The Future of Work: Working for yourself

Written on February 11, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

In the past, “work” meant being in an office between 9-5 and devoting your life to someone’s profit. Thanks to the technological progress, we have so many options to to be an independent worker. Jacob Morgan is a futurist, and speaker. Also, he is the author of The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization. He tells us how he thinks and what kind of steps he has taken. 


Jacob morgan


How did you become an entrepreneur and futurist?

JM: The reason that I became an entrepreneur is that I didn’t like working for other people. I worked very hard in college to get good grades and I double majored so I could get a good job. After college, I worked for a couple of companies. However, the experience I was hoping to get from these jobs didn’t align with what my thoughts were. I used to work for a company in San Francisco. At that company, I won a free pass to go to a conference: the Web 2.0 Expo, a conference that usually costs $2,000 to attend. I said “I have this free pass to go to this conference, can I go?” They told me “No, you can’t go.” I asked “why not? I don’t have any client deliverables, and if I have any work that I need to finish I’ll do it at night and during the weekend.” They insisted “You just can’t go.” I realized that I was basically a slave to these other people. I quit my job and I went to that conference anyway. I started to think to myself and saved up some money through jobs. After I quit that company, I started taking small projects -like writing projects for around $15-20 an article, social media consulting, and search engine optimization consulting. I also started blogging and speaking at conferences. You need the foundation and have to keep building on top of it and keep building and building. It took a couple of years, but I ultimately I became an entrepreneur. When I was working for other people, I was unhappy. I had my own ideas and things I wanted to do, but I could never do them. So, going off on my own, I had a lot of freedom and flexibility to do things that I wanted to do that I had the power to do so. As a futurist, I started spending a lot of time thinking about why these work experiences were bad, seeking out a lot of other people, and learning about employee engagement and workplaces. I found out a lot of people are unhappy with their current jobs. There’s a big disconnect between the ideas people have about work and the ways that companies are actually built and structured. It’s basically about what the future can look like and what steps organizations, managers and people should take to get there. This all stemmed from the unfortunate discrete experiences that I had while working for other people and I learned about other people that have these same types of experiences. That’s where I fueled my curiosity and my interest in how the workplace is changing.



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Why did you start educating and empowering people?

JM: I didn’t want other people to have the same type of work experiences that I had. I became very interested in how to create workplaces and how to create managers and leaders that give employees a positive experience: How do you create places where employees actually want to show up every day and enjoy being there? That’s what I’ve been exploring for the past couple of years: how the workplace is changing, why it’s changing, what are the trends that are driving these changes, and what we should be doing to adapt as a result of the changes that we’re seeing. I consistently and constantly learn new things. Every company that I talk to, I learn something new.


How did you develop your own brand and how did you convince people to start believing you?

JM: That’s always tough. There are always people who disagree with you and there are always some people who want to see you fail. I think that how you react to those people makes the difference. To build your own brand up, you can start talking and writing about your ideas. That’s exactly what I did through my blog and Twitter. Ultimately, what people like to do when they follow ideas and people is to learn, to be entertained a little bit and to hear unconventional ideas. I try to come up with new things and perspectives that aren’t always discussed. For example, in my new book, I clearly provide specific principles for employees, managers, and companies. There have been plenty of people talking about the future of work and management. I put it in the concrete set of principles that anybody can look at. They can look at the pictures they created, and understand what that’s about. I use a lot of visual storytelling. If you have an idea that you believe in, just go after it. Do not pay attention to the people who are going to make fun of you, nor to the people who are going to leave you negative comments. I had this idea of the future of work and I tried to support that idea by interviewing companies, doing research, and sharing my results. You obviously have to have several platforms. I contribute to Forbes. I use medium and LinkedIn. I have a blog, podcast, and video blog. I am in a lot of different places and I share my message with people who consume my content. Consistency is very important. I keep my message consistent and talk about it regularly. Stay on the message, be consistent with it, and explore new themes and new topics to make ideas around that message.


How long does it take for a community to spread ideas?

JM: Building a community is really important. You need to reach the right audience and build credibility and trust. A community can spread ideas instantly. You need to find a way for more people to see your message and idea, and to get out of your comfort zone. That’s why I started speaking at conferences, writing articles for other blogs and publications, doing as many interviews as I could and writing a book. Great ideas are meaningless if nobody knows about them. You need to come up with a way for people to actually find your ideas.


If you had the same amount of knowledge and experience at the beginning, what would you have done differently?

JM: I would have dealt differently with the people who had negative comments for me. When I first started writing, I was getting a lot of people who would try to get into my personal life and leave bad comments on my blog. I responded to a lot of them and engaged with them in discussions, thus spending a lot my time and energy. I wouldn’t have done that. Right now, I ignore a lot of people that want to see me fail. I use that negative energy to motivate me to do better. There’s a famous quote that says “Never argue with an idiot, they’ll bring you down to their level and beat you to death with experience.” The second thing I would have done differently is that I would have gotten out of my comfort zone a lot earlier. For example, I started doing a podcast and a video series. I should have started those years ago, not just a couple of months ago. I would have done more video recordings of sessions, spoken at more conferences, to build the brand a little bit larger and faster earlier on.


What is the key point to establish your personal brand value?

JM: You have to do everything. You can’t pick and choose and say “I only want to do blogging and nothing else,” because you need to get in front of people in person and online. Building a personal brand is about being in a lot of different places where people can consume your content and engage with your different content, such as videos, audios, and blogs.


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You are a profound thinker. Is it like your genetic ability or you have taken training?

