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Serial entrepreneur Marc Siden, the Co-Founder and CEO of Cloud Water Brands, and his team have created a hemp-infused beverage that is at the intersection of functional wellness and good taste.
Cloud Water CEO Marc Siden brings over 25 years of start up and operational and sales experience. Most recently Marc co-founded and led his former company Onboard informatics, a leading real estate focused data and technology company to a successful exit. Marc has served as an advisor to a wide range of successful companies and nonprofits including NabeWise (sold to Air BnB) Klout (sold for $275 MM) Nestio (seed, A and B rounds) and Scout ventures (an early stage venture fund).
SUCCESS STORY PODCAST
The Success Story podcast is focused on speaking to incredible people who have achieved success through trials, tribulations, wins and losses. In each episode we sit down with leaders and mentors. We document their life, career and stories to help pass those lessons onto others through insights, experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.
Machine Generated Transcript
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Marc Siden, Scott D Clary
Scott D Clary 00:06
Welcome to the success story podcast. I’m your host, Scott Clary. On this podcast I have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, politicians and other notable figures, all who have achieved success through both wins and losses. To learn more about their life, their ideas and their insights, I sit down with leaders and mentors and unpack their story to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between. Without further ado, another episode of the success story podcast. All right, thanks again for sitting down. I am with Mark Siden CEO of cloudwater brands. So Mark has a really impressive resume. So he was the former co founder and CEO of onboard informatics, a self funded real estate tech company that pioneered a dissemination of online real estate data to companies like Zillow, Trulia Chase Bank, Coldwell Banker realtor.com, he’s been an advisor to companies such as Cloud, which sold for 275 million, named wise sold Airbnb and SCO ventures, early stage VC fund. He was a founding board member of torch, a nonprofit organization that worked with underserved New York City High School students, giving them career and professional advice, mentoring guidance. And also he is he’s obviously a huge hockey fan founding ice hockey coach in the Harlem a nonprofit organization based in New York City, again, working with inner city kids promote education and work ethic through hockey. So just an all around, you know, really, really well balanced, really well balanced guy, serial entrepreneur. And and now he’s in, he’s in CBD. So you know, I’m really curious to know your story where you came from how you got to here. But thanks, thanks so much for joining me, Mark. I appreciate it.
Marc Siden 01:55
Yeah. And I appreciate that intro. I’ve been around a little bit. So the resume gets a little longer. But it the balance is, you know, as we talked about themes and life balance, and what success really means. That’s something that I’ve always strived to do. Thanks for having me. You know, on behalf of the whole team, I get to represent the team. But it’s, you’ll see, it’s not about me, it’s this amazing team I work with. So yeah, I mean, a lot of things, you know, date back to my roots of in New York City, born and bred New York City kid and had an interesting upbringing. My parents were opposite ends of the spectrum. My mother was this creative, artsy type, my father, you know, a brilliant guy, actually, scholarship to Columbia Law School. But at some point, he obviously had this bug in him, he said, Screw this, I want to start my own business. And in a basement very much like my onboard informatics, he started a business and I watched him scratch and claw and, you know, work really hard. And, you know, it’s interesting as he passed away when I was young, and he didn’t get to see through the success of his company, and after his death, the company actually went on to be successful. And, you know, part of living in both my parents honor was to kind of carry that and it stayed with me. And I remember, after college, I was working two jobs, and we don’t come from, you know, many means at all. So he’s always worked hard. I was working in a law firm, found I wanted to be a lawyer, and also bartending at night. And, and one of the partners said to me, you know, this is not for you, you should, you know, go, go do something, You’re too talented, you’re to this, I didn’t really realize that, but that really set me on a path to, you know, at a very young age, start start my own businesses. And, you know, a lot of people say, I want to be an entrepreneur, I never said that. Like I said, I never wanted to be in the CBD business. It was kind of like an organic process for me, right. And, you know, the great thing about some of my successes is that my failures were the tuition to that I’ve made a immense amount of mistakes in my life, but it’s great when you can kind of dust yourself off. And, you know, I’ve done plenty that in my life. And that led me to starting an early stage VC company. And I started to make some investments in companies. And that was great, because I found out that I didn’t want to be passive. There was one particular company, a data company that I made an investment and I was really intrigued with the model. And I remember going to the founder and saying, You know what, I’d rather join you and work with you and he was like, great, and that kind of set me off. On my experience. I was probably 22 or 2323 24 at the time. And that company didn’t make it. But I met a guy during the time and we love the model. And we said, hey, let’s do this on our own. So we went to another basement, just like my father in East Village. And we self funded, you know, this company called onboard informatics. And we were pioneers in an interesting industry, we were first movers, and we were both broke, and failure wasn’t an option. And we built that for 16 years. And we sold it, and, you know, not retirement money. But it’s, you know, you get a little badge for finishing, and you get a couple bucks in the bank, it actually made me hungrier for more. And, you know, all the while, I was also raised a certain way that you know, that giving back, even if you don’t have a lot, you give the most precious thing that we all have, whether it’s me or Bill Gates, or you is our time. And I started to learn how to invest a lot of time and in things that really interesting, you know, interested me is in New York City kid, I grew up with a very diverse group of friends. So that’s what New York City gives you part education. And it was important to me to work in the inner cities, there’s so much talent and passion and, you know, things that, you know, those of us who have a little bit more conformity in our life can give back. And so I’m very proud of that, you know, those moments in my life, but, and that’s helped me balance. So, you know, that kind of brings us to today, I can just pause for a minute, because that’s a long trail back. But, you know,
