Peter Barbosa: Grow One
I’d like to give you fair warning that you’re about to meet someone who is quite a powerful force in the cannabis industry. He’s someone who doesn’t seek to compete, but seeks to dominate. He holds himself to an exceptional standard, exemplifies being an entrepreneur in an evolving space, and is committed to creating software that captivates the market. Peter Barbosa is the founder and CEO of Grow One, a Canadian company that develops turn-key software solutions for businesses in the medical marijuana field. He talks about business, about being an entrepreneur, and about what they’re doing to stay on top of this ever-growing sector of the industry.
What was the deciding factor for you to join this particular industry?
In early 2014, a few licensed producers and MMPR applicants in Canada approached me to consult them on their IT systems. Some requested that they wanted to potentially build their own seed-to-sale tracking and ERP software so they could remain compliant with Health Canada’s Record Keeping regulations. I did my typical investigative work and my interest for software peaked and allowed me to see a gap in the market and capture it early on. This led to the founding of Grow One, and allowed us to identify immediate pain points in the industry. We now have a few competitors in the Canadian market that have entered since Grow One was founded, but our traction remains extremely organic and our customers still rave about us. That being said, we have a massive influx of customers and have populated a waiting list for our seed-to-sale ERP solution – happy problems.
What skills from your previous experiences helped you in what you are doing now?
Prior to the founding of Grow One, I operated an IT firm where we were experts at integrating IT systems and software. I always had a strong taste for good software and business processes. I was always the one in the company who was stringent on everyone following a fixed procedure and staying organized with our records. Since Health Canada is so strict on record keeping, this, combined with my eye for beautiful and elegant software, system processes, and organization has placed our software second to none.
Tell us about the point in the time you realized the coming of the ‘green rush’?
A few of my close friends are cannabis enthusiasts and medicinal and recreational users. Ever since high school, they talked about this day as if it was inevitable. I knew it would happen, but never knew how soon. Again, everything came to me naturally. After watching the recreational industry explode in Colorado and Washington, then watching the Canadian medical marijuana regulations change to a more commercial approach, I realized that history was fast in the making. I knew that if I didn’t start building a marijuana seed-to-sale ERP solution for the MMPR, someone else would. I guess I was right on all counts.
Describe your work ethic to us in one word.
Three words – Whatever It Takes.
Who is a person that you consider as a role model? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?
I’ve been fortunate to have plenty of inspirations in my life, but my role model would be my father, bar none. My father never ran his own business and never had the luxury to complete high school, but he was able to demonstrate to me that everything starts with a vision. He taught me that I could change my own life and reality – going from a vision in your head, to writing it down on paper, to executing and building it out. Remember, there would be no Mona Lisa if Da Vinci never pursued his vision. Nothing is impossible. People built roads; People built houses; People built automobiles and airplanes. Humans build their own reality and can choose their own outcome in life. I’m still fascinated when I think about it.
Nothing is impossible. People built roads; People built houses; People built automobiles and airplanes. Humans build their own reality and can choose their own outcome in life. I’m still fascinated when I think about it.
How do you find inspiration in this industry? What have you found that has inspired you?
Simplicity, minimalism, and meaning. Everything we build and everything we do at Grow One has meaning, and it must make sense to everyone; even our customers. If it doesn’t, we nix it, and find a better way of doing it. We always look for problems; ask “What’s the most simple and elegant way of solving this problem? What makes sense? Does this have meaning?”
Tell us about an esteemed achievement of yours.
I had to stop and think about this one for a few moments, but I believe that the #1 achievement for any entrepreneur is being a risk taker because that holds you responsible for your own actions, whether it results in success or failure. Your success counts on yourself. Everything comes back to the entrepreneur and what they did to make an impact on their own life and the world. My entrepreneurial path started when I was 15. I used to make websites for local businesses in my town. I remember coming home from school and heading back out to knock on doors until my knuckles bled. To this day, I choose to work only for myself and in doing so, I am held responsible for my successes and failures. To finish at the end of the day and look at how far I’ve come and say, “Yeah, I did that. All on my own too” is the greatest achievement I can hold myself to.
How would you advise someone who wants to join the industry?
Quit talking and making excuses – and just do it! Don’t come up with excuses on why you haven’t started yet. Start taking risks, start putting yourself out there, and start making industry contacts. Talk to as many people as you can and think of how you can dominate and innovate in the cannabis space. Remember, everyone wants to work with people who dominate, not compete.
Where do your great ideas come from?
I challenge virtually everything. Every action I take, I always ask myself “Is there a better way of doing this?”, “What if I did it this way? Or that way?” Before I know it, I’m caught up on crazy ideas that I believe could change the world. Do you think I’m crazy yet?
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader in this space?
We’re always building, always testing, and always collaborating with clients. We have the benefit of having an advisory board, so we can include our clients while we continue to improve Grow One and our seed-to-sale ERP system. We’re always looking at new things, reaching out to other industry leaders, and always seeing if we can collaborate. Lastly, we’re not afraid of failing. To be successful, you must fail elegantly along the way. But most importantly, we only celebrate our successes. At Grow One, we don’t believe in competing – we believe in dominating! Champions dominate!
Lastly, we’re not afraid of failing. To be successful, you must fail elegantly along the way. But most importantly, we only celebrate our successes. At Grow One, we don’t believe in competing – we believe in dominating!
If we are sitting across from each other a year from now, how will our conversation about the ‘green rush’ be going?
We have the luxury of being in a fast-paced industry. In the United States, I think we will continue to see states allowing for the medical use of marijuana and we will see representatives pushing for legalization on a federal level. In Canada, the medical marijuana boom will continue at a federal level and hopefully the Canadian government will allow for the use of extracts for medical purposes. I also believe that there will still be a push for the home and independent growers. We will continue to see progressive research, while the baby boomers and doctors begin to put down the traditional pharmaceuticals and see the true benefits of cannabis.