#69: Diego Diverde – VP of Sales at Greener Pastures Chicken
Diego Diverde Podcast Transcript
Neil Dudley: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Pederson’s Farms Podcast. We are so excited you’re here. We appreciate you joining us. And we look forward to sharing these conversations with thought leaders from our industry. They’re going to paint a picture from every perspective, consumer, customer, vendor, employee, and peer, that I think is going to be super valuable and we’re really excited to share. So thanks for tuning in. Remember, don’t tune out and grab life by the bacon.
Here we go. Well, folks, welcome. I say, I kind of do this radio voice thing – this is the Pederson’s Farms Podcast. But it is. And it’s a conversation with a guy, his name is Diego Diverde. And he works for a company called Green Pasture Chicken. I’m wearing- I’m repping the shirt right here. So hey, shout out to Von Miller. He’s an actor or a player in the company. So I’m repping that. Thanks for bringing the shirt. Tell us who you are. Give us a little bit of this- what I thought was so fun meeting you at the A&M game for just a little short stint, we kind of got to get acquainted. I’m like dude, you got to come on the podcast. The podcast is all about where your food comes from, telling people that story. And that story is always connected to people. And you are one of those people. So, let’s tell a little bit about where you come from, what you’re up to. We might focus on the chicken project for the first part of this conversation, then maybe later, we’ll just go talk about what McConaughey is like to have as a professor or what Von is like in real life. We’ll kind of chase some of those rabbits. First of all, what’s your role at Green Pasture? Is it Pastures, Pasture? I’m afraid I’ll say it wrong. So you tell the people.
Diego Diverde: Greener Pastures Chicken. We raise our birds on grass. We give them certified organic feed, and we’re also a regenerative farm out in Elgin, Texas.
Neil Dudley: So are your birds organic?
Diego Diverde: Yes.
Neil Dudley: So you don’t only feed them organic feed, they are raised on organic pasture, everything about them, so when they go to the grocery store or the restaurant or wherever they go, the end consumer, they’re eating organic chicken.
Diego Diverde: I mean, that’s even down to where the farm was placed. And we can’t have certain other farms or anything that would kind of contaminate our farm anywhere in the area.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, there you go. That is interesting. Organic farms do have to have this little bit of space that keeps them away from drift, etcetera, from other farmers and ranchers in the area that aren’t following those organic practices. Where do Greener Pastures- I mean, why did it even start, why is it alive? Well, timeout, what’s your role over there at the company?
Diego Diverde: Oh, yeah, I’m the Sales Director. So I’m responsible for our marketing and our sales. So I create content, I work on our blog, our videos, our Instagram, we created this series called Crossing the Road.
Neil Dudley: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Diego Diverde: To get to greener pastures.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, that’s a good play.
Diego Diverde: And so it’s been cool. That’s been a fun campaign to roll out. It’s just 30 to 60 second bits of content that we roll out once a week where we get people to really understand, because people are used to just tastes like chicken. 99%, over 99% of the chicken in our country is from confined animal feeding operations. And we are really raising the birds out on grass. We’re moving the houses every day. It’s a very different, very involved operation. But our farm team is amazing. And I’m proud to be a part of it. But to your second question-
Neil Dudley: Where did it come from?
Diego Diverde: So it started with two of the original founders, Cameron and Paul. Cameron’s background is in farming. He used to work at Coyote Creek World’s Best Eggs. He met Paul. Paul’s background is in poultry, academia through Texas A&M, also sales. And they just kind of noticed that there really wasn’t organic broiler products out on the market, and especially here. I mean, we’re the only one in Texas that raises them on grass, gets them certified organic feed. And in the whole country, we’re the only one with our level of certification. So we’re USDA organic, part of the Real Organic Project, non GMO, Go Texan, Certified Humane. So we’ve gone above and beyond, and we’re in the process of scaling that.
Neil Dudley: I love- so you rattled off a lot of claims. Do you think that confuses- see, this is now we’re going to get into a little bit of the nitty gritty of where your food comes from and what I want this conversation to provide for our listeners, for anybody that you might share it with. How many people do you think actually understand all that stuff you rattled off?
Diego Diverde: Oh, very, very few. It’s still very new. I mean, I even did a presentation, we did a presentation at Texas A&M for their poultry science department and there’re students that had no idea even that you can raise chickens on grass. So even the pasture raised movement is still relatively new.
Neil Dudley: Sure. Well, I’m in- Pederson’s is mainly pork, which I’m jealous of beef and chicken because they both sell more nationally than pork. Although we’re coming for you pretty hard. Ultimately, I like all proteins to succeed. I think animal protein is a super highly nutrition dense food, and Americans, really globally everybody should, if they can have access to that animal protein, it really is a step to health, and health is super important to me. I think it’s important to our company. It’s important to success of capitalism at kind of its core. Do you agree with that?
Diego Diverde: Yeah, 100%. And I think there’s a lot of movements happening to try to scare people out of eating animals, or they don’t realize like the proteins you might get out of like a vegan or vegetarian diet, it’s not the same proteins you’re going to get from animals. And it’s a really important detail that I think a lot of people are just ignoring for the sake of call it political identities.
Neil Dudley: Well, I could chase that rabbit a long ways. I’m going to let him run on. Because I really want- so these claims that you guys work really hard to qualify for, to have the ability to say about your product, what’s the value in that for you? Are you able to get into customers that you wouldn’t have otherwise, charge more money than you wouldn’t have been able to otherwise? Like, sometimes we talk about a lot of claims. Consumers don’t understand them. What is the value? Why do you do it?
Diego Diverde: Yeah, we pursue partnerships. We’re not- I don’t see our role as just a supplier dropping off some product, but true partnerships, down to the content we create because we’re telling a story. I feel like we have a very compelling story because chicken’s been the same since World War II. It’s kind of born out of that factory farming paradigm. And it’s still the same. It is a commodity. But I think there’s a lot of good that can be done by reclaiming the chicken. I think that chickens taken a bad rap for a long time as far as poultry documentaries or the vast majority of the industry just not being transparent. Ag Gag laws are just not- good luck asking them for a tour of their farms. Versus us, we lean into- I mean, that’s something I’ve really tried to intentionally consciously do is to lean into the transparency that the owners allow me to pursue. And so, we create content in the brooder. We show them what’s it like, what it’s like in the pasture house, and even down to communicating with partners, distributors, chefs. So, to your point about what do these claims, the certifications that I listed off, what do they do, I think there’s a lot of emotion tied into those values. And it’s really important and that’s how we’ve been able to get some of the most- I mean, we already work with the top chefs in Austin. We’re partnering with Kanji that are now in Bon Appetit and Food and Wine and incredibly- like they’re up there. There’s no Michelins in Texas, but they would be pushing that kind of bar. Nixta, Edgar just got James Beard Best New Restaurant and just on Time Magazine, 100 influential people. We work with amazing chefs – [inaudible 8:52], Barley Swine, Bryce, he’s been nominated for James Beard seven times. So this first year, this is only my first year, I’ve tried to partner with chefs that help kind of- chefs with brand, they’ve already kind of pushed their creative limits, and they continue to push them, and it’s great to be able to partner with chefs like that because that really speaks- it allows them, they more speak for our brand than me having to tell people how amazing we are. It easier for the consumer to understand if that- that’s my long winded tangent on answering your question.
Neil Dudley: That adds respect and validity to your story, to your brand. When those partners agree and use it and their consumers, their customers experience that great eating. Like ultimately, it needs to taste really good. There is a certain small subset of consumers, meat eaters, who don’t care what it tastes like. I think of bodybuilders. They need a certain set of macros and they’re going to get that and they don’t give a damn if it tastes good or not. They’re going to eat these things because that’s what they need to do the thing they’re after. I mentioned McConaughey earlier being your professor. I saw this thing, I don’t know, YouTube video, YouTube short, something, I was sitting around watching something. And he was talking about when he takes a lot of these transformational roles like body transformation, so from- he gets super skinny.