Scott D Clary 06:36
no, it’s good. It’s very good. And I like that. You know, when you first built out this company for 16 years, and then you sold it, that’s an incredible success. And like you said, it’s not, it’s not going to stop you from working for the rest of your life. But it’s still something I’m very proud of, because there’s not a lot of people that can commit 16 years of their life to their own thing and say the successful a lot of people don’t even get that far. So that’s very impressive. But it’s nice that you took that and for two things that I brought into that that I guess, are, are really telling of a personality, a really strong personality. The one thing is you still want to do more, you still want to do something else. But the other thing is, even after a success like that, you mentioned, it’s not retirement money, but it still gives you the ability to I guess, expand your scope and do other things. And not everyone, you know, I have a nice little list of these things that you’ve done over your career here that no I reviewed, and I was reading some other interviews and whatnot. And not everyone lists, regardless of whether or not they’re doing them or they’re partaking in them, like the nonprofit work, the the extracurricular work, the things that from a business perspective wouldn’t traditionally be considered something you’d list on your resume. But I think that it’s very important and it’s telling that these are right up there. Like you’re the tour j and then like the nonprofit work in, in Harlem with with the with the hockey with, I guess, Harlem a I’m not sure what if that’s the name of the league or whatnot, but just the the
Marc Siden 08:09
ice hockey in Harlem, it was the name oh,
Scott D Clary 08:11
it’s actually called Ice hockey in Harlem. I was getting confused. I’m like, okay, so it’s ice hockey in Harlem. And then that’s it. Yeah, Okay, gotcha, gotcha. Ice hockey in Ireland. So I guess it’s name of the organization. So despite that, you’ve listed those office as those are like, points. And those are things that you you know, you want to represent yourself with, I think that’s very good. And I think that that’s, I guess, you know, the the key to happiness, key to success. You’re still doing what you’re doing, you’re still building out a huge brand, you’re successfully building out a company. But you’re also making sure that there’s other things in your life. And I think that’s something that regardless of you know, that’s that’s a lesson like right off the bat, I want people to sort of focus on, because I think right now, I think right now, people are very stressed about their careers and whatnot. And everyone’s focused on work, work, work, work, work. And that’s fine, because obviously, you want to put food on the table, you want to keep, you know, a roof over your head. But there’s other people that are even in worse situations, regardless of global pandemic issues. 24/7 365. So I think that that’s something that we have to take consideration when things get a little bit back to normal. And when we, you know, have the luxury and we’re not as stressed as maybe some people are right now, to focus on people that regardless of pandemic, don’t have it easy. And I that’s I don’t I don’t want to go off on a and take away from your story at all. I just thought it was a very nice to elicit that out, and that you do it to be honest.
Marc Siden 09:32
I really appreciate that. Yeah. You know, a key a key trait through all of that has been adversity and managing through it. So when I was a young, rebellious teenager, I created that all on my own. And then, you know, throughout my life, I’ve dealt with some pretty serious, you know, events as everybody has. I don’t think my story is better than anybody else. But I think you know, the key trait for entrepreneurs ours is, you know, how we embrace, you know, adversity and what we do with it, you know, that nobody cares statement is cliche, but nobody does care. And, you know, if you can’t kind of embrace that, it’s gonna be really tough through the tough times, because there’s no, there’s not no script in this type of life. And there certainly are no, you know, smooth sailing, there just isn’t. And sure, printers shaking their head right now, because that’s what we signed up for. But, um, what wasn’t great to lose my father at 15. But, you know, instead of being a victim, I decided to live in his honor. And, you know, my mother, when she was dying, said, You know, when your most needy go give, and she helped taught me to actually give more when I was most needy, so I was very lucky not to have lost them, but to get those gifts, and they really shaped who I am today. And you know, my Why is to live on my own terms. That is what I deem successful. So I can be with my my wife at 16 years, who’s still my best friend, my kids who I adore, I could play hockey, and I work eight days a week, and I find the time and if you complain, then then you’re in the wrong business. Right? We have crappy moments. But yeah, that’s really how you draw a box around, you know, creating something that you want.
Scott D Clary 11:21
You know, it’s great. Now, after, but and that, that’s very good. I don’t want to I don’t want to take away from the importance of that. But I do want to understand more about what you’re doing now. So what led you to work with? After I guess, well, after you sold, was it right away, you decided to jump into something new? Or was there different things that you’ve tried different companies, different ideas that just didn’t work out? Or maybe they did? I don’t know. So walk me through, from after you sold out sold? And after 16 years? to I guess cloudwater? Was there some time in between that?
