Richard Bolles (author of the popular "What Color is your Parachute" series of job hunting manuals) in his 1978 book "Three Boxes of Life" points out that people spend their time in 3 "boxes of life": education, work, and play.
In his words:
... a time of education and learning from age 5 until we are 18 or 22 (the first box); then a time of working from the ages of 22 through 65 or so (the second box); and then a time of retirement, leisure and play. from ages 65 to the time we die (the third box).
I started to wonder whether businesses - craft breweries, in particular - might have the same (or a similar) life cycle.
The start-up phase of any business can be viewed as "education" ... the business earns its PhD from the school of hard knocks ... or flunks out (game over).
The "working" years for a business happen after they have weathered the vicissitudes (not to be confused with vichyssoise) of starting the business ... and things are humming along with concerns focused more on competition and expanding markets than day-to-day survivial (although there may be that, too ...) Work-wise, this time is spent improving business processes to ensure the long-term survival of the enterprise.
Retirement, leisure and play ... um, well, maybe that comes after the buy-out or IPO.
Whereas in America we all anticipate - or had anticipated before the 2008 implosion - a "well-earned" retirement, no student of startups can look at the data and see a clear path to riches. That is why it is so important to draw satisfaction from the daily journey of delighting your customers, treating your employees and peers with kindness and respect. Ultimately to do well by doing good ... as the saying goes.
Bolles's point is that we should integrate all three boxes throughout our lives. Certainly doing what one loves as one's business makes that, if not easy, at least achievable.
Which is what finally brings us to craft breweries ... anecdotal evidence suggests that most brewers are in it for the love of it. Making the three boxes (or barrels) of the business of brewing a blend of education, work, and play.
More anon ...