JM: Chess is a very strategic game where you need to think a couple steps ahead, instead of just making a move. I look at things like a chess game. I like to think, “what is going to happen if you make this move” and “if you make that move?” The idea of chess and getting into that frame of mind of thinking has really helped me in my personal life. One of my goals for this year is to spend more time exploring ideas. It’s easy to get stuck on your computer, but sometimes, it’s good to disconnect and take your thoughts on a piece of paper and try to come up with ideas and frameworks around certain topics. I would like to think of various questions that I think are important for companies and explore trends in more detail and come up with unique ways to show people what the future or work is going to look like. I don’t want to just write the content; instead, I want to come up with different scenarios and I want to help people understand and reach these conclusions themselves. To do that, you need to rely on some type of visual thinking and the kinds of frameworks that exist out there.


In the beginning, you may have faced many obstacles and made some mistakes. How do you maintain your mental state?

JM: That’s also a very good question. There have been bad times. When I started I wasn’t able to get any business and clients, and that can be depressing and tough. People need to realize that these initiatives, of being an entrepreneur, are long term. You need to be realistic about what your expectations are. When you have your own business, there is a cyclical cycle. You might have a fantastic month and then the next month can be an awful one. It’s important to understand what those expectations are and being able to manage the budget accordingly. If you become an entrepreneur to do something that you don’t enjoy doing or you can only do a couple hours a day, it’s going to be really hard. You’re going to be completely immersed in this topic day and night. Regardless of your business and the area of your passion, you need to make it sure that you’re ready to have it around you all the time. Also, it’s important to do things in your life that give you pleasure and enjoyment. As a part of that, I use a guidepost for myself. I always check if I have any negative signs based on what I’m like. If I get too many negative signs, I know it’s time to switch direction. You need to start thinking about “maybe I’m doing something wrong,” and you need to pay attention to the signs. There are also plenty of positives signs as well. For example, I am able to get a client, and the next month I get two clients, and the next month I launch a website and I get a bunch of visitors to my site, that’s a good sign. I’m always very conscientious to how the content I create is received and I pay a lot of attention to the feedback I get. Those business signs tell you whether you are going in the right direction or not. Another way to deal with depression or fatigue is to surround yourself with a community. You can’t do things alone and just lock yourself into a room. You need to have a community around you that supports you and encourages you to do the things that you want to do. Finally, part of what being an entrepreneur means is that you will have failures. That is essentially synonymous with being an entrepreneur. It just depends on how you are going to deal with them, but you should have the idea in your mind or the expectation that you might make a couple of mistakes along the road. You need to have an idea in your mind “what are you going to do when a mistake or failure happens?” I always think of different paths I can take, what happens if something doesn’t work out, what other direction can I go down. This kind of thinking is very important.


How do you manage your fear when you starting a new journey?

JM: You can start small and take baby steps. When I was starting, even when I worked for other people, I was always building something for myself. If things fail, I’ll go work at Starbucks and do anything that I need to do to make money if I have to, but there are always opportunities to make money. It just depends on how much money you want and how much money you can make. My mentality, when I was getting started, was “I am an entrepreneur, I’m on my own. I don’t need a lot of money, so I could write articles for people, get a couple of jobs on Craigslist, and build from there.” In the worst-case scenario, I had enough money in my account for eight months where I could cover expenses. I never sold everything and I never had the risk of being homeless or having the risk of destroying my credit, and I never put my life on the line. The only thing I put on the line was a chance of doing something. Start small by doing things that you can do, by building your brand in an easy way. As things start to be well, you can go bigger and bigger and bigger. You don’t just quit everything you’re doing, take anything to loan and go do it. I wouldn’t advise that.


If you can leave one message to the next generation to make the world better, what would you say?

JM: Help others whenever you can, whether it’s giving advice or opening the door for somebody when they want to enter a building. The more we help other people, the happier we will be and the happier we can make others. So, the advice I can give to somebody else: help others.


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©Masaaki Hasegawa


Impact Hub makes impacts

Written on February 10, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

Could you imagine you would work with strangers working on different projects in the same place? Impact Hub is now one of the most famous co-working spaces in the world. It has more than 10,000 members and 60 locations in the globe. Richard Evans, Chairman of Impact Hub Association, shares with us the essence of his life.


Richard evans



For those who are not familiar with you, please let us know about you. Why did you get involved in Impact Hub as the chairman of the board?



I first got involved in Impact Hub about 7 years ago when I quit my corporate career to focus on impact. I felt a bit lonely because I didn’t know a lot of other people with that kind of motivation, and a friend introduced me to Hub Kings Cross in London, which was still not yet open. I loved the idea and go involved as a member and an investor, then ended up chairing the board there. Last year the global association Chair position came up, and I just felt drawn to stand for election, then to my surprise I got elected!


You have a rich experience in marketing and branding. How do you convert your experience and knowledge into the value as the chairman of Impact Hub?


I have learned over the years that word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing, and of course you cannot buy that. Behaving in ways that build trust is what leads to positive word of mouth – so I try and keep us focused on that. Our network has grown entirely through word of mouth.
If you had had the same amount of knowledge and experience from the beginning, what you would do differently?


If you mean from the beginning of my time as Chair of Impact Hub Association, I’m not sure I’ve been doing it long enough yet – I’m still in the early learning phase! If you mean from the beginning of my career, I think I would have invested far more energy in trying to develop a truly collaborative culture like we have in Impact Hub, rather than relying on traditional corporate ‘command & control’, which just does not get the best out of people.
In many cases, the main cause of failure is neither a business model nor a concept of business, but a mental failure: giving up, getting depression , or losing passion. How have you dealt with this point when things do not go well as you want them to go?


