Episode #37: How One Company’s Key Differentiator Will Bring Them 10X The Brand Impact With Eddy Badrina

Betsy and Tony talk to Eddy Badrina about building his business and making a positive impact. Eddy has humbly worked his way from the George W. Bush administration to starting, selling, and buying back digital marketing agency, BuzzShift. His latest venture is leading Eden Green Technology as CEO.

Prior to joining Eden Green Technology, Eddy knew he wanted his next venture to have three key components:
1. A hardware or software component,
2. Exponential impact and
3. Be a redemptive organization.

To achieve this, Eddy has clearly articulated what he wants as a leader and then hired people smarter than him. He focused on Eden Green’s 10X key differentiator, a concept originally coined by Peter Thiel. What is it that his organization truly does ten times better than his competitors? Listen in to find out more.

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About Eddy Badrina

Eddy Badrina is the Chief Executive Officer of Eden Green Technology. Over the past 20 years, his career has encompassed entrepreneurial, corporate, and government roles. In 2019, Eddy took over as CEO of Eden Green Technology, which, through its vertical farming technology stack, is changing the way we farm our produce, and feed our communities. Since then, retailers, researchers, cities and governments have discovered how Eden Green Technology’s turnkey solutions can help them establish food safety, food independence, and sustainable farming unlike any previous AgTech solution.
Prior to Eden Green Technology, Eddy co-founded and led BuzzShift, a digital growth agency for mid-sized brands and organizations. Eddy’s leadership, strategic planning, marketing, and management experience have also been honed through roles at the US Department of State, the White House, and two other technology startups.
Eddy, a graduate of Texas A&M University, and the Bush School of Government and Public Service, volunteers his time at Watermark Church; is on the board of directors of Seed Effect, an economic development non-profit; Igniter Media, a media production company; and is a past board member of the Great Investors’ Best Ideas Foundation Investment Symposium.

How One Company’s Key Differentiator Will Bring Them 10X The Brand Impact With Eddy Badrina

How Knowing Your Brand Helps You Know Your Customer

Betsy, I have to tell you, I am so excited for our audience to read this interview with Eddy. His company, I realized we got through the interview and didn’t talk about what his company does. His company is Eden Green Technology. They build vertical greenhouses but the technology is beyond what you could imagine. We’re going to talk about that as we go through this.

The bigger takeaway for me is what an amazing individual Eddy is. His background is phenomenal. He has worked in the White House for two different administrations. He has been a phenomenal individual from that perspective. Early in the interview, he takes us through this concept of how he determined what he would do after building a successful company, how he would live the rest of his life, what he would do there and how he ended up at Eden Green. This interview was something beyond what I expected and a ton of takeaways for me that I want to apply in my own business and life.

I’m so inspired by the leader and the person he is, how he functions with such intentionality, which we talked about in the interview and the problem he is out to solve. It’s really important work that he is doing. I don’t want to be a spoiler so our readers can read exactly how impactful the work that Eden Green is doing. This is one that sticks in my heart. Without further ado, let’s meet Eddy Badrina from Eden Green Technology.

Eddy, welcome to the show. We’re so happy to have you here.

Thanks so much for having me. I’m super excited to be on it.

We want to make sure that our audience knows who you are and how you got to this point in your career. If you could start at a good starting point, give us the background on you, how you landed at Eden Green and the work you’re doing now.

I took a bit of a circuitous path. It may be some encouragement to your readers. I didn’t start out in ag. In fact, I got a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and then got a Master’s in Public Administration and International Affairs. I had a chance to work for Bush Sr. and his personal office in Houston. I went to his grad school and then ended up working in the W administration.

I was at the State Department as an analyst, both pre and post-9/11. The Middle East was my portfolio. It was a bit of a crazy time. About four years of that, it burned me out. What I do next is I go into an even higher-profile position. I was President Bush’s Asian-American spokesperson for two years, from 2004 to 2006. If that didn’t burn me out, nothing else would.

