We had the privilege of hosting Dave Dahl, Founder of Dave’s Killer Bread (www.daveskillerbread.com) at a KickLabs event last week. Dave has an inspiring story and he is an amazing man. He reinvented himself after being incarcerated for 15 years, in his mid 40s. Many of us have experienced difficulties as entrepreneurs, but never to the extent of what Dave experienced. Yet, he persevered and created a company that employs over 250 people and generates over $40 million in annual sales, growing 50% per year. I was not sure how he would be received at the KickLabs event, bread man meets techies. Actually his message was spot in for any entrepreneur whether they are baking bread or writing code. Here are some of Dave’s core convictions (no pun intended):
Product quality – Don’t concern yourself with cost, just create the best product you can create. People pay for quality and service.
Passion – You can’t sell your product and mission effectively if you are not passionate about what you are doing.
Culture – Every person within your organization counts and should be recognized. Building a culture is as important as building the right product. The ability to maintain quality is directly related to maintaining a positive culture in your company.
Focus – There are lots of things that companies can do that are not critical to the core mission of the company. Stay on track and listen to your instincts.
Surround yourself with talent – Dave recognizes that he has a talent for creating a great product and spreading his message. He appointed his nephew (28), educated in finance, as his CEO, and he has built a solid operationally oriented executive team.
Turn negatives into positives – Dave is the ultimate example of turning a negative story into a prime marketing tool that has provided media opportunities and access that he would never have without the transparency of his story.
Do good – Dave dedicates many hours to community work and encourages many people from all walks of life to try to become successful, and never lose hope. Dave visited San Quentin and The Last Mile program and provided an insight into what is possible if you stay clean and focus on your personal mission.
We look forward to Dave’s return to San Francisco. This chapter has just begun.
Dave Dahl with the men of the Last Mile at San Quentin