Diego Diverde: Like Dallas Buyers Club.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, that, that was actually what he was talking about. Sometimes people eat something they don’t even care, like they don’t- it doesn’t have to taste good. They have a different expectation of their diet than enjoying it. It’s doing a thing. It’s either gaining weight, losing weight, going for a certain physique. McConaughey did that with some of his- he was just saying once he decided that he needed to lose that weight, needed to look a certain way to play that role, it was just like flip that switch, ate the same thing every day, all the red wine he wanted, and bam, made the weight, got into that character. So for all those people, this statement doesn’t really ring true. But for everybody else, we want it to taste good. That’s what chefs want. Chefs use product that they can feel really confident is going to be a great eating experience. Because that’s what they- that’s their job, provide great eating experiences.
Diego Diverde: I mean, especially in that we work with a lot of high, high end chefs, and they’re elevating an everyday experience that we all share – we all eat every day. And they’re elevating it for their customers. One of our customers got an eater, because they’re charging $80 a plate for our chicken, it was like a half chicken. It’s called Pecan Square, they’re part of McGuire Moorman. But it’s those kinds of operations that are constantly trying to create an incredible experience. And the food is everything. A lot of- I mean, I’ve been surprised, the more I meet with different people, just how many chefs or managers will cut corners when it comes to sourcing food. And I’m proud that it’s not- those aren’t the kind of partners we-
Neil Dudley: It’s the pricing thing. That’s why you’re finding success and want to work with the higher end guys because they don’t have a price, their clientele typically doesn’t, they typically don’t have a real price sensitive viewpoint of things. Yeah, I mean, they’re still going to care. I mean, their food cost matters. They have to stay in business, so they have to make a margin. But they know their clientele is willing to pay 80 bucks for a half chicken. I mean, look, we play in places that deal with upper end disposable income kind of people because what we do is not cheap to do. And there’s a place for all of it. I mean, the more affordable product has to be there. It has a real utility in our market. The things that we do, those claims, they have real utility, they have real value to the people that are spending those dollars, and that’s, I say, they’re voting with those dollars to propel these things into the future.
Diego Diverde: Yeah, no, and you hit it right there with the value. I mean, when these conversations ultimately happen whether someone decides to partner with us or not, we’ve had enough conversations or they visited the farm, it’s cost versus value. And there’s a big, fast casual chain that we’ve been speaking to, and I asked him, what you currently use, even though maybe it’s like half the cost of our chicken, is it even 25% of the quality? He said no. So, these are the kinds of opportunities that we’re excited to pursue. And we’re scaling up to kind of keep- because there’s way too much demand for the supply. But we’re new. We’re a new farm. Back to your question about how it started, Cameron and Paul really started testing out what the process would be on the farm back in 2018. And like I said, I’ve been with the farm a little over a year, and I’m the first salesperson. And so now, I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish so far. But we got a lot of big goals still.
Neil Dudley: That’s right. The second a company decides to hire a salesperson focused on that, then you know there’s a real expectation of growing, growth, those kinds of things. A lot of startups, a lot of farmers, I’d say farmers and ranchers are all salespeople in some way, but that’s not their focus. That’s not the thing they love. Sales kind of sounds like a dirty word to them.
Diego Diverde: I mean, often it seems to be like out of necessity. I’m on the board of directors at the Sustainable Food Center, and the SFC does a lot of work with ranchers and farmers to try to help them make that connection to other restaurants or other folks who might be able to buy their product, whereas they usually don’t have either the skills or the means to try to make that happen on their own because sales isn’t- I don’t think it’s as easy as someone would assume it is. For me, it’s a lot of asking the right questions as opposed to rattling off some pitch and getting to really understand do our values align. I don’t waste time with anyone who doesn’t align with our values, regardless how big or small they are.
Neil Dudley: Look, you might get a PO, but it won’t be a fun partnership. Like you might get a PO, you might sell them something, but they will be paying more money than they really wanted to, they won’t value those things. That’s why you have to just try to stay away from those opportunities. And that makes sales hard because it limits your opportunity.
Diego Diverde: Yeah. And it affects your brand. Every single partnership that you pursue, then it is kind of like it’s just nodes going out there. And it’s just your brand in the mind of consumers is slowly growing into one thing or another. And you can control that by deciding who your partners are going to be.
Neil Dudley: I love how you talk about brand a lot. It’s the thing you have. Like, ultimately, you’re going to underlay products under your brand, you’re going to underlay content, you’re going to underlay people, but at the end of the day, the brand is the thing. That is the thing you have that can be super unique, super valuable. It’s that story.
Diego Diverde: Exactly, its story. If you could interchange them, it is the story. And that’s why I’m so excited to be a part of it. My background is more in media. I mean, I’ve worked in food before, but that’s what really attracted me to this opportunity is it’s one of those once in a lifetime opportunities where it’s a new brand, which doesn’t come with the baggage of the rest of the poultry industry, clean slate, Von makes it fun. That shirt, that’s our first virtual kitchen. We’ve been testing it out. We tested it out at Von Miller Day. We tested it out at Texas A&M when I met you. It rained, rained on our TV, but we’re still going to keep going.
Neil Dudley: Tell me about those virtual kitchens. So I’m wearing the virtual kitchen shirt.
Diego Diverde: Yeah, that is Wing Riot. So that’s like our elevated wings virtual kitchen. And a virtual kitchen basically means that there’s no physical restaurant you’re stepping into.
Neil Dudley: Oh, but I could order these?
Diego Diverde: Eventually, yes, yes. Right now we’re just testing the concept, the operation, the recipes are getting really good feedback. It’s one of our partners developed the recipes, Eric Silverstein. He is on Plate Magazine’s Top 30 Up and Coming Chefs in America, incredible entrepreneur. He used to be an attorney, actually, but his dad was in the food industry, and I think he always kind of had that in his heart grown up, and he’s this great story from Austin. He did the food trucks, sweated out the food trucks after leaving law and built up his business into Peached Tortilla and Bar Peached. And they’re opening another location and Social House. And then he started developing virtual kitchens, Fat City stacks, but virtual kitchen is basically like a license. And you create a brand, recipes, content, we’re lucky to have someone like Von. Now you call them influencers. He didn’t have to call himself an influencer. He’s a real guy, real celebrity. And people love him. Like when we post about anything farm related, it gets good traction, but anything Von or football related, 80% better performance.
Neil Dudley: It’s interesting how football can hold such a place in our culture where not everybody plays football, it is not important to sustaining your life. Food is way more important than football. Sorry, Von. It really is. Although our culture flocks to that grid iron, that competition. So having that access to Von and somebody that has that kind of influence in that circle or realm, man, that’s a big thing for a brand.
Diego Diverde: That audience, at the end of the day, I think marketing or it’s about getting in front of the right people. It’s not just some kind of robotic I need to post today or I need to put content out right now. But are you getting in front of the right eyes? And are you being intentional about who you’re promoting your products to I think is really important.
Neil Dudley: Why did Von come on board, or do you know the answer that question? Like, what’s up with that?
Diego Diverde: Yeah. So it started with Cameron and Paul. And I believe Paul eventually recruited Von because Paul’s from the Texas A&M department.
Neil Dudley: I gotcha. I gotcha. So they got an Aggie connection.
Diego Diverde: Von’s actually the big boss. He’s the big boss.
Neil Dudley: He’s the big boss. So he owns it?
Diego Diverde: Slightly, slightly. Like the majority.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, there you go. Cool. See, I didn’t know that. There you go, folks. Now you get-
Diego Diverde: People always assume he’s just the face or something. But he’s invested a lot into what we do. And it’s a big reason why we’ve had the luxury of time to figure out the process before we go out to market. That’s something a lot of farmers and ranchers don’t get. They just, they want to make it happen and then they got to jump right into the sales. Between 2018, I came on 2021. So they had years to really figure out the farm before jumping into the market.
