Green or Brown?

For Chapter 8 -- "Sometimes You Just Have to Lego"

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In previous posts, I've visited Brewtopia, the brainchild of a drunken golf foursome wishing to turn a (pretty good) dirty joke into a business.

Their idea presented only five obstacles:

1) Australia's impregnable beer duopoly,

2) none of them had any idea how to brew beer,

3) or knew anything about the beverage business,

4) or had any money to speak of, and

5) on the face of it, trying to build a brand around a hypothetical double-entendre is stupid.

But Liam Mulhall and his mates were not your typical drunken golfers. They were drunken golfers with sticktoitiveness, and they were inspired. As their scheme envisioned no particular style of beer – lager, pilsner, stout, ale – nor any other brand characteristic save vaguely disreputable name, it occurred to them that they could convert their vast fecklessness and ignorance into a benefit.

Mulhall, formerly a salesman for Red Hat Linux, had made a living selling applications for Open Source software. Why not market Blowfly as an Open Source beer?

But rather than beginning with an established business and incorporating Listenomics into the previously hidebound top-down corporate culture, these guys would create a brewtopia, building the company from the very outset on the accumulated wisdom of the masses.

Over a period of 13 weeks, they opened up their product to public discussion and awarded actual shares of stock to anybody who weighed in on lager versus pilsner, green-bottle versus brown bottle and so on. Granted, the exercise was more gimmick than business model ("I'd sit there and go, "Oh, no. What am I going to ask this week?" Mulhall recalls) but it was a gimmick that gave the power to the people. "The community kept voting. At the end of 3 months we had 15,000 members."

Yes, unaware of the adolescent stunt into which they had been lured, 15,000 brewtopians coalesced around the world in service of Blowfly beer.
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