High-tech fabric comes from... agriculture?
This is the second edition of a weekly newsletter for innovators, change-makers, and entrepreneurs. It will feature stories about the people – past, present and future – who change the world. They make decisions and take actions enlivened by what I call The Entrepreneur’s Ethic. The Entrepreneur’s Ethic infuses people, organizations and places where the future is created, and the world is made a better place.
As part of a series exploring the legacy of historic entrepreneur Francis Cabot Lowell, I dive into today’s textile industry with Luke Haverhals, CEO and Founder of Natural Fiber Welding, a business that develops bio-neutral, high-performance textile materials from renewable natural nutrient inputs. We discuss the origin story of the business, synthetic versus natural materials, the environmental impact of plastics, and the pathway from startup to now working with BMW, Ralph Lauren, Allbirds, Patagonia, and many other highly recognizable brands. Luke and I discuss the idea of solving hard problems. I had to smile at that part of the discussion. You see, Ethic 2 is Solve Hard Problems. We’ll have much more on that in later episodes.
I enjoyed this conversation with Luke and know you will too.
The big fashion fight: can we remove all the toxic, invisible plastic from our clothes? – The Guardian
Adam Smith on the Market for Pessimism – Virginia Postrel
The Top Idea in Your Mind – Paul Graham
Three Things I Think (I Think)
Classes wrapped up for the spring semester at Iowa State University this week. On the last day of class for an entrepreneurship course I teach, I use part of the period as ‘ask anything,’ a chance to ask whatever they are curious about or think I’ve left out over the semester. Three of those questions were:
1. What differences do you see in past students who pursue an entrepreneurial career from others? – When Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors recently scored 50 points in a game 7 win against the Sacramento Kings (an NBA record), my son, Jackson, described him as having gone ‘supernova.’ That’s an apt description for those who go on to pursue an entrepreneurial career. They’re on fire. Blue stars. Supernovas. They’re living life at a more intense pace. And. You. Can. Just. Tell.
2. How do you build and maintain a network? – I’ve never thought about networking as its own thing. I just find people interesting. I’ve learned to ask a basic question of everyone I meet, though it can take different forms: “What’s your story?” Everyone has a story, and they’re almost always interesting if you dig a little. Maybe even funny. Laughing with others builds networks, I guess. Laughing at yourself helps too.
3. How do you balance and prioritize? – I grew up on a farm and starting at age five got to work alongside my dad, uncle, granddad, and a varying and sometimes motley set of characters. Work was interwoven with family, friends, faith, and community. During fieldwork and farrowing season, the work part of life occupied a big part of every day, but in other seasons it was less. If you work on things you enjoy (most of the time), you likely won’t be using the phrase ‘work-life balance.’
Farm to My Table
I learned a few years ago how to make a French bistro-style steak. Heat an iron skillet over high heat until it gently smokes, about 5 minutes. Place a 1 ½ to 2 inch filet mignon on the pan for 2 ½ minutes on one side then flip to the other side for 2 minutes. Have the oven pre-heated to 450 degrees. Move the iron skillet with the steaks to the oven for 5 to 6 minutes. Return the skillet to stove and add 2 tablespoons butter, 1 sprig rosemary, 1 sprig thyme and 1 clove garlic. Tip the pan toward you and spoon hot butter over steak, lifting occasionally so butter coats bottom of meat, about 1½ minutes. Transfer steak to a plate along with pan juices and cover the plate with foil to let the steaks rest 10 minutes before eating. Filets from Amanda and Knute Severson at Grandview Beef are exquisite!