Beer and Apples

February 06, 2012 by Gabe | [mmd] |

Last week I attended a special lecture by the owner of Dogfish Head brewing, Sam Calagione. The talk was titled "Man and Microbe: Exotic Ales Since the Birth of Civilization."

The lecture was more entertaining than it was scientific, but it was still an hour well spent. One of the most insightful things he said, I think applies to anyone that is a great leader. When asked about how an English major became a successful businessman in a moderately scientific industry he responded1

"A Business plan is the biggest work of fiction man has ever created. Our job as a business person is to get people mobilized around that fiction. "

Much of the lecture focused on breaking the definition of "beer" as defined by the German purity law Reinheitsgebot. It was an inspired discussion of how letting someone else define us kills innovation are stops progress. Sam is a passionate and unapologetic experimentalist. He is willing to put literally anything in a beer for the sake of pushing the boundaries of his passion and never listens to conventional wisdom. As user of Apple products, that sounds very familiar.

  1. I'm paraphrasing since I didn't record the talk