Don’t Be Afraid to Reject Assumptions

Hamdi Ulukaya went from being the owner of a run down yogurt factory that looked more like a cemetery than a yogurt production plant to the CEO of the billion-dollar Chobani brand. It started when Ulukaya received a flyer in the mail that said a yogurt factory 70 miles away was to be closed for good. With first instinct being to trash the flyer, he hung onto it and contacted his lawyer instead. His attorney had a decent amount of “common sense” or so he thought. He advised Ulukaya that the factory was to be closed for a reason and that he ought to pass on it. He advised that Kraft, the current seller, had sold its entire yogurt division which was further truth that the business dream was just that…a dream. His attorney said one last thing, “You’re buying as-is. That means you own all the guilt in that plant.”. Continuing on he said, “Look man, you have another problem, you haven’t paid me in six months, and you have no money to buy this place.”

Ulukaya’s response to his naysayers is that “…sometimes common sense is no help. You have to find a way to elevate yourself to be above common sense. We cannot do what we have done through the mirrors and lenses of common sense. We have to think something different.” He continued his story at the Inc 5000 Conference saying, “When you’re elevated then you’re not looking at an opportunity or problem or dream from a common perspective.”

As the story goes he bought the plant anyways with a SBA-backed 504 loan. His first order of business was to paint the horrendous large wall in the factory. He said to his 5 newly rehired employees, “Outside, the wall is really bad. The whole wall, you can tell it was white at one point. [So], let’s go to the Ace store and grab some paint and paint the wall.” The look of disbelief and worry said it all in his employees faces. They thought for sure he had a better plan to keep their jobs and not have this whole thing come crashing down again.

His next stunt came after the first Shop-Rite was selling out of his yogurt. He realized he didn’t need to sell yogurt…he had to make it. “In a common sense world that’s not possible,” he said. The factory was not equipped to do what was done. 3,000 cases to two million cases a week. He continued, “because buyer a filler [to put yogurt into cups] and installing it takes twelve months. How are you going to build 14 fillers and you only have a million dollars? But when you get in it, you don’t even realize what you’re doing.” Building the brand and the company took them from 5 employees to 2,000 and from $3 million in revenues to more than $1 billion over the next 5 years.

It was John Kenneth Galbraith who coined the phrase “conventional wisdom”. The way Galbraith used it was as a negative connotation. “We associate truth with convenience,” he continues, “with what most closely accords with self-interest and personal well-being or promises best to avoid awkward effort or unwelcome dislocation of life. We also find highly acceptable what contributes most to self-esteem.” Ulukaya, unlike his lawyer, challenged the thought contained in conventional wisdom that because one person failed at the process that it must not be a good option.


The difference between Ulukaya and Kingreen is nothing more than a size difference. We identify ourselves as being different through elevating ourselves above “common-sense”…by defying conventional wisdom. If we’ve serviced your property then you’ve probably seen us doing this in our black trucks with green rims or our two man, trailer-less crews, or our insistence on using granular fertilizers instead of liquids. Our insistence on using smaller machines where clearly bigger machines would be of greater convenience.

We keep our truck distinguished so we’re easy to recognize. You can feel comfortable that it’s not some subcontractor who hasn’t been rigorously screened and trained out at your property. Our men are clearly marked with bright shirts or black polos so they don’t blend in with any stranger.

Not using trailers has aided in our pricing structure staying steady and competitive. It reduces our liability so we’re around for the long haul taking care of what matters…YOU. When we do our job, we hope to make yours much easier and to alleviate the tasks of life. We realize the stress of finding somebody new so we are not “fly-by-night” and do all we can to stick around.

Now what does granular fertilizer even mean you might ask…good question. If you find the answer then let us know! Actually, in all seriousness we do know and that’s why we chose it. Granular fertilizer is just that, it has granules or pellets that dissolve in water. We use a special blend of fertilizer that has been coated with an Iron powder call Uflexx. What does it do? Great question! Keep them coming! With each pellet coated in Iron we are able to distribute the proper nutrient to every square inch of your lawn instead of the typical random spread that usually occurs. Another advantage to the granular is that it is less likely to burn your grass if we fertilize and you aren’t there to water it in and it is a time release formula giving your lawn constant nutrients over a longer period of time.

These are only a few ways we distinguish ourselves as the “odd-ball”, in a good way. If you’d like to know more then give us a call (940) 239-0520…we’ve made a list so we don’t forget. Or shoot over to our website: by typing in the URL or clicking the “Full Site – About Us” link above.

Either way, if you have a landscaping need don’t hesitate to contact us. We realize that landscapers are a dime-a-dozen, so we thank you for your support, but remember that so are cheap-fixes. Don’t find a cheap-fix…find the right fix…find Kingreen.

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Freakonomics – Levitt & Dubner –