Good Robot Brewing Co.

Engineering

Brewery Construction Update! Plus, Motivation and Smiling

Construction has begun! But first, I have some thoughts on entrepreneurship. Let’s stroke my ego and see if I can tie the themes together. Last week, I found out that something I had been working towards was delayed by several months. I felt defeated. I ended up eating 17 days worth of my Kinder Chocolate Advent Calendar in one sitting, almost as if I cared only about the goal and not the journey, or as if I cared only about the imaginative Kinder toy and not the silky, smooth chocolate egg made with simple ingredients like high-quality cocoa, real sugar, and a heart of visibly milky filling that melts in your mouth and embraces your taste buds.

 

 

The other night, my friend asked me, “How do you stay motivated?” I didn’t have an answer. I’m not feeling particularly motivated right now and the bleak weather has me longing for New Orleans, so I just took a step outside to smoke and listen to Tom Waits. I saw another smoker across the way. She looked miserable. I began wondering why I never smile when I smoke, nor do I smile when I listen to music, which is odd since they’re both sources of pleasure. I forced myself to smile. I stood there grinning like an idiot on our patio for three minutes as the noon traffic rolled by and I started to feel better. (Smiling, even forced, releases serotonin. Give it a try right now.)

Angus grinding the bay doors

Angus be on his grind.

As I stood there grinning like I had gone batshit, two businessdudes in peacoats crossed the street to visit The Coastal for lunch. It was closed. They were devastated (understandably so – have you tried their Buffalo Chicken?). The dudes spent a good two minutes double-checking the door lock, hours of operation, windows for any movement… Those poor souls had dreamt of a good lunch all morning, maybe all week. If they could just have this one thing, they thought they would be happy. My ridiculous grimace turned to uncontrollable cackling as I realized how I stay motivated: living for the moment.

 

Wrought Iron Brewing Company - Construction - Angus chipping warehouse floor with chipping hammer

Angus be on his chip.

When I work, I’m not focused on finishing the work, but rather doing the work. The end goal is just icing on the cake. Right now, we’re not focused on getting our brewing equipment or modelling our taproom. We’re focused on construction, which is fun, especially when you don’t have the proper tools for it.

We received our construction permit last week. A great reward, sure, but the joy was in doing the work ourselves: designing and drafting the systems and contracting out the work to people more capable than us. We tore up our floor to scope out our trench drain. We fixed our bay door arches. We had some beers and did a little crude demolition. We’ve contracted trades to upgrade our trusses, fire-proof our ceiling and upgrade our security system. Soon, we’ll be upgrading HVAC, upgrading to three-phase electrical, upsizing water utility, installing propane lines, digging out a manhole for effluent samples, and otherwise bringing the building up to code. Sure, we’re not ready to brew, but we’re having a pretty damn good time.

Take that guy, in the video. Is he concerned about paychecks, timelines or even basic safety? No. He’s living in the moment. So the next time you see me smoking and cackling like an idiot, or river-dancing on a rotating piece of 2×4, just know I’m enjoying myself. And maybe a little blitzed.

By in Engineering 2

I Quit my Job: Emotional Attachment to Employers

When Angus and Doug brought me on this project just over 2 years ago, I was under the impression that I’d be a lowly contract employee. Turns out these boys want me to have a piece of this company, bless their hearts (and curse their brains). I scrambled to borrow as much cash as possible from families and friends and I finally have enough to justify leaving Calgary and moving to Halifax. I just had one major end to tie up: quitting my job.

Now, for most people, quitting their job is a freeing experience. My great friend Nick (thanks for the chunk of loan, by the way) said something years ago that stuck with me: never get emotionally attached to your employer. How can you not, though? (At the very least, you’ll get Stockholm syndrome and swear your boss is a decent Joe.) For me, the measure of a job has always been emotional. Why, my years at Giant Tiger were as good as any because I loved the people I worked with. Not to mention that fabulous smock flattered my figure.

“It didn’t scan? Guess it’s free! Hurr!”

My current engineering gig was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the highway to beer town, a catalyst to get me from Seattle to Angus so we could wrap up the business plan, yet I ended up really enjoying the challenge of this job. The Calgary flood left us with plenty to deal with, personally and professionally, but I’ve learned boat-loads and developed skills that don’t come naturally for me.

Sure, people’s homes and lives were devastated, but my personal career development was unrivalled.

I didn’t know how to break it to my team lead that I was quitting, so I did the only thing that seemed reasonable: I brought him to the strip club and told him there mid-show. And you know what? He took it really well. He was not only thankful for the advance notice, but also supportive of the move and even a little envious. My manager, who is also leaving the company, added: “Working one week for yourself is more worthwhile than working one day for someone else.” Now, how can you not get emotionally attached to people like that?

“Great Q2. And you’re cute, too.”

I think that may be the real reason behind this brewery. Sure, it’s about making great beer and supporting local businesses and all that, but it’s also about injecting our personalities into a company. It’s about playing by our rules, eliminating the HR concept of work-life balance, and getting emotionally attached. As much as I respect my buddy Nick’s mantra, I believe that if your job is worthwhile, you should be emotionally attached. Just… try not to fall in love with the strippers.

“I wish I knew how to quit you.”