Marc Siden 11:59
No. And you know, you know, if I walked out in the attorney’s office, you know, after the closing, and it was like, Hey, you just won the Super Bowl where you’re going. I mean, I would have said two things to you, I am going to take a break, because I need it and deserve it. And I am not operating a company ever again, that those two things were exactly what I said that day. And like I said, you can’t script life. I mean, you just you know, you can try. And I was literally probably a couple of months into, you know, chilling out, and I get a knock on the door. And it’s opportunity. And it’s my good friend Barry Kelman, my co founder, who I’m forever grateful for. And it actually started out like, hey, you know, I’m thinking of this business. Will you help me? I said, Sure, of course, I’ll help you. And Barry told me about his excitement, of, you know, being out west, and discovering a trend that was you know, coming along. I mean, CBD has been around for a long time. So it was weed, but now it’s starting to come into, you know, food and beverage and consumption. And he tried a CBD water at a party. And he thought it tastes like crap. What I love about, you know, ideas is, you know, there are inventors who come up with holy crap, that’s genius. And then there are people and I consider myself one of these is take an idea and just make it exceptional, like blow it out of the park, because just because it’s taken doesn’t mean it’s being, you know, done in the right way. Right. And so you better Berry, Berry sister runs a flavor lab in New Jersey, a very reputable one. She’s a food scientist for years. And and he kind of had this notion that we could take this and make it taste great. And, you know, kudos to Barry because that’s exactly what he did. He brought back some CBD samples. And le his sister made some samples. And I remember Barry walking around with this little green bag everywhere here trying my drink, try my drink. Berry was challenged in terms of putting this into a plan and making it real, but he knew what he you know, he knew the vision. And so one thing led to another I introduced Barry to a bunch of people that I thought can help him and they invited me to what would be the third meeting at Barry’s apartment. And this was a marketing guy. This is a guy who’s been in cannabis and a food and beverage consultant. They all were unanimous. He’s like, they were like this could be something really special. And I tell the story all the time now but I you know, I kind of looked over my one sentence I could chime in all night is very just make sure you find a really good CEO because you’re not an operator and that’s going to make or break your business. And all of a sudden these heads turned to me and I wasn’t a conscious because I would have said I’ll do it. And they all looked at me and said why not you? And I said me I don’t know anything about beverage you know? I’m Data guy. And you know, the the three guys left and Barry cornered me he’s like, you’re my guy I want you to be, you know, my co founder, I want you to build a company. And you know, and the rest is history, right? And I, you know, I talk about, you know, I’d rather be lucky than good, I didn’t think this up, I run over to Barry’s and say, oh my god, we have to do this. In fact, I pushed him back and said, Wait a second, before I get myself into something, let me do a little due diligence and so forth. But, you know, I was able to meet a sister and a bunch of other people who are now on my team. And I was very quickly able to insulate myself from my total ignorance, my blindness to what I was getting myself into. But going back to managing your own business, adversity, things like that. Those are those are agnostic when it comes to you know, building a business. So I was able to bring something to the table like, you know, not much but enough that you know, we could get this off the ground. And here we are today. So no plan, no great idea on my part. And as I talk about my team, it’s really my team that really makes this a very special business. But as I said, I’m humbled and grateful that I was offered the opportunity. And it’s in my blood. I couldn’t say no, it was inconvenient to my chill out. I didn’t want to do it. But you know what, I’m more excited today than I’ve been in my life. I love what I do every day I get up with, you know, excitement every single day. And it’s not easy, right? Especially now?
Scott D Clary 16:29
No, well, no, it’s not easy. And it’s not the first, there’s so many not easy in there. It’s not easy to start a company, it’s not easy to build a company in an emerging market. It’s not easy to successfully continuously build and keep a company, obviously growing and profitable when there’s a worldwide pandemic, like there’s a whole bunch of things that are weighing against you. And also it’s not it’s not your background. It’s not. It’s not what you what you knew, like you mentioned, you’re a data guy. So I guess my question would be when you start something like this, what what do you do? What’s the playbook for someone to be so simple? What’s the playbook for someone to be successful? Because is it you said adversity, tenacity, but there must be something, there must be some sort of process that you’ve understood or followed, that you consciously or perhaps subconsciously, allow you to be successful in the first company, and then that sort of carried over to second company cloudwater. I’m wondering if you are aware of what that is, when you first go into something as an operator, as a CEO into a brand that you don’t know, what would be the first things that you you start to understand take on and to try and build out in that first take the market?
Marc Siden 17:45
That’s a great, great question. And I if I if it’s okay, I want to spend a minute or two on this from a couple different angles. So, you know, the first I love giving analogies, you know, I grew up a hockey guy, I still try to play now. And you know, my younger years, I had my share of fights. And I did very well. And people would ask the same question. The answer was simple. I was terrified. I was scared to get my butt kicked, right. And it motivated me to, you know, do that much more. I was scared to get hit. I was, you know, it’s that’s the truth. And in my last business, I was broke, my parents are gone. Nobody cares. If I fail, I fail. And that drove myself and my business partner, John Bednarz every single day, and we were self funded. So failure wasn’t an option. And I can sit here and say, I’m brilliant. And my pedigree is this and no offense to that there are so many brilliant people out there that I admire. But, you know, underneath all of that, there, there has to be a driving force that drives you every single day, it has to be an eight, I can’t teach somebody to you know, have that spark fire or what have you. brilliant people can give you ideas. People can write exceptional financial statements, Gantt charts, and all these things that look good on paper. But underneath if if you’re not driving yourself by something, right, and I didn’t really care what it was, it happened to be fear. And I’m not a very egotistical person, but I’m a very prideful person. And every single day at night, after the day is over, I think about our exit, I think about the winning, winning the game. And again, not so much from competition, because that’s what I want to do. That’s what I want to do for my investors in my team. And if I stop thinking about that every day, I think the company will fail. So there’s a driving force of fire nor Northstar that. It has to be involuntary getting back to Earth and practical. How do you you know, so what do you overlay on that? is, you know, in some of this is cliche, but I’m just gonna say it. And in this particular case, like I was, I was, I was challenged, right? I didn’t have the beverage experience. I didn’t, you know, I knew about CBD, but no expertise. And so it forced me because you know, there was so much pressure on me not to fail and to make this work is to surround myself with the most amazing people. And people that knew they’re in their lanes like LA for the flavors are co packer, Hillside