Neil Dudley: Well, and I think it lends a lot of credibility to your- let’s say, Von’s made a dime or two being an NFL player. So he’s got some investment capital. And he just strikes me as the kind of guy who doesn’t just throw it around hoping he gets lucky. He’s probably investing money in places he thinks are either super valuable to him or have a real upside into the future, or both of those things. Probably most likely both of those things. So to me, that’s really cool. You got that kind of support within the organization and within the ownership.
Diego Diverde: Yeah, I mean, I can’t speak to the way he invests his money personally, but I know the way we operate, it’s not like, I never ask for some kind of arbitrary marketing budget. If I ask for something to promote something, it’s intentional. And honestly, it’s still been very little because we’re mainly focused on wholesale and distributors. We are preparing, we’re working on our packaging for major retail. I think he’s been incredible. And when I’ve worked with him, he’s been incredible. First time I met him was Von Miller Day. It was so crazy, man. It was at a park right by his high school in DeSoto. And he just- it’s a free event. And he has all these food trucks and games and stuff. And he makes himself available to every single person that wants to come up and sign, he makes time for it. So we did a video together promoting Wing Riot, the start of it. And then he recently did another video for us that we’re actually promoting to A&M, just getting people to order from our online shop. Now we have that setup. That’s how new we are. We have web fulfilment partners now for our online shop.
Neil Dudley: Tell me about your philosophy, or was this part of kind of- this going towards wholesale, going towards chefs, starting the brand there, was that kind of already in motion when you came along? Or has that been an intentional play? Pederson’s, we started at retail. Like pretty much day one, we were just going into grocery stores, showing the product, and looked into a relationship with Whole Foods. And over time, they’re our biggest customer, and they keep growing our business because they grow their business. That turns out to be a little bit- It’s just one way of doing it. Now we’re thinking about, man, we got to build these relationships with these chefs and stuff. So there’s a question in there somewhere.
Diego Diverde: We still don’t have the packaging for retail. We have partnered with a great ad agency to start developing that. And that was already kind of in place. We’d have a few chef partners when I got started. And that’s been the main focus. We don’t have the real retail packaging.
Neil Dudley: I think it’s so fun and interesting and a truth about where your food comes from, like what you get at the restaurant, what you get at the grocery store, what you get at school or wherever, wherever you’re consuming food, it’s relationships. I guarantee Greener Pastures had a relationship with a chef, Von had a relationship, somewhere there was a relationship so that kind of becomes the least resistance, path of least resistance. That’s where you go. Pederson’s, we happen to have a relationship in retail, so that’s kind of our path of least resistance.
Diego Diverde: Cameron, our CEO, he’d worked in the food industry even before he did World’s Best Eggs. He’d had one of the first fast casual all organics called Tera Burger. It’s back in like 2008, 2009ish, I believe. So he had a lot of those relationships kind of already existing. And so he was able to get our chicken, I believe, to Barley Swine, and for people who don’t know, Bryce has been nominated for a James Beard award I think like seven times, phenomenal chef, and that was a foundation I was able to build on and keep growing.
Neil Dudley: Cool. I mean, that’s all really interesting. So let’s dive into you a little bit more. Like everybody, that’s kind of the introduction to Greener Pastures, their structure, their ownership, what their brand is all about. Oh, I did want to ask one thing. What about the breed of chicken? Do you have a specific breed y’all use? Or do you just kind of any chicken just as long as they’re on pasture?
Diego Diverde: It’s not a heritage bird. We get it from a hatchery. And the same with the feed. I mean, ideally, it’ll all be vertically integrated one day, but that’s not our own.
Neil Dudley: Well, cool. I mean, so this is what people are going to hear out there. There’s these arguments across the board about, there’s this company called Cooks Ventures, and there’s this company called Pasture Bird, there’s this company called Greener Pasture Chicken. And each and every person is trying to tell their true story about it. I like exploring all those things. I mean, you might be in your head saying, you sorry bastard, why are you giving those other people airtime?
Diego Diverde: No, no, I’m actually glad you’re putting them there because, frankly, they just don’t have our process and they don’t have our- the big differentiator is going to be the organic, it’s the feed, it’s the investment, it’s the risk. That’s a risk. It’s not just we are organic and just for the sake of it or for the marketing, but it’s a huge risk. It’s a significant, very significant part of our cost. And that’s something that they don’t do at the moment. And good luck- It’s tough. In the summer and in the winter, you got to fight hard. And our farm team’s fought really hard, either through process or even adding equipment.
Neil Dudley: We’re having a drought in Texas. So what’s the word from the farm with regards to that? Is that affecting your herd?
Diego Diverde: It did a little bit, but we’re building our own processing plant. And there’s a process by which we’re filtering the water, the plant is on sight, and then it’s going out to the field. So that’s kind of the long term solution.
Neil Dudley: Do you have any humanely raising claims that go with it?
Diego Diverde: Well, that’s one of our certifications, Certified Humane.
Neil Dudley: Okay, Certified Humane. See, I was thinking of Global Animal Partnership, that’s another one of those options for- that’s one Pederson’s uses. We’re certainly familiar with Certified Humane. We use some Certified Humane product. What’s interesting about Global Animal Partnership is that processing facility right there on the farm is almost unheard of. It’s a really extremely focused and intentional way of taking care of the animals, I think. That’s a big kudos to you guys. And within Global Animal Partnership, that puts you on a really high- they do a numbered system, 1, 2, 3, up to 5 plus. If you’re harvesting the animals on site, or they never leave the farm, that’s like- and you can’t get more kind of quality- also quality of life for the animals because they’re not going on trucks and traveling these huge amounts of distance to go get killed. That’s really what happens to animals. That’s how we have them to eat. Everybody’s pretty sensitive to that word.
Diego Diverde: I mean, I’ve had to just get past that. Like, I show the chicks and the brooders in some of our videos. It just it is what it is. But I want people to see that they’re happy, that they’re moving around, they have space to move. In your average chicken coop, they got no space. They can’t even open their wings. Whereas our birds have, I think it’s about five to six pounds per square foot. We don’t do it by like space, but it’s more like weight per square foot. It is more accurate we feel.
Neil Dudley: That’s kind of cool. I never thought about it like that. That’s a way I’ve never heard it put before – pounds of bird per space. Ultimately, everything comes down to the pound though. If you’re at like in the Pederson’s boardroom, we’re talking about everything in pounds. It’ll go back to head, back to feed, back to all these things. But kind of the last piece of the puzzle is pounds of bacon or sausage or chicken breast or chicken thigh. So cool. All right, so there we go. We’ve explored the breed. I think, to the consumers listening, to the retailers or chefs listening, you got to check out Greener Pasture chicken. And what I love about Diego is he’s going to make sure you hear the story. And that’s the thing that sets them apart. It’s the thing that gives them, gives you the opportunity to have some differentiation and provide something for your customers, consumers, etc., they can really sink their teeth into.
Diego Diverde: I appreciate it. Yeah, go to greenerpastureschicken.com. You can order it straight to your house now.
Neil Dudley: So I will put all these- we’ll put links to all this stuff in the show notes, so everybody can reference that real quick and easy. Now, onto Diego and how this guy from the media world, from this kind of meandering path ends up being the sales and marketing director for a kind of startup chicken company. So let’s explore your story a little bit. What’s your family like? What was your- have you got brothers and sisters?
Diego Diverde: Yeah, I got a couple sisters.
Neil Dudley: So where’d you come from?
Diego Diverde: But yes, I’m from Orange County, California.
Neil Dudley: Boo. It’s really not that bad.