I left DC with my wife and child. We went back to Texas, where I’m originally from. From there, I had a chance to work for a telecom startup and then ultimately started my own company, a digital ad agency called BuzzShift, in 2010. I bootstrapped it, grew it from scratch, sold it in 2016 and then bought it back eleven months later. That’s a whole story in and of itself. It’s probably another episode.

When we bought it back, I had a chance to take a step back and think about what I wanted to do with the second half of my career. Over the course of a year, there are three things that I identified and had a chance to articulate clearly. One is I wanted to run a hardware software firm. I had been there and done that and gotten the M&A T-shirt. The second was I wanted to have an exponential impact on my level of effort. For every one unit of effort that I put out, I wanted to see a 10X to 20X return or impact on society and culture around me.

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The last thing I wanted to do was to run what’s called a redemptive organization. Those three things were heavy on my mind. I had to clearly articulate like I’m doing with you all now. I had to learn to clearly articulate that, be very focused and concise on what I wanted, which is important for entrepreneurs and leaders to clearly articulate and know what you want.

The second thing that I had to do was that I had to run it through a filter of close colleagues, friends and family. I would call them my unofficial board of advisors. I would have to run it through that filter to make sure I wasn’t doing anything out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, as the Bible puts it, but doing it from a healthy place. The third thing I had to do was to go for it. It was interesting. I had to one, let go of it and then two, I also had to look for opportunities where they came available.

There is this weird paradox of letting go and being all right, some people would say, the universe takes you. In my terms, it’s wherever God puts me. If I’m supposed to stay at BuzzShift, that’s great. If I’m supposed to pursue this thing that’s on my heart, that’s great. A guy named Terry Looper, in his book, Sacred Pace, calls it getting in neutral, so I had to get in neutral. Once I got in neutral, I found myself seeing the opportunities and the opportunities came my way. Eden Green was one of those opportunities.

As soon as I saw it and talked to the lead investors, it became very clear to me. It checked all three of those boxes of hardware software, exponential impact and the makings of a redemptive organization. It was the easiest hard decision I ever made to jump off of BuzzShift, leave it in the great hands of my business partner and the leadership team there and then jump on to Eden Green. I’ve been here with Eden Green as the CEO since late 2019. That is a quick run-up to how I got to where I got to.

I love everything about the way you approached it. What was your background leading up to that that you knew how to be so intentional about how you were going to approach this move? Is there a spiritual guide that you follow or did you have some training? How did you know how to be that intentional?

I learned to be intentional both in what I wanted to do and in the relationships that I have with my parents. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, which is fantastic. There’s so much legacy that’s packed into being able to be happily married for 50 years. I don’t think I know that legacy rubbed off on me of being intentional about relationships and what you want.

I had good mentors all throughout my career. I specifically sought out mentors even in college that were one step ahead of me, that were much older and wiser than me. In fact, when I was twenty, my mentor in college that I sought out was in his late 70s. I learned to sit under the feet of people who are much wiser than me.

The one thing that a leader after leader taught me from, that guy, his name was Ford Madison, all the way to both President Bush’s, was about the intentionality of relationships and defining what you want. That’s where I learned it. As I grew in my career, the mentors that were in the State Department and then the White House and then later on all had that common trait. They were very intentional about relationships.

I know this is not where we’re going to go to the show, but I love where you’re talking because the Oracle of Delphi says, “Know thyself.” One of the Greek temples had it. You’re hitting on something here that we’ve never talked about on this show. That is how intentional you have to be with yourself and how you have to know yourself in order to then extends that into your organization to know your customer. If you don’t know yourself, I don’t think you can get to know your customer.

I’ve told folks like, “The biggest thing that keeps leaders from true success, not just financial but overall professional success, is insecurity.” Insecurity, in turn, is found in not knowing and accepting who you are and what your identity is. Insecurity tends to bring up fear, doubt and overly-controlling leadership qualities. Insecurity tends to have people paper over their weaknesses and then overcompensate with their strengths.

It’s an ongoing journey. A leader who knows himself, is intellectually honest with who they are and what their strengths and weaknesses are, is more likely to hire the folks that are smarter than them because then they’re not fearful of that person being better than they are. They’re more likely to say, “I don’t know but I’m going to lead the way through this,” which is huge for a leader to say.

