were a person of great influence as you mention because fixing this would be my singular mission. With the super-wealthy like Bezos, Buffet, Gates, our lawmakers, and our President unable, or unwilling, to really swing the bat at addressing this very important issue I really have no confidence that I can make a big difference, but we’re trying and working on it by helping one person at a time. If I could somehow start a movement that empowered the people of our great country to be able to bring enough attention and pressure to demand and accomplish liberation from the terrible burden of an out of control pharmaceutical industry and the unmanageable, life crushing healthcare system, that is the movement I would wish to start above all else.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

1) Facebook User Groups: (these are incredible)

“ExtractCraft User Group” https://www.facebook.com/groups/921284877977347/ and

“ExtractCraft Test Kitchen” https://www.facebook.com/groups/183294065570985/

2) Facebook company page: https://www.facebook.com/extractcraft/

3) Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/ExtractCraftVideos‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

4) How to blog: www.extractcrafter.com‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

5) Instagram @extractcraft_team

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

“Be aware of the challenges.” With Len Giancola & Nycole Cummings

by Len Giancola
Community//

“Hire the best person for the job.” With Len Giancola & Tara Wells

by Len Giancola
Community//

“Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew At Once!” 11 Industry Insider Tips With Leah Maurer

by Terry Kushner

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.