Ryan Jordan

Why Less Inspires Me

After scanning a particularly depressing edition of the WSJ this morning (I counted 17 articles that were directly related to big / more in the context of business / government, and their failings as a result of being big / more – culminating in Freddie Mac CFO David Kellerman's apparent suicide), my heart warmed up to a story about Randall Grahm and the Bonny Doon Vineyard in the NYT.

Seems that Mr. Grahm had a wakeup call a little while ago and intentionally downsized his entrepreneurial enterprise from a 450,000-case-per-year operation to a 35,000-case-per-year operation.

"As Mr. Grahm saw it, these may have been profitable wines, but not original wines."

Mr. Grahm's epiphany was not inspired, apparently, by any intrinsic "aha" moment, but by the standard series of events that force us all to take stock now and again, e.g., the birth of a daughter and a health crisis.

I was struck by Mr. Grahm noting that he had become a savvy marketer, master negotiator, and growth-oriented CEO, but … at the expense of mojo. This disenchantment led to him redefining his business model and reason for being in business in the first place.

In other words, he simplified…

…in order to "create something new and strange and different, which may be the best you can hope for in the New World."