top of page

#145 - Interview with Mike Griffin, Griffin Brothers Companies


This week we spoke with Mike Griffin about building blue collar service businesses. Mike is the Managing Partner of The Griffin Brothers Companies, a diversified family holding company.

Topics covered:

- How to compete effectively in service businesses - Hiring, training, and retaining great employees - How Griffin Brothers incentivizes their business managers based on P&L - The advantages of sharing admin services between portfolio companies - Deep dive into the landfill business - ZoomUp - a seed investment strategy for young entrepreneurs in blue-collar industries

Listen: iTunes, Spotify


11-Star Experience

"Obviously a hotel couldn’t afford to send you to the moon and make you James Bond for any reasonable price. But if we can anchor our mindsets upward to an eleven-star experience, it really opens up what might be feasible and innovative at a lower level to make the customer feel fantastic. Every business will be different. It’s about cracking our minds open to find the obvious improvements that are hiding in plain sight." - The Rebel Allocator by Jacob Taylor

Brian Chesky of Airbnb came up with this idea of the "11-Star Experience" when trying to figure out how to take Airbnb from a simple home rental website to a platform for all sorts of incredible travel experiences. He thought about what might make someone rate their experience on Airbnb as 5-stars, but then took it, well, six steps further. What would it take for the customer to rate their experience 11-stars? Once he broke through the mental constraints of the impossible to determine what would be truly magical, he was then able to work backwards and determine what Airbnb could reasonably do. This out-of-the-box thinking allowed Chesky to reverse engineer Airbnb into the platform you see today.

When we speak to owners of small businesses, we frequently hear them speak of their customer experience in relative terms, specifically in regards to other related businesses. The saying that "you're the average of your five best friends" seems often to be true of small businesses, where "your business is the average of your five closest competitors". Since you can't (and probably don't want to) level-up your competition, it may come down to anchoring your thinking on something else, like considering what it would take to provide your customers with an 11-star experience. From there, you can work backwards until you find opportunities for improvement that are achievable in scope.


Bain's 2020 global private equity report (Bain Capital)

The three hour brand sprint (GV)

Charting the economic recovery (Dr. Aaron Hedlund)

Case study on XPEL, a 100x bagger since 2013 (Coinvestor Club)

bottom of page