Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff founded Honest Tea in 1998. In the recently released Mission in a Bottle, the co-founders tell -- in comic book form -- the story of building a successful mission-driven business. Goldman, now president and "TeaEO" of Honest Tea, joins Motley Fool CEO Tom Gardner to discuss sustainability, entrepreneurship, and what it means for a socially responsible, health-oriented business to be bought by Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) .
In this video segment, Goldman says he was happy before the Coke deal, and is still happy today. Describing himself as a natural optimist, he explains his own happiness "equation." He also discusses the origins of Mission in a Bottle and why he and Professor Nalebuff settled on the graphic novel format.
A full transcript follows the video.
We hope you enjoyed this refreshingly honest Motley Fool interview with Honest Tea CEO Seth Goldman.
If you did, you may be surprised to learn that over the past two years, Motley Fool co-founder and CEO Tom Gardner has sat down with dozens of the world's brightest investors and business minds on behalf of his Motley Fool ONE members -- we're talking true American legends like Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey, Costco founder Jim Sinegal, and even Vanguard founder Jack Bogle.
On March 20, this "crown jewel" service will reopen to new members for only the third time ever. And to celebrate, Tom would like to offer you a front-row seat to watch these visionaries share the keen insights and unparalleled business acumen that got them to where they are in life.
Even if you aren't an investor, the business lessons you'll take from these conversations are priceless. So please click here to access our Motley Fool ONE member lobby and our entire collection of these interviews absolutely FREE of charge!
Audience member: First, I want to say you have a great smile!
Seth Goldman: Thank you.
Tom Gardner: Thank you! Oh, it was Seth? You were talking to Seth? OK. OK.
Audience member: I'm curious if that smile came before or after Coke's acquisition?
Gardner: That's awesome!
Goldman: I will say there's an optimism that you need as an entrepreneur, and I was born with that. One of the things that's important; we certainly lived simply before the Coke deal, and we continue to live simply. I think, to understand what makes you happy can be a real gift.
Gardner: Not having any personal guarantees for loans makes you happy.
Goldman: I slept better with no personal guarantees!
But I was happy before the Coke deal, and I was happy after the Coke deal. I have my own little equation. Happiness is the greater than, so what you have is greater than what you want.
Most people think having more makes you happy. But wanting less, and really understanding what makes you happy -- and for me, I've had an incredible, wonderful family and health ...
Audience member: I have to say it's probably the "no compromising." It goes a long way.
Goldman: That's right, too.
Audience member: Actually, my real question is that you chose an interesting form to communicate your story, which is a graphic novel. I'm curious why you chose a graphic novel over a standard approach.
Goldman: That son -- the one who was in India criticizing the computers -- is a very alternative thinker. He's dyslexic as well, so he's always seeing the world very visually. He was in his senior [year] of high school and was getting into senior slump, which means he wasn't doing his homework. He was reading comic books.
My wife would send me upstairs and say, "You better make sure he's doing his homework, because if he doesn't keep up his grades, he's going to lose his acceptance to college." I'd go up there and try to talk to him about doing homework and I'd see these comic books laid out, and they were so absorbing.
At the same time, I was trying to read these business books. One book in particular was just so...
Gardner: Give us the title. I'm sorry! You don't have to do it.
Goldman: It was a green business book.
I felt like I was doing the homework. I said, "We've got to find a way to tell the story, and make it more engaging, to make it come alive," and the comic book form just worked. Whether it's the visual elements -- showing how we designed the label, or the tea garden, or the bottling plant -- and the kind of people we'll be able to attract is so different. It's really fun.
Gardner: I think it has to become an animated film. If you've read the book, it will be an awesome Pixar movie.
Goldman: I will say that my wife is not happy with all of the fashion choices made on her behalf.
Tom Gardner has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Coca-Cola and has the following options: long January 2016 $37 calls on Coca-Cola and long January 2016 $37 puts on Coca-Cola. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.