I think if you can be truly honest with yourself and develop a really clear sense of your life’s purpose, then you can never really give up on that. It’s a cliché I know, but when one door closes another opens, if you stay focused and remain open to learning from every experience you will never truly lose heart.


Why people need a co-working space?


Lots of people want co-working space for lots of reasons – it’s a growing market! But our members are drawn together not just for the cost or convenience of the physical space, it is the opportunity to hang out with like-minded people and connect with others who can help you turn your business idea into reality that they value most.
What is the most important thing you have ever learnt throughout your life? 


That’s a tough one! I think probably to try and always treat others as you would hope to be treated yourself. It doesn’t mean that you are always going to be treated well of course, but at least that way you can always live with yourself, and be at peace with yourself.


If you can leave one message for the young people around the world to make the world better, what advice you would give to them?


Ask yourself what you really want your life to be about, then follow your heart. In my experience, most people have kindness and generosity in their souls, but modern life puts many distractions and obstacles in the way. But these days it is really possible for any young person to make a difference on a global scale – we see many of our members doing just that – it’s exciting and inspiring to see.


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8. If you can make a call to 20-year-old Richard Evans, what would you say to him?


Ask yourself what you really want your life to be about, then follow your heart!


It is always valuable to learn what great people use. What are your favorite products, services, websites, applications, or places that help you work efficiently, learn better, or get inspiration?


I’m the last person to ask that question to! Probably the biggest challenge I have in my role at Impact Hub is that most people I work with are 10-20 years younger than me and they are constantly introducing new technologies to me that I have to get used to. I’m a techno-disaster, but I’m doing my best!


What is the book or who is the person inspired you most in your life?


Gandhi. I read his biography when I was 18. I loved the fact that he was able to make such a big difference in the world without any formal power or position. I also admired the way he combined really positive intent with amazing shrewdness in the way he took on the British authorities. I’m still inspired by his story today.

©Masaaki Hasegawa


Nothing can be better than great designs

Written on February 6, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

At age 17, he won a Reebok design competition, beating out professionals and college students nationwide.  At age 19, he became the youngest professional footwear designer in the industry. At the age of 30 he became one of the youngest Design Directors in Nike’s history and designed AIR JORDAN. D’Wayne Edwards, the founder of PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy, shares with us the essence of his life.


D'Wayne Edwards of Pensole–by Cathy Cheney


For those who are not familiar with you, let us know more about you. How did you come to a footwear designer?


DE: That is a long story, but I will try to keep it short. I grew up with the gift to draw anything I could see, and starting at age 11 I drew my first shoe. All through school I would draw shoes instead of doing my class work (which got me in trouble a lot), and one day I saw an ad for a footwear design competition. Well, I entered the competition and won but I was still in high school so I did not get the job. That sparked my desire to be a footwear designer even more, so I started trying to find colleges that offered footwear design so that could be my future. But there were no schools of that kind, so I gave up on my dream. I later went on to graduate from high school and started working, filing papers. One of my early jobs was at a footwear company by the name of LA Gear. Here I was, my dream job in sight, and one day they put suggestion boxes in every department for employees to give the company ideas on how to make the company better. Well, my idea was to hire me as a footwear designer, so I put a new sketch of shoe in the box every day. After six months the owner of the company called me into his office and offered me a job. That was shortly after my 19th birthday. There is more to the story, but I tried to keep it short. The longer version is on pensole.com under “founder”.


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When you design, what you can see in your mind? What kind of processes are taken in your thought?


DE: Interesting question, because I think my designs through in my head before I actually draw. I can spend hours or days building a physical image of each design in my head, adding things until I can see about 90% of what it will look like, then I sit down and five minutes later it’s on paper. I usually finish the final 10% once it is a real image on paper. I see my designs in black and white, which is why I only use a No. 2 pencil and white paper.
Even though you had an incredible career as a designer, why did you begin the PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy? What do you aim to achieve through it?


DE: I started it for a few reasons. The first is I wanted to provide a pathway for young kids like me—who grew up poor with limited resources in a tough environment with a better chance of ending up dead or in jail than of having any type of career. The other reason I did not want my legacy in this industry or as a designer to be the “products” I designed. I feel I was blessed with a gift that has more power if I share it with others than just using it to make me or other people rich. My aim for PENSOLE is to simply leave the footwear industry better than it was when I entered it by developing the next generation of footwear leaders. So far, so good. We have more than 100 students working professionally after just four years, at the industry’s top companies.
Being the best designer would be completely different from being the best teacher. How do you make a bridge between them?


DE: Great question! Never been challenged to think about that. I would say my life’s goal—to be better than I was yesterday—has impacted my approach to design and teaching. I think there is a certain level of discipline you have to have if your goal is to be great at anything. But the title of “great” is something you work towards and earn. I have always strived to be great, and now, instead of me trying to design a great product, I am focused on helping design lives. Today, I still think of myself as a designer, but I also see myself as a farmer, and my students are my seeds. If I am able to plant them across the industry, it will elevate design throughout the entire footwear business.


What is a method/thing/way that others do not take, but you take to transmit your knowledge and experience to the next generation?


DE: I lead by example and teach my students the way they will work in the real world. My relationship with my students is not one of just a teacher because my philosophy on teaching is summed up in this quote from Bruce Lee: “I am not teaching you anything. I just help to you to explore yourself.” To quote Bruce again, “Life is your teacher and you are in a constant state of learning.” I sincerely believe this, and I am not here to teach you “skills” with your hands, my goal is to help you develop your brain so you reach your full potential: as a person first and designer second.
What makes the difference between commercially successful artist and talented artists having a low profile?