Brand Impact: Don’t chase after the dollars. Let your 10X differentiator dictate who you’re going after and then trust the process.

A better and healthier identity and self-awareness allows people to be comfortable in who they are and in their strengths. They don’t worry about their weaknesses because they’re going to hire, train people or find a way to shore up those weaknesses but not within themselves. It’s through other people, through a great team. You’re correct. The best leaders that I know are unbelievably humble about their strengths and unbelievably transparent about their weaknesses.

That also translates into customers. I know I’ve been guilty of this. I’ve seen a lot of entrepreneurs that would take any customers no matter what because they feel like, “I may never get another chance at a customer.” They end up working with customers that cause a lot of angst. They’re not a good fit but they’re doing it at all costs to get customers. I’m sure you probably have seen that yourself and probably could offer up a few wise words of wisdom about the fallacy in that thinking.

I’ve got two examples. One in BuzzShift and then one in Eden Green, where we knew what we were good at and we chose to go a different direction from a client. In BuzzShift, we had a big telecom company, like the biggest in the nation. I won’t name them but you can figure it out. We worked with them for a year and a half. It was such a whip for our team. Our morale was down. Our margins were low. We were overworking and underpaid. At the end of our review, they wanted to re-up us.

We came to them and said, “Here’s the strategy for the next year. We’re going to decline to execute on the strategy and then we’re going to resign from the account.” For a small agency to do that to a huge telecom company, they were beside themselves. My business partner, Cameron, and I had to make that call of, “This is not what we’re good at. This is not working out.” We want to save our team in the long run by taking this short-term hit. It was a 25% hit to our income but it was worth it.

We made that up in less than six months because we knew what our team was good at, what they weren’t good at and what was going to be healthy for them. In Eden Green, six weeks into my tenure here, we had contracts with two of the largest grocery retailers. The problem was we were losing money on every shipment we were making to them because our ops weren’t at the level that they needed to be and then honestly, our harvests from the yield size of the plants weren’t where they needed to be.

One of my first moves as CEO was to go to both of those two consecutive conversations with big retailers and say, “It’s not you. It’s us. We need to put a pause on our relationship. Hopefully, we can come back to you with something that makes sense for both our sides but we can’t continue this relationship. It’s not healthy for us in our long-term business plans.” They respected that totally. It allowed our team to be able to focus on what we were good at, which is growing greens and the technology and less about selling into stores and all the merchandising that goes with that. That’s one thing where I knew intrinsically what the business was good at.

Peter Thiel talks about the 10X factor like, “Know what you’re 10X better than anyone else in your market or industry and then focus on that. You can gain a foundation in that and then you start to expand into other markets, avenues or channels.” Your 10X differentiator is what’s going to set you apart from the rest. When you’re a young company, don’t chase after the dollars. Don’t let capital dictate strategy but do it the other way around. Let strategy dictate capital. Let your 10X differentiator dictate who you’re going after and then trust the process.

We talked before about some of the changes when you came on there with Eden Green to look at the customer. To get to know the customer, you went through quite an extensive process and this sounds like part of that process. You were going through there to realign the company. Take us through that. What does it mean to the company that you’ve realigned?

It was very simple but it was difficult. The simple part was focusing on our 10X. When I came in, I immediately saw our 10X was our technology and then what it allowed us. Once I was able to focus on the technology, then I said, “We’re going to be a technology company. We’re not going to be a retail greens company. Let everyone else do their own brands. That’s awesome. Go for it. They’ve got hundreds of millions of dollars in backing. We don’t. Let’s focus on what we do best, which is our tech.” Out of that tech, then you say, “Who is the possible audience for this? What are the value propositions?”

I had to teach the team, most of them are engineers and horticulturalists, the difference between benefits and features. I use this analogy all the time. Back in the day, I’m old enough to remember Bill Gates coming out with the Zune, the first MP3 player. He came out and it was called the Zune, some fanciful name. He got on stage and said, “This is the Zune. This is an MP3 player. It has 1,000 megabytes worth of memory. The battery lasts for up to eight hours. It’s 2×4 inches with a headphone jack.” Great. Dud.

