Todd White on Large-Scale Networking

Hosted By
Alana Muller
Alana Muller

CEO & Founder
Coffee Lunch Coffee

Podcast Guest
Todd White headshot
Todd White

Founder and Chairman
Dry Farm Wines

Episode Summary

Todd White, founder of Dry Farm Wines, shares how he networks and creates community with large audiences by broadcasting his beliefs, values and company mission.

“I'm in the business of network at scale. So I share my story and gather my community with hundreds of thousands of people at a time.”

 
Transcript

Alana Muller:    Welcome to Enterprise.ing, a podcast from Enterprise Bank & Trust, that's empowering business leaders. One conversation at a time. We'll hear from different business leaders about how they found success in cultivating their professional networks and keeping them healthy and strong. I'm your host, Alana Muller, an entrepreneurial executive leader whose primary focus is to connect, inspire, and empower community. We at Enterprise Bank & Trust, thank you for tuning into another episode.

Hello listeners. Welcome back to Enterprise.ing podcast. So glad to have you here today. And I'm delighted to introduce you to my guest. My guest today is Todd White, founder of Dry Farm Wines. He's been a serial entrepreneur and creator since he was 17 years old. And today after 15 years in the wine business, his life is dedicated to educating and helping people make better choices about food, nutrition and how they think about consuming alcohol. As the founder of Dry Farm Wines, a writer, a speaker, and a leader in the organic and natural wine movement. He has widely educated community's unconscious consumption. Todd is deeply passionate about bringing people together to share love and laughter through natural wine. Todd, you had me at wine. You're welcome to Enterprise.ing.

Todd White:    Everybody loves wine.

Alana Muller:    They do, don't they? They do. I am so delighted to have you here today on Enterprise.ing podcast. I want you to tell our listeners more about Dry Farm Wines, including what the inspiration was behind launching the company.

Todd White:    Long story, but Dry Farm Wines, the inspiration was, I was trying to find a better way to drink. So I've been a lifelong wine aficionado. I've been drinking wine since I was nine years old, but during my adult life, I had a deep interest in wine and drinking in general. I don't drink spirits anymore. But for many years, I just kind of played hard. And so then when I started drinking wine exclusively probably 25 or 30 years ago, I moved to the Napa valley, which is the most important wine appellation in the world, I mean in north America. But over the years, as I began to get more and more serious about longevity and wellness and planning my health journey, I started experimenting with a therapeutic ketogenic diet, and that was about seven years ago. Today I'm on a modified keto diet. I'm what's called a biohacker.

So what biohacker, the definition of that is, how we deploy our behavior to positively influence our biological or neurological outcome. And so, diet is probably the most common biohack. So when I started to get very serious about my biohacking, I found that drinking wine was making me feel bad and I was having more negative adverse reactions to it. As a result, I started to investigate why. And then I discovered a whole bunch of problems associated with commercial wine, that's wine you buy in the store. And just a few things is that most of it is industrially farmed and the wine's made in factories with additives. So there's 76 additives approved by the FDA for the use and wine making. And the reason you don't know about these 76 additives, unless you've heard me on a podcast or read about me talking about them. The reason you don't know about these 76 additives is because the wine industry has successfully lobbied with their partners in Washington with politicians to keep contents labeling off wine bottle.

Alana Muller:    Wow, fascinating.

Todd White:    Wine is the only major food product without a contents label. And the reason they don't have a contents label is because they don't want you to know about what's really in wine.

Alana Muller:    It's not just grapes, not just grapes anymore?

Todd White:    No, it turns out it's not just grapes. So we sell what are called natural wines. And I didn't know what a natural wine was and it's very confusing term to consumers because I say, "I sell natural wine" and they're like, "Well, aren't all wines natural?"

Alana Muller:    Right.

Todd White:    The reasons, I just told you they're not. And so people don't know. And so they think when they drink wine and they feel this way, they think that's just what it feels like to drink wine. But when you get rid of the additives and the sugar and you lower the alcohol down, you have a much more favorable reaction to drinking wine. So that was my journey, I was wanted to find a healthier way to drink wine. And so I kind of created the healthy wine category.

