Episode 1: Interview with Chris Lowder, International Head Bartender
Episode Links & Resources:
"Improved Whiskey Cocktail" (1876 recipe)
Lowder’s Easy List of Recipes — 178 Modern Classics to Know
Tim Ferris — 4-hour Work Week
Read the Full Interview with International Head Bartender, Chris Lowder
APRIL WACHTEL: Welcome to Movers & Shakers, I'm April Wachtel and I'm incredibly excited to have Chris Lowder with us today. Chris was most recently the head bartender at the Four Seasons in Seoul South Korea. As head bartender, Chris was responsible for cocktail creation and beverage menu creation for the hotel's six bars and restaurants, as well as banquets and room service. In its opening year 2016, his flagship bar, Charles H. was named by drinks international, as the eighth best hotel bar in the world, best bar in Korea, 24th best bar in Asia and 52nd best bar in the world and was nominated by Tales of the Cocktail for 'Best new international cocktail bar' and world's best bar menu. In the same year Chris was also nominated by Tales of the Cocktail as "International Bartender of the Year."
Chris joined the Four Seasons in 2015 from the Michelin-starred Nomad Hotel, where he worked as bar manager. During his time at the Nomad, his bar team was awarded a James Beard Award for America's most outstanding bar program (2014) as well as Spirited Awards for world's best hotel bar in 2013 and America's best restaurant bar in 2014. Under his watch the Nomad was ranked in drinks internationals 50 best in both 2014 and 2015. In 2015 both cocktail bars, the Nomad hotel were independently ranked in world's 50 best, which is the first time in history that two American bars in the same building have both held that honor simultaneously. Chris Lowder was named 'NYC 30 under 30' by Zagat in 2015, one of America's best new mixologist by Food & Wine magazine in 2014, and one of America's 10 bartenders to watch by beverage media, in 2014. Chris is fluent in Mandarin, Chinese and Japanese and as you'll hear in this interview English too. I'm incredibly excited to have Chris with us today. Chris thanks for joining us.
CHRIS LOWDER: Hello my pleasure. How are you?
APRIL WACHTEL: I'm fantastic, how are you doing?
CHRIS LOWDER: I'm very well, thank you. I'm post one coffee and I'm ready to go.
APRIL WACHTEL: Great so you're post one coffee and I have this delicious "Improved Whiskey Cocktail" in front of me. I'm wondering if you could tell me why you chose this cocktail. Why this is so near and dear to your heart?
CHRIS LOWDER: Sure. This is a drink that first of all I love, but secondly it's going to I'm sure, tie into a lot of themes that we talk about today. So the improved whiskey cocktail, it's basically an old-fashioned, but where they used to have the whiskey cocktail back when the old session was first a thing, before it was called the old-fashioned whiskey cocktail, people started improving it, so they started improving it in the late 1800s and adding in all kinds of funny liqueurs and things, so I think your version that you have there has a little Maraschino, a little orange bitters, of course delicious Bulleit Rye whiskey, as the base, which is nice and spicy in the background there. What's fun about this drink is you can kind of dash in anything you want, so it doesn't have to be maraschino, it could be a little bit of chartreuse, a little bit of orange liqueur and kind of whatever you have lying around if you want to jazz up to your old fashioned. I love it and it's something that I love thinking about today because I'm sure we're going to get into nerdy flash cards and study habits and this is one of the first flashcard cocktails that I ever studied, so this is in the original deck, it's so big.
APRIL WACHTEL: So just, so our listeners know we will have the recipe written down for the 1876 version of the improved whiskey cocktail, and so we'll have that available on our website. I also wanted to ask one question about the twist for our listeners benefit, so in this particular case, listeners Chris is actually sending himself in beautiful Miami right now and I'm in freezing New York, drinking angry with whiskey drinks, um but anyway so I made this cocktail based on the recipe Chris gave me and in this particular case it has a lemon twist, there's a bunch of different ways to do twists in this particular case, I cut a very wide swath of lemon and minimize the amount of pith and then express the oils over the surface of the cocktail. Do you personally have a preference between a lemon disc, a swathe, or you know a sort of composed twist with parallel lines?
