Tim Angelillo | Crain's Los Angeles

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Tim Angelillo


Sourced Craft Cocktails is a cocktail catering startup in Austin that brings a customized menu of craft alcoholic beverages to parties, corporate events, weddings and festivals. In 2017, the Austin-based company expanded to Los Angeles and Dallas.

The Mistake:

Not having a north star.

I actually started out working at publicly traded media companies, eventually leading Yahoo Sports globally. The challenge at Yahoo, at the time, was figuring out why each of its 12,000 employees all over the world would get out of bed in the morning - what purpose would they be working towards, at Yahoo?

Yahoo had been transitioning away from its identity as a search-oriented company, and was instead considering being a content company, launching a social media network, focusing on video and so on. Because we had a lot of great people, a well-thought-out brand and an 800 million-person audience, we had many different directions to choose from.

Unfortunately, that was the problem. We couldn’t make up our minds on which route to take, and because of that, we had a lot of people with a lot of energy doing different things that didn’t ultimately move the company in one particular direction.

At a certain point, you have to make the best decision you can and stick with it.

The Lesson:

If people at your company aren’t clear on why they get out of bed in the morning, it’s going to be really hard to unlock your organization’s full potential. Yahoo didn’t have a north star, and because of that, it was really hard to get 12,000 people working towards the thing that would unlock its potential.

If I could go back in time, I would tell my former self to have a “bet the farm” moment; at a certain point, you have to make the best decision you can and stick with it. And while that may have been a daunting thing to do at a big company like Yahoo, it would have been better than having no clear direction.

At Sourced Craft Cocktails, we do things differently. Our north star is to be a service to our clients -- to elevate their experiences with alcohol. The first question anyone asks when they walk through the doors of an event is, “where is the bar?” And if you hand them something that’s average, then it’s just another night, another event. You aren’t giving them the chance to turn a moment into a memory.

Our focus on elevating experiences with our cocktails guides everything we do: From the people we hire to the products and services we offer. We won’t take on clients if they aren’t the right fit for our services. As a result, 91 percent of our clients repeat business with us.

Follow Sourced Craft Cocktails on Twitter at @SourcedCocktail.

​Photo courtesy of Sourced Craft Cocktails.

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