Alana Muller:    I just love that. Well, and I know that your personal moniker is conscious abundance. Can you talk about what that means to you, especially in terms of how you embrace building relationships and maybe what you just described as your journey as the launch point?

Todd White:    Well, we think of conscious abundance as using a higher modality, a higher frequency, in terms of how we communicate with people we work with, people that our members, our customers just on a higher frequency. So we make meditation a foundation of conscious abundance. So we believe that, if we operate at a higher frequency of consciousness, that this reduces the noise around us. And the noise is actually creating resistance to our abundance, the noise blocks are abundance. And so we believe that everybody should have equal access to abundance. And that most people are blocking and resistance to abundance that is theirs, just by the drama and the low frequency in which they operate. So we think about this in the same way of drinking. So conscious consumption, right? So, most people don't think about how they drink.

Alana Muller:    Yeah.

Todd White:    For regular drinkers, universally, most regular wine drinkers believe they drink too much. And that's probably true, but more importantly, they're drinking too much of the wrong wine.

Alana Muller:    Right.

Todd White:    Right? And when they change what they're drinking, they change the outcome of how they drink. So it surprises people to hear me say this, "Alcohol is a very dangerous neurotoxin and it ruins millions of lives a year. And some people shouldn't drink at all. And if you don't drink now, I'm not recommending that you start".

Alana Muller:    Yeah.

Todd White:    Nobody expects to hear that from the wine guy. They're like, "I thought he is out there selling wine". No, what I'm selling is awareness and education that if you're going to drink, you should choose to drink more consciously. Think about what you're drinking and analyze your relationship with alcohol because it's a dangerous drug and it can be really fun and helpful and is certainly very helpful for networking.

Alana Muller:    Yeah, can be.

Todd White:    Yeah. So I mean, it's a very bonding. So the drug is... Some people surprised to hear me talk about it in a clinical way. I talk about it in a clinical unconscious way, so you think about it and you can enjoy it more.

Alana Muller:    Well and I think that supports your whole brand mission, so I totally get that. And I want to talk about how it manifests itself in the context of human relationships. So talk a little bit about how you actively manage your network. How do you manage your relationships?

Todd White:    Well, as you know, I intermittent fast and I only eat once per day. So I don't really have the normal, a much of a lot of less meat for breakfast or lunch, because I don't need breakfast or lunch. And for the people who I network with closely know that, so they never invite me anyway. But how we are creating networks is on a much bigger scale. My personal network is pretty small because I tend to like to most people, I like to congregate with people like myself. And so, I don't network in exactly a traditional business way because I'm not in that kind of a business intentionally. I'm in the business of network at scale. So I share my story and gather my community with hundreds of thousands of people at a time. So we have 600,000 people on our email list. We have a couple of 100,000 social followers. So when I'm communicating with community and when I'm networking with people, it's that scale sharing my story, sharing my beliefs, sharing my values.

Alana Muller:    So you're doing almost as your broadcasting. It's, you're sharing in a much larger way.

Todd White:    More like a journalist than, so... Because I'm actually an extroverted introvert.

Alana Muller:    I understand that.

Todd White:    I do public speaking, I operate in rooms, I have a large presence where I go, but I don't really love going to networking things if you will, because it's small talk, I find it kind of tedious and boring.

Alana Muller:    Sure.

Todd White:    So in that way I don't network traditionally in that same way, I network closer more one on one over wine. Well, like with my banker, as an example, who you...

Alana Muller:    Love that.

Todd White:    Like Enterprise. So my banker and I have had dinner several times. He happens to like wine, so we drink wine together. We have a personal relationship. He's a very deep rooted person who has deep values. He's from Eastern Europe and he has all world values. I relate very well to that because we have deep, meaningful conversations. And so that's different than say, going to a chamber of commerce luncheon, where you're networking in that way. I don't network that way because I don't relate to people in that way. I don't like going to a room with a bunch of people, I don't know and having chit chat. That's just not my thing.

