Impossibility of Perfectionism
The following post is from Daniel Brassloff ’20, co-founder of Uncontained. Uncontained provides instant and environmentally conscious mug cakes that just happen to be all-natural and gluten free.
In working on our venture for an extended period of time, we have come to the realization that perfectionism is impossible in itself. We could never have predicted where we are now versus where we started. We transcended industries, distribution methods, names, and and ambitions from ReBottle’s bottle waste reducing efforts in the toiletry industry to now MuggedCake providing instant, waste conscious, and allergy-friendly mug cakes. In building out our venture we started with what we thought would be a clear picture of where we wanted to be in five years- vending kiosks spread across the world with our products inside. Through past feasibility analysis, industry standards, and professional networking we realized the lack of feasibility and worth of our original venture, and instead of letting that take us down as a venture we were able to take what we learned to grow for the future.
Working on Uncontained (the official name of our venture) we have slowly been able to accept effective criticism where it’s due and use it to our advantage. Though we initially were married to using biofilm pouches to store our products, they would have each required extra layers of packaging and likely leaked our powdered ingredients in transportation. Unintentionally our pouches now let consumers add water in them before pouring into microwavable containers, saving them time and avoiding messes with less utensils used to mix the product.
We have an imperfect story and it is impossible to achieve the perfect company. Even when we started Uncontained we had three members, the CEO, the COO and the CFO and due to a variety of differences in goals and mindsets we downsized to our CEO and CFO as seen today. Together we completed product testing of our mug cakes all throughout the beginning of 2017. We iterated recipe testing sometimes fifteen to twenty times before we would get a mugcake that was up to our standards. Over the course of many weeks of testing we ended up having four solid flavors to work with. By the end of this past April we held a formal tasting event at our school in order to officially gauge what people thought of our product. With a successful event, four recipes, and a positive end to the year we moved into the summer with high hopes to become a powerhouse start up.
The summer we decided to focus on building our company brand and lining up producers and manufacturers. Over the course of the summer, many long conference calls and google hangout’s, we were not making the progress we thought we should. We felt as though we were running on treadmill, always doing something but getting nowhere. We were making some progress towards the end of July and came across some promising potential relationships. As Uncontained started to discuss what to do, our conversation that started with a potential partnership ended in the loss of one. Shortly after this failure, our COO voluntarily resigned from the company. Our determination to become a “perfect” start up resulted in the loss of much more.
Perfection is impossible and blindly looking for perfection will only lead to failure. However, what we choose to do when we are confronted with this fact is under our control. Uncontained did not stop after our COO’s resignation. We decided that we needed to put in even more work to get our company back on track. Now, we are working on getting our first round of mugcakes manufactured and we have been making progress on advancing our business model. Although it is impossible to be perfect, that does not mean that you can’t constantly strive to improve and hit goals as they come to the forefront.