CHRIS LOWDER: Oh um, if I'm, it really depends, I think with the parallel line twists, looks really nice. There's something to me about just that rough cut of peeler and like a big old twist in an old-fashioned that I always love, it has that almost more casual rustic kind of quality to it, and then disc, discs are okay I almost never do a disc in an old-fashioned because, it kind of bobs around in there and then if you think too big of a sip, and then you serve it, you have those guests that you serve it to and then they eat the lemon peel and you're like don't eat the lemon peel. Yeah that's pretty much it, you can express an orange in there too if you want, it's kind of totally up to you. I think Bulleit works really nicely with both lemon and orange or just a lemon.
APRIL WACHTEL: Wonderful thank you so much. So listeners go to our website if you are interested in the recipe for this delicious drink. So without further ado, Chris you're incredibly accomplished in beverage and hospitality, you are you know it, or you should know. You were managing the bar program at the Nomad, you were, was a director of Education, is that your title?
CHRIS LOWDER: I was the head of bar education for that company at least when it was just one hotel and one restaurant, now of course they're expanding quite rapidly, but I did spirit education classes at the Nomad hotel and that Eleven Madison Park (EMP).
APRIL WACHTEL: You most recently have been in Seoul, South Korea at the Four Seasons. Do you mind telling me a little bit about your experience there and what you've been doing?
CHRIS LOWDER: I'd love to um, so I moved to Seoul, South Korea to open the Four Seasons Hotel. So the Four Seasons Hotel there has 12 places where they're making cocktails. Very ambitious food and beverage program very wide sweeping array of different kinds of restaurants and different lounges and several different bars actually, so it's quite high volume and the main flagship bar there is Charles H., which is a bar that's kind of modeled after the life and times of Charles H. Baker Jr. who was a writer and traveller.
He most notably, he went around during the time of prohibition so during the 20s and into the 30s and 40s and he travelled through the world, via cruise ship and recorded all of the recipes that people were making internationally at a time that Americans couldn't drink delicious drinks. So super cool story all about travel, all about this guy I'm sure we'll get into that a little more later but, we went and built out this beautiful bar which is now world ranked, so I'm very proud of what we've put together out there for people traveling through Korea or for Koreans themselves and yeah, so now I'm taking on a few more Four Season properties. So that's gone really well and now I'm moving into China and doing the same thing hopefully, the same quality across different hotel properties in mainland China.
APRIL WACHTEL: So speaking of China, hospitality is not the first industry that you've been really immersed in. So you were a language translator for and is with a both in Chinese and Japanese?
CHRIS LOWDER: So I speak Japanese, but I have not translated it professionally, for professional translation of Mandarin to English.
APRIL WACHTEL: So how did you decide, so as part of my research and prepping for this of course I'm looking up what materials I can find at the internet, and you go to your LinkedIn and you scroll down and then you keep scrolling and then you keep scrolling. So you've had a ton of experience, how did you first get into the language translation and why did you switch into hospitality? Because there's something compelling that really caught your interest and then wholly switched from translation into this.
CHRIS LOWDER: Yes yeah, it's kind of a winding road um, so I've been, this is now my 10th year in bars and restaurants, it's my fifth year in Asia, although my time in Korea was only a year and a half and all of that so, what's all that about? I started cooking when I was 15, so that's kind of my first love, first job and all that was I used to cook in a Baltimore crab house so I cooked for years through high school and then, when I got into university, I continued to cook and I picked up a major in university that's East Asian Studies. Why East Asian Studies? I honestly, I just wanted a job that was social and challenging and creative and you can travel with and I think I said challenging?
APRIL WACHTEL: You can say it twice.
CHRIS LOWDER: There you go and with a little bit of creative chaos as well and so, I gravitated towards East Asian Studies because I went to a school, University of Delaware that has a very strong Asian languages program and I thought well, I don't really know what it is that I want to do with myself, but if I can learn these skills then I can at least guarantee that I'll have a pretty exciting time hopefully traveling and hopefully being able to meet some people and doing some creative work so, that was kind of the original thought and then I started studying Japanese and Mandarin in undergrad, while cooking during the week and I really fell in love with it. It's just they're both, I didn't start them at the same time I started Japanese first and I said well, if I Japanese, I want to learn just because I was a little more attracted to that culture and a little more interested in perhaps traveling to Japan at some point and then I said, well Chinese sounds like a very practical thing to learn, if you're going to learn, study Asia you know back then I think I started studying those languages in 2006 and even that it was, China was going to one day host the Olympics and it was up-and-coming in the world stage and people kind of had an inkling that was going to be important, so I figured if I study the one and I like it and I can always pick up the other language maybe the semester later and that's what I did. So six months later I started studying Mandarin as well and that was genuinely all I did with myself for two years, was just utterly bury myself in the study of these languages, it was just so fascinating and much like I would later find with cocktails and with distillation and with mixing and with this limitless limitlessly challenging skillset of bartending and hospitality.
