IAM827- President Provides Top-tier Coffee to Visionaries

Podcast Interview with Garrett Ramela

Garrett Ramela is the president of Common Sense Coffee which seeks to provide top-tier coffee to the visionaries of the world and shares in their accomplishments. His vision for Common Sense Coffee is to become the coffee of choice for visionaries, entrepreneurs, and changemakers who are building the future. Garrett is an avid learner and is working on his third master's degree studying artificial intelligence and business analytics at the George Washington University. In addition to studying at George Washington University, Garrett earned a master's in finance from American University and a master's in the management of information technology from the University of Virginia.

  • CEO Hack: Task manager-
  • CEO Nugget: Find a great team and nurture your relationship with them
  • CEO Defined: Contributing value to the society


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Full Interview:


Intro 0:02
Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you are in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:29
Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. of garimella of common sense coffee, Garrett. It's awesome. Have you a

Garrett Ramela 0:39
pleasure to be here. Thank you.

Gresham Harkless 0:40
No problem pleasures definitely all ours. And before we jumped in, I want to read a little bit more about Garrett so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. And Gary is the president of common sense coffee, which was seeks to provide top tier coffee to the visionaries of the world, and shares and their accomplishments. His vision for common sense coffee is to become the coffee of choice for visionaries, entrepreneurs and changemakers who are building the future. Garrett is an avid learner and is working on his third master's degree studying artificial intelligence and business analytics at the George Washington, George Washington University. In addition to studying at George Washington University, Garrett earned a master's in finance from American University, and a master's in the management of informational technology, information technology from the University of Virginia. Garrett, are you ready to speak to the imcl? community?

Garrett Ramela 1:26
Yeah, absolutely. And thanks for the great introduction.

Gresham Harkless 1:28
Know rob me doing so many great things and setting so many great things I love kind of like everything, you know, you have a vision for common sense coffee, but I wanted to kind of start, I guess, a little bit farther back and hear a little bit more on how you get started. Can you take us through what I call your CEO story? We'll let you get started.

Garrett Ramela 1:43
Yeah, absolutely. So you know, I've always had this love for business and love for helping everyone. So you know, back, it's been a little bit over a year now. And you know, back when we were like sitting down and trying to come up with a business idea, we said, Hey, we're really business minded, we're really, you know, in the technology, what kind of business or what industry is ripe for disruption, that we could put technology in to just make it better, whether it's being more sustainable, more efficient, or just really provide more value to people. And we stumbled across the thing that we all drink every single day. And that's coffee. And that's kind of how we, we got started, we said, hey, it's really simple idea. Let's see if we can make it better. And really, how it all started, we were at a like a backyard barbecue. And we said, hey, let's let's learn more about coffee.

Gresham Harkless 2:36
Yeah, absolutely love that. And I think that so many times we forget, like I always say technology is kind of in every single industry and every single business that you have, but so many times it isn't kind of looked at or attached or integrated into each of these industries. So I love that you kind of had that idea that barbecue. And of course, she kind of ran with it and started to build that business and everything you're doing.

Garrett Ramela 2:57
Yeah, absolutely. And even, you know, you see so many businesses now that are only software based or only technology based. And they're they're providing that service or that product, just through digital channels. But I actually, I'm an Elan musk fan. And he said something in a speech one day that was like, Hey, you know, more people need to leave finance, leave law and go into industries that need help, like, like farming and product based businesses and see how they can impact and, and have that cross functional, like domain expertise to be able to make the industry better, the things that we need, but people aren't really paying attention to because they're not really lucrative industries, like the software industry, but really take that, you know, touch of it and bring it into something that is not so fond of using technology. And that's that's really the big premise behind it.

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Gresham Harkless 3:49
Yeah, absolutely love that. And ideas is not lucrative yet. Because I think a lot of times when you're disrupting the certain industry, sometimes it may not look like it's leather goods. And that's where you have your Amazon's your Tesla's of the world, it starts to take over things. And it's actually really changed. Not just those industries, but many, many more. So I know you all are doing that as well, too. And you're creating that environment. It's at present those kind of visionaries and changemakers. Who could you take us through a little bit more about common sense coffee? Let us know what you're doing and how you support the clients you work with?