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Later, not even 1st to market, 2nd to market, Steve Jobs came with the iPod. It wasn’t a fanciful name. It was all about the consumer. The iPod is about them, even the name of it. “This iPod holds 1,000 songs. It lasts all day and it fits in your pocket.” Gates talked about features. Jobs talked about benefits and value prop. I had to teach my team, “No one wants to hear about the features. If we go up and start to feature-compare, we’re going to be lost. Investors aren’t that knowledgeable on this stuff. We’re all holding our tech close to the vest so there are no comparables. We have to talk about our benefits and value prop.”

Our value proposition to folks who want to buy this technology are, “We can produce more consistent year-round. We have such density in our greenhouses, we can be accessible to almost everyone. We’re not building 60 acres out on either coast or in the middle of the Heartland. We’re building acre-and-a-half greenhouses that can produce tons of greens a year right next to distribution centers in and around urban areas. We’re accessible, consistent and food-safe. We’ve got the highest possible scores on food safety that third-party auditors come in every year and score. We have a culture of food safety in our company.”

When you’re accessible to everyone that means everyone can afford it. Two, you’re consistent year-round. You’re not waiting six months out of the year and you can’t get X, Y or Z greens. Three, you’re safe. The consumer and the retailers know that they’re buying things that are not going to have E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks. You’re more trustworthy. When you put all those together, we’re redefining what locally grown means.

Those are benefits and value props that make sense to a consumer. It’s not the fact that we have 300,000 plant spots in a greenhouse and we can grow 550 tons of greens a year. We use 99% less water and 98% less land, which are all true and they’re all environmental benefits but the reality is they want to know that their food is safe, they can afford it and they can buy it year-round.

Tell us who the they is, who you’re referring to, your business model, the problem you’re solving and how you go about your business.

We’re trying to solve the problem of getting nutritious greens, fresh greens, fresh produce and nutritious produce consistently to everyone. How we solve that is we sell our technology to investors who are interested in having a profitable business or profitable venture on a piece of real estate that’s close to an urban center.

Two, we’re also selling it to the off-take, the produce, to other growers. In our industry, there are labels and growers that no one notices but they sell the bulk of the produce to your Walmart’s, Albertsons and Whole Foods. Also, your Aramark’s and US Foods Service, those folks are what we call institutional buyers. They serve hospitals, restaurants and hotels.

You have institutionals and retail. They get their produce from growers and distributors. We sell our technology as well as the greens to those growers and distributors. We want to be the best, most reliable source of greens for those growers and distributors. Then in turn, they sell it on the retail scene as well as the institutional. That’s what we’re doing. We’re a greenhouse as a service for a technology platform for the growers and distributors of our industry.

Following up on that, if you were sitting in a coffee shop, what would you love to hear someone say about Eden Green, about the way you interact with your customers? What would be the ideal scenario for what you could overhear?

I would love to hear someone say, “Wow we’ve just signed a contract. We’re getting greens from the most trustworthy, consistent growers you will ever find. Wait until you taste these.” Truly, if you’re ever down in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I encourage you or your audience to reach out to me. I’ll give you a tour of our facilities. The best thing about the tour is we eat and talk along the way. We pick things straight off the vine. It’s cleaner than washing it because we have such high cleanliness standards.

Because of the way we grow our produce and the technology that’s involved, which is patented here in the States, no one else can do this, the taste profile is unbelievable. Your arugula will bite back at you. Your spinach is not bitter. There’s almost sweetness to it. We grow nasturtiums, which are these edible flowers. You eat the whole flower and it’s sweet on the front of the palette. As you chew into it, it’s got this spicy back-end kick.

Brand Impact: When you’re accessible to everyone, it means everyone can afford it. You’re consistent year-round, so you don’t have to wait.

People who walk through our greenhouse and eat our greens are amazed at the taste profile of it and it’s because of the way we grow it. So if someone said, “You all got to check out Eden Green or go to the store and make sure you buy this brand because Eden Green’s the folks who are growing it, you’ll never taste better lettuce, kale or arugula.” I would love to hear that.