Diego Diverde: I was about to almost apologize. I don’t feel guilty about being from California because I went to UT and I still take class there. So it’s my continuing education, if you will.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, we got to touch on that once we passed who you are, where you came from.
Diego Diverde: But yeah, so my mom’s an entrepreneur, and my dad works in aerospace. So I had a kind of a weird background there. But my mom’s side of the family works in media. So from a young age, one of them has a production company, and other has an ad agency. They used to run a bunch of Blockbusters in Mexico. So I learned from a young age being on set in Burbank. I always like to tell people there’s no real city called Hollywood; it doesn’t exist. Did you know that?
Neil Dudley: No, I didn’t. I thought- maybe I think West Hollywood. Maybe these are areas.
Diego Diverde: There’s North Hollywood is a city. It’s like Burbank, it’s LA and Santa Monica. Hollywood’s a-
Neil Dudley: A sign on a hill.
Diego Diverde: -an emotional dream. It’s not real. I always like to tell people that. Yeah, so from a young age being on set learning, being on music video shoots, TV shows and stuff and learning all that. And then at the ad agency in Mexico, my uncle has great clients like Nike, Pepsi. So I got very lucky just learning fun, creative stuff from a very young age. And then strangely enough, the second part to that is why I have been meandering and wandering around and doing different stuff, my dad- when I was in high school, this would have been 2006, ’05, my dad was like, I’m going to go meet this guy from Africa who wants to go build his own rockets and cars, and that turned out to be Elon Musk. So, I would have never had the concept of trying to consciously learn the different avenues of media and putting it all together without that. I mean, I didn’t know what he looked like. I didn’t know his name was Elon Musk. That’s how long- there was no iPhone back then. And I was very young, but it was just such a strong impression. And then getting to visit SpaceX and see like, wow, this is very inspiring.
Neil Dudley: There are people out here that think about going to Mars. I mean, I don’t think about that. I don’t ever think about that unless we’re talking right now. But there are people who do. There’s a group of people within, I don’t know, Elon’s organization, that’s what they think about. I mean, they probably don’t think about raising chickens. It’s kind of cool how we’re also diverse, different, unique. It makes me sad when we can’t get along. Everybody picks these kinds of political stances or hills or etc.
Diego Diverde: I think our communication tools are to blame. And I learned that through another project, I worked on a software startup starting in late 2013. There’s a couple projects that predate Greener Pastures Chicken that will help kind of answer the question, why is this weirdo working at this farm?
Neil Dudley: Sure. Well, let’s explore them.
Diego Diverde: Yeah, so it’s a web app. And it has a different kind of user interface. And it’s not for the phone. But it really helped me, it opened my eyes to how powerful and how dangerous I think these communication tools are in the sense that nothing is in context. If you ask somebody, what were you looking at on Instagram 30 seconds ago, for the life of them, they will never be able to answer that question. These are just tools that people are using to communicate. And TikTok is no better. They’re great for what we use to promote food because food is great. It’s great to show food. But unfortunately, these are just the way people are taking in information, especially younger people. And I think information overload is real. And we just don’t have the right tools to absorb all these bytes of information that are just hitting us every second and every day. And it’s wild. To speak to this polarization you’re talking about, I would say that’s the number one culprit.
Neil Dudley: I agree. I mean, we’re pretty different people, ultimately, you and me, but we get along just fine. And we’ll probably have some different viewpoints about things, politics or even economics, all these things. To me, that’s 90% of America thinks that’s cool. It’s kind of cool we have differences of opinion. And it’s going to be hard for you to change mine, it’s going to be hard for me to change yours because we have lived a certain life that has made those things real real, real real to us. I mean, that’s my experience. I grew up on a ranch, living these ways, being taught by people that I love and are my heroes to think about things these ways. It doesn’t mean that’s right. It means that was my experience, so I don’t have any other way to build an opinion without you and me or me and anybody talking about that. So there we go. That’s our political jaunt.
Diego Diverde: And if I might add, there was something I’d read and Professor McConaughey had done. I was reading I think an interview recently where- actually, it might have been from his press conference after Uvalde. I’m sorry if I’m mistaking it. But he was just talking about how much more we really have in common than I think we’re being told by, let’s say, mainstream media. And I think mainstream media is just in this tough spot where digital online platforms and content are just overtaking it. And there’s that conflict happening where they don’t know what to do money wise. And so they fly to these extremes. And that’s why they like us to think, I think, that we’re all so different. But I would like to think we have a lot more in common and a lot more shared interests then what a lot of I think mainstream media wants us to believe.
Neil Dudley: And it’s attention. Eyeballs and attention and action from humans on Earth is monetizable. And money is this leverage that every company needs, is looking for, I’m looking for personally. I want to have that leverage to go where I want, when I want, with who I want, and how I want. I mean, I think everybody kind of wants those things. When that starts driving every decision you make and your happiness and those kinds of things, that’s when I think you’ve got a real question to ask yourself. But until then, I think it’s good. It’s a great pursuit to go build these things. So media is no different. They’re running to the edges because that’s where they get the attention and the eyeballs. But you’ll have 1 or 2%, maybe, let’s say 10% even on either side driving the narrative. When I mean, I watch most of it. I’m just like that’s not me. That’s not like me. So maybe you’re listening. And maybe this is my chance to just say, just because you see it doesn’t mean everybody’s that way or that everybody agrees. That is media, social media. When I say media, I mean TV, Hulu, Facebook, all of them, that’s their attempt to get your attention and keep it.
Diego Diverde: Yeah, people don’t seem to have the time of day to want to go verify information or put things in context. It just seems to be harder. And I understand just because just seems like there’s just way too much new information. There’s something happening all the time on your phone, and you’re just overwhelmed with stuff. And people have to kind of cling to what they know in order to make sense of the world. I think we just need better tools.
Neil Dudley: And just every single human now with the phone and social media is a reporter. They can be a reporter, somebody that is offering a subjective viewpoint on things and how right that is. It’s crazy. I mean, I watched one thing, this younger kid – I don’t know, I want to say Gen Z, but I don’t want to offend all the Gen Zers – was talking about drinking strawberry milk and how he was really excited that he had found strawberry milk because it wasn’t from cows. Like he thought they were milking strawberries or that whatever liquid he was drinking.
Diego Diverde: How old was he?
Neil Dudley: I’m saying Gen Z. I don’t know, in his teens, maybe early 20s, something like that. But it’s just ignorance. And there’s nothing wrong with ignorance. It’s not like you can help that. You just don’t know. Like you’ve just not had a chance to learn the truth.
Diego Diverde: I think another point to that too is I think there’s- I wish people could let- and it’s easier said than done. You can’t control what’s happening in people’s homes. But I wish a lot more people could let things go. It seems like whether it’s Twitter or something, people want to comment on everything that’s happening. It sometimes it’s like someone recently in pop culture is Kanye West. Everyone wants to comment on him. Wrong or right, whatever, I’m not commenting on him directly. But why can’t you just ignore him? Why do you have to say anything? Why can’t you just acknowledge?
Neil Dudley: You’ve been real close to that. I’m curious, like you have a great perspective, I’m guessing, on celebrity, on fame, just growing up in Orange County, your mom being in media, just the people you’re around, Von, taking class from McConaughey. What do you think about that? What is the value or what is the scariest thing about it in your mind?
Diego Diverde: I mean, I’m certainly not famous, so I can’t talk about it firsthand. It’s hard to say. It depends on I think what you would define success as. Some people are- all those people are chasing different things. Von didn’t get into football to become famous. He loves football. And I would say Professor McConaughey didn’t get into- I mean, he loves acting. He loves movies. He was actually studying film. He wasn’t necessarily studying to be an actor. He was in the same program I was, just happened to be at a bar where there’s a producer that happened to be making Dazed and Confused and kind of- but Professor McConaughey, his family is very successful. And he has the mentality for it. He would have been successful one way or another. But I think there are definitely a lot of people now who want the quick, easy route to fame and money. And that’s obviously a problem.