DE: Visibility. I believe the talent can be the same, but if no one sees it, how will they know your talent? Now, of course, there are other factors, like working at larger companies with higher profiles, but at the end of the day you should be working towards perfecting your craft daily to achieve your own level of greatness. And who cares if anyone sees it because you should not be defined by what others think. Focus on being the best YOU, and at some point the world will discover who YOU are.
From the viewpoint of business, how does your experience as a designer help you manage your academy?


DE: It helps me greatly! Business is my new design challenge. How can I creatively solve problems that will lead to a better way of doing things is what I ask myself daily. I advise ALL designers who want to have their own business one day to approach business the same way they design If they do that they will see their vision for their company before it happens that same way they see their designs before they’re real. PENSOLE is my greatest design, and the world has only seen a very small part of it. I am excited to wake up every day to develop and reveal more and more of it. I can’t wait to show you what I am working on next.


If you had had the same amount of knowledge and experience when you started the academy, what would you have done differently?


DE: Hmmm, I am not sure because even thinking it has not been easy I would not change a thing. What people don’t realize is we do not learn from our successes. We learn from our mistakes. And when you adopt the willingness to take a chance to do something great, even if you fail, it might still end up good. Most don’t even try, and they fail before they start. So, for me, I don’t look back because I am focused on moving forward.
If you can make a call to 20-year-old D’Wayne Edwards, what kind of advices you would give to him?


DE: Another GREAT question! I can take this is a few different ways because so much has happened to me over the course of my life, but I would say: “Li’l Bro, it’s not going to be easy. You will experience the death of people closest to you. You will meet people you never dreamed of meeting. You will be praised and criticized by the same people. You will fail more than you succeed. Be thankful for everything because if it was too easy, it would not be worth it.”


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If you can leave one message to make the world better, what would you say?


DE: Man, where do you get these questions……? ☺ “Focus on being a person who inspires others because one day someone will need you.” – D’Wayne Edwards
What are your favorite websites/app, products/services/, and locations/venues that stimulate your creativity and help you work productively?


DE: Mannnnn, that was a long question….. ☺

>Website: Too many to list, but I would say my email because I never know what will show up daily.
>App: None. I am old-school. I don’t use apps!
>Products: Pencil and paper.
>Services: My brain
>Locations: Awake. As long as I’m breathing, I have no excuse.
>Venues: The Colosseum in Rome.

DE: I am inspired by what I cannot see or touch, so I am always open to embracing whatever happens.


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©Masaaki Hasegawa


Chief Happiness Officer

Written on February 5, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

Who does want to be unhappy? Most people work hard to be happy, or at least, they believe that they would be happier if they work hard earning more money. It is not right or wrong. It is just a result of education and common sense. What are truly important to remember to have a quality life? Why do you have to be so miserable in your office? We are to be happy. It is just whether you know about it or not. Alexander Kjerulf is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Woohoo inc, and the author of Happy Hour is 9 to 5. He tells us what we need to remember to have a quality life.  





For those who are not familiar with you, please let us know more about you. What is the role of “Chief Happiness Officer” and what is “Woohoo inc.”?


I am the founder and CHO of Woohoo inc and we make people happy at work. We do workshops and keynotes for clients all over the world, to help them become happy workplaces.


What was the beginning of thinking of happiness? Did you have a specific moment that you started concerning about happiness in your life?


I’ve always felt that whatever work I do, I want it to be something I enjoy. I flatly refuse to do work that I hate.So when I left IT consulting in 2002 I decided to focus on happiness at work. Our company vision is to create a world where happiness at work is the rule and not the exception.


What was your first step to sharing your ideas, working with corporations, educating people to be happier? And, what kind of results you had in the beginning?


My first step was to study the field and find a lot of relevant research. I also talked to a lot of people to collect practical experiences and attitudes.

I then designed my first happiness workshop and tested it on a group of volunteers, who seemed to really like it. And then it was time to start the company and begin selling this to clients.


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I assume you sometimes had difficulties at the beginning that is the hardest part for those who start something new. How did you overcome it?


The hardest part was obviously selling our services in the beginning. Many people and companies thought it was a strange idea, but slowly it started to gain acceptance and now we’re very well known in Denmark and around the world.

Our main tool for overcoming this challenge was to be ourselves and to be bold. To do things our way, and not become too corporate or too traditional. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but I feel very proud that we stayed true to our initial vision.


“Arbejdsglæde”, happiness at work, is a unique word, which exists only in Scandinavian countries. What makes this word part of Scandinavian culture? Is it because of the education, nature, relationship with people?


It’s probably because Scandinavian societies are very egalitarian and focused on a good quality of life. Success in Scandinavia is not necessarily about becoming a millionaire, but more about having a good quality of life.


It seems that “work” is considered “exploitation” in the western cultures and “sacrifice” in the eastern cultures (totally opinion). Work does not make people make happy with these conceptions. How people can think to make their work happier and how they can behave differently to build an environment in which people can work and have happiness at the same time?


It’s true that many people consider work punishment and expect work to be hard and unpleasant and that for many, work is something you do only because you have to.

But we’re trying to make people realize that it doesn’t have to be that way. Of course, we still need to work to make a living, but we can find work that we actually enjoy.


You make a clear difference between “satisfaction” and “happiness”. What people should know about the difference between these 2 words?


Satisfaction is what you think about your job. When you make a rational, logical evaluation of your work situation, are you satisfied overall? It’s an important concept, but it turns out that satisfaction doesn’t have much of an impact on us.