I’m going to take you up on that because we’re doing an advisory board meeting in the middle of November in Dallas.

Bring it. I’m excited.

Eddy, you said a couple of interesting things that struck me. You’re talking about being locally scalable. I’m sitting here. I’ve got two daughters. My daughter decided years ago to go mostly vegan. I’ve watched the market shift and Gen Z is changing the marketplace before they even had money to do so. How do you see that playing out over the next 3 to 5 years for agriculture in general but maybe more specifically for the type of work that you’re doing?

There are a couple of shifts in the marketplace that we’re seeing in industry trends that are being driven by Gen Z and Millennials as well. One is nutrition. They’re much more likely to be vegan or vegetarian than the older folks in our country. The problem with that is it’s way more expensive to go vegetarian or even to go vegan than to eat processed foods. They’re looking for cost savings everywhere they can go that equal the quality that they need to. There’s this real, high demand for quality but affordable food.

The second industry trend that we’re seeing, because of the pandemic, is locally grown. In the industry, there’s a 400% increase in demand for locally grown foods, even higher of a demand than organic. Organic is a great label and there are some great aspects to it but a lot of it is marketing and PR. People are starting to see through some of the organic opaqueness. They want to know where their food is grown. There’s that piece.

On the supply side, there’s an interest in urban agriculture. You see it in the community gardens and co-ops but everyone implicitly knows that can’t feed the whole population. It’s very mom-and-pop and one-off. It’s for the folks who can afford it both financially as well as time-wise. I know a lot of single parents with three kids. They’re not going to the farmer’s market on the weekend because they got to work their second job or their kids have games. It’s a luxury to go to a farmer’s market, especially in the urban area but people want local. People want that change in urban ag.

That’s where we fit in. The pandemic hit and it was like, the supply chain is gone to hell in a handbasket. We’ve seen a 400% increase in the cost of logistics. If you talk to folks in the Salinas Valley in California, that’s where 90% of all lettuce is grown and it’s where 25% of all produce is grown for the United States. They’re not worried about water, which they should be. They’re worried but it’s not their number one concern of labor, which it will continue to be. Their number one concern is shipping and supply chain. They can’t get it across the country or even to the middle of the country and not lose their shirts on costs. It’s a penny industry.

The lettuce you’re selling is for $1.50 a pound. If you, all of a sudden, raise your shipping cost 4X, you become unprofitable shipment after shipment. You can only do that for so long. We’ve seen a real fragility in the supply chain. That’s a demand that we’re meeting as well because when you can place a greenhouse and place consistent day after day harvests because our harvests run 11 to 13 times a year and you plant them staggered-wise. When one row is being planted, two rows planted, the next one is growing. By the time you get to the 30th row, you’re harvesting and then you’re planting all over again. It’s this continual, perpetual harvest that we have.

When you can put a dense, cost-efficient greenhouse that’s profitable that does perpetual harvest 20 miles from a distribution center, you’re fundamentally changing the supply chain and getting rid of all of those costs of logistics and distribution. That’s where we’re revolutionizing the industry. It has taken us almost two years to educate people on what we’re trying to do and how we’re trying to do it. Our numbers are so unbelievable on profitability and yields that people are doing double and triple takes on our pro formas and then having to go out to the greenhouse and see that it exists and it’s real.

We’re not just a little small sample size. We’ve been running at it since 2018 in a 40,000 square foot greenhouse. It’s no joke. It’s the real deal. People are saying, “That’s how you want to change the industry. Got it.” With that revolution, all of a sudden, if you’re in an urban area and you’re employing 30 people, which we can because we’re so cost-efficient on our operations, who are you going to employ? It’s your neighbors.

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No longer do you have migrant workers. You have people making living days’ wages with health benefits, walking to work or taking a short shuttle to work every day. They’re working from 9:00 to 5:00 or when the hot summer months  are here, they’re working from 6:00 to 2:00. We want to not just benefit the employee. We want to bless them and be very generous to them in the way that they operate and what they receive in terms of payment.

