Catch Marc Siden on the #PirateBroadcast
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Marc Siden 0:00
Understand how incredible the compound was. Berry had this idea to start a business and he's not an operator, and he asked me to help him. I just started out as a friend making introductions and saying, meet this person meet this person. I know nothing about beverage. Arguably, I still don't after two years, but one thing led to another, I ended up in a meeting of people that I was introducing Barry to, and I looked at him and maybe this was unconscious. I said, Berry, just make sure you find a really good CEO and consciously I promised on a stack of Bibles. I was not talking about myself and everybody in the room looked at me and said, Why not you? Right? I was like, Why me? I don't know anything about this, but when they left Berry, kind of cornered me. He's like your mic guy. I want you to do this with me. I was humbled and grateful. Again, I was ready to take on an opportunity whether I thought I was or not, I worked very hard previously.
Russ Johns 0:56
Marc Siden 0:56
That's how I was born. The next step is okay. Why we're going to do this why should people care and why we can be different you know the spaces be flooded and we've set out to build a you know a premium experience through a good for you simple ingredient beverage cloud water and natural sparkling him 25 milligrams of CBD and four flavors and that we really wanted to be different. We took a lot of time to get there and we still are doing today.
Russ Johns 1:28
Well in the CBD industry is in its infancy as far as I can tell. There's a lot of traction, a lot of motion, a lot of momentum growing in this in the beverage industry, obviously, it's very competitive. Probably not knowing some of the things or the details in the industry probably might be your advantage. Have you seen that that's the case or is that a disadvantage. How do you feel about it now after being in it for a few days?
Marc Siden 2:05
Yeah, it's a great question. I think from afar, one could see that advantage. For me, I've been like, what am I doing here? I'm so lucky that I surrounded myself and been surrounded with incredible people that have been through this and know this space insulated myself, but their days and that continues, like, why do I deserve to see maybe just some activity not being so mired in beverage, and maybe just zooming out from a businessside it's allowed me to have, some impact. It's definitely a learning curve and something I embrace in my life, but it's I'm playing catch up. I feel that after a couple of years of getting there more comfortable my skin, I can sit in a meeting and not feel like I'm overwhelmed by these much smarter people than me. I want them to always be smarter than me, but that I could keep up with that. Yeah, so I'm still waiting for that day, Russ when I feel that way, but it's on my mind.
Russ Johns 3:02
Yeah, wellI think for the CEO, I think the the real benefit of having a good quality CEO is to be able to see, see the value in the talent that surrounds you and have the vision of where you want to go, and how you want to manage the future. Not necessarily, the operations, you don't necessarily need to be in the weeds every day. I think you got some very talented people I work with Kelly, she's an amazing individual that, connected us and she's been able to see what's going on in the industry, and she's been able to make some, make some connections here with us, and I really feel that the CBD industry, and I love the drink. By the way, I love the flavors. I love the things that you're doing with it. I have to tell you that it's pretty tasty. Some Tito's in it.
Marc Siden 4:04
We did not know that.
Russ Johns 4:06
Yeah. Just telling you right now. It's pretty good. The fact remains that any industry and I think like I said, because in my mind, sometimes not having all the answers allows you to actually venture outside the normal boundaries of an industry. Have you had some experiences with that because you're not in an industry that is normal, so to speak, but very common. Does that make sense?
Marc Siden 4:36
It makes total sense. I think that would be back to your point. It's a little bit more relevant than I made it. We wrote our brand guidelines a year after we started at marketing people are like, you need brand guidelines. You need this. What's your identity, have your message. I'm like, you know what, I don't think we know yet. It's like a teenager telling you who they're going to be when they grow up. It's an evolution and then when you get some time And of course, some data behind you, you can look back and say, Okay, well, we know what our ethos and nucleuses We know the why. But how do we wrap all those other components around it to form a true identity that only comes from listening to your community, right? You look in the mirror and tell you, yourself, you look great, and you have crazy hair and whatever. You're not going to pick that out unless people have the guts. Nope, no offense, by the way. If you don't embrace the people tell you, then how do you kind of mold and you know, and build on that. I've had people come to me and you know, we're not perfect, and they and they complain, I don't see those complaints. I see them as blessings. I say thank you. And then they say, oh, but your drink is amazing. I said, No, keep telling me the bad stuff. That's the only way we're gonna get better. Let's make mistakes and not repeat them. That one for you know who we really are. Again, we know why we're here. But these other things are working. Absolutely. I think we live and breathe that way
Russ Johns 6:01
Yeah, I think that the the fact that CBD and a lot of people are actually coming around to the idea that it's a an opportunity. It's also something that has helped a lot of people there's been a lot of value in a lot of people that I've talked to and just being able to have that available to them is is really an advantage. How do you compare to two years ago? How do you feel your position in the market will will evolve with this current the pandemic is kind of a bump in the road for a lot of people. It probably affords you the opportunity to maybe think about different strategies and different approaches and having those different conversations with your community. How does that impact you today?
