Jake Wade is a recent graduate of CSU Chico's entrepreneurship program where, in his freshman year he co-founded a company called Parallel Revolution. The company has pivoted, and modified their business model half a dozen times since the beginning, but today they're firmly entrenched in a niche that they call "Eco-USA-Craftsmanship."
I recently had a chance to speak with him, and to find out more about the mind, and the life, of a millennial entrepreneur.
For those who don't know you already, who are you, and what's "Parallel Revolution"?
My legal name is Jake Wade, but my friends call me Buffalo most of the time, and my Latino friends call me Canelo (they think I look like Saúl Álvarez, the Mexican boxer). I'm a recent graduate of CSU Chico's entrepreneurship program, I like heavily hopped IPA's, getting weird on the dance floor (or any floor for that matter) and adventuring into the wild with friends, preferably in areas with no cell service.
My day-to-day revolves around operating/building Parallel Revolution. We've completed a production run of what we believe to be the most sustainable shirt in the world, made in America. An "old" tagline of ours is "Planet Earth's Preferred Outfitter," which stems from our commitment in making things earth can be proud of (or would "approve").
Simply put, the two primary goals of Parallel Revolution are as follows:
- Craft quality hemp clothing without the "tie-dye," let handsome design do the selling and hemp's natural properties deliver lasting satisfaction for the customer.
- Be available. Treat customers like old coffee-shop friends and make sure we've delivered a product they love so we can sleep well at night.
How's it going?
I'm doing well overall. Good days. Bad days. The usual, especially for a venture like this, you can't get bogged down every time something goes awry, so I've stopped doing that and my general mood is more pleasant nowadays.
What motivates you to keep going through the hard times?
History. If not my own personal history (remembering past progress, how many happy customers we have, etc.), then literally reading history. It helps me keep things in perspective, which is crucial during a rough patch. Specifically, reading about the beginnings of, say, Heinz or Tesla Motors. One night, after getting showered with bad news for weeks, I was really stressed and felt like quitting. Then I started reading about the history of Harley-Davidson, which is not only interesting, but also riddled with failure. I distinctly remember reading a section about how production quality had plummeted so dramatically that "brand new" bikes were leaking oil on the showroom floor. I meditated on that for a while and figured my situation wasn't that bad.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I was a car salesman during the summer of 2010, which ended up being one of the worst seasons for car buying in history. I think I sold 6 cars over 3 months, which was far below even the lowest projections for the industry. There were weeks where I'd only see/interact with 1 or 2 "leads," working 7 days in a row for 10-12 hours a day. It was brutal.
I got really good at standing for long periods of time and being alone with myself, along with a wicked farmer's tan. At the end of it all, I had gained a lot of personal discipline, patience, resilience I suppose.
What are 3-5 tools you use, and would recommend (Apps, software, processes, etc) and why?
I had to think on this one since I don't use sexy tools and tech:
- A planner. I still use a paper schedule and pen to plan out most of my days – slots start at 7:00AM and end at 7:00PM. On a "perfect" day, I'll have almost every slot accounted for and I just have to execute them, the physical "crossing out" of each item is my reward.
- The "Notes" app (and moleskin notepad). I have a few major categories where I write anything/everything down when I'm on-the-go. Especially because I tend to get my best ideas when I'm not in the office or in front of my computer. Moleskin notepad for when you're taking notes from someone live or brainstorming with another person in 3D.
- Waterproof phone case. This is so I can take notes in the shower (where most of my marketing thoughts happen).
- Exercise. I try my best to sweat a minimum of 3 times a week. It's been said a million times but if you haven't listened yet, I'm here to confirm, it makes a huge difference.
- A huge breakfast. It goes a long way, especially for days when you're putting out fires/handling emergencies and don't have time to grab lunch.
What is one book our readers should read and why?
At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson. Close to 600 pages detailing how innovation that happens in the "outside" world ends up in our homes, from dinning tables to windows to mousetraps. I read it over the course of about a year before bed to help me gain perspective and, at times, inspiration. Great book to have around to mix things up, I mean hell; you can't read The Lean Startup everyday.
Who are 3 people our readers should follow on Twitter and why? (This is a really important question. If you don't use Twitter, just list three famous people you admire, and I'll find their Twitter accounts.)
Elon Musk @elonmusk – I firmly believe he is the Einstein of our time. Plus I'm a small investor in Tesla Motors, one of these days I'll own a Model S P85D.
Joe Rogan @joerogan – I like his perspective on a lot of things, his podcasts are great.
Eric Barker @bakadesuyo – I've been reading his blog for years now, always a breath of fresh air, superb interviewer and journalist
Jack Johnson @jackjohnson – His dedication to sustainability and local support is incredible.
How can our readers connect with you? (Website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
And I'm decent with email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What do you do when you're not working?
Cooking, playing music, going on adventures, fiddling around in a friend's woodshop when I have time, drinking beer. I'm a big fan of throwing "family nights," which are basically themed dinner parties with a bunch of friends. I built an oak table that seats about 10 people; we put the food in the middle and eat family style.
Finally, everyone's favorite question: tell us a secret.
I have OCD. I eat the same thing for breakfast everyday.
What's in the the future?
I think the future is based on the past. For me, I'm trying to bring the past into the future. Hemp was and always has been a better alternative for countless products, clothing included. It's far superior to cotton and synthetic fibers and it needs to make a huge comeback. We're really embracing the role of the "underdog" with what we're doing currently. There are regulatory issues, awareness issues and misinformation, which is why I'm talking to you now. Thank you for sharing my story, and thank you for helping bring consciousness and awareness to your readers.