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the blog

updates on talent mixed with occasional deals on coffee

Hiring Sales Talent - Simple But Not Easy

It is simple to make mistakes but it is not easy to learn from mistakes. I have hired hundreds of sales reps in my career and failed many times. I have been through training (Top Grading, Solution Selling, Force Management, The Challenger Sale, etc.) but few books or training is going to teach you more than experience will, when doing the work. In this case, hiring sales talent. 

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Moving Beyond The Brand - What Are You Buying?...

When you buy something from a company, you expect to be treated like you are the most important person to the people on the other end of the cash register. You signed up to be treated like gold and for a company, there is a lot of work that goes beyond the brand you see at the cash register. At Sumato - We provide what most coffee companies provide, coffee. But beyond the pretty coffee pictures and videos, we do something different. We only roast when someone orders and coffee connoisseurs want coffee that has been freshly roasted. This makes us more of a logistics and speed company than it does a coffee company, in many ways.

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The embarrassing but successful launch of a new product

One day, I will be embarrassed about the first bag of coffee we roasted and shipped. Creating something new is exciting and also a vulnerability test. There is a lot of work behind a new product that does not get to see the light of day. I am happy with the launch of Sumato Coffee last month but after 41 days, we have evolved and gotten better as it now looks embarrassing. Our value is repetitive and boring. We roast within 48 hours of your order and ship to you immediately. We are laser focused on fresh roast and the roast date stamped on your bag. Coffee has a shelf life of 14 days and 30 days tops. Pay attention to the roast dates on coffee bags. Grocery stores do not care if your coffee is old.

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Roasting Coffee at the source - Guatemalan Speciality Cafe Owner - Zach Daggett

Did you know, coffee grows well in about 29-35 countries? In this podcast episode, I interview Guatemalan specialty coffee shop owner, Zach Daggett. After college, Zach did several trips to Guatemala and realized that coffee was something he had to explore with a focus on helping people in the trade. In some ways Guatemalan's coffee situation is similar to the saying, "the cobbler's kids have no shoes"... Guatemala is the #9 coffee producing country in the world BUT unfortunately, the majority of the good Guatemalan coffee gets exported out of the country. Zach saw this as an issue for Guatemalans and created the specialty coffee shop, La Fabrica, where he roasts homegrown Guatemalan coffee beans then brews it for the people in the city of Jalapa, Guatemala.

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SPECIAL DEAL For The First 100 - #Sumato100 - Coffee Talk

The first 100 people who are willing to take a chance on a start-up and give them their hard earned money are people worth paying attention to. At Sumato Coffee Co., we launched last week and earned 73 customers. Yeah. I call them our #Sumato100. We have 27 spots left to be a member of our first #Sumato100 and I have a special deal if you want in. Our value is straight-forward. Freshly roasted beans right after you place your order. It is a subscription model so you can set up your frequency (i.e., 1 bag/s per week, 1 bag/s every two weeks, etc.) and you always have freshly roasted beans on hand when you need them. You can change or cancel your order anytime.

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What I am doing now - Sumato Coffee Co.

Right now I am doing the hard work of starting a business. I am leaving HireVue in the coming weeks. I am focused on doing it right. I am leaving HireVue better than when I found it and I am ending things professionally and with my personality on the company and will always be a HireVue fan. That is what I am doing right now. What is this new business? A coffee company. An online coffee subscription company called Sumato Coffee Co. Our mission is to reimagine coffee in the workplace. The place where you do your most meaningful work, at work, should not have stale and old roasted coffee beans. We will provide you fresh beans and teach you ways to brew it. You can also buy your beans to be delivered freshly roasted to your home.

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How Do You Talk To Yourself At 5AM...

Psst - Gentle Reminder... How you talk to yourself is a sign at how you view life. Do you call yourself a dumbass? You are not a dumbass. Would you call the people (family, friends, co-workers) around you a dumbass? If you do, you know that is not right. Check your language and mind. Call yourself something more than that. Be an uplifter.

The other morning at 5AM - I called myself a dumbass because I almost spilled some coffee beans. I looked in the mirror and said - come on Ben - you are not that. You are awesome. I need to believe in myself if I want to do well each day.

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Everything you say YES to - You say No to something else

Everything you say YES to, you say NO to at least one other thing... I say yes to writing and no to sleeping.

I say yes to starting a business and no to my current job and no to a little more sleep.

I say yes to watching TV and no to working harder than my competition.

I say yes to drinking at a bar and no to good health, saving money and a clear mind in the morning.

I say yes to sleeping in and no to controlling the day.

I say yes to exercising and no to rushing to work or being sedentary.

I say yes to working long hours in a boring job and no to doing work that engages me.

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Follow the rules OR do what is right

Many organizations have a tribe of people who will follow the rules, no matter what. When people get lazy, they want a rule to help them live their life. Rigid rules are for the lazy minded and people who just want to follow the tribe inside of the organization. Thinking, caring and doing what is right takes work...

The rule of job titles. Why does your job title matter? Chief, VP, Director, Assistant - yada yada...Call yourself whatever is needed to bring in more customers or revenue for your company. You are doing what is right, but the rule says you should call yourself "Senior Associate Process Manager" - nobody wants to hear that title. Nobody. The rule to dress a certain way because that is how people in your organization should dress. Why do people have to wear a tie if they will never see a customer? Why should you care how I dress? The decision to fill out a tedious form to do a simple action because the rule says so vs. having a conversation with a customer or employee. Don't think, just fill out the form. Following the rules is easy and takes the thinking and caring out of work. Plus - your organization wants a loyal rule follower.

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I am writing to tell you...