Garrett Ramela 4:17
Yeah, absolutely. So so the our overarching goal for common sense, coffee is kind of twofold. So it's to provide top tier coffee to the visionaries of the world and sharing their accomplishments. So what we mean by that is, a lot of coffee makers and coffee producers, Coffee Roasters, they really focus a lot on the coffee and not so much on the people who drink the coffee. And we're, we're kind of taking a different approach. We said, Hey, we're gonna make great coffee. So we specialize in single origin specialty coffee, so it's of good quality. But we're really focused on who is actually drinking our coffee. And we really want to target folks that are changing the world in some way. Like we've done stories on physicians. We've done stories on authors on real estate investors. You know, great people come from all walks of life, all industries, all different backgrounds. And a lot of things that really happen that is great is great things come over a cup of coffee, but you can go and, and have a podcast and like we're doing today and drink coffee, you could, you know, buy a company and have a coffee with you during that meeting. So, you know, that's kind of one aspect of the business. And then the other aspect, really deep with the technology roots is to really push the sustainability aspect further. So we had this idea that we could reduce the carbon footprint in the coffee industry by using solar technology, and power and electric coffee roaster, which is now really becoming a first to market with some company, he's out there on a commercial scale. So what we want to do is, take solar energy, use it to roast our coffee, and then distribute it just like any other coffee roaster would today, because the coffee industry, a lot of people drink coffee, right? It's, you know, one of the largest, most consumed commodities in the world. But a lot of people don't know that. For every pound of coffee that's consumed. On average, it produces 11 and a half pounds of carbon emissions, which is huge. I mean, the problem is huge. And no one really talks about it. I mean, there's there's some trends now, where people are like coffee producers are focused more on direct trade and sustainable packaging. But fundamentally, the coffee roasting process is still really bad. It relies on natural gas, or propane. And, you know, we see it as an opportunity to push it forward. And with the technology becoming better and better, like solar has really blown people like out of the water in terms of what it can do over the last decade and two decades to where it's really becoming much more competitive against your your natural gas and, and propane counterpart.

Gresham Harkless 6:50
Nice. I definitely appreciate that. And I think when we first connected, we talked a little bit about, like, obviously, coffee, to me is very symbolic of getting an opportunity to kind of connect and build relationships, hear stories, things like that. And I love how you kind of drill down because I think so many times in industries, we get focused on the product and service, we forget that human aspect and that connection that you all are building is absolutely phenomenal. And I almost feel like that sustainability piece is an extension of that you mentioned the carbon footprint, because I think the effect that it's having upon the world and the people within the world. Sometimes we forget that, you know, when we're building businesses, when are, you know, starting organizations, that we have a ability to really arm ourselves and the people that we serve with that information, but also the toolset to make the world a ultimately better place.

Garrett Ramela 7:35
Yeah, and you know, our idea behind it is really, if we could be sustainable. And it costs relatively the same price to produce something, why not? Why not do the better option? Why not do what's what's morally correct over the alternative? Even though, you know, the mass adoption is still still using alternative, you know, alternative methods? So, you know, we see it as a benefit long term. No, we think it's going to be much more profitable long term. And you know, if it is then if you have an opportunity to buy a cup of coffee at you know, $1 compare that to dollars using you know, the fossil fuel coffee, then it's it's much better to go the sustainable.

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Gresham Harkless 8:19
Yeah, absolutely. Kind of definitely sounds like that's from the playbook of Ilan musk as well, too. Because if you're able to do it in a healthier way, and then like you said, I think people are starting to become more aware about how they can use their dollars to support certain causes or not support certain causes. You have that opportunity to create a better world by buying the same cup of coffee you might buy already. Why not do that over not doing that?

Garrett Ramela 8:40
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

Gresham Harkless 8:43
So I want to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce, and this could be for you, or your company or combination of both. But what do you feel kind of sets you apart? and makes you unique?

Garrett Ramela 8:51
Yeah, absolutely. So. So I think I think, you know, one thing for me is, is the work ethic. So I in the passion. So it's the it's the mixture between the passion and the work ethic, because, you know, if you work on problems, that are challenging, like what we're trying to do, and you're passionate about it, you're passionate about pushing the peg forward. And even if you may be a failure and come out short, in the end, at least you're making progress. You know, I feel that when you blend those two together, that's really when you boost productivity, you become really happy about your work, and it just makes it so even your team is is inspired by the work that you're doing. Because no one really, you can't really convince a lot of people to come together to work on a problem that's been solved, you know, 100 200 years ago, they need something to inspire them that is challenging, and that they're passionate about to be able to push it forward to the to the next generation of folks to be able to come in and help so I always try to frame things in a way what is something that I really enjoy doing and something that is that that is a little bit difficult outside of my comfort zone and when you put those two together, you become really inspired to To really, you know, achieve what, what you're set out to achieve. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

Gresham Harkless 10:04
So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a SEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book or a habit that you have. But what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Garrett Ramela 10:14
Yeah, so actually a task manager. So there's all kinds of tools out there, we, in particular, use, we absolutely love it, it's a really great resource to be able to visualize the work that needs done, it puts accountability, because you can assign folks to do the work, you put deadlines on there. And when you bring it into normal, daily routine, things don't fall through the cracks, they may slip up and get delayed a little bit, but they're still on a little sheet that you're working on, to be able to say, Hey, this is like that lingering thing that you need to focus on, you need to dedicate your time to it.