Happiness is what you feel about your job. When you are at work, do you experience mostly positive or negative emotions. And our emotions are so important because they have a huge effect on our health, our well-being and our job performance.


It is interesting that many people look for happiness externally such as materials, bonus, status, and hardly try to look into themselves. Perhaps it is because they have got educated to think in that way. How this kind of people can experience a paradigm shift in their way of thinking to be happier?


Yes. All of the factors you mention still matter, because they can make us unhappy, if perceive them as unfair. For instance, if you feel you’re being underpaid, that can absolutely make you unhappy. But none of those things can make us happy at work.

The salary makes it possible to go to work – it’s not what determines if we’re happy when we’re there.


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What would be requirements for creating a world where the majority of people can feel “they are happy” ?
So if raises, bonuses, perks and promotions aren’t the key to a happy work life, then what is? This has been the subject of extensive research over the last few decades, and it seems it comes down to two things: Results and Relationships.

Results are about making a difference at work, knowing that your job is important, getting appreciation and doing work that you can be proud of. Relationships are about liking the people you work with, having a good manager and feeling like you belong. In short, we are happy at work when we do great work together with great people. That’s is where you need to focus. Instead of choosing the job with the fanciest office or the loftiest title, you need to choose a job where you can have great results and relationships. That will ultimately lead to a much better work life and home life.
And please note that this does not mean choosing between happiness and career success. Research shows that people who like their jobs, do a much better job. They’re more productive, more creative, more motivated and more likely to reach their goals.


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©Masaaki Hasegawa


Design x Entrepreneurship

Written on February 3, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

Primo Orpilla is the Co-founder and Principal of Studio O+A, the design firm in San Francisco responsible for groundbreaking offices at AOL, Facebook, Yelp, Levi Strauss and so on. Is it possible to follow your passion and to be successful at the same time? Yes, he proves it.




For those who are not familiar with you, please let us know more about you. How did you come to be a designer and entrepreneur?

PO: When I was undergraduate at San Jose State University I was initially studying engineering technology, I wanted to be a power plant designer. I had always liked cars and my father was a machinist so I knew a lot about cars engines. My wife Verda was at the same school, only she was in the art department. I really liked the energy and creativity in the art department. I noticed the other disciplines such as product design, graphic design and multimedia design. I also had an interest in architecture, but that was not taught at there. I looked closely into the Interior Design program. I looked closely at what you could do as an interior designer and quickly realized that interior designers could be designing and directing many elements of the interior space and that appealed to me about how much the interior designer could touch and have influence on. The entrepreneur side of me probably came from my parents they had had business outside of their jobs. So I think it was always clear to me that there is a business component to any endeavor and that you needed to have some aspirations with owning a company. You also need to understand that you are creating a brand and that brand identity needed to convey who and what we are. So it became important to be col clear on whom and what we are. I do think that also being in the silicon valley and seeing the spirit of these startups that anything is possible has also fueled O+A.


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What is the core concept of your design agency?

PO: We have several guiding principles, but I suppose the key one is that every project should tell a story and that it should be the client’s story. Our design development process is all about immersing ourselves in the client’s culture and then figuring out how to make the work environment an expression of that culture. When you walk into Yelp’s office or Uber’s office, we want you to feel the spirit of those companies. And if you’re working there, we want your work to be enhanced by the spaces you’re working in. An effective workplace will inspire their people to do their best work.


What was the most difficult thing when you founded a company and how did you overcome it?

PO: Starting a new business is always a challenging.  Just getting clients in those early days was a challenge. And of course if your business is commercial design you are, to some extent, at the mercy of real estate cycles, economic cycles, boom and bust—that sort of thing. We have managed to survive and in fact to thrive in all economic climates by listening to our clients, staying nimble and hiring people who are creative and dynamic. I think we have the best design team in the business.


I assume you have experienced mistakes and refusals as well. How do you maintain your mental state?

PO: I’m an optimistic by nature and I also enjoy the journey. I feel that you need the ups and downs to make you respect the good times and remember what you have. It also helps put things into context; we are in the heart of the SOMA a part San Francisco where several worlds collide. You have the brightest minds in the tech industry and then stark contrast of those who are not so fortunate people rehabbing. I feel we make a lot of decision and terms of . I’ve been in business long enough—24 years!—to understand that setbacks are just a part of the process. Nothing proceeds simply from A to B to C—there are always diversions. Sometimes the diversions take you to unexpected places. Sometimes they lead to discoveries.


If you had had the same amount of knowledge and experience at the beginning, what would you have done differently and why?

PO: I don’t think of it that way. It’s the journey from that little 2-person company—Verda and me—in Fremont, California in the 1990s to the 40-something team we have now in San Francisco that has been so rewarding. And we’re still making that journey. I’m learning something new every day. So it’s not a question of fixed knowledge. It’s a matter of being open to new influences and being excited about what’s ahead. Long way of saying I wouldn’t change a thing.


How does your experience as a designer help you manage the company and how does your experience as an entrepreneur help you design?

PO: Being familiar with both disciplines allows you to appreciate all points of view. As a designer I know what it is to be invested creatively in a project. I hope that makes me a more perceptive judge of our employees’ work. As a manager, I’m aware of what it takes to get a project in on time and on budget. I hope that makes me a more focused and effective designer.


What is the biggest difference between designer/artists and business people in terms of their way of thinking?

PO: You know what? The differences aren’t that great. The clients we work with—tech clients, entrepreneurs, communications people—are all extremely creative. These folks are changing the way the world works. That requires an “artistic” sensibility. And the artists I know—and I know quite a few—are usually very practical people. You have to be practical to make a career of art. Or even to make a single work of art. Every creation comes down to a series of practical choices and steps.


