Making a career out of something you love doing may sound like a pipe dream to some — or, at the very least, the exception to the rule. But whoever coined the phrase “do what you love and the money will follow” may have been on to something. There’s nothing we enjoy more than sharing stories about our users. That’s true all year ’round. But as Valentine’s Day approaches, it seems especially present in our minds. So, for the next couple weeks, we’ll be sharing stories from users about the people, places, pets, hobbies, and careers they love.
To kick things off, meet Blake Bowdish. As a young entrepreneur, he’s sharing what makes his career so special and the story behind his passion for truffles, Truffles, and bitcoin.
First things first, where are you from? What’s one thing that people would be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? I was born and raised in Texas, and spent much of my childhood days learning how to code. Every summer, my father sent me to private summer camps at University of Texas Austin where I gained my C++ certification as a teenager. I loved it but soon realized that there was probably a finite amount of money I could earn sitting in front a computer.
Tell me about 5 Diamond Delicacies. We’re largely based in Miami, Florida but connected globally supplying fresh truffles, truffle products (like certified USDA Organic Truffle EVOO), wild mushrooms, Japanese wagyu beef, caviar and other miscellaneous food delicacies. Our accounts (and their chefs) are consistently happy and often overwhelmed with the quality, freshness and quantity of our products.
What has been the hardest part? Having encountered growing pains, we’ve learned that it is often how one handles these pains that shape the future of their business. The toughest part was and ongoing struggle is managing our cash flow and accounts receivables. In order to receive product, we are expected to pay cash up front and pre-delivery. When shipments reach us, we of course then supply our accounts and offer sometimes up to 30 day terms. Due to the competitive nature in our market, it would be difficult to demand a shorter billing cycle. When account(s) ask for a “hot-shot” (same day order-delivery); most requests are not issues yet some customers that might be delinquent often puts us in awkward and stressful position, trying to balance best in class service bundled with managing accounts receivables. The last thing I want to do is to chase our accounts for past due payments!
Caviar and truffles are synonymously the most perishable foods in the world. Hunted and pulled from the ground in Spain, France, Italy and even winter black Perigords from Australia in the summer, given the climate difference that time of year since Australia is on the other side of the planet. It’s important to note that truffles are naturally covered by soil. Hence soil is the most valuable and natural preservative for truffles. Strict cross-border regulations such as USDA, FDA, and US Customs make it illegal for any foreign soil to be brought into the United States. Cleaning soil off truffles is like taking skin off on an apple. Our providers in Europe are expected to dust off the soil from these truffles which can reduce the shelf life a minimum 2-3 days. Once the truffles arrive in Miami, they must be stored in a cool temperature to stay fresh for as long as 20+ days (depending on the specie). It took a while for us to strategically plan the timeframe and logistics of our orders so that our accounts receive these truffles as fresh as possible. I know we’re doing a good job when our accounts tell us the shelf life of our competitors is often between 5-6 days compared to our 20 days!
**What has been the most exciting part? ** Everyday is an opportunity to make people happy. It’s such a fun and rewarding experience to be able to answer “911” calls at 9:45 PM with requests for more white truffles. Our team gathers what we need, hop in our cars, drive through peak rush-hour, and walk into a super-fly, upscale restaurant blending in wearing casual shorts and flip flops. We’re treated no less than the way they would one of their own family members. It’s an incredible feeling to know that we’ve saved the day for some of these restaurants/accounts.
**So what’s your favorite place you have visited for work? **The Fancy Food Show (the East Coast’s largest specialty food and beverage event) in NYC was very exciting. I am however flying to Italy sometime in February to bring home my puppy Truffles, our new mascot. Truffles is a very rare and expensive “Lagotto Romagnolo” breed; an ancient water dog breed, which originally came from the marshlands of Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Over many years, as the wetlands disappeared…Italian farmers and peasants found a new use for this special breed — that of the Truffle Hunter. Today, the Lagotto Romagnolo is one of the official breeds for truffle hunting in Italy.
How did you learn about bitcoin? I first learned about bitcoin from a very close friend of mine. Similar in age, we find time to talk every day sharing ideas, philosophies, perspectives, and encouragements. About five years ago, we were on our daily call when he brought bitcoin to my attention. Bitcoin was mere pennies then, and I was very adamant at first (which I later regretted!). When I saw the vast growth over such a short span of time, I hopped on the bandwagon not knowing too much about the concept. Overtime, I came to love the concept; no single entity is in control or able to manage my funds.
**How do you see bitcoin potentially integrating more into your payments? **I hope bitcoin integrates more into my payment systems but that requires adoption. In the meantime, I try to educate the benefits of it to people I do business with as well as people I’m acquainted with. I believe there are more people out there like me and that will end up being what spreads the bitcoin gospel more broadly.
**What suggestions do you have for making bitcoin more widely adopted? **For broader adoption on a mainstream level, I believe we all need to take a role and keep doing what we are doing but also people such as high level developers need to rally the troops and organize their wits, so to speak, to bring more infrastructure that alludes to larger and smaller industries individually.
You can give us the scoop on an awesome new merchant via our Merchant Map in our Android wallet, or if you’re a merchant who accepts bitcoin you can also add your business to our map through Blockchain Merchant on iOS.