You have 30 people doing that in a depressed area, which is where the most strategic and cheapest land is located, in underserved economic areas. You’ve got this unbelievably technologically advanced greenhouse in the most underserved of populations and this strategic distribution point. You’re employing your neighbors. You’re giving them full-time jobs in a career platform that’s not just a dead-end job but an industry that’s going to grow 10X in the next five years. That is a redemptive organization. That is what we’re after. People are starting to see it and believe it. It’s super exciting.

Clearly, you have a clear vision and you’re intentional about what you’re doing. The energy that you’re exuding tells me that there’s more. What’s on your radar?

Our vision is to have a mesh network of these greenhouses all across the United States. It’s because when you have one in an urban area, that can feed a lot of people but when you start putting them in these closely distributed nodes of greenhouses in major metropolitan areas, you start to get these economies of scale effects. It’s much like the mesh network that you’re starting to see in homes but have been in buildings for Wi-Fi.

You can walk seamlessly across the building and have Wi-Fi the entire time. There’s an ease of use. There’s a reliability aspect to it. There’s trustworthiness about, “Wherever I go, I’m always going to get Wi-Fi.” In the same way with this mesh network of greenhouses, “Wherever you go, you can always get locally grown, nutritious, affordable greens.”

Even if we have another disruption to the supply chain, it won’t affect this mesh network because if one goes down, you’ve got 6 or 7 others in a 100-mile radius that are all right around each other. It reduces the pressure on our infrastructure to deliver all these greens. This becomes an infrastructure in and of itself. We’re making a produce infrastructure with this mesh network of greenhouses. That’s the vision for it. It’s not just applicable in the United States. It’s applicable all around the world.

I love that concept. As you were sharing that, it reminded me of the concept that Netflix had to deploy to grow. They couldn’t have a warehouse in LA and a warehouse in Boston. They had to build a mesh network across the country so that you could get your DVDs, back when it was DVDs, in a day because you don’t want to wait for 3 or 4 days to get your DVDs.

I also find it fascinating and inspiring to see how you’re taking what has been developed from a network perspective and computing and applying it to the physical network in agriculture. What do you think needs to happen, convergences that are happening already, for you to achieve that end state?

The biggest thing is, because we are only a few years old, we have an R&D greenhouse, that the demand for greens was so great we had to convert it into a production facility. We’re building another one. From our perspective, we need more capital and investors to believe in us, invest in these greenhouses and deploy these greenhouses as quickly as possible. Once people see the network, call it 5 or 6 of these greenhouses and they’re only an acre and a half large, but they’re deployed in a regional mesh network, they’ll get it and then the rocket takes off.

Brand Impact: Don’t do anything out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Let go of things that aren’t serving you anymore. Recognize other opportunities then go for them.

The convergences that you’re speaking of, they’re already there. Market demand is there. The supply chain fragility, as well as the supply of greens, produce, lack of supply and demand from consumers is there. People are trying to solve it in different ways. I don’t think there’s going to be any one winner in our space. There will probably be 3 or 4. They’ll all have different 10X differentiators and I know we’ll be one of them. We’re on a capital raise to start to ramp up building out these greenhouses.

A lot of times, what we would like to do on the show is to ask our audience, which are senior leaders and C-suites, what they can do to support your efforts. You’re looking for investors. What is the best path to do anything about that? Is that to reach out to you directly?

There are three major pieces of how our deals are structured. One is the capital to build the greenhouses. Two is operations and we’ve got that. Most of the capital that’s coming to us is saying, “Eddy, we love the organization, greenhouse concept and profitability model but we’re not farmers. Can you all run it for us?” It’s so much like real estate. You’ve got developers and then property managers who then manage the property. We’re doing that. We offer a turnkey service to manage and run those greenhouses.

You’ve got capital operations. The last one is off-take, which is who is buying the produce? For anyone who wants to know how they can help, capital is great. Off-take is probably even more important. We need folks to come to us and say, “We want to buy your produce.” When I say folks, I mean restaurants, institutional buyers and retailers. Those companies or organizations that are interested in supplying and buying nutritious and consistent greens at a good price to then pass that onto the consumer, that’s who we’re interested in.