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What is the enemy of creativity do you think?

PO: I think the real enemy of creativity and producing good design is complacency and settling. Good design hearts and that rigor and passion to create new and thoughtful approaches can seem overwhelming. But what you will find is that a process when followed will always yield a good result you just need to be willing to not have and preconceived notions of what something might look like you rather need to be willing to excepting of design ideas that came from a good rigorous process.


When you hear the word “successful”, who would be the first person come to your mind and why?

PO: Steve Jobs developed such an unbelievable company and brand. The products produced were iconic and revolutionary and really made us desire them.


If you can make a call to 20-year-old Primo Orpilla, what kind of advices you would give to her? 

PO: Good Design Hurts !!


©Masaaki Hasegawa


Make impossible things possible

Written on February 2, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

If you can convert CO2 into energy? Many people have been dreaming about it but it has been regarded as a fantasy for a long time. Do you have a courage to take a leap of faith to challenge it? NEWCO2Fuels has developed the technology, which allows us to turn CO2 into fuels. David Banitt, CEO of NEWCO2Fuels, tells us how you can think to make impossible things possible.


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1. For those who are not familiar with you, before founding the current company, you had experienced many different fields. What did make you motivated to found NewCO2Fuels and work in the renewable energy field?


Today’s world is all about quick inventions and quick money without real meaning for improving life quality, without paying attention to our environmental issues. I was looking for ways to contribute to a better world and create positive impact for the next generations. This is why a few years ago I helped founding a solar energy company and today I am working on the next step which is recycling CO2 into useful products.
2. How did you come up with the idea of transforming industrial wastes into energy?


Transforming industrial wastes into energy is not a new concept. For years, people have developed ways to recycle waste into products or energy, mainly under the form of electricity. Prof. Karni from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, came up with the idea to take CO2 that is currently considered as waste, use it as feedstock and convert it into energy after hearing global plans of CCS. CCS (Carbon Capture and Sequestration) plan to capture CO2 from energy intensive industries, compress it and buried it under the ground. Prof. Karni realized this is probably not the best idea to preserve mankind and started to work on an alternative solution for CO2 emissions in his laboratory. His idea was to convert it into useful products i.e. fuel. Once he proved that the concept work, Prof Karni, an old friend of mine, ask me to join in and assume the challenge to found a company and translate the concept into an actual product and commercialize it.


3. What was the first step you took when you decided to make your idea happen?


The first step was verifying that the economics is sound. A great idea that cannot be sold is not a product. After analyzing the economics behind our solution, and realizing there is a great economic potential we decided to go forward. The second step was arranging funding for the company and hire the right people to make it happen.


4. What kind of difficulties had you in the beginning and how did you overcome it?


As mentioned before, the two great challenges for any start-up are the funding and the people. You cannot go forward without either of them. You need the money to hire great people and you need great people to develop an amazing product. We were lucky to find Australian investors that have long vision and green spirit  took the challenge and associated risk to fund the initiation of the company. Soon after having these two ingredients, the challenges were mostly technical and we overcame then nicely. As said earlier, when you have people and the funds required if the commercial justification is there the technical problems will be solved.


5. What is your future vision and what kind of steps you plan to take to reach the goals?
My future vision is to have clean industries that are able to produce the products we all need today, but without leaving a carbon footprint behind. By working at NewCO2Fuels, I am showing the world this is something that can be done and I hope our work here will motivate others to find different solutions with the same aim.


6. What are the key factors to generate innovation?


Ideas, Brilliant People, Out of the box solutions and great financial and strategic partners that share your view.


7. How do you persuade people to believe in your idea, especially when it sounds crazy to the majority of people?


You explain to them, step by step why it is not crazy. Many people thought we didn’t need laptops. IBM CEO said many years ago that the market for personal computers will be very small. Same was with the telephone. Look at today’s world. It is important to stay motivated and to believe in your ideas in order to have others believe in it as well.


8. What is the essence of selling ideas?


Having an idea you believe in, an idea you are ready to fight for and take risks to make it happen. This way, you will be able to share your ideas and convince people this is an idea worth their time… and money.


9. If you can leave one message to make the world better, what would you say?


Clean up after yourself and find some time, every day or week to contribute to making this world a better place. We only have one home, one planet.


©Masaaki Hasegawa






Predictably Irrational

Written on January 30, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

Do you think you are rational and honest? Dan Ariely is the author of international best-seller book, Predictably Irrational, and a Professor of behavioral economics at Duke University, We have learned a lot about human’s irrationality from him. Today, we learn not only about how we are irrational but also lessons about life from him.


M. Lengemann


1. To begin with, please let us know more about you. Why or how did you get interested in the field of psychology, behavior science, and particularly “irrationality of human”? Did you have any specific moment?

DA: I was badly injured many years ago and I found lots of things that I did not like when I was being in a hospital. I was wondering whether doctors and nurses were doing their best. Particularly, the thing troubled me early on was “bandage removal”. Imagine you are in a hospital and someone needs to remove bandages from you. The question is what is the best way to reduce the pain to the highest degree. What nurses took was the quick removal approach that is holding your arm and ripping bandage from your arm. Honestly, I did not like this approach and thought it should be improved. When I left the hospital and started studying at university, I started experiments on pain and I found that the approach used in the hospital was not the best way for patients. This experience made me think about what are all the ways in which we might think with doing the best for our patient but actually we are not doing. This made me think of all the cases in which we think with we are doing the best for our patients, customers, citizens, but our intuition leads us to a different direction. Thus, I thought it would be better to study and understand better about decision-making.