beverage, David linker and his family who are also investors in the business. I had lunch with Carol dollar, who was the former CEO of vitamin water. And Carol looked at me and said, I love this, I love the vision I want in, I couldn’t believe that. I mean, again, very lucky, I didn’t go to lunch to pitch Carol dollar to be my CEO, she is now our CEO. And the list goes on and on. So when I sit at a table, now, I have a group of people that all have equity in the business all organically love the brand. And they’re telling me what I need to know not what I want to hear. And that is where brands fail, you know, just because you raised some money, and you can afford a really great agency, or this person makes sure that those stars are aligned very early on, right. And so I was very lucky to get that team together. And we, you know, everybody talks about execution. Well, of course, you have to execute, but the planning is really where execution, you know, is meaningful or not. And, you know, we’ve been very, very thoughtful about what we’re doing, what we’re building, how it looks, how it tastes, there’s brands out there that I admire, they’re way ahead of us. But what I think we have that some other brands don’t have is a very, very solid foundation to make it through this time, and then build on that because of the thoughtfulness and the planning that we did. And part of planning is knowing that you’re going to get 10 curveballs, you can’t look go back to a book and say, Wait, what did we say we’re going to do here, throw it out. Because if you’re not nimble and thoughtful, you’re going to get your ass kicked out there. And again, that’s where I come from, I don’t want to get my ass kicked. So there’s a few different components, they all need to come together. And the last thing I just want to say if that’s okay, there’s a very, very big difference between being an idea entrepreneur and being a CEO. And I was not a CEO. At my last company, that was my title. But you don’t get to be a CEO until you have really been through adversity, manage people lost people made mistakes cringing at night, like, how did I say that? Or how did I do that? And really understand what it’s like to lead. And leading is not with a microphone and shouting and whatever leading is, by example, and putting yourself in a room where everybody is smarter than you that you’re learning from. And when they look at you and say, What do you think your ability to make decisions at key moments, I didn’t learn that until just a few years ago, as long as I’ve been in business. And I think we all need to be conscious of that if you want to be successful, and be a real CEO.
Scott D Clary 22:55
that’s those are very, very good lessons for entrepreneurs. I love I love it. There’s a lot to pull out there. I love the the one that you mentioned about surrounding yourself with people with that North Star metric. I think that’s incredibly important. And I think that’s something that a lot of CEOs need to listen to, and CEO all the way through to successful just to starting out. Because if you have that goal and grow and set goal alignment, that’s where I think the company can flourish. And that’s, you know, running a successful startup is not easy. And I think that to overcome all those ridiculous odds that are positioned against startups, it’s a group of incredibly smart people with a little bit of luck all with that Northstar alignment, that that goal alignment that will eventually allow them to be successful. And I think that that’s what that seems to be one of the one of the many things that you’ve done very well. So I think that’s great that you’ve, you’ve pinned that and and, and what I like to as you speak through these things. You also you also mentioned, you mentioned a few things, but it also really helps me understand why the second brand is successful, and also helps me understand why cloudwater is successful. Because when you say when you speak through your process and what you’ve come to realize, and you know the role of the CEO and how the CEO is really just the I’m also a hockey I’m also hockey guy, but to draw a football analogy, the quarterback of the team. I think that that’s when you can understand how you can tap into the right, the right people that are smarter than you that are more skilled than you and sort of just amass that and then drive the company forward and I think that’s what you’re, you’re doing successfully. Now. Now my question stems from I guess, CBD in general, the market for CBD or the industry. Let me know if this is accurate or not. So before before Coronavirus COVID-19 Obviously, there was a huge surge in the popularity of CBD products, it seemed to be almost a little bit of a novelty. I thought I noticed some, some cooling off of the industry, pre COVID-19 CBD is first question, is that correct? Is was there a little bit of hype around the industry? And second of all, what will differentiate certain brands and bring them through so that they’re not just hype? They’re household name products that I can go sell to my mom, grandmother, whatever? I guess that’s, that’s my question, if that makes sense.
Marc Siden 25:34
Yeah. And it’s a very insightful way to look at it. So, you know, anything that the new shiny toy, especially in this world, you know, we look at our markets, how they swing up and down and reactionary, we’re very reactionary, right, very polarized, and myopic at times. And CBD received a huge amount of PR. First for its, hey, look at the shiny new toy. And then because of all the FDA, regulatory, you know, controversy and so forth, and, you know, those spike that that was a hard, you know, chart, those things were really spiked high. And then yes, you’re right, they started to kind of level off, which, by the way, is fine, because those of us in the industry kind of want a level predictable framework in which to build our business, none of us have that any of my competitors. No, there’s no, there’s no framework or sandbox to work in right now. And what we found during COVID, was that and I, you know, read a lot of social, I look at not the posts from companies, I look at the comments, it’s, you know, if you want real live data, people say, What are you reading these days, I’m reading what people are saying business leaders and people out there, because that’s where you get the real news. And, you know, people are saying, I don’t want to drink every day, or I, you know, they’re being honest, I can’t be trapped with either my family or my kid, I can’t take this, and you have no choice. So what are their antidotes, and CBD has moved to the forefront, as one of those, you know, components, where people are, you know, either mixing it with alcohol or not. But one pattern that I saw is that they’re turning to CBD to help ease their anxiety, their stress and their fear. And not through the news. But through kind of the under channels, which are more meaningful to me and the industry, it has gained huge popularity. And what we want is for it to organically come into mainstream, because people understand it, they take the right dosage, and most importantly find it efficacious. And impactful because we can’t make claims, we don’t have enough money to you know, put billboards up and pound our chest. So that undercurrent is actually incredible for this industry. And not that anybody didn’t predict long, you know, longer tail, this will be huge. But this, to me sets the right amount of energy behind what what this component is and how great it is, and how impactful it is on people out there. And it’s one of the reasons that excited me to be involved because I got a certification and CBD and I was overwhelmed with all the medicinal qualities and opportunities that it has to play in society. And so this is very exciting. Actually, I don’t want people to suffer. But, you know, I love my cocktails, but certainly not, you know, five, six days a week, I need to be lucid. I drink you know, I drink cloud. And I also take some tinctures at times CBD is a part of my daily life and it helps me a lot and I can’t make a claim. But according to a lot of people out there it’s very similar reaction. I think that’s great for us.
