Polina Marinova, of The Profile, writes:
Six years ago, Brendan Kennedy had drained his 401(k), maxed out his credit cards, and borrowed money from family members to start a cannabis company.
There was a night when he didn’t even have enough money to order a pizza. “That was darkness unlike anything I’d ever faced,” he remembers. Today, Kennedy is not only a billionaire but the richest man in the legal marijuana business. Here’s how he did it…
“We were worried we would always be known as failed pot guys.”
By Jen Wieczner
It’s just after 6, on a pitch-dark morning in December, and Brendan Kennedy is standing over the stove, wearing shorts and a vest, meditatively melting butter in a pancake pan.
It will be nearly two hours before the sun cracks the Seattle sky, and Kennedy, toddler son in tow, already has the pensive look of a man trying hard to keep the creep of the workday ahead from encroaching on a family ritual.
See, morning is a sacred time for the 46-year-old CEO, who has two rules for starting the day: Always eat breakfast. Don’t eat with anybody but your kids. Though abiding by rule No. 2 means eating alone, if he’s on the road—which is a lot these days, particularly since Kennedy’s company, Tilray, went public in July.
In a couple of hours he’ll board his 135th flight of the year—a stat he can tell you because his assistant, knowing how he relishes data, sends him monthly analytics on his own travel (in 2018, he flew 23% more miles than he did the year before).
At the moment, though, his 4-year-old daughter, in a pink tutu, is stirring the batter skeptically from her perch atop the kitchen island. “Papa, I think you forgot the flour,” she chides.
Kennedy’s family moved into the new house a few weeks after Tilray went public, and he still struggles to find things in his own kitchen. He shrugs as he begins scrambling eggs and frying bacon in another pan: “My kids say pancakes are the only thing I’m good at.”
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