Hello and good day!
If you've been following along with these daily emails for a while, you might recall that I've written a book. It hasn't been published yet.
It is supposed to come out in 2024.
I started writing it about a year ago. I wrote the rough draft in 6 months, and it ended up being 600 pages long. That was way too many pages. I've since spent the last 6 months cutting it down and cleaning it up.
My wonderful mother and aunt have been my editors during the cleanup phase, and we are coming down the home stretch. Within the next week or so, I plan to submit my manuscript to the publisher.
The last thing I will do before submitting is write an introduction.
I am on my last read through now and I am thinking about what I want to say in the intro. The thing that stands out to me the most right now is that nobody stopped us.
That is a big deal. It means that to a large extent, we are all allowed to do just about whatever our heart desires.
My dad was a 62-year-old man coming out of bankruptcy when we started doing business in Peru more than 20 years ago. He'd lost a historic hotel he'd built from the ground to a business partner who betrayed him 7 years earlier.
Our original idea was to sell air filter cleaners to mining operations. We knew a guy who knew a guy who was doing consulting work with the biggest gold mine in the world. The mine was located above the city of Cajamarca, Peru.
My dad used his meagre savings to fly to Peru and pitch a product.The pitch was a failure. The mine didn't want to buy rehabed air filter cleaners.
But they told us about some other items they needed, hydraulic hoses and nuts and bolts, and my dad and brother decided to pursue those items instead.
My dad and brother started flying around the United States, putting their plane tickets on credit cards, talking to manufacturers. The prices we negotiated with the manufacturers were 30% to 40% cheaper than what the mine was paying, and the mine ended up awarding us a 3-year, $6 million contract.
Just like that.
My brother had quit his job as a project manager installing high speed internet in office buildings a year earlier and was working as a bartender.
So, you had a bartender, and a 62-year-old man coming out of bankruptcy because he guaranteed bank loans for the hotel. neither of them had any experience working with mines, exporting replacement parts to the world's biggest gold mine in Peru.
We had no experience exporting from the US or importing into Peru. We had no clue how to get our parts off the boat in Lima and on a truck due for Cajamarca.
But nobody stopped us.
Quite the opposite, we were encouraged in it because it benefited the mine and the manufacturers. It didn't matter to them that we had no idea what we were doing, as long as it all worked out in the end.
When I first travelled to Peru, I had just gone through a rehab program for alcohol abuse. I was kicked out of college for excessive drinking and rabble rousing.
When my dad went through bankruptcy and we lost our hotel and my parents were divorced, I went through some dark times. The substance abuse numbed me.
Anyhow, my dad had lined me up with a job as an auto mechanic in Peru making $100 a month. I was working with a local business who had partnered with us to import parts into Peru. The owner of the garage didn't know about my past and he didn't care.
He only wanted to know if I would work hard and do a good job. I learned quickly how to do oil changes and tire rotations, and everybody was happy to have me.
I met and fell in love with my wife on that trip and 20 years later I love her just as much as ever.
She didn't care too much about my past. She wanted to know what kind of man I'd be in the present and in the future.
We did the mining thing for three years and when it came to an end, we attempted to export trout to China and grow sugar cane in the Peruvian desert for producing ethanol. Neither of those worked out,
But nobody stopped us from trying.
And then we got into the chocolate business. We had no experience with that either. Brian moved out to the jungle to buy and process cacao and me and my dad learned how to make and sell chocolate.
We're not particularly smart or wonderful people. We're alright, but pretty much the same as anybody else. I believe that people are mostly good, and we are good along the same lines as most other folks.
The main thing we've got going for us is that we're willing to exploit one particular little wrinkle in the fabric of reality.
Almost nobody will stop you from trying. There may be some rules you have to navigate. There will certainly be some risks you have to take. You'll have to convince folks to go along with you.
But there will be very few people who will stand in your way and keep you from trying just about whatever you want to try.
We had very little money to get our business going. We did it on meagre savings and personal credit cards. That was a limitation. There are always limitations.
However, the credit card company didn't decline us because they heard we were doing something crazy. As long as we were within the limit, they let us do whatever we want.
And this might be the most important lesson people will get from the book. Readers will learn a lot about Peru. They'll learn a lot about chocolate. They'll learn how cutting players out of a supply chain frees up more money for the folks in the chain who are furthest from the market.
The irony in most supply chains is that the people who provide the raw materials that make the entire supply chain possible are usually the ones who get the least. We've learned how to alleviate that.
But the thing I can't shake is that in no way, shape, or form, did we appear to be people who could take on and figure out that problem. Nobody told us we couldn't, so we just went ahead and tried.
It means that we are all much freer than we think. If you've got something on your heart that you've been meaning to try, but don't think you are qualified, don't worry about it.
Just give it a go and figure it out as you go along. Nobody is going to stop you and in a couple of years' time, you'll have it all figured out.
Time is going to go by no matter what. And it goes by fast. You might as will get to two years from now having done what your heart desired.
By the way, I never had any inkling about writing a book, but I was able to. You chip away at it a little each day, every day, and then eventually it all comes together.
You're allowed to write a book if you want. Nobody will stop you.
Anyhow, I am running out of time and steam for now. I thank you so much for your time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!