Luke Holden grew up in Maine, working in his family’s seafood business. In 2007, he graduated from university and moved to New York City to work as a financial analyst. After a couple years, he was earning a great salary, but he felt a calling back to his roots.
So at 25 years old, he decided to quit Wall Street and open a 200 square foot lobster shack in New York’s East Village. With $30k in startup cash, from his savings and a 50% investment from his father, he founded Luke’s Lobster.
During the past 9 years, he has grown from that first hole-in-the-wall lobster shack to 40 locations across three countries.
In this conversation, we discuss:
- Why you need to treat people the way you like to be treated
- Finding a co-founder on Craigslist
- What the most difficult part of entering a new market is
Now, let’s hack…
Highlights from the interview
- [4:44]: The importance of finding and working with great people. Luke’s cofounders and initial hires were instrumental in the growth and success of his business.
- [6:25]: Finding a co-founder on Craigslist — and how Luke was able to “sell” his idea.
- [12:35]: In response to a question about what he isn’t good at, Luke explains that he doesn’t think it’s right to define people as those who operate versus those who grow things. He says he’s gotten better over the years at determining where someone will fit best on his team.
- [16:40]: The pitfalls of over-collaboration — how a lack of clear structure and leadership can complicate project management.
- [21:00]: Luke talks about the challenges involved in entering a new market. Rather than creating a uniform “fast casual” type of experience, they localize for each new market.
Resources and Links from the interview
- Luke’s Lobster
- Luke Holden featured in The New York Times: “Luke Holden’s Work Diary”
- Luke Holden on LinkedIn
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