Sick of Silicon Valley? Shift from being an engineer to a dirtbag for less responsibility. Choose a lifestyle of mangos and mushrooms. But the no-brainer idea of growing mushrooms being easy became idiotic. 

Today’s guests are Chris Carrier and Deana Wojcik from The Mushroom Factory. Wanting a break from their software and education careers, they started something unique by making creative reuse of available resources.

Episode Highlights

  • 2:15 Hit the Road: Failed startup journey from Silicon Valley to Michigan-made business.
  • 4:19 Adventure Index: What do we want in the next phase of life? What boxes to check?
  • 4:58 Detroit: Interesting, less expensive with access to outdoors and friendly people.
  • 6:38 Livin’ the Life in Hawaii: Why live out of a truck? Money doesn’t drive happiness.
  • 8:15 Growth Opportunity: Grand adventure being Ill-equipped, homeless, crisis of faith.
  • 10:29 Why mushrooms? Dive deep into dreams and hobbies only to suffer from burnout.
  • 11:23 Fungus and Mold: Mushrooms are beautiful, but forever strange.
  • 14:30 The Mushroom Factory: Evolution of planting seeds, putting roots down in Detroit.
  • 17:29 Urban Farming: Grow by addressing food injustice and unconventional reuse.
  • 19:20 Marrying Skills/Backgrounds: Clinging to what’s familiar out of fear, fight through it.
  • 23:05 Ask for Help: Being just stupid enough, supportive, and willing to share.
  • 27:55 First Sale: Shuffle in and shove a shoebox of mushrooms over the counter.
  • 30:58 Worth the Money: Shift from stressful struggle to ask for money for food. 
  • 32:00 Starting a Business: An assault on your ideals and hard to be humble to survive.
  • 35:10 For Better or Worse: You’re your own boss and need to be fully engaged.
  • 36:43 Open Source/Closed Loop: Put something out in the world but remain responsible.
  • 43:00 Social Media Role: Presence matters to attract and educate customers.
  • 44:30 Food Safety: Tech rules, tools, and problems associated with growing mushrooms.
  • 46:33 Defining Success: Experience and recognize it; not a destination but mindset.
  • 47:55 Moment of Doubt: Spent savings on warehouse to deal with environmental issue.
  • 50:37 Lessons from Failures: Simple answer is to ask for help before you’re in too deep.  
  • 54:55 Easiest and Hardest Parts: Selling niche product and managing finances. 

Links and Resources:

The Mushroom Factory

DO Something Conference

Build Institute

Rose’s Fine Food

Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer Album

Grown in Detroit

Episode 11: Rebrand, Rename to Communicate Authentic Culture with Pete Baker of Duo Security

Huck Finch

Life On Brand Webpage

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