Scott D Clary 28:50
And and how do you think that you and maybe this isn’t part of your your strategy to bring it to market? Is the is the epitome of successfully bringing a CBD product to market, being able to herb an older generations opinion of what CBD is. Is that part of the strategy? If so, how do you do it? Or perhaps that’s not even part of the strategy. We’re just marketing to people that are, I guess, you know, your younger generation that have already sort of climatized to it.
Marc Siden 29:20
Great question. Again, us really good questions, by the way. So you know, I
Scott D Clary 29:25
I just ask questions that I want to know the answer to because I want to figure out, like how do I get, you know, my grandmother to understand how she can benefit from CBD is I don’t know how to do that. So you’re a company that sells it. I’m assuming that would be something that hopefully or maybe you thought through to some extent, that’s why I ask these so
Marc Siden 29:45
yeah, well, I you know, I say it’s not it’s not a if we pulled out the top five strategic, you know, kind of bullets of what we’re looking to do. It’s it’s indirectly part of, you know, educating everybody You know, vitamin water where Carol came from? I said, Who was your consumer? She was like everybody. And you know, you, you don’t go to a marketing meeting and saying, we’re marketing to everybody, like, how do you message that? But when you’re educating, and the entire population from my kids to your grandmother is Wait, is that lean? And what’s the difference between happen? And that’s and cannabis is cannabis. And so we want to educate everybody. Because it you know, we don’t, we don’t sell it to kids. But when parents asked me, you know, is it safe? And I say, Well, I get I give it to my kids. And like, how do you do that? So well, because I did a lot of research. And I know that the FDA approved Epidiolex. And it’s given in mega doses to pediatric seizure patients with you know, great impact. And that my in laws, we started ordering cloud, you know, called us and said, Holy crap, I’ve been taking this, this and this, and your father’s arthritis is like 2030 40% better. And so it’s really just continuing to educate without making the claim. So people understand that it’s age agnostic. You know, you have a natural CBD receptor mechanism in your body to metabolize CBD and, and it works within naturally within your central nervous system. So it’s not like a foreign component or this, you know, fad, or what have you, actually, you know, has an impact on you scientifically. And then listen, you know, I, maybe I’m part of the older generation now or not, the older we get in generation, the more set in the ways they are, and bringing them new things even like technology, it’d be very difficult to, you know, to throw off on that, but back to your question to stay within the frame. We want to educate everybody, our data tells us where our sweet spots are. And that’s Millennials through Gen X. And but we’ve gotten lately, we’ve gotten bleeds of data in younger generations, young Gen Z, and even the older generations and the baby boomers. So there is a vast market for this. And I think you educate in a general way, I don’t think you educate a millennial differently than you do you know, your grandmother, because it’s science, and they should understand the science, and that’s the best way to do it. Like grandma, this is going to do wonders or whatever, well, here’s an article on, you know, people your age, and what they say about it, and let them peer, you know, see from their peers, you know, what’s going on and so forth. And, and, you know, perhaps they’ll catch on to the science.
Scott D Clary 32:33
I love that. And I love the focus on on education. I’m, and this is a little bit outside the scope of what you’re doing in particular, but I would love to pick your brain on this as well. How do you think would be best that we encourage people to adopt more self education, as opposed to just taking everything that is taught over? So how do we encourage people to go check out different resources, perhaps is part of a marketing strategy for a company that is in an emerging market? You know, we’re speaking about CBD, but I think technology is just as relevant. So how do we get people to go outside the scope of what they know, as, as a marketer as a firm, and get them to, to self educate, to do their own due diligence to understand the gamut of things out there that can impact their life, so that it’s not just mainstream media that that tells it over to them?
Marc Siden 33:29
Well, my first, my first reaction was stay away from mainstream media, like pens, who you, you know, you read, you’ll get a lens, right? And there’s different motivations there. You know, everything is accessible right now for technology. And whether it’s the who, or the Harvard, you know, business medical journal, for universities that are creating studies, they should have a lot of dots and little letters and not be easy to read, but in there are scientific results, good, bad or ugly, right? And do not, you know, read marketing claims ours or anybody else’s. The only thing that you would want to read from, you know, to answer that question, I don’t want to knock what we’re doing. But we put our lab results on our website, and it shows that purity of the CBD and the lack of heavy metals or pesticides, and so make sure you’re getting a pure form of that ingestible number one, and then, you know, read the studies, read the medical studies and the science, and overwhelmingly, they are positive, and everything can have a side effect. You can’t make one thing for the whole population. But there have been no deaths. There have been no overdoses, it’s not toxic. There’s not you can’t get addicted to it. And the who in articles publishes this, and what forces myself and our competitors when we educate Is this is what we have to point to, we can’t say drink cloud water, it’s going to, you know, take your stress away. That’s a claim we can’t make that. While I think we should be able to at some point because the science is there, we have to say studies show by the Harvard Medical Journal show that this is done this or this came out or this article. And it kind of forces people into those articles, too, if they really want to say, well, I don’t believe this guy. Let me go make sure you know, this is right. And, you know, we founded this company on the premise. And our Why is we want to help be part of the process to empower people to take health and wellness into their own hands. And being part of that process is not just saying, hey, drink cloudwater, it’s great, it’s 25 milligrams of CBD is to understand what they’re putting in their body and why and make conscious decisions. There’s no more empowering feeling to say, I did research and I’ve been through the medical system with some illnesses, and I didn’t just show up at the doctor and say, Alright, fix me, I was effing empowered and knew everything they were doing. And that helped me through the process, right, this difference here, understand what you’re taking, and don’t believe all the marketing hype, because that’s all it is.