2. You also have a rich experience in business. What did motivate you to jump into the field of business?

DA: I’m basically interested in applications: figuring out what do we do wrong and how we can fix it. The field of business provides lots of opportunities to figure things out and do things in a better way. Of course, I am also interested in the field of government, which is another place where you can make changes that we have far-reaching implications. It is just extremely difficult to work with them even though we have tried. It is sometimes easier to work in the field of business, which is more maneuverable.


3. What is the hardest experience you have experienced, and how did you overcome it? How people can deal with mental failure do you think?

DA: I was burned extensively and I was in the hospital almost 3 years. It was such a long time and I could not understand what is going on in the beginning. In order to overcome it, I was thinking about experiencing one day at a time. After that I tried to give myself targets of a particular time and particular changes; not to think too long term. I did other things as well, like the reward substitution, which is described in my second book. For example, when I did some difficult therapy, I give myself some rewards that I really love for doing. No single answer for this. There are many ways.


4. Do you have any habits that help you work productively, think creatively or achieve your goals? How have you developed your habits?

DA: First of all, I have a habit of working a lot. I try not to succumb temptation. When I am in my office, I try to focus on things that I want to work on and put them on my schedule, which determines what I work on at a specific time. Otherwise, it is very easy to succumb to temptation like doing Facebook for many hours. The question is “how we can get long-intentions” to play out in the way that let us do what we truly want to do. I think that using a calendar is an important way to do that. Actually, I now have a new startup company that tries to take over people’s calendars with understanding: if we get people create an actions plan, there is a much higher chance that they actually continue doing it. If we do not create an action plan, there is a higher chance of never doing it. So my habit is creating action plans, making them concrete, putting them in my schedule, and following it.


5. What is the rational way of pursuing happiness you can suggest to people?

DA: The idea is there are lots of irrational things that we do but if I had to pick one way, it could be pursuing something that have meanings. I think there are two types of happiness. One is happiness that comes from sitting on a beach and drinking mojito: instant gratification. The other one is coming from the feeling of satisfaction that is a sense of meaning and purpose: fulfillment. I think people often purse the first one, not the second one. The second one gives you long-term happiness.


6. Most people believe that they are honest and rational without any doubts. What would be the first step for them to be aware of their irrationality and dishonesty to make their life better?

DA: There is a lot of ways to realize the irrationality and it is always easier to realize that other people are irrational. In terms of irrationality of us, one of the easiest ways is that your view is biased when you watch a sports game. This kind of thing makes you realize that you have a biased view that you see the reality in the convenient way and in the way you want to see it rather than the way actually it is. Another way is looking at visual illusions. Visual illusions are a wonderful demonstration that our system is not perfect and we make a lot of mistakes. I think if you think about life, with visual illusions, you can realize lots of things might be wrong and you do not see that.


7. What person comes to mind when you think of the word successful? And why?

DA: Successful for me is a mixture of contribution and balance. I can say that I have reached that. First, successful means contributing to the world in a useful way. Second one is balancing friends, family, and career. It is incredibly tough to achieve and I have no secrets to succeeding it.


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8. If you can make a call to 20-year-old Dan Ariely, what kind of advices you would give to him?

DA: Life is a long-term game. Especially 20’s and 30’s are a good time to invest for your rest of your life and a good time to accumulate knowledge and understand what serves you better. I think in my 20’s and 30’s, I was too much goal oriented that I wanted to achieve all kinds of things and I always wanted to get things done. I did not invest my time in long-term skillset. I think mostly about education. When you are enrolled in a certain degree you can say “I just want to finalize it”. From a different viewpoint, what you are doing is setting up the toolset that you have your rest of your life, and it is useful to think longer term. Broaden your toolset for longer term.


9. If you can leave one message to the next generation in order to make the world better, what would you say?

DA: I think the amazing thing that we do as a mankind is that we design our environment. If you look around, humans design almost everything in your view. Humans have designed great things in a physical world, but we have not yet done a great job in our mental world such as education system, taxation system, and healthcare system. To the extent that we could do on those aspects, the world would be a better place. We need to figure out how to do that.


10. What kind of website/app, service/product, and place/location you like to use for your creative process?

DA: The most important thing in terms of creativity is to start. Thus, time management is incredibly important. We have an application called Timeful. What we are trying to do is helping people schedule things in the way that would get people live in the way that they would like to live. Usually, a calendar does not represent long-term aspirations, but without representing those things in a calendar, the chance, of being executed, is quite low. For me, real issue is that.


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©Masaaki Hasegawa




Creative Community

Written on January 29, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

To a greater or lesser extent, we have experienced some creations. As you grow up, you stop creating something for fear of being judged by others. What would have happened if you had had kept creating things? Jake Nickell is the Founder and CEO of Threadless, which is a creative community that makes, supports, and buys great art. He shares us the essence of creation.




For those who are not familiar with you, please let us know more about you. You have learnt art and computer science. For you, creation may have been part of your life. What was the spark to found Threadless?

JN: Threadless started as a hobby while I was working a full time job as a web developer and going to art school part time. I first started the company as a thread on an online forum called Dreamless. At the time it was a small community of about 300 artists from all around the world. I simply asked people to post up designs into the thread and then made t-shirts and posters out of the best ones. Eventually it turned into Threadless.com. That was 15 years ago.


What did you do on Day 1 to embody your idea of Threadless and to make it happen?