Marc Siden 6:54
Yeah, well, I think that you hit the nail on the head with helping people and you're we're a for profit business. We come to work every day to sell product and make money. But we did set out. Our mission is we really want it to enable people to empower their own self health and their well being. It's very, and that wellness can be enjoyable and empowered. We love when people tell us that our packaging is great, and how great the beverage tastes and don't get me wrong. When Mary writes in and says thank you, she just paid me money, she's thanking me or us, because it helped her get through a day of mommying or homeschooling or her husband's arthritis, and we know that it's actually doing some real, real good and having impact and we didn't create CBD, but we certainly embraced it as something that can have an impact in the process of people kind of optimizing their own health and that's why we get out of bed every day. I mean, we have really crappy days, but this team loves that email and keeps it going. I think Other side of that CBD people are turning to CBD as alternatives for drinking every day or taking their Xanax, and they're actually finding without us making claims or others, that is actually helping. I think that's wonderful because it's a natural compound, and it doesn't get you high, and it doesn't give you a hangover, and it tastes great. It's becoming more and more part of a daily routine. I don't know about changing strategies, I think that it's a validation that a lot of us are doing in the space and for water, we just have to continue to dare to be different. Keep our message of why we're here. I think people are embracing that and doesn't hurt to have a great tasting beverage and packaging that's appealing and so forth.
Russ Johns 8:46
Yeah. The other thing also is my experience with CBD has always been with the oil. I like the fact that it's in food infused in water, versus cause anytime you'd use the oil. It just wasn't the same. The fact that you infused it in water and as it tastes so great, is a huge advantage and I will definitely be ordering some more. It's nice to be able to experience thatin a way that I haven't experienced that before. I'm all for the evaluation of new products and new services and new things, new ways of looking at things. I've been accused of stepping outside the box more than once. It's really I think it's a beverage that is really prone to community. I think it's really prone to an organic movement of sorts, and and dare to be different kind of positioning. I think taking that stance and moving toward that it's like, almost Hey, come with us. We're going in this direction, kind of thing and I don't know if you've had that experience, or if you feel that that's something that is kind of organically growing with it, or people are ordering it on a regular basis because they love it. What's kind of the sense that you're getting for the future? Marc
Marc Siden 10:19
Yeah. Love your thoughtful question. Everything about at least the way I look at things is based on a foundation, right, and that's going to inform how sturdy Your house is during a storm or so forth and relationships. I remember some first conversations, people when we started and we talked about the notion of like going one, building one person, top of another and building an organic community, and not buying certain things for sale and not feigning how many followers we have, or how many people interact. It's been amazing to see our community grow and painfully slow, but with so much feedback and so much, we might as well have a million followers for the community based dynamic that we're building. They tell other people and they do reorder because they love it. Again, we're seeing that every day, and the team as well. I mean, I have to oversell this. I showed them the brand and the bottle and just a simple vision. Carol dollard, who's our CEO, Oh, she has a PhD in biochemistry as well, that has helped us she came from vitamin water. I went to lunch with her. She looked at me and said, I love this brand. I think it could be the next vitamin water. I mean, imagine the hooks that I thought was being played on me that day when she said that, like I just told her what we were thinking that was an organic process and the team that building is based on people that really buy into what we're doing here. That's kind of trickling to our community as well. It's a little slower, but again, the foundation that we're building will allow us to scale you know, on a much sturdier platform. Absolutely i think it's a necessity for any business that really wants to stay around for the long term.
Russ Johns 12:10
Was this bottle your idea cause I love this bottle by the way.
Marc Siden 12:14
This whole thing was my idea. No, I'm kidding. I'm thinking that the more I talk about this the less about me it's going to be so much. There's two people that Scott Carlson runs a shop called BGS my wife Julie, who works for cloud and that's enough story about who's the boss at what time of the day. She just started to help us out because she believed in the brand and really got passionate about it. She happens to be an excellent designer, she curated our social, she's very a big part of designing this bottle and the packaging, and what have you. I mean, not many great ideas for me and my job is to take all this incredible information and distill it into something that, a plan that we can follow.
Russ Johns 13:03
Yeah, yeah. It's amazing like, like, we go back to the thread, the common thread that we're talking about here, Mark is bringing quality people together and having an amazing product. It's really amazing how far it can grow. Having been in several startups myself, it seldom goes as quickly as you would like it to go and it doesn't always the journey is never a straight path. It's always there's some things that happen and take place and I think that's the fabric of startup an entrepreneur, a CEO is that the ability and the opportunity to be resilient, be flexible enough to understand when the environment the feedback requires change in some of the things that you've done. With that being said, Have you made pivots and changes that you've had to make from feedback from the community? Or is there like flavor changes? Or has there been iterations in that area as well?