Scott D Clary 36:12
Very good. And that’s a really, really good answer. And I think that just like the to empower yourself, for for new products and for existing, you know, I think that when whenever there’s something that’s impacting our body, it’s very important to do to do your own research to an extent but the the feeling of of researching, reviewing all of these medical journals and whatnot, peer reviewed journals, and then you can optimize your life, you can optimize the way you feel, you can reduce your stress, reduce your anxiety, increase your performance, depending on you know, what you’re trying to accomplish. There’s a lot of ways that it’s a cheesy term, but you know, you biohack your, your existence, so you can be a better and feel better just in everything you do. And I think that that’s something that a lot of people, unfortunately, just default to traditional medicine, and nothing wrong with that, by any means, you know, you want to trust the people that have the PhD in their name, but there’s a lot of ways that you can improve your life that probably don’t require, you know, you going to the doctor, just because you broke a bone or you got a you got a sickness or whatnot, there’s a lot of other ways you can improve your energy and whatnot. And, you know, these are so like, this is like a whole other topic, like, you know, like stress, anxiety, energy management, for performance, like, these are all things that, you know, we can talk about all day, and there’s, they’re, they’re being go on tangents about different ways to make your life better, but just the fact that you can do that, and you can understand that process. And you know, the source to go to that’s, that’s very important. So thank you for that. I appreciate you bringing that up. That was a very, I didn’t mean to go there. But that was really good. Hey, well,
Marc Siden 37:54
go where we go. Right, this
Scott D Clary 37:55
Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Marc Siden 37:57
conversation. I mean, I could talk about cloud water all day long. But I think I think the universe we live in is just as important, you know, and why we’re here why we exist, why anybody should give a crap to listen to this, or, yeah, look at our product. So you know, that’s, that’s more important to me, to be honest.
Scott D Clary 38:14
Well, I wanted to Yeah, so the products products, great. And you know, like you’re the CEO of the company, you obviously are extremely passionate and love the product. And I respect that completely. What I wanted to pull out was why why cloudwater is even the thing why CBD is even a thing why any of these companies even care and why you should care as somebody listening, somebody’s trying to improve their life, some aspect of their life, whatever it may be. And this is, you know, this is obviously one of 1000s of products that are CBD focused. And I really want you know, you mentioned before, it’ll be it’ll be good for CBD, it’ll be good for cannabis when the market levels out, and when there’s less interest because then that’s when you can run a reliable, sustainable, and repeatable and then eventually scalable business. It’s hard to and it’s also less stressful for the consumer, when there’s less hype, and more tangible, you know, meat on the bone, so to speak. And I think that will be comforting for people that want to try something for example, grandmother, who’s never been in it when the hype is gone. And then it’s just like the products that are true and you know, been around for not not many CBD products have been around for 10 years. Right? So when you start getting into those products that have been around for some time now that’ll make everyone a little bit more comfortable. I think, if they already aren’t.
Marc Siden 39:39
Yeah, yeah, I feel for the consumer. Just because there’s been this incredible mad rush, you know, to slap CBD on a label and call yourself a seed company and you know, I love competition. But you’re exactly right. You know, with hype comes a rush, a lot of confusion. And then on the backdrop of people still trying to get comfortable with the you know differential differentiators between hemp and cannabis, which is exactly the same plant by the way, same everything. The the, the concentration of THC is the only difference. And hemp is much lower, and then we can derive the cannabinoid, CBD and others from that. And then in our case, we we take out all the THC so we’re completely THC free meaning 0.0, the legal limit is 0.3%. So there’s no get high. And that’s why CBD really took off. You know, cannabis has had a stigma, and then went kind of commercial. And here we are in this legalization process. But I would say I don’t I know, I’m not an expert on the ratio. So I’m just going to this is a non science video. I think for every person that gets high, there’s at least 10 that don’t want to get high. And, you know, but cannabis, if you filter out the get high stuff, there’s amazing properties and CBD and, and that’s really why it took off because like wait, have the properties of this stuff and not get high. And it can help me do this. I mean, why shouldn’t it be popular? Right? And that’s certainly, you know, you know, you know why we exist. And I think in a in like in a more predictable market with better education, people can make choices. And invariably, in these types of dynamics, you’ll get that mad rush and there will be a fizzling out, you know, there will be a cleanout of companies that, you know, were just more excited to get into the space and really didn’t think about, you know, the longer term or how they can differentiate, you go down the aisle, and there’s so many packages that look the same now. And it’s like, Well, why do I pick this one over this one. And so, you know, I don’t want to give my competitors a leg up. But if you’re not differentiating from day one, you’re just part of the pack and good luck, right? Because your price. That’s not a war, you want to fight if you don’t have quality, you know, integrity and your ingredients, and a reason why somebody should pick up your, you know, your vessel your package and take your drink. So we’ve taken a different approach. In as I said, in terms of how we’re going to market and how we’re approaching the market. And it’s painful, I’m not gonna lie, we’re slow. We’re steady, and it’s painful. But I want my investors and people to know that it’s part of our, it’s part of our, this has been pre thought out. And when we hit the gas pedal, which we’re about to do, we’re going to go, and so we’ve kind of held back the horse, right, so that as we see, you know, that opening, we’re gonna go for it. And we know that our packaging is right, our ingredients are right, we got the flavor profiles, right? We got our price points, right, the supply chain is ready for scale. All things it’ll kill a brand in one day, by the way. Yeah, you know, if you don’t get those, right, so hopefully I’m answering your question.
