It might seem odd that we went from obsessed with baseball to obsessed with coffee.
We've talked a little bit about our background in some social posts, but here's the whole story.
Keep reading to hear how and why Launch Coffee Company came about.
Part 1: The Backstory
As I walked in and sat down in the office, the first words he said to me were:
“We’re going to release you”
At first, I didn’t know if I should laugh or be angry. Whether to ask questions or just accept my fate and move on.
I didn’t know it then, but that day had closed the chapter on one of the most fun, exciting and challenging times of my life. My time as a professional baseball player had come to an abrupt end.
There was no press conference, no interviews, no speeches or ceremonies. Just a few handshakes and hugs from teammates that I’d be leaving as I set out to find a new path.
At the age of 31, I’d already accomplished everything that I’d ever wanted to do professionally in life. I’d been fortunate enough to carve out a 3.5-year Major League Baseball career and though it ended on a sour note, I knew there was no going back.
My release had come on the heels of a two-year injury rehab process that left me as a shell of the player I was before. Though I was somehow able to put up decent numbers, I was older and less capable than most of my teammates, so it was time to move on.
As I made my way through the next couple weeks, I found myself strangely excited for what was ahead.
Sure, I was leaving a dream career with unlimited earning potential and elevated status, but now more than ever I realized that those things meant absolutely nothing to me.
And while I’d be forced to find a new career, I wouldn’t be leaving the game without taking the life changing experiences and perspectives that you can only gain in the pressure-cooker environment that is Major League Baseball.
Most importantly, I’d now be able to move towards living life on my own terms.
No more extended travel away from my wife and kids, no more looking over my shoulder wondering if I was going to get released or demoted.
Part 2: Reflection, and Re-Invention
My release came on July 2, 2018…just over 2 years from the time of this writing.
That month after it happened was the first time in almost 10 years that I was able to sit back and reflect on the amazing experiences that I’d had throughout my career.
I’d travelled to a majority of big-league ballparks, seen almost every major city in the USA, and competed on the biggest stage in the world. But up until that point I hadn’t taken the proper time to appreciate all that I’d done and the growth that I’d made as a human being.
I’d also never taken the time to think about what was next. It was all baseball, all the time.
As I thought more and more, I began to try and translate all of these experiences into useful lessons that I could rely on in the real world.
Eventually, I realized that while I loved the game of baseball, my real passion was the process of constant improvement. I knew that as long as I was in pursuit of maximizing my own potential, I’d be happy and fulfilled regardless of what I was doing.
This breakthrough gave me everything that I needed moving forward. I was now re-assured that I could find another path, but I also realized that in order to be successful I’d have to completely reinvent myself.
Part 3: The Breakthrough
For the next year or so I dove completely head first into learning as much as possible about business, self-improvement and any other topics that I thought could be helpful moving forward.
I started to realize that the best way for me to be happy and fulfilled was to do a combination of things:
- Find a new worthwhile pursuit
- Build a lifestyle that would allow me to live on my own terms.
After thinking on these for a while it finally clicked that the best way to achieve both would be to build a business that I could become passionate about, and that would allow me to pursue greatness in another area of life outside of baseball.
The tricky part was going to be deciding on what business to go into.
After all, my whole life had revolved around baseball up until that point, so I knew it was going to take some digging to uncover a worthwhile idea.
At first, I looked into starting an Amazon business, but was turned off by the prospect of selling random products that I didn’t care about.
To me, it seemed uninteresting to sell something only because it had good profit margins and was in demand on Amazon.
I wanted to sell something more than just random widgets.
Something that I could be passionate about, and something that I could build a meaningful community around. For that to happen, we’d have to build a product that people actually looked forward to using.
Then, out of nowhere, it hit me…coffee was the answer!
P and I love coffee, we see it as a hobby of ours and we love trying different types from all around the world.
We also knew that people are passionate about the coffee that they drink and that they tend to be loyal to the brands that they enjoy.
Plus, what’s better at building community than good coffee and great friends?
Part 4: An Ode to the Past
Back in my playing days, most guys would have some sort of caffeinated beverage before the game to make sure they were locked in and ready to go.
Some used pre-workouts, others would go with energy drinks, but towards the back half of my career I always gravitated towards coffee.
I’m not really sure why, but I think it was probably a combination of the taste, and also the re-assurance that I wasn’t going to explode my heart getting all jacked up on some mystery powder 9000.
That’s beside the point though…
No matter the caffeine source of choice, we would call this pre-game ritual “launching.”
So, it was only natural that when we went to name our company it had to include Launch.
Because even though I’m not “launching” before games anymore, I still “launch” before I start my day.
Part 5: Caffeinate and Conquer
Now came the hard part…what do we name our first product?
As we started to think deeper about coffee and its role in our lives, we started to realize that it really is more than just another drink.
It’s the fuel behind so many things that go on throughout the day…
The 6am garage gym lift,
The grueling hike with friends,
The tough day at work,
The project that never seems to end,
That extra game of hide-and-seek with the kids,
…it really is fuel for life.
And to us, there was really only one way to lay it out:
- Conquer the day and everything in it.
We decided to name our first roast the Caffeinate and Conquer Medium Roast so that anyone who drinks it would be reminded of the formula (Well…that and we thought it sounded cool.)
With that, we went to select the perfect roasting profile.
Going in, we knew that with a name like Caffeinate and Conquer we’d have to bring it.
P and I both prefer a bold coffee taste, so we knew that it had to be at least a medium roast. But we also wanted it to have a smooth finish and be made with the highest quality beans available to us.
We tested several different possibilities but finally landed on a medium-dark profile that could give us the boldness that we both wanted up front but with a smooth finish and no bitterness.
It’s the perfect combination of kick you in the teeth, but not too hard so you keep on coming back for more.
Part 6: The mission
From here on out it’s our goal to create something special.
We take care in intentionally treating our customers like family, holding our products to the highest standard and moving towards becoming more than just a coffee company.
To put it simply…We would love to become a meaningful part of your day and the fuel that you use to conquer whatever lies ahead.