Dooma Wendschuh: ebbu, LLC
How do you get ahead of the ‘green rush’, you ask? Sit down, listen closely, and ready yourself to take action, because the interview below reveals it all. Now, be advised… his words of advice are not for the faint of heart. His research has led him to stake his claim in the roots of the movement instead of the branches, his business plan has been calculated for success, and his work ethic is fueled by a close friend’s motto, ‘Don’t be a pussy.’
Meet Dooma Wendschuh, Co-Founder and CEO of ebbu.
What was the deciding factor for you to join this particular industry?
Initially, I was looking for an investment opportunity in the cannabis industry. Like many others, I was interested in participating in the green rush. I had some money I wanted to invest, and knew that the best margins would be found in companies which touched the plant, as opposed to those which made ancillary products. I was looking for a private placement opportunity with a start-up that touched the plant in some way. But as I looked into the industry, I just couldn’t find a company I wanted to invest in. There were lots of grow operations and dispensaries, but those didn’t seem like a good long term investment. It couldn’t be clearer to me that cannabis will soon become a commodity – prices will fall and the currently inflated margins will normalize. And the more I looked into the industry, the more I came to realize that there were huge problems that needed to be solved – problems that no one else was addressing. There was a clear need for a product like ebbu. So I sold my shares in the company I co-founded and had been operating for the past 13 years and decided to jump into the cannabis industry.
What were you doing before?
In 2001, I co-founded Sekretagent Productions with my good friend Corey May. We wrote and produced TV commercials, films, and video games. Sekretagent Productions is best known for the Assassin’s Creed franchise, our work on the Prince of Persia franchise, and most recently Batman: Arkham Origins. I sold my shares in January and Corey now runs the company himself.
Tell me about the point in the time you realized the coming of the green rush?
The day Amendment 64 passed in Colorado and I-502 passed in Washington I knew things had changed forever. There was no turning back. The train had left the station and you were either on the train or on the tracks.
The day Amendment 64 passed in Colorado and I-502 passed in Washington I knew things had changed forever.
Right now, what are you guiding your passion and energy towards?
Every ounce of my being is being focused on ebbu and building this business into a leading global brand. Let’s say a cat runs across a bear in the forest. That cat is just a tiny little thing. The bear could destroy it with one swipe of his paw but he won’t because the cat has this secret weapon. Even though the cat is tiny compared to this giant grizzly bear, it can do something the bear could never do. It’s able to focus every single ounce of its being, every bit of life energy it has into a single moment, the moment it unleashes its hiss. And when that cat hisses, the bear will run away. I’m the cat right now. ebbu is my hiss while the cannabis industry is the bear.
Describe your work ethic to me in one word.
Tell me about a time in your career that didn’t go as planned and what you did about that? How did you handle it?
Nothing ever goes as planned. The secret to success is an ability to adapt to change – to pivot and roll with the punches. I remember working on a film project once and we needed to get some footage with clouds in the sky. Weeks went by in LA and weeks went by without a single cloudy day. We didn’t have the money to CG in the clouds. But I grew up in Miami and I knew there were always nice puffy clouds there. So I grabbed the camera, hopped on a plane, flew home to Miami, and got the shots myself. I’m not a DP. I’d never shot a film camera in my life. But I got it done. That’s all that matters in the end – the job was done.
What book have you read that you’ve been inspired by? Any particular read we should put on our list?
From a business perspective, I really like Getting Things Done by David Allen. I also like Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It’s a classic. I’ve also been inspired by Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan, a book that really expanded my horizons. And some of the writings of Henry Rollins who taught me a lot about discipline.
Tell me about an esteemed achievement of yours.
My wife, Kathia, is the greatest thing in my world. My greatest achievement was whatever I did to make her fall in love with me. I wish I knew how I did it!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
My friend Diego lives by a very simple motto: “Don’t be a pussy.” It’s so easy to be paralyzed by your own fear or desire not to stand out in life. The best things come to those who are bold, who don’t fear rejection, and who aren’t afraid to stand out and take what they want. Wasn’t it Wayne Gretzky who said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”?
What is the most important thing for us to know now about the legal marijuana industry?
Most people don’t understand how big this is. It’s bigger than the internet. How many people use the internet every day? About two billion. How many of the 7 billion people on this earth use some form of recreational psychoactive? Almost all of them. For better or for worse, we are a culture that benefits immensely from recreational psychoactives. At least among my friends, it’s hard to find a romantic relationship where the couple was not brought closer through responsible use of alcohol. I challenge you to find a start-up, or any company really, where productivity was not increased by the tradition of a morning cup of coffee. We’re at this epic moment in history where the shift from a world with three legal choices of recreational psychoactives to a world where there is now a fourth. A fourth choice which is generally regarded as healthier and safer than the others. Which is also credited with unleashing creativity in musicians and artists with proven medical benefits.
Most people don’t understand how big this is. It’s bigger than the internet.
If we are sitting across from each other a year from now, how will our conversation about the green rush be going?
It’s hard to say what things will look like in a year. I’m hopeful the movement will continue and we’ll be closer to federal legalization – but there are so many things that could cause it to go the other way.
Alcohol’s near monopoly as the legal psychoactive for leisure and social activities has allowed Anheuser-Busch to be the largest advertising spender in the past five Super Bowls. Now here comes cannabis, and brands like ebbu to challenge that monopoly. Should the big booze brands be afraid? Follow their lobbying dollars and you’ll see they already are.
We have to be careful. The alcohol companies stand to lose a lot if cannabis becomes federally legal as a recreational substance. We’ve made great progress so far, but we can’t rest on our laurels. There’s going to be a lot of lobbying money going into stopping the spread of legalization. It’s important to know what we’re up against and never stop fighting. We’re closer than we ever have been – but we’re not there yet and we can’t give up until we are.