I sit here at my desk and ponder "what it is we do here"? What are we doing with our lives...just making fucking patches? Everybody wants to be a part of something that is truly making a difference, something important. What difference do we make with what we do here at Violent Little? It might not be obvious...but stick with me. We have come to terms with what we make and sell here a long time ago and we never take ourselves too seriously with it. What we make and sell does not change the world. The shit we make doesn't help anybody be deadlier, or help us directly win wars, nor does it save lives. Making and selling patches is NOT an important job...or these other chotchkies that we (or any other company) make. Anybody that acts or pretends otherwise is full of shit.
What we REALLY do here is quite important though. You see, I hire veterans for the most part. But I don't just hire them...I teach them exactly what it is we do here, ALL OF IT. Everything from the E-commerce systems and apps, idea generation, marketing, product photography, manufacturing, accounting, fulfillment...basically everything a small business does so they can one day do it for themselves and lead a truly independent life on THEIR OWN TERMS. I teach them execution in this realm -something they know all too well from being in the Teams.
I often hear a lot of people give excuses for not being their own boss, like "I don't have any ideas." That doesn't hold much water here. There was a day where I didn't have any ideas either, but I started to learn skills that I didn't previously have, such as how to design or make stuff. And then I started looking at the world in different ways and the ideas and opportunities started to flow relentlessly. The ideas are the easy part at this point. The execution is what's difficult. That is what we teach here. If you ever find yourself in a rut, learn something new and see what that does to how you look at everyday shit. I'm still amazed by this.
At times when I've been in between hires or waiting for one of my boys to get out of the military so I could put them to work in the salt mine, we've had some non-veterans work here. And while the non-vets have done great work and have added a great deal of value to this company, I've noticed in myself that I just don't fucking care as much as when the Vets are here. It takes the most important mission away from this company when they're not here -which is teaching the people who have sacrificed for all of us how to build a new life on their terms. That is the reward.
Like I told my guys the other day, I am honored that they chose to get out of the SEAL Teams, basically the coolest job in the military, and come work for me in my little shop. It's a privilege to play a part in their "Life 2.0" journeys and I'm proud to have created something special enough that they want to come find out what its all about and work towards having their own little "special something" in the not-too-distant future.
Working here is not easy. As I type this email I've already told everybody to shut up twice as they're filling Little Bags of Violence and just bullshitting about video games. They just look at me like a bunch of raccoons that want to chew my face off. If I died they'd probably just eat me. They've probably killed men for lesser transgressions...but I'm going deep over here and they were fucking up my flow with all that racket. Fill in silence, guys! Back to the point -it's definitely more work than play around here. I wish we had the time to play more, but we move pretty quick round here. I'm hard on these guys and push them to exhaustion and frustration on a daily basis with tasks and skills that I know they suck at and will fail at. We've run so many vets through here that we often joke that this is the "Violent Little Fleet Transition Program". One thing's for sure though...when they leave here they sure as shit know how to run and execute a small business.
"I left being a Navy SEAL so I could become a warehouse worker", Oscar recently said to me jokingly. Little does he know that I'm "Mr. Miagi-ing" him into waxing off and on. Can you wax me off, Oscar...you've only been here for two months...although I'm pumped that he wants more and more responsibility every single day. That's the kind of hunger I love seeing out of these guys.
The patches and the shenanigans are just a bi-product of the main mission here. I'll admit, our shit is rad and we have a lot of fun drunkenly making it, but I never lose sight of that main mission, which is to set these guys up for success. And why do I do this? Why am I motivated by this? Well...selfishly, its a lot of fun to be able to be on your own program in life and have all the freedom in the world, but its more fun to do it with your best friends. I wish this life upon all my friends should they choose it...even light acquaintances. But most importantly, I do this because it truly counts. It counts in the way that it affects real lives, families, brotherhoods, communities, and ultimately our country. I'm incredibly proud of it, but only because these guys make it worthwhile. Thanks, boys.
Thanks for reading.
Food & Beverage Director