#101: Kara Goldin Founder & CEO of Hint

#101: Kara Goldin Founder & CEO of Hint Featured Image

Kara Goldin is the Founder and CEO of Hint, Inc., best known for its award-winning Hint® water, the leading unsweetened flavored water, and has since expanded outside of the beverage industry with the recent launch of hint sunscreen. She is also the author of “Undaunted: Overcoming Doubts and Doubters”, which is part autobiography, a part business memoir about her journey building hint into a successful company.

Kara has been named among Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs and Forbes’ 40 Women to Watch Over 40. Also, the Huffington Post listed her as one of six disruptors in business, alongside Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.

Listen to the full discussion here:

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Connect with the Guest:

Kara Goldin: LinkedIn

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • From chasing Steve Jobs for a job to running a 1 billion business and then to setting up Hint 
  • Starting a new company whilst being pregnant
  • Challenges in launching a new category in the market – unsweetened flavored water, and being a mission-based company
  • Listening to people say you can’t and quitting vs throwing the gas and keep going
  • The biggest message from the book Undaunted, “do it or don’t do it, it is up to you”
  • Getting past doubts and worries

Show notes:

  • [00:59] Maybe let’s start first and foremost with a little bit of the story of Hint. You’ve been at it for what 15 or16 years, maybe tell us how did that come about?
  • [01:23] I call myself an accidental entrepreneur because I never thought that I was going to start a company.
  • [02:52] I had been following for years, this guy, Steve Jobs, and I was kind of obsessed with the fact that he made things look so pretty and easy.
  • [04:07] So I got in contact with a guy who used to work for Steve Jobs who is now working with three other guys with a new business and they asked me if I want to work with them. 
  • [08:45] I loved what I did, but I got to a point after seven years where I spent more time managing and we were no longer building at the same capacity. I just wasn’t learning,  wasn’t excited anymore. And so at that point, I thought, do I wait till it’s 2 billion in revenue or 1 billion in revenue to say goodbye. 
  • [10:47] While I was thinking about all these big things in my mind, that’s when I realized, in the interim, I’m going to get healthy and get rid of this weight. And I had been working out, but nothing was working. And I thought no one had ever told me that there was a problem with my diet soda.
  • [15:25] I think as humans, we’re all meant to be learning. And I actually go as far as to say that the most unhappy people should actually check whether or not they’re learning, because I think that it’s something that not a lot of people talk about.
  • [19:17] When bad things happen or failures happen, I’m not going to say that it doesn’t affect me and that it doesn’t hurt in some way, but I truly feel that you need to experience those things in order to be better. 
  • [21:27] I found out that I was pregnant with our fourth child at the same time I wanted to start a new company in an industry I don’t know.
  • [25:08] I was launching a new category, which was unsweetened flavored water. And the reason it’s hard is not only are you ahead of the consumer, but you’re also ahead of the buyer. So none of the grocery buyers knew what I was talking about.
  • [27:41] I was trying to create unsweetened flavored water that didn’t have preservatives in it and everybody kept telling me you can’t do that. And I was like, why? So every time they say I can’t, I ask why and nobody really knows the answer.
  • [30:49] Just really hearing from the naysayers gave me energy and strength to know that I have a choice. I either listened to them and quit \or I just throw the gas on and keep going. 
  • [31:46] We have these people who have loads of experience and what I learned and what I totally believe today is that those aren’t the people that actually see the future, that the future is actually seen by consumers, by people who see that there’s a problem. 
  • [33:52] The big message that I hope people gain out of the book is that you can come up with a million reasons and excuses why you can’t do something but it’s ultimately up to you to go and do it or don’t do it. 
  • [36:01] What I really wanted to share with people is that I have so much respect for entrepreneurs because I am one.
  • [37:06] One of the main reasons why I’m still the CEO of the company 15 years later is that I am willing to try and I know enough to get me in trouble and I’m smart. And then I’m not afraid to hire teams of people who are better than me.
  • [39:56] I wanted to ask what’s your process or a secret formula of getting past these doubts and worries and concerns that we all have? 
  • [42:01] As a leader, create an environment where ideas can come from anywhere and people should always feel like they can add something into the mix because their curiosity is really the thing that’s ultimately going to drive them.
  • [45:21] I have no idea what I’m doing, I’m just doing and trying. And I think that curiosity and the ability to know, may not work out as it may, but it’s part of your journey.

Related Episodes:

#98: Daniel Stanton, “Mr. Supply Chain”

#99: Francisco Betti Head of Advanced Manufacturing and Production at World Economic Forum

#100: Pier Luigi Sigismondi President at Dole Packaged Foods

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LEX GREENSILL​

Chief Executive Officer, Greensill​

Lex is the co-founder and CEO of Greensill, and a Senior Advisor and Crown Representative to Her Majesty’s Government on Supply Chain Finance. He was awarded the CBE for Services to the British Economy in Queen Elizabeth II’s 2017 Birthday Honours.

Lex previously established the global SCF business at Morgan Stanley, and led the EMEA SCF business at Citi.

Lex holds an MBA from Manchester Business School, and is a Solicitor of the Supreme Courts of England and Wales, and Queensland.