"Listen to Ryan and I talk with one of the greatest marketing minds in Silicon Valley about the reality of starting Verve, the past 10 years of hustle and bustle, and why it's only the beginning." - Colby Barr
"Most artisan businesses require the artist to be there every single moment. How can this kind of business scale up to become a dominant force in the market? What does it take to train people on the right values? How has coffee culture evolved over the years? On this episode, we are joined by legendary entrepreneurs and Verve Coffee founders Ryan O’Donovan and Colby Barr who tell the story of their journey to become Silicon Valley’s artisan coffee of choice.
At the start of the show, Ryan and Colby shared on their beginnings as musicians and how they were inspired by coffee culture, and the different waves of coffee the market has seen. They also shared how they built a business that can scale and expand. Towards the end of the show, we talked about building from the ground up, starting their business during a downturn and making their partnership work, “we’ve seen what the other side could look like and we don’t want that in our company.”
We also spoke about;
Barista culture and latte art
“We’ve got your back” decision making
Being seekers of truth vs. seekers of wealth
How institutions create communities
If you want to build your category and brand, it’s all about who you associate with from the start, but having an excellent product is still highly critical. What makes Verve stand out is that its founders are still in the trenches of their brand, they’ve built an institution that builds communities and they staff encourage autonomy and empowerment. It’s an artisan business that puts a high-end customer service at the center of everything. Everyone in the business is confident in their training, the value of customer service and being a truth seeker over a wealth seeker."
Ryan O’Donovan and Colby Barr are the co-founders of Verve Coffee. In 2007, Ryan and Colby built and opened the first Verve Cafe on 41st Ave in Santa Cruz, California. Today, Verve has locations in cities from Los Angeles to San Francisco to Tokyo, but who's roots remain planted in Santa Cruz, where they roast the world's finest coffees on vintage roasters and enjoy the endless surf of the rugged California coast.
Christopher Lochhead is the co-author of Harper Collins' “instant classic" Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets and co-host of "the podcast Silicon Valley needs" Legends and Losers.
Referred to as "a human exclamation point" by Fast Company, Christopher is widely credited as the architect of "Category Design".
He is a retired three-time Silicon Valley public company CMO (Vantive, Scient & Mercury Interactive), category designer and entrepreneur.
We believe the coffee experience is our responsibility from seed to cup. Coffee is our craft, our ritual, our passion. It drives us and inspires us. With this simple truth and responsibility we are bridging the gap from farmlevel to streetlevel. We are verve. Made in santa cruz.