Bourbon and Dog Food

I’ve been thinking about both bourbon and dog food.

First on bourbon: an interesting Fortune article profiled a company that makes Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, a drink that’s expensive and scarce. The company wants it that way: its goal has traditionally been to make “a fine bourbon” more than a fine profit, and to make very little of it. It wants a limited, scarce product.

If you buy into the idea, and want to replicate it, there are a number of human resources/recruiting angles, some that have been used before but perhaps not enough. One idea: to have “career fair” type events for a very limited and very select (“premium”) audience. 

Meanwhile, utterly unrelated, my dog has been on a bit of a hunger strike for about seven weeks. He is willing to eat a prescription food called I/D, which I’m feeding him temporarily, but it is not affordable on a long-term basis.

Anyhow, I’ve made a significant number of trips to pet food stores, a couple vets, done a lot of online research, and more, trying to hone in on the problem and find something he’ll digest that’s relatively affordable and relatively nutritious. Some stores — the most helpful — give you a sample of their food. Others can’t imagine giving free samples. One, today, gave me an entire small bag to try!

The free samples, and especially the one with the whole free bag, say a lot. They say they’re willing to put their product to their test. It sets up a sort of loyalty based on expertise. If the food works, rather than go online and find it, I’m likely to go back to the store, as they were the ones who understood the problem, found a solution, and may be able to find other solutions or modify the solution in the future.

When a company is more transparent, more forthcoming, more informative, more detailed, to candidates, it sends the message they have more confidence in their product — their job, their workplace. If you give a job candidate a list of current employees to call and hear about what it’s like working there, an invitation to spend some time with the company, and so on, a substantial, transparent taste of real life at your workplace, it is, forgive the analogy, a little bag of dog food. 


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