I am writing to tell you that I enjoy hearing from you every day. Every time I hear from you I get a glimpse into what you are thinking and what you are doing. The interactions and communications that happen bit by bit get into our minds and when we share our minds we are able to better connect. Thank you for writing to me so often. How often do you hear from the people you want to work with? What are you doing to do make a difference in the world? You are working, together, right? Share your mind more often. That is how you lead with people and that is how you follow people.

It is the voices and noises in your mind that people want to hear. You do not need to say "In my opinion" - because anything that comes out of your mind and out of your mouth, is your opinion.

I am writing to tell you that I do not hear from you enough. I only hear from myself. I write to myself to see what I am thinking. At times I share what I write with you so that you can see what I am thinking. You think I am writing for you but the large majority of the time, I am writing for me.

What are you doing to share the work you are doing with others? What are you doing to share your mind?

The majority of people think you need a career with a lot of money to be happy. Studies show after you earn $75k per year, you will not be any happier. If you earn over $35k per year, you are making more than most people in the world. Money is good up to a point but fails to bring happiness after a point in time.

I am writing to tell you to share your work more. Share your mind. Share what you learn and what you are doing. Share it with a friend. Share it on social media, if that is your jam. Just share it. Sharing thoughts and minds is what people need to be free and happy...

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Episode #30 - Secret Tech Sauce Podcast - Steve Soelberg - Comedian

Steve on Comedy & Free Speech - "You think of any other public forum and everybody is trying to play by lots of rules. Being politically correct and such. Comedy is the last form of free-speech."Steve on being the best at your work - "The only way you are going to be the best, is you have to believe you are the best before everyone else thinks you are the best. If you can do that you have a strong chance of being the best." Grab your cup of Joe and settle in for this episode. At about 17 minutes - it gets good - if you appreciate candor and authenticity. Drinking Burundi coffee is not enough - you need your soda water or cup of tea for this episode. Steve and I go the rounds over coffee and tea because this episode was recorded at an incredible coffee shop.

I had the opportunity to meet live at Publik Coffee Roasters with comedian, Steve Soelberg . Steve is a comedian, centered on making his audience laugh. He prepares his material without the worry of being politically correct and believes that comedy is the last form of “free speech”.

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#Podcast Episode 29 - Secret Tech Sauce interview w/ Colleen Jenkins - CEO/Founder of PluggedIn

"There is a common misconception amongst International students. They believe start-ups won't hire international talent because they believe they can't afford the Visa sponsorships when it might be the other way around. Start-ups are going to pick the best person for their team & willing to take the risks on hires." - Colleen Jenkins Secret Tech Sauce Episode 29 is out. Meet Entrepreneur- Colleen Jenkins - CEO/Founder of PluggedIn.

Other than petting camels Colleen has founded a few companies & currently doing wonderful things with her company, PluggedIn, which she created as a customized software Tech platform that matches top talent with startup & tech companies in St.Louis.

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Repetition, boring & ugly - leads to great performances

Repetition is boring. The great performers repetitively practice and practice until change happens. Repetition is gradual, which makes change gradual. Rep by rep your body and mind change and the type of work you put out changes... Change is boring to watch and sometimes painful to experience but that is how change happens. Boring and painful.

The exciting part of change is when you get to create your own change. You feel in control and a sense of accomplishment. The body builder who gets to see their body change, the musician who gets to hear their music improve or the athlete who gets to see her shot get better. Life is a constant change.

The great performers do not care if anyone is watching them practice. Their life is still significant even when nobody is watching. They are grateful they have the opportunity to practice their skill and see a change happen. You are a professional at whatever it is you do. You practice your trade.

Name the job - you will find great performers in that profession. Cashiers, attorneys, accountants, computer scientists, sales pros, baristas, therapists, gardeners, recruiters, entrepreneurs, etc...

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It. Is. 2017 - Do You Know What To Do?...

"When you see a new trail, or a footprint you do not know, follow it to the point of knowing." - Uncheedah (The grandmother of Ohiyesa) If you are like the other millions of people out there you have a resolution related to health, organization, living life, learning new hobbies, money, travel or reading. We are a couple of weeks into the New Year and I submit to say you have already failed at your resolution.

41% of Americans make resolutions. Only 9% succeed in making the resolutions and 42% never succeed at their resolutions. These statistics do not mean we should avoid thinking about how to be better.

Resolutions fade away over the year because of our attitudes. Every day we have a choice of what our attitude will be, not just the start of a new year. No matter how little sleep you get the night before, your attitude will carry you through the day and attract the people and work you do.

You can set goals, complete them and still be unhappy. Attitude. What are you going after, day in and day out? The things that bring us happiness are simple and do not cost much of anything in terms of dollars.

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Ep. 27 - Secret Tech Sauce Podcast - End of Year Mic Drop 2016/2017

The mic drop is a gesture of intentionally dropping the microphone at the end of a speech or performance to show triumph. While this episode will not be on the level of an Eddie Murphy mic drop from the 1980s, you will get a lesson on what a mic drop is and reflections from past Secret Tech Sauce guests and insight into why I run a podcast. In this episode you will learn:

History of the mic drop - From Eddie Murphy, 1983 standup comedy show in the 80s to President Obama’s mic drop on the Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon in April 2012 to Google’s Gmail feature introduced on April Fool’s day in 2016. Reflections from top guests in 2016 - why you should go back and listen if you missed them. Why Ben runs a podcast? Is it for the money, the glory, the what? You will learn why Ben spends his precious time on a podcast. You should probably know more about me if you are going to spend the time listening to me. And much, much more… Without further ado, please listen to this episode.

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