The Family.Inc Newsletter

Newsletter No. 2 – January 19th, 2024
Written by a human. 

"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

This sentiment frequents the conversations I have with family businesses and I agree that the argument has merit.

The reasoning is this: we (the leading or senior) generation have built a great business; it provides handsomely for our family so we’re not going to screw that up by taking unnecessary risks nor change for change’s sake.

I understand that.

However, in the next 5-10 years technology advances are going to fundamentally disrupt organizations and industries, and a stay-the-course mantra is not going to work.

Why the siren call?

I have been spending an inordinate amount of time researching emerging technologies and they are fundamentally altering how work is being done.

One of the strengths of family run companies is their ability to go slow, make long-term decisions (hey, no quarterly earning calls), and they can – assuming family shareholders are amendable – sacrifice the short term for the long term.

Family businesses are often risk averse and it serves them. But, if you haven’t spent time exploring disruptive forces, you need to make that a priority.

For example: Will AI change the way we slice cheese at Sargento Foods in ten years?

Not exactly, I don’t envision bots slicing and dicing our cheese. However, you can bet those bots will be running in the background helping improve yields, reduce cost, and accelerate payments, automatically.

If implemented thoughtfully, this will give us a competitive advantage.


So, here is an idea for your family.  

If you’re a senior family leader, this is a great time to sit down with the next gen and ask them as many questions as possible about that “new fangled stuff” they are into.  I

t isn’t too late to start leaning into the inevitable changes that things like AI and cryptocurrencies will bring to markets.  And you can bet you’ll be building a lot of goodwill across your family by leaning into how the next generation sees the world ahead.

– Josh Gentine

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