Neil Dudley: You’re hitting- you are thinking the thing, or you’re saying the thing I hope the listeners get. Fame is not the thing. Fame is not success. Fame is sometimes a result.
Diego Diverde: I mean, who wants photographers outside their house or their window or wherever you’re going to eat or where you’re going to- who would want that just in general? I think if you want that, you probably need to see a therapist or you’re sick. Like, who consciously craves that? I think that’s wrong.
Neil Dudley: That’s a tough truth with that fame. I think people think fame equals money. There’s fame that doesn’t equal money. You don’t want that one. Man, anyways, that’s a really great thing I hope everybody thinks about, like, hey, go do that thing. And not everybody gets to just live this life of doing their passion. If your passion is knitting scarves, you may not be able to make a living doing that. Mike Rowe put it- I love Mike Rowe. I like Dirty Jobs. I like the things he does. That guy’s a great study in just conversation. His vocabulary is huge. But he just is fun to listen to. He says something like, you may not get to do your passion for a living, but learn how to take passion to whatever it is you do, whether it’s cleaning the sewers. That is part of what he learned in Dirty Jobs is these people that make these livings and do these great things and keep these huge metropolitan areas going, these farmers and ranchers even feeding, they might be super passionate about some other thing, but they know how to also apply the passion of just life in what they do. My dad taught me some of those things. Like Neil, you have to learn how to find this beautiful thing about this very boring, monotonous job of building this fence. When somebody walks up to this guy laying the bricks, does he say I’m building a wall, or does he say I’m building a cathedral? It’s like how do you choose to take your perspective on it.
Diego Diverde: And if I can add to that, I mean, I would argue, though, I know we’ve talked a lot about maybe the bad things about the internet. But some of the good things about the internet is it’s allowing so many people with these niche passions that couldn’t be monetized before, they can make it happen. Then it comes down to the marketing part, and not everyone has that, but they do have a phone. And I think one thing that’s interesting about younger generations is they seem to have a different tolerance for what they like or they don’t like, and they’ll call it out a lot faster per se than someone who might just say, oh, that’s nice. So if you’re passionate about something, I mean, I think there’s never been a better time to try to figure it out. I think people have might have a hundred different definitions on marketing. But to me, it’s like just generating leads. So if you’re making some kind of content, some kind of video, somewhere in there you should be thinking about how is this going to generate leads. A lot of people just fling it about, and sometimes that works for people, but it’s a very small percentage.
Neil Dudley: I’m one of those fling it about people. I don’t- like luckily there’s people on the team that add the strategy. But I’m like more about action. I mean, I want to be- I prefer doing something as opposed to perfecting it before you go. Like I like to go- And I’ve gotten a lot better. I mean, over the years, 20 years now, I just almost couldn’t help but get better just because I kept doing it. But I still have a long ways to go. And the strategy piece is the part that is harder for me because it slows down the action. It’s not right or wrong. It’s just a perspective.
Diego Diverde: It makes sense. You don’t want anything you put out to feel contrived or stuffy or to rehearsed. So I totally understand what you mean.
Neil Dudley: I think anybody listening, anybody, I don’t care if you’re working for a company, own your own company, thinking about starting your own company, marketing is a huge piece of it. And if you will use a little bit of me and Diego potentially or just action, but do something, but have some strategy. Like, okay cool, how is this going to be converted to either money or attention or leverage or something?
Diego Diverde: I would recommend you just certainly shouldn’t be afraid to fail. I think that’s what holds back everyone who is afraid of putting themselves out there. It can be family, friends, it can be just whatever, those influences around them that scare them out of even trying. And to have the patience to really try something different maybe next time if it didn’t work the first time. It’s that saying about being crazy, it’s just you keep the same thing over and over again.
Neil Dudley: Expecting a different result. Why are you not scared? Like, what makes you not scared of failing? I mean, are you?
Diego Diverde: I mean, I’ve definitely failed a lot. So that would be the first part of the question. I’ve been consciously trying to make stuff happen for a while now. I mean, I left UT the first time. I went for three years. And it wasn’t because I got bad grades. I got Dean’s list a couple of times I’m proud to say, worked really hard. I was working on other student films and also studying theater across the street, trying to make it happen. But I would definitely say the things that didn’t work out- I think the most important creative thing to know is what you don’t like. There was another person that inspired me was Robert Rodriguez. And I got- early in my career, I got to spend time with his brother. And he kind of took me under his wing, shot a commercial together, did some- shot some theater together, and he’d take me out for dinner after and we’d just vent about being in family businesses. But anyways, in Robert’s book, it’s called Rebel Without a Crew, he encourages filmmakers to make as much, create as much as possible, because you need to get the bad stuff out of your system. There’s this idea in your head that you’re just going to show up, in the context of a filmmaker, you’re going to show up and you’re going to create this Oscar winning short film or something, and that’s absolutely not the truth.
Neil Dudley: Have you ever, living in Austin, happened to bump into Ryan Holiday? Do you know who that is?
Diego Diverde: I’ve heard of him. He’s got the marketing books, right?
Neil Dudley: Its more stoicism and ego is the enemy.
Diego Diverde: But he does a lot of marketing I thought.
Neil Dudley: I think the reason we know about it is because he does marketing. So he was just talking about how in stoicism and those concepts and those things that these stoics, men and women over the ages, really drive forward is asking yourself those questions like just what your- what do you not like? What do you like? How do you want to try to not do that again? Ryan Holiday is just an example. There’s a lot of them out there. Be willing- I challenge people, I think it’s worth your time to try those things, to listen to what those people have to say, continuing education like you’re talking about. I say listen to those podcasts. It is one reason we record this podcast. It gives somebody a thing to listen to that adds value to their brain. Is it going to give them a 123 step to multimillionaire? No. I would argue there is no such thing as that. Like Tony Robbins, whoever you want to say, like you could go follow their steps and you’re going to do well. But it’s not going to work exactly the same for everybody because there’s different relationships, there’s different people, all those things.
Diego Diverde: Yeah, I remember when I was- after I left UT, I was directing music videos for a while and I remember I’d shoot a music video, I’d put it out and you always put something out with the best intentions. Like I did my best, I really put my all into this. Then six months later, you look back, and you’re like oh man, I would have done this, this, and this differently. But that’s where the growth is. Now you’re learning what you don’t like. And I think that’s more important to creating anything than what you do like because I’m sure you’ve met those people who are fascinated by everything. You can’t get them to focus on anything. It’s part discipline to an extent. But willing to try things and not being afraid to put it out there and get feedback. That is the brutal part of the internet. I think sometimes people just get crushed or humiliated. I can’t say it’s happened to me yet. It could happen one day, if I put something out there, and it’s garbage. But I think for the people that do want to go out and start things, you got to start somewhere. And start small, start with something that- build up, build up.
Neil Dudley: Well, I mean, you’re touching on it. An interview I heard with Ryan Holliday, he was saying something like, I don’t write my books so they’re successful. I write them because I have to write them. I have to write them. I have to do this thing because it’s what I have to do in life. I don’t have a choice. They may end up being successful. They may not. That’s a similar way to business. Pederson’s has to do this because it’s how- it is our company, it is what we’re about. Greener Pastures has to do this. These are things that- does the world end up loving it? We can’t be in charge of that. You got to do the things that you can be in charge of. All these interviews are just popping in my head. Like I’m listening to Lil Wayne, the rapper, talk about his process for writing. Somebody’s like, well, how long does it take you to write 16 bars? And this is, I don’t know how old he was, but he’s already had this big career. So I got to believe he’s had the big career already. He’s done these things. So it might take me seven weeks. And they’re laughing like, what? 16 bars? Yeah, because I don’t want to say the same thing twice, and I’ve said a lot. So he has to really- the longer you get, the deeper you get into your career and the things you’ve done, the harder it gets to continually do a new thing, do something that’s adding value that you haven’t already done. To me, that was huge. I was like, holy crap, Lil Wayne, man, you’re killing it with that. That truth makes me appreciate his work even more, like he goes at it that hard. I don’t want to say the same thing twice, it’s pretty cool.
