Hi. My name is Zach Ware. If I were a cow you would say I’m Oklahoma stock, North Carolina farm-raised, West Coast-shaped and NYC-aged.
I am am based in Austin, TX, between downtown and a
giant money pit small ranch 45 min away.
I took time off in 2019 to focus on my internal compass and learn about topics I’ve long found interesting, explore a few projects and help people doing interesting things.
This is what I’m working on /now.
Some things I do:
- Working on a new company to tackle the systemic inefficiencies in the fresh food supply chain.
- Rower, surfer, backcountry explorer, Wilderness First Responder, terrible fly fisherman, occasional rock climber, freediver, honorary uncle to
fiveseven amazing kids.
- Obsessive food science and biology explorer/quantifier which started in 2015 when I started focusing on my health in a way that would change everything about how I live and think.
Some things I’ve done, sort of in reverse order:
- Managing Partner of VTF Capital with over 70 investments in companies including Ring, SpaceX, Asana, Mizzen + Main and 50+ more inspiring teams.
- CEO of Pilotworks which provided shared commercial kitchens and services to food companies. I joined as CEO in 2018 to lead a turnaround, ultimately shuttering the company.
- Head of Product at Zappos.com overseeing product development, content and business operations of the company’s digital and backoffice products (Zappos.com, Couture, 6pm, Mobile).
- Developed the the 4.5 acre, four building Zappos.com LEED Gold HQ in Downtown Las Vegas. (BI.
- Co-founded and scaled Downtown Project in Las Vegas, a 41-acre urban revitalization project aimed at creating sustainable opportunities for entrepreneurship and creativity in Las Vegas’ urban core. Co-founded with Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh where I focused on real estate development, government partnerships and major projects. (NY Times, Fortune, Wired)
- Founded Shift, a complex transportation operations and technology company that nearly killed me. I shut it down in 2015. (Washington Post)
- Co-founded coworking company Work In Progress (acquired by Let’s Rally).
- Managed the retail and ecommerce business at The Republic of Tea from San Francisco after several years managing distribution and production from Chicago.
- Managed sales and distribution to restaurants, grocers and food manufacturers in the Southeast US for a DC-based gourmet food importer and distributor.
- Managed our family’s small town restaurant, personally receiving its sizable debts in my parents’ divorce.
- Studied economics and computer science at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN and attended high school at Woodberry Forest School in Virginia, a boarding school to which I applied and was accepted before telling my parents.
- Held lots of random jobs including working at Starbucks, managing a convenience store, being an electrician’s assistant, picking tobacco on my family’s farm and working in a Walmart meat department for two days.
My general, non domain-specific, world view is most heavily influenced by a few key works:
- Charlie Munger, specifically The Psychology of Human Misjudgment. I’ve been accused of idol worship.
- Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse.
- Essays by Michel de Montaigne.
- Definite optimism as human capital.
- The lifetime of works of Ryan Holiday, specifically this, this, this and this. Ryan is now my neighbor.
- Thomas Schelling’s paper Enforcing Rules on Oneself.
- Fooled by Randomness and the Incerto works of Nassim Taleb.
- A trio (1, 2, 3) of writings by Tim Urban at Wait But Why.
- Since 2005 I’ve kept particularly powerful things I learn, read and notes from books in a digital commonplace book that I’m happy to share with anyone who asks for it.