Marc Siden 14:16
Yeah. All of the above.
Russ Johns 14:18
Okay. All right.
Marc Siden 14:19
Yes. My last business I started right after 911. And then we managed through the financial crisis of 2008. learned a little bit about reinvention or pivoting or just kind of managing through adversity, whatever degree that is. If my team is sitting behind me, they all be laughing at your question, basically, of how many times we've either run ourselves into a wall or we've been hit, whether it's delayed funding or this crisis or what have you. The foundation has stayed the same, but we had to pivot to a more digital strategy in this crisis. We've put out flavors that We were proud of but didn't meet our standards. Carol, I mentioned before Optimus reformulate and tweak, we're always improving. That goes back to the fact that we're going a little slower now. We're alone gives us room to do that, at some point, you have to hit the pedal, and we're going to do that soon. You want to make sure that not only you damn proud of this, but, the response from your community gives you enough confidence that you can start moving very quickly. We're tweaking all the time. Again, it's really part of why this team is great that they're able to be so nimble, and I'm sure I drive them crazy because sometimes I'm all over the place. But we never lose our focus on why we exist. At the end of the day, it just comes back to if before we're off the track,
Russ Johns 15:50
Well share why you exist. Is it really about the drinker Is it about the community?
Marc Siden 16:01
Yeah. I mean, part of what I believe my Why is in a little influence there, one little ones I can have on the business but I want to live on my own terms, right? That doesn't mean make a lot of money it means I don't want to be beholden to things that are in my control, right. I want to have balance. I want to make time for my work if that's all I do. That's all right. So
Russ Johns 16:29
Marc Siden 16:30
I want to make time for my work and my family who I love dearly, to my own physical and mental health and my hockey and my poker so I've always wanted you to have a balance. In this company we exist because we believe that CBD is an amazing compound and it can and will and does help people and we happen to be delivering it through this vessel, in these ingredients and flavors, but again the Why is because there's a great opportunity to have an impact. Of course participate in growing industry and make a lot of money. I don't think will change because we could put this in popcorn or we could put this in this and we can find another cannabinoid. We're in this because we believe in the nucleus in our superstar here that it's going to be changing lives, today over time, and that's very inspiring all of us.
Russ Johns 17:27
Well, you have to be kind of excited because the last round of legislation opened up a few more states to legalizing and having open availability to marijuana and I think that supports your cause. Have you seen a cause and effect of along those lines?
Marc Siden 17:47
Yes and no. I think that a lot of Companies Act at the federal level, so individual states can open up in their pockets opportunity, but the way you scale is to scale through broad line distribution and national distribution, and a lot of companies you aspire to be with operate under the federal regulations,
Russ Johns 18:12
Marc Siden 18:12
We're very frustrated with the FDA. I'm not going to turn this into but this is a compound that has shown to help people is approved by them for administration to turn, right. They're and I understand why. There's a lot of approvals going on almost blind right now during COVID, which is not what the FDA does, and I get that, but here you have something that, what more scientific evidence you need, that people are changing lives, and this is helping them to at least take a deeper dive to move the regulation to where we can operate in a framework and I'm sorry, I'm very passionate about this. So yes, there are openings, but it's too slow.
Russ Johns 18:48
Marc Siden 18:54
All of my my friends and editors in this space, they know what I'm Talking about they feel the same way and this needs to change. Let's get through this crisis and let's make sure everybody's safe. But yeah, I mean, it certainly helps. But we still have a long way to go.
Russ Johns 19:11
Yeah, well, and as you know, anytime large organizations have to move, it's not always as quickly as the nimble startups that we know about I've been involved with So, there's always going to be frustration with that. I just really love and appreciate the fact that and thank you for helping inspire some of the individuals in the community here with #thePiratesyndicate and the #piratebroadcast. I really, I appreciate the fact that people are out there doing these things even in the face of the pandemic, and some of these things are that are going on around us every day and I don't want to diminish the challenges that people have with lost jobs or income or anything. It's just I know that as we evolve and get through this, some of the good work that you're doing, Marc, will shine and come to the top and people will be inspired and influenced by the work that you're doing now. Keep doing good work. What is the next 18 months? look like you best case scenario? I mean, what what is your target? What are your goals with this
Marc Siden 20:29
Best case I would have said I don't know. Again, kudos to my team, we've pivoted and we're building a much more robust direct to consumer channel. We're delivering nationwide flow. We believe coming out of this retail will return to normalcy, we'll get back that throttle up of that type of distribution, and have a much more robust digital channel. That We had previously and as we get comfortable there, there's a lot of other things we want to do. We're cloud water brands and that means that are other things that we aspire to do once we are exceptional in this category, I want you to work within the wellness space and introduce products that consumers can put into their daily lives and fit within the why of impact powering their own self help and have a part of that process as long as we can play in the air with integrity and be a part of that process and have their trust. The next 18 months look incredibly bright for this company and I'm excited despite all the challenges, I love getting up every day and go to work especially with this team. I got a lot to chip that away.
