On a recent trip to New York I was driving to LaGuardia at the ungodly hour of 4:45 AM, when a fancy car zoomed past me with a license plate giving me the distinct feeling that I was just passed by Dom Imus. Watching his luxury sedan speed off into the pre-dawn darkness, my recent thoughts on life and career suddenly crystallized. I had been thinking for a long time about what my passions are in life, and how I could parlay those passions into a potential new career. I am passionate about food, wine, travel, writing, dogs, and many other things. But what dawned on me as Imus sped past was the level of commitment and *obsession* one must have to turn a passion into a successful career. This is a man who must get up before 4 AM every morning to drive into Manhattan to broadcast his radio show. If I was being paid millions of dollars to get up that early and do a radio show, could I do it? Absolutely. Am I obsessed enough with the sound of my own voice and radio broadcasting to work at it for years, become successful, and get those millions of dollars? Not a chance. Another example is Oprah Winfrey. Talking is more than just a passion for Oprah, it\’s an obsession. Her obsession is what took her from humble beginnings as a local Chicago talk show host, talking about transsexual prostitutes, to the mogul she is today. You see it with celebrities, with successful business people (Bill Gates, Warren Buffet) but there are many other examples beyond the high profile ones who have turned what is undoubtedly more than a passion into a business. A local example is a business just down the street from me here in Minnesota, The Four Firkins. I am passionate about beer. I love beer. I love good beer. I love trying different beers. But to be successful in a business focusing on the niche market of craft beers, you need more than just passion; you need to be obsessed with beer. There are hundreds of varieties of beer in this man\’s small shop, but he can probably tell you a story about each one. That\’s more than passion. So that\’s my next goal. Try and figure out what I am passionate about and obsessed with enough to make it as

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a business. Wish me luck!







6 responses to “Passions”

  1. Explosive Bombchelle Avatar

    I look forward to reading your Great American novel, my guess at where your passions lie…

  2. anderswa Avatar

    i’m passionate about my fantasy baseball team. not a lot of career options there, specifically since i’m so damn bad at it.

    i hear where you’re coming from, though. i like my job, i think i do ok at it, but i’m not passionate about it. i think anyone who’s able to do something they absolutely love as their job is incredibly blessed and lucky.

  3. Alvey Avatar

    Thanks for the props mate!

    I can tell you it took a lot more than passion to get this store up and running. You need to wake up every morning with a fire in your belly and a grim determination to put yourself in uncomfortable situations and take everything that they throw at you. It was a two year long battle against city officials, banks and everybody else who thought they needed to be involved. Almost every step involved somebody who didn’t like the idea and would cause me a gut wrenching amount of stress.

    Actually running the business is far easier than getting it started.

    It was worth every ounce of effort though and I would go through it all again if I had to.

    I’m glad you like the store!


  4. Jake Avatar


    Wow! I was wondering where you went… After meeting you at the State Fair and then at Adam Stern’s, keeping up with you on What Ales Thee (a good blog if you like microbrews), it’s good to hear that you’re alive and well making a go of the beer market.

    I’ll be happy to stop by some time soon. Where’s the new joint anyways?


  5. alex Avatar

    Texas Ave and Minnetonka Bvld, Jake… on the SW side of the intersection (aka across from Erik’s Bike). And put another check mark into the list of “people who know Jake”. 🙂

  6. monkey Avatar

    Pining for a place like The Four Firkins in Colorado (the craft brew capital of the Universe, if you listen to people around here, Oregon and Minnesota be darned…).

    and shouldn’t we be keeping a list of “people who don’t know Jake”? It’d be easier…

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