An ounce of proactiveness is worth a pound of reactiveness.
Kenneth Wu is the founder and chief executive officer of Milk and Eggs where he oversees the company’s vision and growth strategies. There he manages investor relations in addition to leading business development. Kenneth is a serial entrepreneur with nearly two decades of experience in founding and growing startups into successful business ventures. He began his entrepreneurial background as founder and president of AirSplat, the largest retailer of shooting sports equipment, gear and tactical accessories, in 2001. At AirSplat, he was in charge of company development and management, strategic planning and business development. After 15 years, Kenneth successfully exited the space when he sold the company.
Previously, Kenneth also served as president at 2WheelBikes, one of the fastest growing online retailers of cycling equipment and accessories. He also founded Battle Arena, an entertainment center for virtual sports in Washington, and a tactical clothing and gear retailer called Cast Gear. Kenneth began his career as a web developer for USCD and as a user interface engineer at AOL for the You’ve Got Pictures division.
Where did the idea for Milk and Eggs come from?
Idea came out of necessity. First, I have a family history of diabetes and have early stages of diabetes (diagnosed pre-diabetic 10 years ago). For this reason, I’ve always been health oriented and concerned with eating healthy and having fresh, locally-sourced produce and artisanal goods. I’ve been borderline for the last 10 years and I manage it by having a healthy diet and being active.
Second, when my son was born, my wife was nursing and our family was consuming much more food. My wife’s high metabolic rate due to nursing meant she was having to eat more and it was so onerous during the 0-6 months of infancy to buy groceries that were both voluminous and healthy while in a sleep deprived zombie-like state. Having to go to the market so often to keep up was very time consuming and a hassle with two little ones. I’ve been doing ecommerce since 2001 and it baffled me why groceries and food have not gone digital yet! It was amazing, we could buy anything from TV’s and sofas to socks online, but I couldn’t buy a tomato or chicken! We would have loved to be able to order food rather than trying to pack up and head to the market, shop and then lug the bags in from the car. But as we were looking for a service to fit our needs, we realized there were very few options. Many that were doing delivery either offered mostly packaged and non-perishable foods, junk food and things from the center aisles of the grocery store. Otherwise, there were produce subscription box services but often you would at most get these once a week and offered little control or input as to what ingredients you received. The types of produce and food would be picked for you by the company, you had no control over it and you would still need to take a trip to the store or order elsewhere for the remainder of the items on your list. Otherwise, only higher end companies and grocery stores would offer delivery or pick up and it was incredibly expensive. We wanted to eat healthy but also affordable.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I make it productive by making decisions quickly and striving for action. I try to be very disciplined about separating time for brainstorming and thinking and time meant for action/execution. My typical day starts at 11 AM, first check to see if any fires need to be put out. After lunch, from 1-5 PM is execution, emails, and coordination. Then from 5 PM to 8 PM is time to plan and strategize longer term initiatives. Dinner and family-time is from 8-10 PM, followed by exercise and reading for a little “me” time. Then head into the warehouse to check in with operations around 12 AM which can end as early as 3 AM or as late as 6 AM. Then, finally, sleep.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Plan and execute. I try not to over deliberations or run around in circles in my thoughts. It’s commonly very easy to get lost in your thoughts on possibilities or fringe situations. Once planning is completed, thought progresses onto how to execute; how do we get the rubber to meet the road?
What’s one trend that excites you?
Low sugar diet trends and exercise trends both excite me. Of course, I’ve been living this for quite some time, but to see everyone else on this bandwagon just makes my life easier and more relatable. I love the options of low sugar drinks and that people are getting more active and health conscious. We even have weekly exercise routines for 15 minutes with staff and it’s encouraging how receptive they are to it.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
For me, working late nights makes me more productive. I’ve always been a night owl and I am able to focus better and accomplish more. It’s “me” time to execute or plan and is so productive.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Smarter, not harder! I commonly work too hard, but should have looked at ways to be smarter instead of relying on brute force.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
Life is short, time waits for no one. We are here for a very short time to have a positive impact on society and humanity. The average human lifespan of 79 years is infinitesimal to the 3,000,000 (millions) years humans have been on earth, and even less compared to earth has been around for 4.6 Billion years.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Two things actually: 1. Don’t waste time and 2. Be proactive. An ounce of proactiveness is worth a pound of reactiveness.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Believe in what you sell and offer. We have a 100% experience guarantee. We guarantee that everything about the experience will be perfect, or let us know and we’ll fix, refund, or address immediately. I personally am CC’ed on every customer issue or complaint. Once you have that confidence and belief in your company, products, and service, selling becomes very easy.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
As an entrepreneur, failure comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The measure of a successful person is not how they handle success, it’s how they handle failure. One incident that happened several years ago with my previous business, government customers (CBP) changed personnel at the LA port. The policy had not, changed, only the interpretation of that policy. Different readers, different interpretation, leaving several million dollars of our inventory at the port pending inspection right before the holidays. This is where smarter, not harder came into play- we aligned ourselves with the right people to make a change at the personnel level to help new personnel understand previous interpretations. We also mobilized the entire industry and unified our voice. Once those two pieces happened, we immediately noticed progress and had a dialogue with people and personnel that could affect change.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think standardizing the dry-cleaning business is a good idea. There is no national dry-cleaning brand/service. It’s so fragmented and could use some standardizing.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I spent was on the deal for my smartphone. I do so much on my phone it is almost at a point where it replaces the office completely.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
The G-suite. We use it every day for everything!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Rich Dad, Poor Dad and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
What is your favorite quote?
“Life is what you make it.” Meaning everything that happens in your life is, in some shape or form, your responsibility or a result of something you have done. How do you handle the failures as well as the successes? That’s what you make life to be for yourself.
• Don’t mistake motion for progress. It’s easy to be under the illusion that being busy equates to progress. But that’s commonly not the case.
• It’s easy to mistake being busy for progress. But motion does not equate or result in progress.
• Failure comes in all shapes and sizes. The measure of a successful person is not how they handle success, it’s how they handle failure.
• Circles of influence and responsibility are huge takeaways and principles of being successful in life, not just business.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.