Russ Johns 21:46
Fantastic. I feel a lot the same way I think that this time in history is going to be a proven to be out as one of the opportunities to improve and change and grow and expand some of the things, the ideas that you're working on right now and the opportunity for business to grow in a different way, and rethink some of the things that we've historically been in the industrial revolution it's like, do we really need to do that remote work, flexible lifestyles, and the opportunity to work in other areas in other environments, I think is going to be part of that change. At least I would like to think that that's the case. Working with teams all over, and not necessarily having to be in the same room at the same time to create an idea and launch a product, I think is another opportunity that we're going to see evolve into a different level of understanding and appreciation and you've had this experience and it hasn't been necessarily something that's taken away from the product, it may have actually addiction. really created some new elements. Have you had that experience? Or is that? Am I just living in Never Neverland?
Marc Siden 23:09
No, not at all. I mean, with respect to, you know, the team and collaboration, we had a flexible work schedule going into the pandemic. I was never a believer that everybody should sit in an office, just for the sake of doing that. I think it's great. Everybody knows this. That in person touchpoint is very important. That's not a possibility. During those flexible hours, we also worked at the same pace with the same communication, there are challenges and you really have to master it. I'm sure it was frustration, when their emails going back and forth, and you can't follow along and again, we'll hop on calls, or Zooms or things like that. It's not a major adjustment in the world that we're in. I think it is the new norm, and we have to get used to it. It's like anything else, you don't adapt and it'll be reason why you didn't make it? Who wants to say that? Right? So Yeah,I think, for the brand, the product, this while it seems challenging right now, and we're going at a slower pace, it's going to have a major lift for us. I keep telling my team that. What we do now, we'll define us for those next 18 months and beyond. It's our time to be creative and scrappy, and really dig deep and challenge ourselves. They're responding. You want to have empathy, and you want to have a little bit more leeway. You can never give up the cadence of accountability. I don't care what situation you're in. We all need to be accountable to what we're bringing to the table. The team's been fantastic at that. I feel great about that aspect of the business. Other things keep me up at night. Those things. I think they're doing well.
Russ Johns 24:49
Yeah. Well we've had a few you know, the it seems like the internet is not necessarily been kind to us, you're still getting a little bit of image the quality, and I want to make sure that I invite you back again, Mark because I want to check in with you. I want to help you. I got some people that I want to introduce you to and I want to support your cause and I want to support that. I like the product, I love the product. It's been an amazing flavor here. I really like it. I'm going to order some more and I just wanted to make sure that I applaud your efforts and your team's efforts to get out there and do some great work. The opportunity to grow invest in new ideas in companies is something that I want to support. I want to share the this information with the Pirate community as well. Thank you so much for being here and thank you for doing what you're doing. Thank you Kelly, for the opportunity to make this connection and somehow she found me and I thought it would be a good idea to get our
Marc Siden 26:04
She's great. Thank you, Kelly. Thank you. We just have to show up. You showed up yesterday, you had a tough day with your dad, you got to show up. A lot of great things happen when you do even though you don't think they could show up and catch later inspiration for that. Thank you for making this so easy. Being so insightful. I'm grateful on behalf of the team. We're all grateful to have this opportunity.
Russ Johns 26:31
Well, thank you Mark, and we will be in touch and we will follow up and I look forward to our future conversations and watching you grow as well.
Marc Siden 26:40
As do I looking forward to it, be safe. Stay well,
Russ Johns 26:44
Thank you so much, everyone for being with us on the #pirat broadcast. Cloud water if you're not familiar with it, where's the best place for them to track you down Mark?
Marc Siden 26:57
On Social it's @cloudwaterCBD And our website is cloudwaterbrands.com or cloudwaterCBD.com and we're on other platforms but if you wanted for me the product or join our community and see what we're doing come join I'd love to have you and don't be shy DMS yell at us you know give us love you know we embrace it all.
Russ Johns 27:17
Like and share.
Marc Siden 27:19
Russ Johns 27:19
Mark as always #kindnessesiscool #smilesarefree, and you #enjoyyourday.
Marc Siden 27:26
You do the same, take care!
Russ Johns 27:30
Thank you for joining the #piratebroadcast. If you found this content valuable, please like, comment and share it across your social media channels. I would love the opportunity to help others grow in their business. #Thepiratesyndicate is a platform where you show up we produce the show. It's that easy. If you want to be seen be heard and be talked about. Join #thepiratesyndicate today.
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