I was really just drawn to the problems of language because they're so complex and because there's so much there that you kind of, it's the sweater that you're pulling at the yarn and the more you're pulling, the more interesting it becomes and suddenly you're just so enthralled and fascinated.
So I studied and then I got some scholarship and that sent me to Asia, so I moved to Asia, I moved to Japan when I was 19, on scholarship and I had scholarship that sent me there and then that sent me to China immediately afterwards and then I studied for the next three years or so in Asia. I moved to Japan when I was 19, moved straight to China about three months afterwards and I didn't come back to the States until I was twenty-two, twenty-three something like that. So important, yeah important fun formative years but, like time really spent traveling around and I'm from Baltimore originally, so I hadn't really experienced too much of the world um, and my culinary exposure also was just kind of the restaurant that I had worked in.
I knew crab cakes and crab Imperial and shrimp sandwiches and all that but that was pretty much it so, suddenly you're living in and tell me if the story becomes too long-winded but um, it becomes important because living in Asia, you can teach English on the weekends and make kind of a tidy sum of money for yourself and that I spent that money almost exclusively on bars and restaurants because, first of all there's no enforced drinking age in China. So I was nineteen, going to all of these places discovering beer for the first time, you trying different gins and I'm like kind of a nerdy weird guy, so it worked, that's just neat, I'd be like, 'no just like pour me about in the glass, I just have no idea what it is? “What is this, Bombay Sapphire?” Kind of digging in and I realized that there was this whole other world that I was for some reason drawn to and then long story short is, I wind up moving back to the states and getting taps to open and later direct translation company that specialized in industrial economic translation and in so doing, I realized a couple things about translation once you get to the nuts and bolts of doing it professionally, which is it's a real race to the bottom.
I don't think, translation in and of itself is you've got to think like, you might get into translation as I did, with this very romantic idea of I'm going to translate, I'm going to help people navigate these foreign cultures or I'm going to translate like, I don't know whatever author that you're interested in like I'm going to be the guy that translates Alice in Wonderland or something but, what you wind up realizing as you move into the realm of professional translation is like Lewis Carroll is only going to get translated once, maybe twice and then it's done like that work is finished. The classics have all been finished right. So where do you go from there? Well it turns out that the people who need, who sustainably need translation meaning the people that could sustainably pay you money to translate things. They typically want um law patents that, they want legal documents so new law and legislation as it comes out in real time, so that's typically different news sources want that. They want medical patents so there's a big market for translating and understanding the latest technologies and the latest patents for technologies and then, there's a market for translating just data as it's needed for government purpose or as it's needed for analysis for investors, and so you wind up translating these very repetitive quite dry sources so maybe if your job's just to translate all of Bloomberg News so all the financial news you translate, so that someone somewhere can read it.
Now the problem is, the nature of translation is that if, I only speak Mandarin and you April only speak English and we have a letter from me to you and we need to get it translated well, we can hire this third person to translate it, but the trouble is that fundamentally neither one of us can check that person's works. That's why we needed a translator right and so you wind up having this whole network of people who just they work on like E-lance or oDesk or one of these translation network websites and then their whole life is just trying to min/max, How many jobs can I take and how much of that work can I put through Google Translate? and just doing the first and last page of each chapter, so that if you really check you have to read like 40 pages of dry information that you probably don't to read anyway before you realize that it's a robot translating and not actually me and then you get stuck uh, really with people who will work for cheaper and cheaper and cheaper and cheaper because they're doing less and less of the work themselves. They're translating something that it's just going to go into a binder on a shelf anyway. Does that make sense?
APRIL WACHTEL: It totally makes sense. I'm really interested in, so let's continue to examine this idea switch the context a little bit. So this really interesting parallel to your, I'm referring to it as the Cocktail Compendium, what are you calling your hundred and seventy-eight cocktail recipes?
CHRIS LOWDER: It's just that, I think it's "Lowder’s Easy List of Recipes" or something so, you may call it my Cocktail Compendium.
