Kara Goldin, Founder and CEO of Hint Inc and former VP of Electronic Commerce and Shopping at AOL.
"Know what you and your company are going to be good at and focus on that. Outsource the functions that are not core strengths, so you don’t get distracted."
"Building a new category of beverages is difficult, expensive and risky, even under ideal circumstances, and on Day 1, no one could have been confident that hint would work. At the time, our confidence was more about our ability to survive failure if it didn’t work and we were driven to try because we believed that consumers deserved a chance to see if they could enjoy an unsweetened alternative to sugary and diet-sweetened drinks.It started with our own family’s need to find a way to fall in love with water, so that we could give up all of the things that were making us unhealthy, and once we found that way, we wanted to share it with the rest of the world. We were prepared to risk failure, with the hope and belief that we could figure out how to overcome challenges as we grew. We funded hint ourselves for the first couple of years, until we were confident that we could at least produce a shelf-stable product without adding any junk."
"The most important lesson I learned in Silicon Valley is not to be afraid of building the airplane while you are flying it. When we started hint I wanted to make a product that tasted great to most people, without being sweet and without using any preservatives or other chemicals I was trying to avoid. Everyone told me that was not possible, including my own husband who I had asked to survey the industry and find a way to do it. When he told me that no one knew how to do it, I asked him “Well, what can we do?” and he answered right away, saying “We can make a product that tastes great but won’t last very long on the shelf. We would have to distribute it ourselves in a limited area where we could keep an eye on it.” And that’s what we did to start. With a zero-calorie product and a lot of product testing, we could safely distribute a great-tasting water in a limited area. We could build consumer and retailer support while searching for a way to make the product truly shelf-stable. Build the airplane while flying it."