Jake Muise — The Relentless Pursuit of Innovation, Quality, and Meaning (#678)

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“We’re asking our team members to be snipers, rally car drivers, CrossFit athletes, butchers. The people we have on our teams just have these extraordinary skill sets. It’s the funnest thing to watch a guy in his first week.”

— Jake Muise

Jake Muise (@mauinuivenison) is CEO at Maui Nui Venison, a company he co-founded in 2017 that works to balance invasive axis deer populations on the island of Maui, channeling that management into incredible nutrient-dense food. Maui Nui was selected for Fast Company’s “Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Agriculture of 2023,” and its venison has been served in restaurants across the country, including Alinea, The French Laundry, and Saison. Prior to Maui Nui, Jake was executive director of the Axis Deer Institute for 12 years, part of a two-decades-long project focused on axis deer and their long-term management in Hawai’i.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform. Watch the interview on YouTube here.

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The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#678: Jake Muise — The Relentless Pursuit of Innovation, Quality, and Meaning

This episode is brought to you by Eight Sleep! Eight Sleep’s Pod Cover is the easiest and fastest way to sleep at the perfect temperature. It pairs dynamic cooling and heating with biometric tracking to offer the most advanced (and user-friendly) solution on the market. Simply add the Pod Cover to your current mattress and start sleeping as cool as 55°F or as hot as 110°F. It also splits your bed in half, so your partner can choose a totally different temperature.

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Want to hear an episode with someone else who hunts with a mindset of conservation? Listen to my interview with MeatEater‘s Steven Rinella, in which we discuss how he got me to overcome a lifetime of negative association with hunting and hunters, why a decline in hunting and fishing license sales in the United States is worrisome, the role of hunters in ensuring prey species remain plentiful, the problem with conservation efforts that become overly politicized, recommendations for reconnecting with nature, and much more.

#470: Steven Rinella on Hunting (and Why You Should Care), Reconnecting with Nature, Favorite Trips, and More

What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.



  • Connect with Jake Muise:

Maui Nui Venison | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


  • [06:05] Lava cowboys.
  • [14:00] What does Maui Nui mean?
  • [15:07] A Hawai’i history primer.
  • [22:26] The problem with (and delicious solution to) axis deer in Hawai’i.
  • [30:18] The three-year hunt that became the Maui Nui springboard.
  • [43:54] The life-changing power of volleyball and free pizza.
  • [52:18] Seven on, seven off.
  • [57:01] Processes, metrics, and moon-fluence.
  • [1:00:41] Surpassing USDA regulations — in the wild.
  • [1:07:59] A typical night of harvesting.
  • [1:15:09] The humble, hungry, and smart way to build a world-class team.
  • [1:21:46] Feedback that separates the As and Bs from the Cs.
  • [1:30:21] Assigned and recommended reading.
  • [1:35:01] Nutrient density.
  • [1:46:10] Clawback allowances.
  • [1:49:20] Secret Pinterest boards.
  • [1:52:59] The old lady on the couch game.
  • [1:57:06] Tug of war.
  • [1:59:57] Can the business sustainably scale up without selling out?
  • [2:03:57] Jake’s billboard.
  • [2:06:00] Parting thoughts.


“We’re asking our team members to be snipers, rally car drivers, CrossFit athletes, butchers. The people we have on our teams just have these extraordinary skill sets. It’s the funnest thing to watch a guy in his first week.”
— Jake Muise

“We have to pick up every single one of these animals and carry them on our backs because you’re not allowed to drag them. You can either introduce contaminants and/or bruise the meat. And it’s actually one of my favorite parts of the night, as it is the complete opposite of the rest of the meat industry. After you’ve killed this animal for food, you’re carrying this animal on your back into its next stage of life with the food. And there’s an individual connection with each one of these animals. And it’s something that every guy on our team really takes pride in—being able to pick up these giant, 250-pound animals across razor sharp lava.”
— Jake Muise

“At Maui Nui … we find the balance that’s best for all of our communities—ecosystem communities, food system communities, our human communities, nearshore fisheries.”
— Jake Muise

“Kids are your greatest joy, and they will frustrate you more than anybody on the planet can.”
— Jake Muise


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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