Imagination & Facts ― The Gourmet Grubb Vision

“Earlier traditions usually formulated their theories in terms of stories. Modern science uses mathematics.”

― Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

I lived on a dairy farm for a good portion of my preadolescent life. I spent my free time doing what kids on farms did back then, or what I imagine kids did. I played on the hay bales, watched the cows grazing, had encounters with snakes and, on a few rare occasions, I ate insects. I was always a sucker for a good dare. In some mysterious way I was preparing myself for what I would do 20 years later: Convince the world to eat insects.

In 2013, after completing my undergraduate degree in Physics, I moved to the heart of Silicon Valley to study Environmental Engineering. I saw the rise of Uber, Airbnb, SolarCity, Tesla and numerous other tech giants. The startup world fascinated me and I religiously followed the companies that I thought could truly change the world for the better. I saw dreams turn into reality while the collective imagination of entrepreneurs and employees drove innovation faster than I have ever witnessed. But did these companies really make the world a better place? In some cases, absolutely. In other cases it was important to ask more questions. What was the environmental impact of the company’s product? What was the human impact? What did they do to solve social issues? The questions were endless.

So what made their visions so powerful and enchanting? And how were they able to turn these visions into reality? It is the combination of imagination and facts, or stories and mathematics as Professor Harari so eloquently stated, that shape a vision. In our case, the Gourmet Grubb Vision.

A few weeks ago the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) published their latest report, Global Warming of 1.5°C. The core message: We have to make changes, immediately. With every passing day, month, year, the situation becomes increasingly critical. But there is always hope. For me, some of that hope manifested itself on a random Friday afternoon in March 2018 when I had my first taste of ice cream made from insects.

I arrived without any expectations, wandered around, had a few short conversations and met some fascinating new people. On my way out I saw a little ice cream stand in one of the side-rooms. Why not? I thought. The slogan of Something Fishy, a seafood fast food institution from my childhood, jumps to mind: “One bite and you’re hooked”. Not the best branding idea for fast food of the seafood variety, but the slogan applies to the next few weeks and months of my life, leading up to writing this blog post. Gourmet Grubb had me hooked. The product, the background, the story, the team. I was fascinated. The only missing piece was the facts, or the mathematics as Professor Harari states. So we decided to meet up in the coming weeks to chat.

Our first meeting lasted about two hours. We walked through the basic startup framework questions: What is your product? Why is it better than other products? What is your target market? What is your business model? Slowly but surely, the puzzle pieces fell into place. We ran out of time and we decided to meet again. I was not prepared for what the next meeting would bring.

We discussed the potential environmental impacts of EntoMilk, the sustainability aspects of the farming, the potential effect (or lack thereof) on climate change and the social impact that EntoMilk could have. Finally we came to the most important aspect, the mathematics. During all my years in Silicon Valley I never encountered a moment like this. The final puzzle piece, that critical piece that is often difficult to define, especially in a brand new industry, was as clear as daylight. The Gourmet Grubb Vision started to take shape.

Over the next few months we developed relationships with hundreds of customers, started selling at our first local market in Cape Town, and met hundreds of people who wanted to help, to be involved. With each passing conversation the vision became more defined. The stories and mathematics merged and became our final destination: EntoMilk in every urban hub on this planet.

“We study history not to know the future but to widen our horizons, to understand that our present situation is neither natural nor inevitable, and that we consequently have many more possibilities before us than we can imagine.”

― Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Just as Professor Harari helped me imagine the vast number of possibilities ahead, I hope that Gourmet Grubb will help the world imagine new possibilities. With rapidly increasing populations, specifically urban populations, we need another dairy alternative. A healthy, environmentally friendly and sustainable dairy alternative. One that reduces the threat of the increasingly unstable climate we will see in the decades ahead. In short: We need EntoMilk™.

I will leave you, our potential customer, with this invitation: Embark on this journey with us. Share in our vision and help us build a better tomorrow for everyone. It is our collective imagination that brought humans to where we are today. This same collective imagination will determine our future.

“Sapiens rule the world because only they can weave an intersubjective web of meaning: a web of laws, forces, entities and places that exist purely in their common imagination.”

― Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Fun fact: Professor Harari is a vegan, and says this resulted from his research, including his view that the foundation of the dairy industry is breaking the bond between mother and calf cows. We agree with you, Professor Harari.

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