APRIL WACHTEL: The Cocktail Compendium, sounds very official. So for anyone who hasn't seen this, Chris put together this list of 170 cocktails that he thinks, everybody should know if they are training staff globally, is that an accurate way to sum it up?
CHRIS LOWDER: If you're, so this is a list of recipes that I put together. I have done in the last year or two, I think I've done staff training's in eight different countries, 12 different major cities especially in East Asia coming to like Singapore and Hong Kong and China, different cities in China, which will increasingly be the case and everyone kind of has the same struggle which is that, now we are almost coming into the industry, I try and imagine what it's like coming into it right now and it's just such a paralysis of choice right, you've got so many books.
Which ones are any good? Which ones are kind of shelf filler, which ones do me really need to read? And then of the great books, like the classic canons um, now all the drinks are delicious, kind of objectively speaking, I mean I just want the part where we did, I just left a bar where we did a Charles H, Baker Jr's cocktails and hey look like, I'm in love with that guy's story and there's some really wonderful texture there but, a lot of the drinks in the text, in and of themselves just aren't right delicious like that guy wasn't a bartender. He was a journalist so to speak.
So, anyway so I went through my collection of recipes and I have a lot of flashcards and things kind of hoarded away and notebooks and notebooks from just kind of picking people's brains and reading stuff online and reading all these books and narrowing down what I thought were, just very kind of objectively delicious and approachable cocktails, but I think that people should know and wrote them down uh, organized by spirit category—3 shaken, 3 stirred for each spirit—and it's my hope that someone can just pick up that thing, if they truly earnestly memorize all those recipes, there's call drinks in the back, there's you know like if you if someone wants a Cape Cod or a Bay Breeze or something, the mess in there too and you should be pretty set and then from there it gives you a good starting off point but at least everyone will have the same set of starting blocks and save a lot of redundant time.
APRIL WACHTEL: So, where can people find this if they're interested in reading this list?
CHRIS LOWDER: Oh yeah great question um, so it's been republished a few times so independent UK put up the link. So if you search “Lowder Cocktail Recipes” or something.
APRIL WACHTEL: Lowder.
CHRIS LOWDER: There is a Lowderspecs.com and that has all of the content on there as well. It's just the website that's dedicated to hosting this document actually and I think between those two you should be able to find it.
APRIL WACHTEL: Wonderful. I think one of the really interesting things about this and this is one of the reasons I was so excited to have you on as a guest is, whether you know it or not or whether its intended or not, the what you've applied in translation and then what you're continuing to generate in the education space for the beverage industry. There's a lot of parallels there, so you are effectively translating mass amounts of kind of undigestible information and translating it in a way that people can really access that easily. So I love that and I think it's brilliant and quite frankly, I know there's already hundreds of, if not thousands of people who have felt like they've benefited from your hundred seventy eight, classic cocktails as well as your training in your various bars.
CHRIS LOWDER: Well thank you.
APRIL WACHTEL: Well, you're welcome. I guess I'm wondering if you were to try to dissect, what you've done and give people little pieces of that as tools for them to build their own careers. How do you explain that or kind of what tips could you give people? Because you've got a really interesting blend of a vision meaning saying, this is the grand thing I need to accomplish and then you also have the skill set and the dedication and that sort of singular focus to build all of that detail up and kind of compile it, so I'm guess I'm wondering if you were to give people advice saying, this is how you achieve your goals or here's a few examples, how you could achieve your goals. What would you say?
CHRIS LOWDER: Sure um, I think the first thing, first of all thank you for saying all that, it's very nice. Honestly, I think the very first step is just to stay hungry, stay humble is the best piece of advice I can give someone who's looking to find their voice or kind of get their feet under them in their career so to speak it's just, it's the first thing I say in the recipe book that I published is—just learn the classics, don't run before you can walk.
There's a lot of people who, they'll see parts of the bigger picture or they'll have an idea of kind of where they want to go. There's something I'm really interested in. Man, I want to study Tiki, I want to learn more about rum, I want to learn more about different martini variations and like that's great. Definitely hold on to that passion. What I would advise though is, have a core set of knowledge that you dedicate and commit yourself to mastering, before you try and put together big picture long-term vision stuff, because it's, it is very seductive of an idea to find something that you personally individually are very interested in and sprint towards that, but why that happening is? If you have these kinds of massive actions, if you're yeah I want to learn all about Tiki and then you're kind of tearing through books and reading a bunch of stuff, but if you don't have a clear goal or a clear picture or if you haven't mastered a core skill set then, it's just not a wise way to start in my opinion, because you can run the risk of having some knowledge that's either too niche or you know it might be that if you learn and master this core set of basic, that you learn more about yourself in the process right and that's when you see someone who's kind of a few years in and you'll develop these huge gaps in your skills or gaps in in your knowledge because well, you didn't just start at the bottom and master a core set of skills.