Alana Muller:    I have to tell you, most people would agree with you.

Todd White:    Yeah.

Alana Muller:    They may not tell you that, but that is true. And I love the way that you again, consciously talk about that and again, honor your own value set as a result.

Todd White:    Well, I think it's very popular today. People will say, "Oh, I'm the king at networking". You know what? That's just not true in my case. And what I try deeply to do is network on a deeper level with less people in a more conscious way. So then we have shared values and then you understand who I am.

Alana Muller:    So in that way, how do you make connections mutually beneficial? Is there a specific way that you give back, show mutual appreciation? How do you do that, both at scale and then on that smaller and more intimate one-on-one basis?

Todd White:    At scale, we're communicating what our beliefs are and what our values are. And so at scale, we're talking with hundreds of thousands of people or our message is being shared with millions of people through wine. And so, wine drinkers tend to aggregate with other wine drinkers. Wine drinkers, don't hang out with non drinkers. People who are serious about drinking wine, their friends also drink wine. And so, if we have hundreds of thousands of customers in a year, we'll touch millions of lives because they're sharing our wine with other people. And because our wines are so unique, both in their characteristics and our values. And those values and characteristics are well known in our community. People share those values with their friends, are like, "This is the healthy wine company. This is what they believe in. This is they support small family, organic farms that are helped saving the planet. They don't allow irrigation in the growth of these grapes". And so we save over a billion gallons of water a year just in the farms that we are partnered with.

Alana Muller:    Yeah.

Todd White:    And so these values are important to our customers and to our members who, we regard as our community and friends.

Alana Muller:    Love that.

Todd White:    And so these values are shared at scale in that way. On an intimate level, on a smaller networking, I ship a lot of wine around.

Alana Muller:    Yeah.

Todd White:    And so when we met our prospective banker, we send him wine in advance of even doing business with him. We share with... Everybody likes to get free wine. So we'll send you some.

Alana Muller:    You know what? I can't say no to that. Thank you, Todd.

Todd White:    So we tend to use our product and as such an extension of our values, because when you receive our product, you also get an unboxing experience, because we're not there. We view the box as a theater. So when you open the box, you learn a lot about us and what we believe.

Alana Muller:    Even as you're describing it, I can almost feel a sensory. You're describing a sensory experience where it's, you touch the box, you open the box.

Todd White:    There's inserts and contents there, but it's all stacked in a very...

Alana Muller:    Yeah.

Todd White:    Methodical way to create a theater.

Alana Muller:    Yeah.

Todd White:    And that theater tells you a lot about what we believe in and our value system. So that's the best way for us to introduce you to who we are, is to share with you, what we have created.

Alana Muller:    Well, you're almost taking an education mindset, where you're not just selling a product, you're educating the customer, the client, the now friend, member of your community to not just what is your product, but what do you believe in. What's important to you?

Todd White:    When you go to an internet purchasing page, that's called a landing page, right? And on the landing page is what's known commonly in the industry as a sales funnel. That's the process we walk you through in order to get you to purchase. Well, we don't call that a sales funnel. We call an education funnel.

Alana Muller:    Love it.

Todd White:    Right? So how do we educate you? We're not trying to sell you anything. The product will sell itself. We need to educate you to make you aware of why this is important.

Alana Muller:    Right.

Todd White:    And all those values and attributes, saving the planet, supporting small family farms, drinking something this healthier, drinking a transparent product that you know what's in it, it's certified by us. That's the process we take you through an education.

Alana Muller:    Really cool. So Todd, with that as the backdrop, what advice would you share with someone who wants to grow or cultivate their own professional network?

Todd White:    Again, my particular... I think at the foundation of all human interaction and which is what networking is, if it's going to have real meaning is, the ability to see and be seen. And so, what happens in the world today is that we want to... Most people, the king of networking run around and want to create a perception of what they want you to believe that they are. And so this is a sales perception. I do just the opposite. I want you to see and know who I am and as such, not everyone is going to love me and I'm not going to love everyone else. The important thing is for me to identify the people that I share values with, like my banker at Enterprise, he and I share many of the similar deep values of belief in friendship and family and community. We enjoy the same value. So for me, it's not as important for me to have a large network as it is for me to have a very high quality network.

