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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

Hunter or Farmer

“I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wandering.” – Steven Wright, comedian.

1991 was the year I was sitting in a two day sales training for Kent Feeds in Muscatine daydreaming. Everyone in the room was talking about hunters and farmers. Everyone in the room nods with understanding – that is everyone but ME!

Later that same year (while selling) I saw for myself what the sales trainer was talking about that day. I saw two kinds of sales reps; the ones who went out and hunted new customers constantly, and other sales reps would work very closely with their accounts growing their sales volume from within that account.

To this day, some 20 years later, I’m still not sure if there’s a genetic component or if this is merely a convenient grouping of people’s personalities. All I know is that it often explains a lot about our behavior (including mine). Think about it… the hunter goes out into the woods searching for prey.  The prey comes into sight, the hunter takes aim…. and you know how that story ends… a trophy strapped to the top of the car. Clearly, farming is a very different activity from hunting. Farmers spend time sweating the details, checking the weather, making smart choices about seeds and breeding and working hard to avoid a bad crop.

Both Hunters and Farmers are worthy, both are profitable, but each is very different from the other. In order to build profitable companies here in Tama County, there needs to be a balance of Hunters and Farmers within each company. When I see companies that are too heavy in either Hunters or Farmers, it’s often a source of trouble as there is either a deficiency in focus and execution (too little Farming), or a deficiency in vision (too little Hunting).

Some other ways to think about this:

  • James Bond is a hunter. Give him desk job and he would freak out.
  • Farmers don’t dislike technology. They dislike failure. Technology that works is a boon.
  • Hunters are in sync with Google, a hunting site.  Farmers like Facebook.
  • Farmers prefer productive meetings.  Hunters want to simply try stuff and see what happens.
  • Warren Buffet is a farmer. So is Bill Gates. Mark Cuban is a hunter.
  • Hunters want a high-stakes mission, farmers want to avoid epic failure.
  • Trade shows are designed to entrance hunters, yet all too often, the booths are staffed with farmers.
  • One of the paradoxes of venture capital is that it takes a hunter to get the investment and a farmer to patiently make the business work.
  • A farmer often relies on other farmers in his peer group to be sure a purchase is riskless.

So, whether you are a Hunter ready to take aim at a new venture or a Farmer interested in learning which Tama County business needs your help getting focused and executing, contact our office (641) 484-3108 and we can get you connected.



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