Scott D Clary 42:58
Maybe you are. Now there’s no there’s no right or wrong answers to these questions. You’re You’re great to interview and you’re bringing out a lot of really great points and things that I don’t even touch on, on things that can kill a company before they start all these, all these data points. And these things that have been thought through I think are just, you know, it’s great to listen to this, because it just shows like, I speak to a variety of, I speak to a variety of people, but a lot of them are business focused, some within organization, some outside of organizations. And I just like when you tap into somebody that clearly has an entrepreneurial bug, they know how to build a business, they’ve tackled some of these problems. And you hear similar, you hear similar things from people that have been very successful. And that, you know, I hope that when people listen to this, there’s there are like key takeaways. You may not be in CBD, of course, but there’s so many key takeaways that you can take from this. And if you want to start something, if you if even if you’re even if you could be an employee in an early stage, as long as you have some influence on where the company’s going to some extent, or, you know, you could even try and incorporate some strategies for tenacity, overcoming University and building out process and scalability within an own department. If you’re working within an organization, you just, it’s just about framing it and understanding how the lessons sort of apply to your own personal situation and your own personal context in life. And that’s really what I hope that some people are able to do and that’s really the goal of this podcast. But yeah, so I guess to whenever I started, that was incredible, and a lot of really good lessons. When I close these down. What I like to do is first I just want to give you the floor to mention anything about I’m going to give you a floor for like just two seconds and then I’m going to just ask them like life insight questions or life lessons you’ve learned. But for for Mark, you like what you know, what are you doing? What what’s your what’s your Northstar metric. Where do you want to take cloudwater is cloudwater the last venture you said You know, a lot, the last vendor was the last venture. But, you know, where do you want to go? In the future? Where do you want to take cloudwater? And where do you want to end up? Eventually?
Marc Siden 45:09
Yeah. I’m not gonna say Great question anymore because the sound like I’m just kissing your butt. But
Scott D Clary 45:16
it’s all good. I appreciate the positive feedback. That’s no worries, don’t worry,
Marc Siden 45:20
I reserve the right to change my answer could be because I told you what I said, coming out of the last sale. But yeah, you know, as I said, I think about our exit every day. And meaning, that means that we have to get the company to, there’s a lot of things that have to go into that we have to get it to mainstream, which are on our way, people need to continue to love our, you know, this product will have other products, we’re cloudwater brands, we’re not going to be limited to just this, we have some really great stuff we’re working on now. And, you know, I do see, I do see this business scaling a little bit slower than some other businesses, but more meaning meaningfully over time, there’s some risk in there because you need money along the way. But, you know, we set up the books and records from day one to be clean, we set up our strategy to be, you know, pretty focused, but nimble. And, you know, we’re not, we’re not going to stray from our why. And we think our Why is, is great, why we exist, why we’re different, and how we do it, very thought out. And so far, the feedback is not only proved our concept, it’s given us more energy and competence to keep going. And I, to me, whether we’re doing $1 a day, or a million a day, those things again, or what excited me at night to say this is starting to come together. So I don’t have a timeframe, I’m not rushing, but I do believe that this company will be very successful. I think we’ve done too many great things. And I say that humbly, you know, for this not to work. And I do foresee us being picked up by you know, a multitude of acquires that do it, but I never build a business to sell it is the biggest mistake you can make. It’s like dressing up for whatever you build fundamentals, you build value, you build long term, you become a lot more sellable than to say I’m just here to sell the company. So want to be very clear. That’s not what motivates me. But I think about the exit. It’s like, championship, you got to get to the playoffs first, right? game by game. Yeah. So that’s, that’s how where I see us, you know, over the next two to five years, I don’t know, I’d be lying, I have no idea. We’re just going to keep grinding because we love what we do.
Scott D Clary 47:34
That’s very good. Very good. And that’s a that’s a very noble motive. And it’s very important that you said that, because a lot of companies I find, especially in emerging markets do build the cell. So it’s nice that you differentiated and I you know, it’s I feel I feel the passion. And I think that the passion stems from somebody who just likes building really, really great businesses, you like you, you know, you were there for 16 years originally. So at onboard, so you know, that’s not that’s not building to for a quick exit by any means. So that’s obviously the way you operate. So just, you know, the people that work with you are very fortunate that they have a, you know, a leader like that very good.
Marc Siden 48:17
Rachel, for that statement, I appreciate that.
Scott D Clary 48:20
Yeah,no, you see all kinds and I’ve worked I’ve worked in I’ve worked in a variety of companies. Over my career, I’ve worked with a ton of different types of entrepreneurs and all different types of personalities. And yeah, the worst kind of entrepreneur is the one who knows how to be successful, the one who has the capital, the one who can sell to the investors, but, and the one who sells the story to the employees, sells the vision but just has the plans to exit and doesn’t isn’t transparent with that with the with the that’s the worst kind of entrepreneur ever. So yeah, no, I appreciate that immensely. And, you know, you’ve proven it out with with onboard informatics and what you’ve done in the past, so awesome, but not to not to tell you that it’s things you don’t already know. But that’s very, very noble. What was I gonna say? One question I like to ask is just, you know, you’ve had a great career. One lesson that you would tell your younger self that would help you today.
