Brad Marsh
5 min read

We're Hooked on Bluegill Bait!

One item we want to get better about is celebrating success. There are so many incredible stories that happen as a direct result of the wonderful geeks and geeklings in this THAT community. Today we’re kicking off the week by celebrating the launch of Freshwater Sauces.

Wait, WUT? This is far from tech. Last week Freshwater Sauces officially launched and its our first example of how a community of people can help make something happen in the unlikeliest of places. Below Brad shares their story and a simple question in THAT Slack setup Freshwater Sauces for what was about to come next.

Bluegill Bait is now a staple in our house and you might even see it on the tables AT THAT.

We want to congratulate Brad and Freshwater Sauces for such an incredible milestone. I can’t wait to see what hits the shelves next.

~ Clark

hot sauce bottle

In late summer 2019, I headed east with my family, my laptop, and one bottle of homemade hot sauce to attend the Wisconsin Dells edition of THAT Conference. I had two goals in mind during that drive. Number one and most important was to enjoy THAT Conference, and all of the unique experiences it would present, and two was to validate or invalidate the feedback I’d been receiving on my hot sauce from my friends and family.

The first of these goals I was pretty sure would work itself out, just as it always had at THAT, so I focused my thoughts more on the second. My plan was simple. I would follow Clark’s advice from the previous year and get out of my comfort zone by sitting with a different group of people for breakfast each morning. I would then simply bring out my bottle of hot sauce to enjoy on my eggs and offer it to anyone at the table (Some of you reading this may have been one of these lucky individuals). Then, I would ask for their feedback, and if it was positive, for their email address. The plan was mostly a success, and I left that year refreshed, energized, and confident in my recipe for a mild, green hot sauce.

Fast forward to the first week of January 2021. During 2020 my business partner and I were like the rest of the world, deep into the pandemic and unable to make much progress on getting our hot sauce company up and running. But on a fateful day, while skimming the THAT Conference Slack channel, the question of the day caught my eye. The question posted by Andrew Hooker was, “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” and for some unknown reason, and against my own personal fear of posting anything, I felt compelled to answer. I believe my response was, “In 2021, I’m finally going to get my hot sauce company going.”

What happened next is a testament to the type of community THAT has helped build. I started getting responses and questions about my sauce, production, etc. All from people wanting to help in one way or another. One of those people that responded, Eric Selje, said he would love to introduce me to a friend of his who he thought could help get us started. It turns out he was right, as he introduced us to the founder of the co-packing company that now mass produces our recipe, only a few hours away in Madison, Wisconsin. A service we had been looking for over six months, I found within 15 minutes of posting my response.

But it didn’t stop there. The conversations moved into more general questions and advice about starting and running a small business. As a result, a few days later, I created the #entrepreneurship slack channel where anyone could join in. People like Clark Sell, Danger Casey, Scott Davis, and Andrew Hooker, and many others took time out of their busy lives to help a complete newbie like me with the absolute basics of starting a business. And if that wasn’t enough, out of that channel was born the bi-weekly Entrepreneur Accountability Group that meets on There we get together face to face and talk through the highs and lows of entrepreneurship and give each other advice on the problems of the day. And to politely push each other to take the small steps to turn dreams into goals and goals into actionable todos.

A group without which, I can honestly say, I highly doubt I would have the confidence to take the steps needed to successfully launch our hot sauce to the public on October 25th, 2021 on My New Year’s resolution for once a success.

And while ultimately I have no idea how successful Freshwater Sauces will be, I can say that it is in large part thanks to this community that I’ve gotten to enjoy the ride thus far. From product development to manufacturing to marketing, each part of our company has in some way been impacted by THAT Conference and its community.

So my advice to everyone who attends THAT Conference, or participates on THAT Slack, or joins a session, is to remember the people you meet in this community genuinely want to help you. THAT is a rare and special gift in this world, so don’t be afraid to put your goals out there. Don’t be afraid to give that talk you’ve been thinking about. Or to start that business you’ve been secretly planning because we’re here to help.

~ Brad

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