Diego Diverde: And I’m sure there’s people. I mean, I would imagine there’s people listening who have that, like what you’re talking about earlier, that feeling inside where I have to do this. But there’re probably external pressures or forces that are just discouraging them from even trying to get started out of fear. But I would definitely encourage you to start anyways.
Neil Dudley: We still haven’t got the real answer of how you are able to not be afraid of failing. Does that come from your mom, come from your dad, come from experiences with your siblings?
Diego Diverde: I think my parents definitely deserve a ton of credit because they’ve always encouraged me to do what I want. I wasn’t like forced to be the doctor or the lawyer or anything like that or to become the next rocket scientist or something like that. It was always a lot of positive encouragement to go out and do whatever I was passionate about. I think my first couple years of high school went really well and I was doing well in school. And then, we had some family stuff happen. And so I just kind of didn’t feel the same. And so, I kind of had this fresh start out here. And as I was thinking about what I really wanted to do, this is kind of where, like I explained, it was a combination of working and creative stuff from a young age and then this concept of this guy who does all these different things, and rockets and cars and the boring company, how do you put it all together? And I found that consciously- by now I’ve worked in entertainment, advertising, journalism, I used to edit the nightly news out in LA when I was in my early 20s. I hated that. But I don’t know. I mean, I still have a lot of failing left to do. I know it’s going to happen. But I don’t try to.
Neil Dudley: But I almost- when we’re training horses, I was taught at an early age, that the bad day, the day that the horse and you just are really having a tough day is where all the progress is. That’s where all the progress is. It’s where the next day, you’re going to have a better horse, you’re going to be a better horseman. That’s why I think, I don’t even know a better word for it. Failure doesn’t seem like the right word.
Diego Diverde: Being focused on process. And I think sometimes people are so results oriented, it’s like not being able to see the forest through the trees. Is that the right way to describe that? If you can’t embrace the process, you’re probably doing the wrong thing, I think. If you’re just so results oriented, maybe you’re doing something that maybe you weren’t meant to do or maybe you should find something you’re actually really passionate about if you can’t even enjoy the process. I mean, the reason I’m in Professor McConaughey’s class, I’ve had a mentor- since the days I was directing music videos, one of my neighbors, we got to know each other and he kind of became a mentor. He also went to UT and he has his MBA, but he has a weird background. Like you know Booz Allen? Private Intel. Edward Snowden? So he’s from Booz Allen. So he’s from that firm. He’s worked for the Center of Oklahoma. He’s been a manager at IBM. Weird background. But his buddy was having this crazy midlife crisis that was bringing him down. And he was just venting to me. This is like late 2017. And we were just like joking, kind of cathartically having drinks. It was just like, well, maybe you can just turn this into a screenplay in just a cathartic way to- he’s seeing a therapist, he was just like, man, this is brutal. And it wasn’t even him. It was just his buddy, his childhood buddy just bringing him down. And we turned it into a screenplay, and we would send it out. And this is another example of process. We’d send it out to people who evaluate screenplays out in LA, professionals, it is called the Blacklist. It’s a pretty good platform for independent screenplays. But we’d get feedback and try again. They’d give us suggestions and try again, new draft. Movie drafts don’t happen overnight. I mean, we’ve averaged two drafts a year since 2017. But it’s got a couple of midlife crises. It’s got a cryptocurrency scam. And a man falls in love with a robot. I like the absurd. I like satire. And it’s called Weird Enemies, set in Austin. This is another process example.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, sure. I’ve done enough of these interviews or had enough of these conversations that people will say it in so many different ways, but what it boils down to, please hear this, is anybody and everybody that’s willing to give you some feedback, critical, maybe mostly critical, some might be appraise, those people are pouring into you. Own that, take that, appreciate that as what it is. It’s someone bothering to help you, to try to help you. If you don’t have anybody doing that for you, you’re going to have a tougher road.
Diego Diverde: I would encourage people to look- seek out those people too. If you’re just putting the blinders on and just like, oh, everyone’s just going to love it, that’s not going to happen. I encourage you to find feedback in one way or another. I mean, for me, I can speak for myself, I’m always looking for the criticism. I don’t need someone to pat me on the back because it’s not useful. It’s just not how I’m going to get better at whatever it is I’m working on.
Neil Dudley: You don’t always 180 over a criticism. But like I don’t want everybody to say, oh, well, that means now then anytime somebody tells me I suck, I must have to change and go the other way. Still kind of use your filter. You still have to use your own brain and filter to decide if that advice plays for you.
Diego Diverde: I mean, that happened recently to me. It was earlier this year, we’d sent a new draft to the Blacklist. And for the context, the Blacklist is this- I think like half the Oscar winners have come from the Blacklist. It was started by this gentleman, really bright dude, gone to Harvard, worked for Will Smith and Leonardo DiCaprio. And then he started asking like agents and directors, producers, writers for their favorite unproduced screenplays. And then he started putting a list of the top 10. And it was originally, I believe, an anonymous list. And then eventually it grew to this Blacklist, and now it’s an internet platform where you can seek feedback. But they sent me an evaluation that I disagreed with because they- I don’t know how well you would think American culture would do better with the absurd and satire, but I think Europeans tend to do a little better with that when it comes to movies. And they just did not even engage in that part of the story. And so, I called them out for it. And so, they got me a fresh one, they got me a fresh eval, new person. So there’s definitely got to be that part of you that’s like, but this is what-
Neil Dudley: I’m changing- Like, if I take this feedback and make some action based on it, then I’m going to really be changing the thing that I’m doing.
Diego Diverde: Well, you can’t be trying to please everybody. That’s also a mistake that I think a lot of people can make is trying to please everybody, whatever it is that they’re making. I think that’s a recipe for disaster because then it’s not from you, per se.
Neil Dudley: It plays in the food business 100% too. Every buyer you show your product to thinks you need to tweak it a little bit. I mean, so depending on their leverage and their position, your mindset as a company, you have to decide are you going to change that. I’ve been in a lot of meetings where like, okay, then we’re not a good partner. We are not going to change what we do.
Diego Diverde: I saw an example of that with this ad agency. They were doing some research for us. And one of our first meetings, they showed us not a chicken company but it was another company in a similar field that- where we’re a regenerative farm. And they showed us this packaging from someone, and it was called restorative. And I’m like, so these people want to look like they’re regenerative? Instead, they’re just going to confuse everybody. I mean, can you tell me what restorative is?
Neil Dudley: I have a hard time telling you what regenerative is, in full transparency and truth. I think that’s an interesting word. It’s emerged recently from- into the marketplace. I think consumers have a hard time really knowing what regenerative is. So why don’t you tell us?
Diego Diverde: Sure. So I’ll make it easy from the perspective of the farm. So we engage in rotational grazing. So we’re moving- imagine the chickens are inside a mobile house, and we’re moving that every day. And the chickens are fertilizing the grass. And so that’s helping the soil sequester carbon, and basically, we’re adding soil back to the land by the way we’re farming. As opposed to a lot of mass produced food in this country that’s taking away from the soil, we’re actually regenerating it.
Neil Dudley: There you go. There you go, folks. And you’ll find that’s kind of how every regenerative person explains it. Regeneration, regenerative farming practices, regenerative ranching practices base their thought process on soil health. And that’s what, to me, that’s super important. It’s super hard for people to realize without the soil, food doesn’t happen of any kind.
Diego Diverde: We’re running out of time, too.