The second thing I would say is once you have mastered, what you feel is in your mind something you're comfortable with saying is, “Hey this is a very, I'm a very solid bartender'. You could put me behind the bar of anywhere and I know that those people would have a great time and I'm certain that I could satisfy their requests which is a huge statement, that takes a long time and then I would say, there's some cool ideas about goal-setting and we can get into that is, How to set goals? How to have a vision for what you want to accomplish and there is a lot of work that still is yet to be done in the industry. I think we could talk about a bit, if you want.
APRIL WACHTEL: Right um okay so let's, um let's maybe discuss you and I have, touch base on educational resources and organizational tools. We both have a tendency to be kind of type A, and like documentation um so, I'm wondering if you can share your top picks for a few different categories, so on educational resources, organizational tools, inspiration and then general media like podcasts or books or magazines or things that you would recommend.
CHRIS LOWDER: Yes, certainly so I'll kind of take you through it. There's a couple resources that I've been using for years and years that I just find to be terribly helpful. So let's, I wrote some notes down in events here, OK educational resources so, I love, OK there's a flashcard program that I use but I think is wonderful and it's called Anki. Anki is a free software for your computer. It costs money on your phone so don't write me angry letters and say, it's so funny, just pay the money for the phone app. It's so worth it, I would buy this, I would buy this app I would spend money on this app every week if I could I would pay a subscription fee. I hope that they don't charge a subscription fee because I'm very content having it be something that I own but, I do think that the value is there, they could charge $50 if they wanted and I still think it would be a fair purchase.
So what Anki does that's so wonderful and so worthy of that money is you write down flashcards, it's a flashcard application where you put in the information that you want to learn. You break down the flashcards into whatever you want and then as you look at it, it is a flashcard and then as you look at the other side of the flashcard, so when you reveal the answer to yourself you self-report. Did I not know the answer? Did I know the answer and it was difficult? Was it moderate or was it easy? Now based on your feedback it will schedule that card to be again revealed to you at the appropriate time and you need to review it.
APRIL WACHTEL: Oh that's amazing.
CHRIS LOWDER: It is awesome, so it is they've been working on these algorithms. I've been using this software since 2009, so a long time and it is applicable to anything so, I used the software to study Mandarin and became a Mandarin translator. I used it to study Japanese and became pretty good at Japanese if I do say so myself. I used it to study general academics when I returned back to university and was able to graduate with some honours. I learned economics, I later used it to learn cocktail recipes. I've used it to learn distillation techniques, anything that you could you need to just do the hard work, make little rocks out of big rocks and just commit to memory and force them, that's just the hard work of learning stuff and this is an extraordinarily efficient way to do that, because you basically rather than having I have 50 decks of flashcards and the detriment of that strategy is that, there's always going to be some pieces of information that you overlooked or that you assume that you know. This doesn't treat any one piece of information is like, 'Oh that's chapter one stuff'.
APRIL WACHTEL: That's brilliant.
CHRIS LOWDER: It is so incredible, so you wind up having one huge deck of flashcards. I have in here a deck of like 420 cocktails or something and it only shows me the ones that I'm supposed to review today, in order to maximize the efficiency of that study time, if that makes any sense.
APRIL WACHTEL: Oh totally, so just a usability question on that, because of I assume that most people type a little bit faster or a lot faster than they text or type on their phone. Does it make sense to then write the decks themselves using your laptop or your desktop and then review them in your phone, or does that not difference to?
CHRIS LOWDER: Well if I, that is 100% how I recommend using the software. So it's not, you're not typing the answers in when you see the flashcard, you are just again you're self-reporting. So you're just looking at the question saying the answer in your head and then clicking to reveal the answer, and then judging how correct you were. So some people don't like this software and I'll go ahead and say what the negatives are, is because it's very open source looking when you start to use it. It is just a very blank template. It means, it makes it far more functionally powerful because you can put in, you could have these flashcard via audio, so it could be maybe someone speaking and it's like, 'name that president' and you could do visual. I've used the software to learn people's names, so just putting their pictures in yeah, it's I'm very creepy.
