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Building Social Enterprises with Brian Linton

Episode 290
Sustainability isn’t enough. Brian Linton shares how we can strive for more when protecting our oceans and waterways.

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Can you imagine growing up with 30 fish tanks in your room? That’s 30 tanks stock full of fish that each needed their own special care. Seems a bit excessive, maybe even a little weird, but that’s exactly the environment Brian Linton, CEO of United by Blue, chose to grow up in. 

Since Brian was a little boy, he’s engaged with the world in his own, unique way. 

“My parents allowed me to be a little bit weird and that definitely spawned the entrepreneurship spirit in me. I never thought about doing anything else. It never occurred to me to not do my own thing.”

Having grown up surrounded by tanks of blue, it’s no surprise that one of these things Brian wanted to pursue was ocean conservation and clean up. After spending years searching for effective ways to help clean the waterways, Brian finally began to conceptualize an idea in 2008 and United by Blue was born. 

United by Blue is an apparel company dedicated to cleaning our world’s oceans. For every product sold, they remove one pound of trash from oceans and waterways. Since its inception, the company has removed more than 1.6 million pounds of trash and has over 1,000 stores nationally.

On today’s episode of Mission Daily, Brian joins us to discuss his unique background, the struggles and rewards of building a social enterprise, and United by Blue’s plans for the future.

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Quotes by Brian:

5:11 – “In my entrepreneurial infancy, I wanted to start with the premise of donating money to ocean conservation.”

7:09 – “My parents allowed me to be a little bit weird and that definitely spawned the entrepreneurship spirit in me. I never thought about doing anything else. It never occurred to me to not do my own thing.”

16:53 – “There’s definitely a real challenge for any company that’s making product and claiming environmental good – any company that says otherwise is lying.”

18:08 – “By being a part of the game, by playing in this world, we can actually be somebody that looks for alternatives that push the bar higher. And sustainability is not just what it is today, it’s what it should be tomorrow.”

23:13 – [On what it means to be a CEO] “What being a CEO means to me is solely about leadership. It means making sure we are keeping this company and the people here focused on the right thing and identifying opportunities for us to pursue that you don’t necessarily notice when you are in the weeds.”

Mentions:

Never Split The Difference

This is Us 

RunKeeper

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