Marc Siden 49:21
Uh, you know, I used to say, you know, if I can revisit some of my mistakes, but as I get older, you know, certainly never want to hurt people or what have you. We make mistakes, but I’ll take every single one of them again, right. I mean, to sit here and hear you say that, and you think I know it, maybe I maybe I do, but it’s always great to hear. I’m so mired and working so hard. It’s really nice to sit back and hear something that I really, really appreciate that. You know, somebody actually pulled me aside and Well, I think always invest in yourself. And always believe in yourself. I’ve had a lot of trouble listening to my gut over time. And that’s kind of how I was raised some adversity and, and I, if I could go back and tell my younger self is, it’s right there, your that answer is right there. And I’m going to talk about a mathematical one or, you know, figuring out your gross margin, I’m talking about people, your instinct, you know, directionality, it’s right there, you don’t need anything else. And that cost me a lot in life, and led to some mistakes, which I, you know, I embrace. But if I could do anything over again, there’s things I could have avoided by just listening to myself. And so that’s what sticks out on the cuff to your question. And I think about that a lot. And I think I’ve improved that in terms of listening to my instinct and not being afraid to make a mistake, right? And not being afraid to fail, even though I don’t want to is, you’re going to make mistakes, so but listen to yourself, because you forgive yourself pretty quickly when you do that.
Scott D Clary 51:04
Good advice. Very good advice. Is there any book resource person podcast audible, that you would recommend to people that are listening that you’re tapped into now or something you read in the past? That was a really good read?
Marc Siden 51:21
Uh, yeah, I haven’t I haven’t read a book. lately. I bought a bunch. I haven’t had time. I think the best resources I’ve been able to get right now is really just going on just reading some business leaders what they’re doing now. Yeah, it’s like managing through adversity. 2020 that book isn’t written yet. It’s going on right now. Right. And there’s, you know, you can read a book that was published last year may be dated already know, you know, there’s great elements in books and execution and planning and team and inspirational people. Jeez, like Simon Sinek is, wow. But there’s no book, you turn the page. Now there’s no, there’s no written element about what’s happening tomorrow. And so I keep up really on people I admire people I’ve worked with in the past people who tend to whatever they touch turns to gold, you know, what are they doing? How can I find inspiration, not afraid to emulate a great idea? It doesn’t have to be my idea. And so I’m, you know, reading what people out there saying, what are the real feelings, not through the media, you know, through COVID, through their fears through this is how you reach a community and talk to them with with a genuine, you know, not sight of quote from a book. And again, no offense, they just want to hear realness. They want the real thing today. And that’s what’s inspired me and Russ Johns is great. Adam Posner, you know, this podcast is amazing. Listen to what people are doing. And I don’t listen, I have one little angle here. There’s amazing people out there that can give you perspective. And I’m glad to be a part of this. But also, I’m a fan and a listener, and you know, a student, because, you know, you got to learn every single day. And right now, there’s a ton of information to teach you about, you know, this new world.
Scott D Clary 53:04
And also you have all the smartest people that are also trying to actively learn themselves because no one’s ever had to deal with things like this before. So this is not like you mentioned the book may be outdated. This is why you want to tap into those people how they’re figuring out and solving for their problems. Yep. Where do people find more about yourself that Mark LinkedIn bell cloudwater Where do they go? What are the places to go
Marc Siden 53:29
and look just Just so everybody knows cloudwater And this is fine, but you know, it’s okay. But it is a premium sparkling hemp infused drink with 25 milligrams of hemp extract, which is CBD comes in four flavors, grapefruit, mint, and basil, blood, orange, coconut, BlackBerry, lemon, and rosemary. And then we took a really hard turn to the right and made it Aztec chocolate and strawberry, in a black bottle that has spice and sweet. And again, we dare to be different and took you know, and took a risk. You can find us at cloudwater CBD on social, our websites cloudwater brands calm, we have sampler packs that where you can just pry the beverage or if you like it, there’s cases lots of specials going on. I’m on LinkedIn under Mark Sidon. And, you know, I’m not going to get my cell phone out today.
Scott D Clary 54:22
But to do that, it’s not a requirement to be on this show.
Marc Siden 54:25
I could definitely find me one of those ways and we’d love more people in our community. I you know, I’m crazy. If somebody writes a bad review, I write to them. And I want to talk to them. I want to understand I’m up late at night DMing with people I want to connect to the community. And you know, so if anybody has questions, or I can help out, I’m usually the person behind those even though you know, it’s
Scott D Clary 54:50
committed CEO at the very committed CEO.
Marc Siden 54:54
So what I do, it’s not a job to me. I love this. It’s not a job.
Scott D Clary 54:57
That’s all for today. Thanks again for joining me On another episode of the success story podcast, you can download or stream this podcast wherever podcasts are available including iTunes, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, I heart, radio, and many others. You can also watch his podcasts on YouTube. If you haven’t already. Please subscribe and share this podcast with your friends, family, coworkers and peers. Please leave us a rating on iTunes takes about 30 seconds, as it allows other people to find our podcasts and lets our amazing guests reach even more people with their message. And remember any rating is fine as long as it contains five stars. I’m Scott Clary from the success story podcast, signing off