Orion Melehan (LIFEAID)

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By Todd Nief. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Orion Melehan is the co-founder and CEO of LIFEAID - known throughout the CrossFit community for the bubbly delights stored in gym fridges across the land. Orion and I discuss the trade-offs of rapidly scaling a growing business, how to understand proper sequencing in terms of when it’s appropriate to take certain actions in business, and how LIFEAID plans to stay true to their mission as they expand outside of the fitness subculture into more mainstream markets in grocery stores. Orion also has a background as a house DJ, which allows for a bit of digging deep into musical details (always a great time).

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Show Notes

  • [01:43] Orion’s seemingly contradictory background as both a certified financial planner and a DJ, as well as his early entrepreneurial ventures (including a record store).
  • [08:30] The process of crafting a DJ set – and balancing your own desires with the desires of the audience. The differences between being a “technical” DJ and going off the feel of the crowd, and developing DJ skills in a time before comprehensive DJ software.
  • [15:25] Starting LIFEAID with multiple different SKUs, and figuring out how to prioritize the many different options. The benefits of understanding direct response marketing and split testing offers with different markets.
  • [24:33] How to manage ultra-fast growth – and how to figure out what you’re going to let break and what you’re going to stay on top of. And why being starved of capital during a growth phase is better than being flush with capital.
  • [33:18] Breaking into the very high barrier to entry beverage space through direct response marketing, understanding the long tail and subcultures, and hiring during rapid expansion.
  • [40:47] How LIFEAID plans to manage its expansion from a niche community (CrossFit) into mainstream areas like grocery and convenience stores while maintaining the vision for the company. Just continuing to create products for already healthy people doesn’t serve the mission of getting the population off of sketchy energy drinks.
  • [52:45] How to find the optimal balance between optimizing things that are already working while still being innovative and expanding into new markets. LIFEAID’s goal of solving different problems for their customers throughout the day – the goal is to have products for all the different “jobs” customers buy beverages to accomplish.
  • [01:00:32] How to think about the sequencing of growth in a company and do things in the correct order. Crafting new quarterly vision statements and creating alignment across the team based upon objectives and key results – as well as creating an environment in which the best ideas can percolate throughout the organization from the bottom up.

Links and Resources Mentioned

94 episodes