You can put in their pictures on one side and then have some information about some on the back. I've definitely used that to, if there's like some VIP coming to the hotel that I'm supposed to know their names, then I'll make a quick little deck of flashcards. So it's very powerful but it's also, you have to do the work yourself, which the more that I recommend this software to people as time goes by, I find that less and less and less as people get used to the idea that I buy a software, the work is done for me and now I have a shortcut it's like there's no shortcuts in memorizing. This is the only shortcut is just being more efficient about how you're looking at information, but at the end of the day you have to do the hard work.
APRIL WACHTEL: I think that might be as brilliant as Anki is, that might be the most important point in that entire conversation we just had, which is there is no actual shortcut. There's ways to improve that process to achieve results, but the results don't.
CHRIS LOWDER: 100%. There's no shortcut. There's no you know people love, I'll get on my soapbox a little bit. People love this idea of multitasking or downloading. 'Oh if I get a cut like some extra apps then I'm multitasking it's making me more efficient'. It's not making you more efficient your task switching you're not multitasking. You are giving less of yourself to more technologies and it's not making you more efficient in the long run, you have to do the hard work. It's just I was talking to someone he said, this is why this is so pertinent in my mind as I was talking to somebody yesterday and they said, “Oh man like you recommended a couple different pieces of software to me and I'm just not getting the results. It's not making me more effective or efficient in my day to day.” I said, “Yeah that's true because you're like, these are just tools at the end of the day and one you have to do the hard work yourself.” There’s what’s called the “efficiency paradox.” Have you ever heard about this? This is going to get really nerdy now.
APRIL WACHTEL: Wait is this the 80/20?
CHRIS LOWDER: This is not 80/20, the Efficiency Paradox is when after the Industrial Revolution, electricity became a thing and all of these factories paid a lot of money to replace all of their steam pipes that were running all of their machines to have everything run on electricity. It was this huge amount of money everyone paid out and then at the end of the day once everything was done with electric they said, well we've just spent 20 percent more money and we're only five percent more efficient and I don't understand why? What they wound up realizing is that it's called the efficiency paradox and that is when there's a new technology that comes out, so Anki in this case, people will apply it the same way that they applied electricity lines, which is they'll still do the exact same habits. They didn't rearrange their machines at all, they just took out all the steam pipes and they laid electricity down the same place they had steam pipes and so their factory still had this very inefficient arrangement, and they weren't necessarily any better and what it took them like 20 years to figure out and that's when efficiency really has a spike. Is that the joy of electricity isn't that things run on electricity, it's that you can modulate your entire factory and you could put machines wherever you want, because you're not tied to this ground work.
So the fun thing about apps like Anki or Evernote which we'll talk about or any of these other thing is, if you instead of using your moleskin diary are just writing notes in Evernote, you will say this does not make me more efficient or more effective and it's true, because you're using it the same way as you were using the last technology. What you need to do is have a good think. “How can I completely turn everything on its head and modify my behaviour and do things in a completely different way, now that I have the strength of this technology? How would I reinvent my whole process?” Then that's when you're really going to get returns, if that's too weird.
APRIL WACHTEL: Oh No, I love it and I think that this will resonate with a lot of people. As a sidebar was that the efficiency principle was that mentioned in them in a Tim Ferriss Show recently? Because I know that I had heard about that concept within the past couple of months and I've been listening to the Tim Ferriss a lot recently so.
CHRIS LOWDER: I don't remember, who said it but I believe that it did make it’s appearance on a show.
APRIL WACHTEL: Awesome, so that's actually a really great transition into organizational tools you mentioned Evernote. I'm a major fan myself. Do you want to be that in fact your organizational tool recommendation?
CHRIS LOWDER: It certainly is, Evernote I am completely in love with. For anyone who doesn't know what it is. It's basically at its core it is your Moleskine, it is your note-taking tool, but it's a lot more powerful than that. So you can write down your notes to yourself or whatever notes you want and then they're all searchable. Evernote does now have a deal with Moleskine worked out where they are organizing their software around your smartphone's camera and then that piece of software is organized around the template of a Moleskine notebook page, so that if you if you write a note to yourself you can take a picture of it and it will read all of the handwriting and digitize everything, so that it's immediately searchable which is amazing.