Gresham Harkless 10:51
Awesome. So now it asked me for what I call a CEO nugget. And this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice, it might be something you would tell a client or if you happen to a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

Garrett Ramela 11:02
So so without a doubt, it comes down to finding a great team. And to do that early, I think that's one of the most important things, I see a lot of folks who want to be like solopreneurs, and just do everything themselves, not outsource anything, not give anyone responsibility. And I think it's incredibly important for CEOs to be able to realize that you can't do everything, if you want to make systemic change in the world, you cannot do everything yourself, Elon Musk may get the credit for a lot of stuff he does. But there's an entire team at SpaceX, there's an entire team at Tesla and the boring company that really helped carry out this vision. And as an entrepreneur, you know, becomes more about the vision, and developing the strategic plan. And then putting people in places and helping them realize their career potential potential, matching them up with their abilities to get worked on. And really helping to nurture the relationship between them, the work in their organization that they're with that is super important, because without a doubt, you can't get anything done yourself if you want to make massive amounts of change in the world. So really finding a great team, you know, from the beginning or as soon as possible, you know, be do your due diligence, but look for business partners, look for great team members, you know, hire slowly. And you know, if you have to break ties quickly break ties quickly. But you know, you know, at the end of the day, that person that you may have broke ties with may not have been a good person for the role or for your team, but they may be superstars and other other roles. And as a CEO, you have to develop a judgment to be able to put people in the right places and align business objectives with people's objectives.

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Gresham Harkless 12:47
Awesome. So now I want to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote unquote, CEOs on on the show. So Garrett, what does being a CEO means to you?

Garrett Ramela 12:57
Yeah, so I think one of the biggest things is to leave the world in a much better place, had you not engaged in the activity that you're engaging in. So if you're, if you're in a for profit enterprise, right, you should be contributing value to society in some way, whether it's, in my case, providing coffee to people, or, you know, in Bill Gates's case where he provide software for people to be more productive, you know, you have to be providing value to the world. And I think that's fundamentally one of the most important things. Because if you, if you do that, as an entrepreneur, that's when people will pay you for your services, or pay you for your, your products. And that's when you can also employ people. So you give livelihoods to people and you benefit and make the economy better and push society forward. So I think, you know, fundamentally, it's, it's really given society value in some way. And you know, if you do it in a nonprofit, or in a government type organization, where it's not so much a for profit thing, but they're still they're still entrepreneurs and all those organizations, but you know, when you provide value in some way, that gives you purpose. And that really, I think, is what encompasses you know, being a CEO is all about,

Gresham Harkless 14:10
Garrett, truly appreciate that definition, I appreciate your time,

Garrett Ramela 14:14
even more,

Gresham Harkless 14:14
what I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best to you know, get a hold of you find out about the coffee and hear about all those things you and your team are doing.

Garrett Ramela 14:24
Yeah, absolutely. You know, first thing I would say to all the readers out there and listeners is, you know, if you're thinking about starting a business, whether it's a nonprofit, for profit, do it. I mean, now, as you know, we're filming this in September of 2020. And I mean, the COVID-19 crisis is here, it's not going anywhere. So, develop a side hustle, make, try to shift the paradigm of consumption to producing and try to just be a blogger, make a website and just come back to it. Day after day, day after day with consistency and you'll you'll realize over the course of 1020 years, you're going to have something That you are extremely proud of, you're extremely proud to share with your friends, family, your colleagues, everyone, and you're going to live a, you know, massively fulfilling life. So I definitely would encourage folks to take more entrepreneurial risks. If you want to get in contact with myself or anyone from our team. Just go to common sense coffee, you can find all of our information there, you could look me up on LinkedIn, Garrett, Ramallah, on LinkedIn, I'm highly accessible. So you could any social media, any LinkedIn, email, call text, anything, just, you know, don't hesitate to reach out, I'm really available. And I'm always looking to have chats with folks and, and just talk about how we can make the world better. So I highly encourage entrepreneurship and collaboration and communication.

Gresham Harkless 15:48
Nice. Well, I definitely appreciate you for collaborating and being on the show, and we will have your links and information in the show notes. But I definitely, you know, appreciate that reminder about kind of flipping that switch that we kind of talked about before and I love that you mentioned that it doesn't have to it can be a side hustle. I think that's a better way to say it because I think so many times we think that we have to create Tesla or SpaceX, you know, from our homes or from our, you know, jobs that we might have, but in reality, sometimes it's things these great things that make a huge impact. start out as side hustles but the only way we can do that is to get started with consistency. So truly appreciate that my friend and I hope you have a phenomenal

Outro 16:22
Thank you for listening to the I am CEO podcast powered by Blue 16 Media Tune in next time and visit us at I am CEO, CEO, I am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five star rating grab CEO gear at WWW dot CEO This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless Thank you for listening

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