Neil Dudley: Yeah. So soil health, when you hear regenerative, think of people who care about the soil health within their operations. Okay, cool. Now, here’s like just an off the wall thought I was have having while we were sitting here talking. I’m wondering what your take is on Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. Are you familiar with that whole thing?
Diego Diverde: I was at the farm that morning. I went to the farm because I’ve spent a lot of time helping out at the farm too. It’s an important part for me just to be able to communicate to our partners-
Neil Dudley: I think that’s really smart, like to go out there. For me, I’m really good because I’ve worked in every piece of Pederson’s. Like I know it well. I was there. I have the scuffed knuckles, I have the pain in my back, all these things that come from doing every little job. So I’m really saying like high five to you for going and getting on the farm and doing that work. It gives you an understanding you can’t get any other way.
Diego Diverde: And definitely setting the right expectations, too, for anyone. I think that’s been very helpful, being on the farm and helping people understand if something comes up, I mean, because it’s not like we’re perfect. But we do offer something compelling. But setting expectations. That’s the whole way that I sell is on setting expectations. I don’t oversell. And the farm team is amazing. So they do- they make my job relatively easy. It’s just a lot of activity to find the right partners. I think we have a world class- We’re in a class of our own, I feel, as far as chicken. But to answer your question, I was there that morning at the farm, and I asked our farm manager, he’s like, oh, I saw it. I was like, oh, my God. What do I think about that?
Neil Dudley: Okay. I’ll make the question a little more pointed. Was that spontaneous or planned?
Diego Diverde: Oh, I don’t think it was planned. Because I think if they had planned it, they would have thought through the repercussions because now he has such a negative- I mean, for movies, the number one indicator of whether a movie is going to be successful or not is the lead actor or actress, their box office. And that’s what I’m trying to learn in Professor McConaughey’s class, how do you take the script to investors and then produce it properly and then have a plan for distribution because distribution has changed since streaming. But I don’t think they would have planned for him to have such negative- People don’t like- I don’t think- Yeah, well, he had this squeaky clean image and this incredible story for so much time. But people aren’t perfect either. Obviously, it was a mistake. It was a big mistake. I thought it was very distasteful how many people still applauded him and gave him his award and stuff and like, dude, you just- you know if you’re sitting up there, you’re going to get roasted. You know that. Why would you take any of that personally? I mean, like we were talking about earlier with criticism, if you’re putting stuff out there, be ready. Don’t put stuff out there if you’re not mentally prepared to take the bad. If you’re sitting in the front row there, you are sitting there with the expectation that they’re going to pick on you. They’ve done it every year. And they’re going to do it every year.
Neil Dudley: They’re going to pick on the most sore scab, whatever, relationship problems they might have been going through, all those things. I mean, it’s just, there’s another one of those reasons I don’t want to be famous because that’s part of what comes with that territory. I mean, you got to train, you have to train to be famous to deal with those things. And you see lots of people that can’t, the sad stories of drug use and suicide and all these things that come from this microscope that you don’t have any tool set for living through or in.
Diego Diverde: I mean, it’s so weird. That’s what our communication tools have almost done. It’s like when do you consciously like just say something to thousands of people at a time? That’s like what a post is or a tweet, whatever. It’s like you’re just communicating to everyone like immediately. And so that’s still kind of new, I feel. And it’s just exponentially crazier, I’m sure, for people who already were working in media before the iPhone. But yeah, I mean, I liked- I was a fan of Will Smith when I was a kid. And it was disappointing. But I mean, I certainly don’t think people are perfect. And I’m very much against this whole cancel culture, witch hunt, where everyone just pretends they’re perfect, and they’ve never made a mistake. I think it’s really sad and pathetic. I don’t know what the goal is, but people are just caught in that paradigm, I think, because they’re just trying to show everyone else how perfect and amazing they are.
Neil Dudley: Some avenue to some success they’ve built in their brain that they can have. And I think it’s playing out to be detrimental.
Diego Diverde: Yeah, it’s just, it’s unrealistic. We are all not perfect. For sure. So the idea that everyone is just going to say the perfect thing or not make mistakes is ridiculous.
Neil Dudley: Last question.
Diego Diverde: No, no rush.
Neil Dudley: What’s one thing you’ve learned about McConaughey that you are surprised by or like, wow, that’s a little different, that’s different, being his student, you now see a thing about him that I wouldn’t have expected or that’s different than I would have thought?
Diego Diverde: I got to meet him yesterday. And we’re doing something in the studio. And I asked him, because did you see Free State of Jones? Okay, so he actually directed a lot of the second unit on that film. So there’s first unit, which is usually following like the protagonist. And then second unit does a lot of like the background shots, the extra stuff you end up editing with. McConaughey actually went and did that. And so I asked him, how did you do that and carry this movie? Or what did that do for your process? And are you interested in directing movies? And apparently, he is thinking about directing his own feature film, which I think is cool. So that’s one thing. I think another thing would definitely be, the most surprising thing I think was his response to Uvalde. I’m a father. And I thought that was pretty phenomenal how he was able to rally a bunch of politicians to pass some more gun legislation that’s not necessarily just going to take everyone’s guns. He’s a gun owner. And he talks about gun responsibility as opposed to control, which I think is a brilliant way of wording it right. There’s thought control with the internet and people wanting to control what people can and can’t say. And it’s the same thing with gun control. An easy example I can give is just in Mexico, you’re not allowed to own guns. You can’t protect yourself. People have no concept of what that is like to live every day and why it’s so easy to take advantage of an entire society because they can’t protect themselves. And it’s also obviously the last stop before America gets its drugs. So it’s this weird paradigm. So guns are important here. And the way he was able to step into that and do it with so much grace and thought, responding to that situation, going to Washington, inviting politicians from both sides of the aisle to dinner. And it was very human. It wasn’t about the gamesmanship of politics. And I think that’s been the most surprising thing that I’ve learned about Professor McConaughey, not in person, we didn’t talk about that, we talked about movies. But I think that was pretty remarkable.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, I think fame, that platform, requires a lot of bravery too. Just everything you say or do could get you cancelled these days for whatever reason or just really judged harshly. It takes a lot of willingness and bravery to just go say a thing, like just go say a thing, how you believe about it without doing this whole PR campaign around it as well because-
Diego Diverde: Younger people are seeing through that. Will Smith is an example of someone very much with like a team and just this squeaky clean image that lasted decades until it just burst in front of the whole world. I mean, it was just- I thought it was a really sad moment because again I would consider myself a fan of his, but I’m not going to cancel him from my life or something. Like, he’s going to- I would hope he makes- I saw the Venus Williams movie and he did a good job. I mean, that story, to me, is a little bit disappointing in that I think there’s things about that father and his other family that I think are just kind of sad. I don’t know.
Neil Dudley: It’s like no story gets told in full. You and I aren’t even telling our stories in full transparency. It’s almost impossible to. They’re too dynamic. There’s too much nuance. There’s too much truth that I don’t even understand all of my own story. So I hope everybody listening just enjoyed it and found some value between, within this conversation. I sure did. Like, I feel like, man, Diego’s a buddy now. I can reach out. I want to help you. I think he’d helped me if he could. So there’s another relationship in my network. Oh, that’s one thing I was thinking earlier.
Diego Diverde: Yeah, no rush, man. You can ask me as many questions, man.
Neil Dudley: McConaughey, Will Smith, any of these people, me, if there’s some people out there that just think I’m the coolest thing, the facts are being a close friend of mine is unlikely. I already have my close friends. Like, we’re going to be acquaintances, but we’re probably not going to have Thanksgiving together. I would be sad if you got sick or died or something. But it wouldn’t be the same as my family, like my close friends. We all can’t expect that from everybody. Like, you can only have a certain real close group of people that affect you that much with their health or any other thing. So like, everybody thinks they might could be Matthew McConaughey’s best friend. It probably ain’t going to happen. It’s just, you might be a guy he likes and you might like him, and y’all might do something fun together a time or two, but like being in an inner circle- like being one of those people that could call me at 2am and say I need help, and I would jump out of bed and go help, that’s just a small number of people. I think it’s worth everybody considering that truth that as close as you might can get to fame, celebrity, their access, their attention, you just ultimately still can’t rank much higher than an acquaintance. What do you think about that?
