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Dave Kerpen On Selling Popcorn, Loving Family and Finding Great Partners

Dave Kerpen On Selling Popcorn, Loving Family and Finding Great Partners

Dave Kerpen is an entrepreneur, investor, author and speaker. With his wife Carrie, they launched, grew, and recently sold Likeable Media. He spoke about this on an interview with Randi Zuckerberg in the Likeable Business club room on Clubhouse.

Dave Kerpen started selling “Crunch and Munch” popcorn in Boston arenas. His first sales were $15, for the hours he was selling. But by the time he learned how to sell, by connecting with people, he earned up to $1,000 in a single night.

How did Dave do it? He learned to make people laugh, get attention, have fun and not take himself too seriously.

People didn’t necessarily want the popcorn but they wanted to be a part of an amazing experience with the “Crunch ‘n Munch” guy.

While Dave didn’t have natural “dancing talent” he had the courage to stand out and have people laugh with him.

Dave got so popular that eventually, people were asking for his autograph WITH each box of Crunch ‘n Munch.

Eventually, Dave’s antics got him on TV, and other accolades.

This story, of Dave’s early beginnings with “entertainment” is a large part of his success in being likable.

Dave had a stint on reality TV, Paradise Hotel. Even though he wasn’t a  hunky model or actress, like the other contestants. His likeability got him to the season finale of the show – one of four winners!

Marriage and Business

Some people find it hard to work on their business and their marriage. Dave and his wife, also his business partner, Carrie set clear boundaries for how they work together and try not to step on each other’s toes.

Dave explained that at the beginning of their marriage and business sure there were speed bumps and they had cash flow issues, however, as communication got better, things got easier.

Dave’s Advice to Very Small Business Owners

It’s important to have clear goals for why you’re in business and what you want out of the business.

Do you want more time with your family? Do you want to build more wealth? Do you want to give back to others? Do you want a nest egg to retire? What are your goals?

Two books Dave recommends are “Built to Sell” by John Warrillo and Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish, which is now entitled Scaling Up.

Surrounding yourself with mentors is also essential. Whether it’s your personal mastermind, a group of business advisors, or something else – surround yourself with mentors. Kat Cole shared her perspective on this here.


Dave said a good CEO does 3 things:

  • Sets the vision and strategy for the business.
  • Ensure there’s enough cash in business for payroll
  • Get people in the right seats – hiring and leadership.

Dave looks for three things in his hires:

Intelligence, drive, and coachability. Coachability is most important.

Writing a Best Selling Book

Dave’s written several books, one is New York Times best-selling book. There’s an art and science to selling a lot of books and getting on the NY Times bestseller lists.

Selling across geographies is important. Not just in New York or Atlanta.
Selling across channels. Not just on Amazon, but other channels.
Selling bulk and individual is important.

See Seth Godin’s advice for authors here and here.

Spreading Yourself Too Thin

As business owners, it’s VERY easy to spread ourselves too thin and not have time in the day.

Every minute of Dave’s day is scheduled – including thinking time. I’ve heard this from more than one successful entrepreneur, to MASTER your schedule.

Also, find really good partners who can help you scale yourself. Learn to let go and trust my partners to do great things

Find really good partners who can help you scale yourself.


Dave’s well known for wearing orange. He has almost a LOT of orange shoes. Should you wear something to stand out? Yes. Dave says having a signature style can sure help. My signature style is loud ties and vests. What’s your “orange shoes” Dave asks?


Dave worked for a company for a few months. After Dave wanted to be a part of the company but the owners said no. He walked away and was sad to see the company crash and burn. Other things that have not gone so well?

Likeable Local – they raised money – but it seems tough to get it moving in the right direction.

Dave’s lost 50 or more pounds, three times. He’s had some trouble being consistent with a healthy weight.

What does Dave do after each “failure”?.

To ask himself, “What did I do wrong that was in my control that I can do right or get right the next time?”

Family Planning

Dave has a family mission statement but found that his children thought it was a bit too rigid and they didn’t like Dave running his family like a business. Although that didn’t work out so well, Dave is happy that his children are business-minded and have started companies of their own.

Why Sell the Business Now?

It was time to focus on having the security that selling the business would provide his family.

Family and Business

The most important thing about finding a partner is finding one you can trust. Dave found that in Carrie.

Father’s Bipolar

Dave’s father saw his mother killed in front of him. This tragedy was a catalyst for Dave’s father to suffer from being bipolar. Dave’s biggest fear is that he or his kids will be bipolar. Dave has had years of therapy to help him deal with it.

Balance – Self Care

A big fan of gratitude is Dave and he tries to start and end the day with gratitude. Gratitude helps him stay balanced

If Dave woke up and had nothing but his family, he’d start building relationships with people and find out what were problems that he and his family could solve.

Advice to Dave’s Younger Self

Wish he’d written more earlier. Possibly business books or even document his dad’s struggles.
Take chances earlier.
Start businesses earlier.
Dave was afraid of rejection growing up and he wished he would have been bolder to ask out girls on dates earlier in life.

What is Dave the Proudest Of?

He quickly said he’s more happy and proud of his wife, Carrie, and his kids.
He’s second proud of Likeable Media winning Crain’s best places to work.

Dave wakes up every day asking – how can I make the world a better place?

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Source: Smart Hustle