So if you're at a meeting let's say and you've got your notes and you write them down in your paper notebook because you're not on your phone and you don't want to be rude, then at the end of the meeting you can take out your phone, take a picture of the page everything becomes immediately digitized and therefore searchable. If you're disciplined and if you do that right there at the meeting then it will also time stamp and Geo stamp the picture so that's also searchable, so that if you have meetings let's say in LA and then you're like oh man, there was something that we talked about in LA I have to remember it you can just Geo search your notes for Los Angeles and there's all this really deeper functionality beyond just a note-taking tool.
You can also use it if you pay for a more premium account, you can add other people to your account with permissions so that lets say that, you're head bartender somewhere, you can write down all of your recipes or write down all your notes from a staff education and then disseminate those to your team, so that everyone is running on the same consistent set of information and then two weeks later if their a guest comes in and they say oh, I'd love a cocktail with Bulleit Rye whiskey and then you say, oh man there was I was listening to this podcast. It's in my podcast notes from April, Movers and Shaker podcast. I remember this recipe and I can't remember exactly what's in it and then you could search April Wachtel or Chris Lowder or podcasts and then the recipes will come up and everyone that you share them with that's also the case. So very powerful, but again it's a lot of non-intuitive functionality. It's a lot of things that you kind of have to commit to the software with both feet. In order to really understand how powerful it is.
APRIL WACHTEL: Well so, it's funny because I actually I'm a very organized person that is disorganized at my core and so I think Evernote is, I know it's a good paradox um but.
CHRIS LOWDER: No, I completely relate to you.
APRIL WACHTEL: So many things flying around in my brain.
CHRIS LOWDER: We're cut from the same cloth.
APRIL WACHTEL: So anyway, so Evernote I think and I'm not sure again if this is how you use it, but one of the reasons, I think it's so brilliant is that because all of the words are searchable and the images are searchable. If I throw something in there, I don't have to necessarily tag it appropriately the second I put it in there. I don't have to put it into the correct note into the correct notebook. I can just search it and then reorganize it later when I have time or even just the search function works incredibly well even if you never tagged or you know organize things properly. So if there is one thing, yeah I think the search function is probably the most powerful.
CHRIS LOWDER: I would also say just like you said, you're touching on something really important there which is there's going to be people who perhaps listen to this podcast and then go and download Evernote and then have the same paralysis by analysis that we're all infected with, which is 'oh I'm going, today is the day I'm going to go and download Evernote and I'm going to start writing better notes and taking better care' and then they'll say, ah but like wait let me let me understand more of the functionality. Oh, I need to create some templates for my notes. Oh like, what's the best way to Geo tag and we wind up oftentimes bogging ourselves down in minutiae yeah and majoring in minor things so to speak. Definitely the way to start with Evernote is just start it. The way to start with Anki is just make some flashcards. The way to start with any of the stuff is take the first step on that journey, because ultimately if you get too tied up with tags and with Geo-tagging and with figuring out all these tiny little things, you're probably just going to think yourself into a corner and not get anything done which is why I so much relate to what you're saying, which is to be an organized-disorganized person. Its essence having great strategies but ultimately you have to take what's called the 20% or the 80% solution which is you have to just be 80% happy with the work that you're doing, but just do something.
APRIL WACHTEL: So that's actually and again I know you didn't plan this but that's actually a perfect transition into—
CHRIS LOWDER: We're crushing this conversation.
APRIL WACHTEL: Organized is organized. So what about inspiration? I know you and I both love Tony Robbins, there's a handful of people but where do you get your inspiration from either in a within or outside of the industry?
CHRIS LOWDER: Yeah, I think that when you look at cocktails and bartending as having a lot in common with any other creative entrepreneurial field. Suddenly you open the floodgates for how many sources you can become inspired by. I listen to a ton of podcasts, especially having spent the last year and a half in Seoul South Korea that has been my company of people have been a lot of podcasters and off-days, kind of the late evenings and all that kind of thing so, Tim Ferriss, the Tim Ferriss Show is incredible. This guy for those of you who aren't listening to his podcast I can't recommend it enough, it is this guy Tim Ferriss who wrote the 4-hour Work Week, which is a very corny title for a very interesting book. He has this podcast and has everybody on from Jamie Foxx, the Arnold Schwarzenegger to Mark Cuban to Derek Siver's, to people from Silicon Valley who are entrepreneurs, people who are making like synthesizing new kinds of protein for bodybuilders, anyone at the top of their game and he's kind of looking in and deconstructing how it is that they do, What they do which is I think important for anyone to understand no matter what field you're in, is how to become a more effective person. I think that's a very noble pursuit. So his podcast I can't recommend enough, that's Tim Ferriss, FERRISS, definitely have read through and listened to a ton of Tony Robbins, that guy just is all about personal power and empowering yourself and getting rid of your limiting self-belief, which I think is another very noble and powerful pursuit.
