Seek to Learn That Which Cannot be Taught, with Scott Norton – [Invest Like the Best, EP.43]

If you told me a year ago that I’d be learning critical life and business lessons from the founder of a ketchup company, and that thirty to fifty thousand people would listen to our conversation, well, I’d have told you that’s impossible. But the fact that it is true proves many of the points laid out by this week’s guest Scott Norton, co-founder of Sir Kensington’s which was recently acquired by Uni-Lever. Sir Kensington’s, which makes “condiments with character” is no ordinary Ketchup company, and Scott is no ordinary founder.

We talk about the most elemental aspects of business: product, relationships, sales, marketing, and culture. I love that we can do so through the lens of such a seemingly simple product, something that we use all the time with our families at a BBQ. Scott’s observations on culture, the importance of relationships in sales, and competitive edge are all memorable. But above all, I’ll remember his line: seek to learn that which cannot be taught. And I will continually return to the mental image of the Temple of Poseidon.

Oh, and as a bonus we also talk about biking around Asia, which like all of Scott’s stories comes complete with thought provoking lessons.

Enjoy this unique conversation with one of the most interesting people I’ve met on this journey. We begin with the history of ketchup.


Links Referenced

They Call Me Supermensch: A Backstage Pass to the Amazing Worlds of Film, Food, and Rock’n’Roll  (Movie)


Books Referenced

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

How to Win Friends & Influence People

They Call Me Supermensch: A Backstage Pass to the Amazing Worlds of Film, Food, and Rock’n’Roll  (Book)


Show Notes

2:40 – (First question) – A look at the history of ketchup


5:16 – The milestones of ketchup’s history in the US


10:26 – What were the early days like to compete in a market where the leaders have such a stronghold on the consumer


13:03 – A ketchup party to survey users


14:41 – Effective ways to negotiate

14:57 – Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In


16:32 – How may stages were there in the early products


19:04 – A look at kaizen and what it means to Scott


20:38 – Scandinavian business principles that they bring to the company


23:40 – As the company has grown, has Scott seen downsides to the stakeholder model especially when competing against larger companies that use the shareholder model


28:19 – How did they use outside capital in getting started


31:07 – What was the most memorable story from the early days of disrupting this legacy industry, especially as it relates to the sales of this product

33:30 – How to Win Friends & Influence People


33:58 – How do you create trust and show the benefits of your product in sales


37:48 – How culture started for the company, how it’s shifted since then and what competitive advantage the right culture creates


41:47 – Some of the best outcomes are the result of mindset and culture


43:28 – What new frontiers is Scott and the company looking at today


46:53 – How often has Scott had to course correct and continue down the path of the unknown


49:28 – Kindest thing anyone has done for Scott outside of the company


51:41 – The power of giving and how it will bring large returns, especially when you don’t expect them as part of the giving

53:04 – They Call Me Supermensch: A Backstage Pass to the Amazing Worlds of Film, Food, and Rock’n’Roll  (Book and Movie)


55:37 – Look at Scott’s decision to bike around Asia and what he experienced during that time


1:02:49 – Best advice for someone in their early 20’s


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