As an example, we’ve got a lot of interest from growers who cannot rely on their current contract farms of growing. We’re getting a lot of interest from the foodservice folks of the world, the Sodexo’s, Ben E. Keith’s and the US Foods Service because they’re looking for more consistent produce coming out closer to their distribution centers.

Finally, we’re getting an interest from retailers themselves. Almost all retailers have a white-label service. They have their own brands like Amazon. Whole Foods has its Whole Foods 360. Everyone has got their own brands. The product inside those brands needs to come from somewhere. Capital, we’ve got off, operations and then off-take.

That brings me to another nitpicky question. Is there a place where the general public can go to see which brands are buying from Eden Green?

Not right now. The brands that we’re starting to supply to, I’m on the verge of announcing it. I can’t say it on this show. I’m so close. We’re producing our first harvest for them. Slowly, it’s making its way through their own supply chain to the customers who want it first. If your audience subscribes to any of the Eden Green social channels, @EdenGreenTech or email me, they’ll find out soon which growers and labels are having our produce.

We will be watching for that and push it out on our social media too, because this is such impactful work that you’re doing. Tony, any other questions before we wrap?

Just your normal wrap question. I’m good that there is so much here.

This is so intriguing. My wheels are spinning, thinking about how we can support your efforts. The last question we generally ask is, are there organizations, charities or nonprofits that you have a particular affinity for that we could give a shout-out to and then drop any information about them into the show notes?

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Seed Effect, which is totally unrelated but somehow, someway, I’m all involved in all the green. I’ve been on the board of an organization called Seed Effect for many years. They provide microfinance opportunities mostly to women in refugee camps in South Sudan and Northern Uganda. I say we because I’ve been on the board for so long. We’ve been able to help people in these refugee camps save and then loan out money in these savings groups and then gain a return on it. They’re building this investor mindset and empowering entrepreneurs within these refugee camps to make a living.

We have this misconception that refugee camps are tents and they’re there for a couple of years. The reality is because of the nature of the wars and conflicts that are going on, refugee camps exist for decades. There are economies that form in there and their whole generations grow up in refugee camps. In these economies, there are opportunities for economic empowerment. That’s what Seed Effect is doing. It’s found at SeedEffect.org. It’s a great organization. I’m super proud to be a part of that.

Eddy, thank you so much for your time. This has been such a great conversation. I know that Tony and I get humbled by the opportunity to have this show and speak to CEOs such as yourself that are doing that type of impactful work. We do appreciate your time and sharing your thoughts. If that’s all anybody has, we’ll call it a conversation. We will talk to you soon. Thanks again, Eddy.

Thank you so much.

Betsy, that was an amazing interview. Eddy is, first of all, a very humble leader. You can see that from the outset of this interview as we talk with him. I’m blown away not just by the work that they’re doing and the way that he can see strategically what’s happening but the clarity he has about who their customer is, who their investor is, how they can go about and be successful in this business. I like this idea that he borrowed from Peter Thiel. “What is your 10X differentiator? What do you do ten times better than everyone else and focus on that?” That right there is a takeaway that anyone in our audience, if they take and apply that, their business will skyrocket.

I also liked the part of the conversation about the customers that you choose to work with and how sometimes you have to take a short-term hit. One of the things he said was we got that money back that they lost by not re-upping with a client in six months but I bet it was even shorter than that because if you think about it, he retained his team and their morale didn’t suffer. I bet there are a lot of harder things to measure that even probably got that return even faster.

It’s so fun to meet an entrepreneur like Eddy that clearly has an amazing background, knows his stuff, is very passionate but then he knows how to make this an actual business. There are a lot of entrepreneurs that have huge hearts and are out to solve a lot of big and important problems but maybe don’t have the business chops to do it and aren’t as humble and looking for mentorship. Eddy is a shining example of how it’s done.

I’ve learned a lot from this interview personally and took copious notes thinking about how I would apply this to my business in much the same way that he has. It’s very inspiring personally and professionally to have this conversation.

Thank you so much for joining us on the show. We hope you enjoyed this interview as much as we enjoyed having it with Eddy. We will see you next time on the show.

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