Speaking of motivational speakers I mean, I listen to I used to think that I loved stand-up comedy and what I realized growing through my life, is that I loved powerful public speaking. It's just that when I was younger the only evidence of that I had was in stand-up comedy and I would just eat up George Carlin especially, I've listened to all of George Carlin stuff over and over again but what I wound up realizing, was that it wasn't so much like, the content it was the content a lot but even more than that was how the degree to which he was able to deliver a message and keep people riveted for an hour to an hour and a half was just amazing for me. So I love watching someone who just that's, why I love watching TED Talks. I'll YouTube a ton of motivational speakers, not like because, not necessarily because of the content, although the content is often powerful but I just love watching the ways in which people touch other people. Does that make sense?
APRIL WACHTEL: Oh yeah.
CHRIS LOWDER: So I, people who I would recommend that everyone YouTube, is definitely Tony Robbins is one, Les Brown is he's got some awesome speeches that he's done. You should definitely check out Zig Ziglar who is an older soul I mean he's passed away unfortunately but, his heyday was really in what I'm going to I really don't know, so somewhere what 60s – 70’s.
APRIL WACHTEL: I'm not actually sure .
CHRIS LOWDER: And then after his Zig Ziglar, was Jim Rohn, which I definitely recommend that people check out. He's way more of a 70s, 80s and again if I'm getting these decades wrong, just I don't know…
APRIL WACHTEL: Yeah well either edit at or I'll handle the complaints.
CHRIS LOWDER: That's it, it'll be on a message board somewhere, I can't believe you…But definitely check those guys out. I've been reading and listening to a fair amount of Brené Brown lately who is all about what her books are Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and another one that I can't remember but, it's all about just being all in and just being honest with your true self and um and, it's all just stuff that I think is important. I think in bartending and in cocktails and in doing what we do, it's ultimately like a very human tactile human pursuit. We're just talking to other people and I think there's so much humanity there that, it is a fruitful pursuit to learn more about yourself and learn more about other people and how we all behave. I think that it will definitely impact your service if not yourself and your personal fulfillment. I think if I can't get to presumptuous or meta but yeah. Look, I think our ultimate responsibility is understanding what people need when they come into the bar and then delivering on that need, whether it's like a great drink or they just want someone to listen to them or they want their dates to be a success or they want to forget about their responsibilities at home or whatever the issue is. It just its useful time spent, spending more time understanding humanity, I don't know if that's too big.
APRIL WACHTEL: No, I love it. Honestly, you couldn't have tied that up better. Chris it's been such a pleasure having you on. Where can people find you online on social media? How can they get in touch with you?
CHRIS LOWDER: I'm '@getLouderNow', pretty much everywhere on the internet Twitter, Instagram and social media channels yet to be discovered. You can write me, if you send me a message on Instagram it's probably the best way if we're not Facebook friends, it's probably the easiest way to get in touch.
I also am in the process of launching a blog called becoming a bartender that's becomingabartender.com and that blog will just be a space dedicated towards taking people from zero to one. In other words, these people that we're talking about who are just now getting into the beverage industry. How do I get started? Where do I go? How should I interview? How should I make my resume? Who should I talk to? What the best way to get started? So that's going to just be a space dedicated towards answering those questions, both from my own perspective and through a series of interviews with other people who have navigated those waters successfully. So that's not a hundred percent live yet, but if you want to be the first to know, there is a space on the website right now where you can sign up for the notifications when I start publishing and posting a visual content.
APRIL WACHTEL: Chris thank you so much.
CHRIS LOWDER: My pleasure, oh my gosh thank you so much for having me on the podcast. It's been a wonderful conversation and I can't wait to sit in the corner and listen to everyone else's ideas, as we tend to do with all the other podcasts that we love listening to. It's a real treat for me.
APRIL WACHTEL: Thank you and it was such a pleasure having you. I'm so glad to catch up and can't wait to see what you're up to next. Chris Lowder everybody, thank you have a wonderful day and we'll talk soon.
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