Taste Radio Episode 626

The First Thing Jocko Willink Did When ‘Things Went Terribly Wrong'


Jocko Willink admits that he made mistakes during his time in the military. The retired Navy SEAL lieutenant commander, author and entrepreneur says that, in some cases, his errors led to circumstances in which “things went terribly wrong.”

Certainly, it’s difficult to compare the experiences of leading soldiers on the battlefield and running a CPG company. But Jocko, who is the founder of better-for-you beverage and supplement brand Jocko Fuel, believes that in any situation when mistakes occur, it’s important for the person in charge to take ownership, figure out a solution and find a way to make sure the problem doesn’t happen again.

That perspective is a core tenet of Jocko’s leadership style, which guides Jocko Fuel. Born as Jocko Tea in 2018, the brand has evolved into a CPG platform that markets several product lines, including energy drinks, protein shakes, greens powder and hydration beverages. Jocko Fuel has a nationwide retail footprint and is carried at grocery chains H-E-B, Meijer and Wegmans along with GNC, The Vitamin Shoppe and 7-Eleven.

We sat down with Jocko for a conversation about the development of Jocko Fuel, including why having a “military mindset” means more than you might think and how his personality and beliefs are embedded into every aspect of the brand. He also talks about empowering his team to navigate the complexities of running a modern consumer brand and its alignment with private equity firm Goode Partners, which invested $30 million in Jocko Fuel in 2022.

In this Episode

0:35: Interview: Jocko Willink, Founder, Jocko Fuel – Jocko explains his daily reading habit, why he wakes at 4:30 AM each morning and how that routine has benefited him as a soldier and entrepreneur. He also explains how his military experience taught him to approach every situation with an open mind and to listen to feedback, the reason that Jocko Fuel energy drinks contain less caffeine than competing products, and why he isn’t managing the brand’s retail strategy. Jocko also explains what he means by “extreme ownership,” why he believes that the buck always stops with him, his perspective on competition, the influence of company investors on management decisions,his role in the promotion of Jocko Fuel, and the brand’s pricing strategy.

Also Mentioned

Jocko Fuel