Love is King
The Contrarian Idea that the Organizing Principle of Business is Love
Words cannot describe my gratitude to Joel Peterson. In July of 2007 I walked into his office and pitched him on a hare brained idea to sell Brian Spaly’s invention online.
A quick summary of the concept?
Pants on the internet.
It was an idea as strange as snakes on a plane. Speaking of aircraft, what Joel said after the pitch I will never forget:
This reminds of my first meeting with David Neeleman from JetBlue. We are gonna enter a stagnant category — with a customer centric approach — and change the industry forever.
It was ‘we’ from the get go. He offered to back the company, became our first angel investor, and more importantly believed in me so that I might believe in myself. We don’t talk about the power of belief or love much in business — but what can only be described as Joel’s love changed our company and my life and the small corner of the world that is now the Bonobos community forever.
My cup overflows thinking about what we have now put into the world, together, nearly ten year later.
Joel is a lion among men. Mutual admiration of Joel is the glue that holds our board together. While he taught me in school, Bonobos — and all the mistakes I have made — has been my real education. He has role modeled for me everything important in life: forgiveness, redemption, integrity, accountability, grace, and trust.
I feel I have learned from a true Jedi, and yet I remain his struggling padawan.
Joel’s most profoundly contrarian idea is that the governing principle of business is love.
I certainly love him.
You can’t say that!!
As they say in that commercial about the war on drugs….
Dad. I learned it from watching you.