My partner and colleague Brad Angus and I went to Ann Arbor for good food, to meet good people, and to do a keynote for their training business called ZingTrain. The food is always awesome. Highlights on the food front were, in no order, crab cakes, tenderloin steaks, bacon mac and cheese (Brad had to call his wife on that one), pimento cheese, corn dogs, stone ground Irish oatmeal, brownies, and numerous breads and cheese from their creamery and bakery…I’m sure I missed a few. Brad claims he gained weight on this trip.
We had great visits with the Zingermans leaders. First we met one founder Paul Saginaw and had a great visit. We told him about all the things Brad and I had going on and Paul asked have you written down your vision for all you are doing? Then we met with the managing partner of ZingTrain Maggie Bayless and she wondered if we had a good vision for a business. We met with Ari Weinzweig the co-founder with Paul and CEO of the ZIngermans group of businesses (there are 8 of them)…he said as we described our business roughly ‘did you watch sports center last night?’ (Ari knows I’m a sports guy) ‘Yes’ ‘Next time you have a ½ hours to watch sports center try writing a vision of what you guys are doing. I’ll bet you will find that the ½ hour spent writing your vision will be more worthwhile than the time you spent watching sports center’. Brad and I got the message.
Zingermans is an impressive group of food businesses that is world class in food quality and training. They are also open book (that’s how I connected with them) and they have a vision going out over a decade for every one of their businesses. They provide training on how to be open book organization and how to create a business vision among other things. They are a great group of people and some pretty interesting businesses…especially if you like food!
The keynote was great. We talked about the exciting metric EBITDA and learned that profit is what it’s all about. Not profit next quarter but profit forever. Great businesses figure out how to earn profits forever. 🙂