Alana Muller:    That makes such perfect sense. And I think what you described is too frequently, at least in this country, we have a tendency to ask what people are, as opposed to, who people are. And what you're describing is a transparent view into who you are, who I am. I want you to know who I am, not what I am. And I think that is such a meaningful way to develop an authentic connection with someone. So as you talk about your banker, any other friend that you have, you've let them in. And you're right, we're not going to all love or be loved by everyone. And so the more authentic we can be, I think the happier we can be.

Todd White:    Authenticity is rare currency today.

Alana Muller:    Yeah.

Todd White:    And so, when we try to be everything to everyone, we're nothing to no one.

Alana Muller:    Correct.

Todd White:    Right? And so that's, as such, some of us will be polarizing, but we will identify a network who believes in what we believe in. And in times of, and your banker's a great example in times of testing in a relationship. The thing that keeps everything glued together with your banker is authenticity and trust.

Alana Muller:    Yeah.

Todd White:    Because life is not a straight line and things don't always go up. Sometimes they go sideways and sometimes they go down. But that authenticity and understanding of the values you're committed to enable those relationships to have a more enduring meaning.

Alana Muller:    Love that. Let me ask you, maybe a more specific question. I want to know about an interaction with one person that resulted in a breakthrough for you either personally or professionally. And I'd love to know who it is, but at least the type of person. And what was the interaction or the experience?

Todd White:    I mean, there are many but, one that comes to mind of recent is with my best friend and business partner, who... We had some challenging times in large part because I stepped away from the business and got distracted with other investments and things didn't go well while I was away or they could have gone better. And that put a stress in our relationship that we really had to overcome. And that worked itself out for the same reasons that I've just described. They worked themselves out because we both share the same values, but it was uncomfortable.

Alana Muller:    I bet.

Todd White:    But largely that got worked out because of our transparency and authenticity and our brutal, transparent honesty with each other. Still, within a foundation of love and caring and realizing that life is fragile and we're just trying to get to the other side of it.

Alana Muller:    Yeah. Well, you clearly have a trust level with one another that as you described as rare these days. So I think that's remarkable. It's a great story. How about this? If you could meet with anyone for some kind of networking interaction, who would it be and why? And I don't care if they're living, not living, fictional, non fictional. Who would you want to share a glass of Dry Farm Wines with?

Todd White:    Well, I think probably, I would say maybe President Obama and why he comes to mind is because I just think his rise and his charismatic rise was so impressive, so historic and impressive. And his demeanor in a very difficult job was very conscious.

Alana Muller:    Yeah.

Todd White:    And so I think he's interesting enough that I would sit down and want to understand. I'm very impressed by people who have this kind of charismatic presence.

Alana Muller:    Yeah, absolutely. That's a great one. Have you met him before?

Todd White:    I have not.

Alana Muller:    All right, well, yet to come, I'm sure.

Todd White:    I could. I just haven't put any effort into it.

Alana Muller:    All right, well, I can't wait to hear about that conversation, that'll be great. Well, I have loved talking with you and hearing your story. Your authenticity comes through. I can't wait to enjoy my own glass of Dry Farm Wines. So I want you to share with our listeners, where can people go to learn a little bit more about you and about Dry Farm Wines?

Todd White:    It's super simple. We are dryfarmwines.com on the interweb. And on all social, just dryfarmwines.

Alana Muller:    Outstanding. Todd White, thank you so much for joining us today on Enterprise.ing podcast.

Todd White:    Thanks for having me.

Alana Muller:    Thanks for joining us this week on Enterprise.ing. Be sure to visit our website enterprisebank.com/podcast to subscribe. So you'll never miss an episode. If you found value in today's program, please consider leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or telling a friend about us. Enterprise.ing powering business leaders. One conversation at a time.

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