Diego Diverde: Are you speaking to this kind of paradigm in social media where people can instantly communicate with the celebrities and superstars, whatever, and that kind of- or they can take it so personally, and they can’t ignore, for example, for better or worse, Kanye West right now and the things he’s saying or doing. Why does that bother you? When I see so many celebrities speaking out about that, I’m like why are you letting that bother you so much? Just ignore it. I mean, I’m not here promoting antisemitism either. But you see what I’m saying.
Neil Dudley: I don’t even know what I’m speaking to about. It just feels like a thing I want to say for some piece of understanding for everybody to realize that that’s probably lonely too. Like, I mean, it can be lonely if everybody wants something from you all the time in every way. So it makes a lot of sense to me that they would shrink back to a certain core group of people that have just been there and been through life with them in just really tough, real ways.
Diego Diverde: Well, you’re speaking to family values. I think those are- there’s so many distractions, there’s so many- there’s so much temptation now too with this same kind of paradigm we’re talking about with just how the internet is part of our lives now. It’s almost like a limb, your phone. It’s just you definitely got to think hard and do your best to choose your friends carefully. You can’t choose your family. But what do they say, like your closest five friends are pretty good pictures of the kind of person you are, and maybe, if you’re listening and this resonates in that sense, it could be some time for self reflection. I don’t know.
Neil Dudley: And how would you change your five? Like, if your five is not the picture of you you want to have when you get to the end of your life, which could be now, it could be now, how do you change that? You have to intentionally start trying because it can’t happen, you can’t just say- it’s not like a basketball team. Those five players aren’t playing good, I’m going to sub in the new five. It’s hard to get the new five. Like you’d have to- you can’t just ask them to be in your new five. You have to go build that relationship. So I think that’s a great truth we’ve kind of needled on is your five is your five. If that five, it could be six, could be ten, could be three, but if that group isn’t kind of- when you kind of audit that, it isn’t painting the picture of the person you want to be, then you need to start trying to substitute some players. And man, that’s a great- I’ve definitely done that in my life. I mean, I’ve challenged myself, like I need to do things I’m scared of. Like, I need to do things that make me uneasy.
Diego Diverde: I love being around people who challenge me or who I look up to, as opposed to having people around me that make me feel great or special or something. That’s been something that I think I’ve been fortunate with is I have friends and family that make me feel that way. I feel very blessed. My dad’s a rocket scientist, it’s weird, but he wasn’t like the you got to go to law school or Harvard kind of guy. He just wants me to be happy. And my mom, too, she’s a successful entrepreneur in California, she has a couple businesses. And she’s also been a great supporter of mine. So I feel blessed. Not everyone gets that. And it’s hard to control what’s going on in the home. If we are talking about food, I think the most important thing in any family dynamic is the dinner table. It’s where you get together at the end of the day and talk about what happened in your day, and that’s where, as a parent, maybe you can pick up on context clues about how your kid is actually doing as opposed to what maybe what they’re saying. And I’ve written about this a little bit in one of our company blogs. I wrote about the symbolism of chicken. But the dinner table was really, really important to me. Family who’s eating fast food, maybe they’re not spending- it’s a context clue to maybe the way they’re not creating an intentional environment as opposed to-
Neil Dudley: It’s hard. I mean, I’m not- we’re talking about imperfection, my family’s imperfect. We don’t sit around the table almost ever. And I know that’s not good. It’s not good for our relationship, our continuity as a family, all those things. My kids, they’re all in school. So they get out at 3:30, 4 o’clock. I have to or some- my wife has to, somebody in our family has to get home and cook because they’re coming home starving. If you don’t cook, they’re going to eat junk from the pantry. And it’s kind of bad on us to even have junk in the pantry, but it’s just a reality. So I’ve been, a couple times recently, I’ve got home, cooked a steak, cooked eggs, cooked bacon, some really good food. They’ll eat that. They think they want the other stuff but I’m like no, the other stuff is not an option. I’m cooking dinner right now. Like that meal, we’re having some high quality nutrition for you ready when you come home from school. That’s the kind of tough thing you have to do because that doesn’t layer into my day real easily.
Diego Diverde: Yeah. No, I get crushed. I mean, I’ve described these different things that I like to do. And I’m working on stuff for the farm every day, but it’s not mandated by the farm. I enjoy it that much. And coming from this startup culture, if you will, software or movies or trying to get stuff going, you have that excitement and that sense of urgency to like do what you can to keep going. Something I’ve tried, you could try it, have you tried any meal prep? I don’t knock it out every week, but sometimes when I can, like I’ll put a bunch of our chicken on the smoker and then I have a good protein for throughout the week that I can just work in.
Neil Dudley: That’s the solution. Meal prep, oh, isn’t that a crazy idea. That solves all of those problems.
Diego Diverde: You can do it on Sunday. And then, you got a bunch of protein that you can just kind of heat up throughout the week and work in to some other stuff.
Neil Dudley: Cut up some bell peppers, cut up some onions. You can grill that stuff quick and easy.
Diego Diverde: Everyone’s working, but there’s little hacks you can try to make your life a little easier because I’m certainly not promoting come home and spend three hours cooking this grand meal every night. That’s just not realistic. I would recommend it if you can. I certainly don’t knock it out every week, but it is helpful if you can do it.
Neil Dudley: Spend time with your family, working on those relationships and eating good food. Those things, they will serve you well, I don’t care who you are. Diego, thanks for coming, having this conversation, talking about Greener Pastures, where your food comes from. Everybody, go check them out. I guarantee their content is going to be fun and engaging. If nothing else, follow what they do. Just if you’re in the business, you’ll get some good ideas. If you’re not, if you’re just interested in what they’re doing, their story, you’re going to get to hear about that. So there’s really almost no reason not to pay attention.
Diego Diverde: Appreciate you. Thank you so much for inviting me. This was a lot of fun, Neil.
Neil Dudley: You bet, man. Now let’s go to the plant. Let’s go check out how we make the bacon and those kinds of things. It’ll be cool. Thanks, everybody. Come back next time. I guarantee, I mean, we’re going to have a cool, interesting conversation that you’re probably going to be able to learn something from. So, see you then. I guess I won’t see you, talk to you then.
Hey, everybody. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Pederson’s Farms Podcast. It’s been a blast bringing this to you. And I sure hope you enjoyed it and found value. If you did, tell a friend, share it out on social media, hit that subscribe button, or go check us out at pedersonsfarms.com. We sure hope you do. And thanks for being here.
Rebel without a Crew by Robert Rodriguez
(1:03) – Introducing Diego & GPC
(4:40) – How many people do you think understand the nuances about chicken in our country?
(6:35) – How can you leverage the claims GPC makes?
(10:02) – Eating for a goal vs. eating for experience
(14:22) – The Sales role for Farmers and Ranchers
(17:11) – Virtual Kitchens
(19:43) – Why did Von Miller join GPC?
(22:44) – What’s your approach to branding?
(25:19) – Is there a specific breed of chicken you use?
(26:48) – How is the drought affecting you?
(27:11) – Certified Human claims
(30:12) – Diego’s career & a discussion about news/social media
(40:16) – Celebrity, fame, and success
(46:48) – Failure, Stoicism & Filmmaking
(1:02:12) – Will Smith and Chris Rock
(1:07:19) – What’s something interesting you’ve learned taking classes from Matthew McConaughey?
(1:11:54) – You can’t be close friends with everybody