#BETHEPROOF: CEO Larry Bodner Shares an Inside Look at Bulletproof’s Products, People and Culture
Whether you’re a Bulletproof veteran or simply considering savoring your first sip of Bulletproof Coffee, you may have a few questions about who we are and how we operate.
Bulletproof Coffee, the coffee that started it all, was launched in 2011. This blend of coffee, MCT oil and grass-fed butter challenged everything we knew about nutrition norms by embracing quality fats for sustained energy. Since then, we’ve expanded our product line with new ways to power your mind, fuel your body and help unleash your limitless potential.
Here’s a bit more from my side of the desk…
Our culture and values
Actions speak louder than words. Our company culture is simply an illustration of our actions at every level. At Bulletproof, we question everything—including the ways we can operate as a stronger team. How do we interact with each other? Are our discussions short-term and task-oriented, or have we engaged in conversations that build relationships? Have we developed trust in ourselves and each other? How do we react to mistakes?
What I can say, with confidence, is that we seek to help develop everyone’s limitless potential, whether they are a Bulletproof employee or one of our consumers. Our approach to “limitless potential” is not only through offering a robust line of wellness-supporting products, but is also ingrained in our four core values: Compassionate Directness, Agility, Authentic to Purpose and Intelligent Risk Taking.
We strive to keep our values alive and real each and every day—they’re not just a collection of inspirational phrases that appear framed on the wall.
How we take intelligent risks when innovating
Product innovation is the process of developing new products and improving existing ones. It’s key to Bulletproof’s growth, and Intelligent Risk Taking is a required tool.
Here’s why. Our innovation process focuses on identifying what customers want today, what they want but aren’t getting and what they might want in the future. Then, we develop products that fit the Bulletproof brand.
Every product has to meet our stringent quality standards. It also has to answer the question: How is this product delivering on “Nutrition Reimagined?”
We stringently design products that deliver the ‘proof,’ which your mind and body can truly feel.
2021: The highs and lows
In 2021, we broke a company record. We launched 14 new products, including our most popular items of the year: Gummy Vitamins and Creamers.
We pulled together as a company to make these products a success. We also realized a few misses. To be candid, we will not compromise our standards. Those standards encompass two large areas:
- Product efficacy: We want the product to produce its intended result.
- Manufacturing standards: The product must be consistently manufactured to Bulletproof standards.
Bulletproof is as strong as its people. Behind the scenes, we have hard-working individuals who are experts in their roles. We have tight ingredient selection, efficacy and taste standards. If product efficacy suffers or a product cannot be manufactured to our standards, simply put: We don’t launch that product.
Every consumer packaged goods company experiences challenges in the design, manufacturing and shipping of new products (especially in the past year). After launch, we carefully listen to consumer feedback. In the summer of 2021, we took that feedback to action and reacted quickly:
- We improved our Collagen Protein Bars recipe to deliver a softer, cookie-like texture
- Our Cold Brew Latte formula has a new-and-improved flavor you have to taste to believe
- We reduced the sweetness of our French Vanilla Creamer
As a company, we made these changes to better meet our customers’ needs. True to our values, we were Agile
Unpacking the challenges
Reformulating a product is a challenge with a lot of moving parts. Other uncomfortable conversations are inevitable, but they’re part of managing a growing company.
Those discussions span from prioritization, allocation of resources, coordination across departments (especially in a fully remote workplace) and feedback on performance, all the way through to personal leadership. The latter is the most difficult because, well, it’s personal.
Without emotional connection, it’s easy to devolve into a series of tasks that can be effective in the short term, but miss the bigger picture in the long term. I believe in the constancy of purpose, emotional intent and esprit de corps. To get there, I ask: Are key leaders operating in an emotionally centered manner, engaging across the company and building trust?
This all sounds quite easy and linear. It’s not. Uncomfortable discussions require considerable preparation and testing/retesting the logic in one’s head, including my own. As a leader, I want to evaluate and visualize every upcoming discussion, as it’s truly planned as a two-way conversation—not a lecture.
Approaching with kindness
This approach is absolutely critical to effectively communicate with kindness. My preparation for problem solving and strategic reflection often includes taking my dogs (Jake and Moose) on a hike and letting my mind wander.
For me, nature facilitates the germination of clarity of thought and balance of mind and body.
In a strange way, I gain great clarity and become more energized after a hike, despite expending significant energy. I return to my desk with a patient mind, ready to have a conversation that drives us forward.
To sum it up, #BETHEPROOF is at the heart of our work, which is graced with a collective of smart, driven and kind people. Sometimes, we just need a candid conversation, with kindness, to bring out the proof.
Want to read more about how Bulletproof products help everyday people #BETHEPROOF? Follow @bulletproof on social media and keep up with our blog for more inspiring stories from Bulletproof consumers just like you.
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