JN: On day one, I promised the artists in the forum that I would make things out of the best designs. I didn’t know how to print t-shirts, charge credit cards, ship orders, etc, and figured that out as I went. I think that’s still a big part of Threadless today. We have a very DIY culture here and believe we can do anything we put our minds to!


What was the most challenging thing in the beginning and how did you overcome it?

JN: The most challenging thing for me was managing money. I like to focus on building great products, both physically and on the computer with our website. When it comes to accounting and legal and running a business, I had a lot to learn. The best way I’ve found to overcome it is to find great people to work with who are good at those things :) In the beginning my wife helped out a lot and now I have a lot of coworkers who are really talented at the things I’m not so talented at.





If you had had the same amount of knowledge and experience at the beginning, what would you have done differently?

JN: I would have probably leveraged more third parties to do things that aren’t things we specialize in. For example, I’d use existing e-commerce and order fulfillment platforms rather than building our own from scratch.


How does your experience in art help you manage a company today? How does your experience in business help your creation?

JN: I consider myself more of a designer than an artist and I think the concepts in design and layout help out with managing a company. Design is about solving problems and setting up a system for something to happen within. On the business side, I really enjoy being able to prototype and build my ideas myself. I think it’s important to be able to understand how it all comes together.


Artists are not always the best salespeople. What are important things for artists to remember to get opportunities and exposures?

JN: Let the world react to the things you make. You never know what’s going to happen. Don’t just let your work sit in the garage, get it out there and show people!


Creative geniuses come up with more and more ideas every day. However, most of the ideas never get realised. What are differences between ideas with a huge success and those with, not do you think?

JN: Well, the first thing is that ideas that aren’t executed on are never going to be successful. So start taking your idea to paper as soon as you can. From there, I find that starting on something is also an easy way to know if maybe it’s a bad idea. So you can stop thinking about it sooner.


All the resources on the earth are available to you, what would you like to create?

I would like to create a camp for kids where the first week they spend doing something fun and exciting like rock climbing, mountain biking, or whitewater rafting. The whole time they do that they would be documenting the trip, taking photos & videos, keeping a journal. Then the second week of the camp they learn how to make a website, edit a video, etc about the trip they just went on. I think it’d be the perfect way to teach a kid how to code or edit photos, to do so because they are making it for the amazing trip they just went on.

If you can make a call to 20-year-old Jake Nickell, what kind of advices you would give to him?

JN: I think I’d have more questions than answers. I think I could probably learn a lot from 20-year-old me… It seems as people get older their experiences lead them to taking less risks and putting up walls.

If you can leave one message to make the world better, what would be your message?

JN: Make friends and then make things with your friends.


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©Masaaki Hasegawa


What is success?

Written on January 29, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

One of the greatest thinkers in the 21st century is here. Randy Komisar is a venture capitalist(KPCB), author(The Monk and the Riddle), and entrepreneur(Co-founded Claris Corp). There are many people who would teach you how to calculate ROI and make a business model, skills and techniques for pitching and storytelling, and branding strategy and marketing methods. However, there is almost no one who would tell you what is a successful life. Randy Komisar shares his wisdom and philosophy with us.

Randy Komisar


Let us know more about you, what is your current passion and mission?


My mission is to serve Human Potential. Business is just the means, not the ends. In my experience entrepreneurship is a very effective marriage of business and social progress. Not every venture contributes to a better future, but the potential is there to do good while doing well.


My passion is to partner with high potential leaders to accomplish meaningful change. I relish the opportunity to teach and learn from the next generation of business and thought leaders. It’s a privilege for which I am very grateful.


What is the greatest experience you’ve ever had in your career?


I can’t think of a single “greatest” experience. I am fortunate enough to continually renew my “greatest” with the “latest”. Joining Bill Campbell, my life-long mentor, to found our first start up, Claris Corporation, was exhilarating. Inventing the role of the Virtual CEO at WebTV and TiVo was a joy. Writing my first book, The Monk and the Riddle, was a dream. Teaching at Stanford, with my partner Tom Byers, was life changing. Working with Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers to make Nest one of the most successful Unicorn Ventures was extremely satisfying. And the good news is that today, I am having a completely new set of wonderful experiences.


Explain the emotion and feeling you had on the day 1 of your entrepreneurial life.


I was working at Apple 1.0 in 1985 when Bill Campbell, Sr. VP Sales and Marketing, grabbed me in the hall, pulled me into a dark office, closed the door and asked me if I would join him in creating Claris Corporation, an Apple Software spinoff. He didn’t mention my title, role or compensation, and he wanted an answer before we left the room. I thought hard, for less than a minute, and leapt into my career in entrepreneurship. It was a whirlwind. I did everything that needed doing. Deals, real estate, hiring, etc. The hours were never ending, but I could not have been happier. I was finally the master of my own fate and part of a team I loved and admired. I didn’t know what could not be accomplished, so I accomplished it. Win or lose, there was no turning back from a career in entrepreneurship.


When you take a new action in terms of business, what is the first question that comes to your mind?


Does it matter? More specifically, does it matter to me? Do I care enough about the mission and opportunity to fail at it? Yes, fail at it. Why? Because most ambitious ventures fail and if you are not committed to the mission, the ensuing emotional rollercoaster will lead you to howl at the moon. So I ask myself if I am truly passionate enough, and sufficiently committed to the mission, to risk failure. If not, I look for another one.


On the one hand, each city, country, and region has a different value. On the other hand, knowledge and management process tend to get generalised. What are you able to learn from generalised knowledge and what do you need to find answers by yourself?


A decade ago, when I traveled the world meeting with entrepreneurs, I was struck by how far they were behind their competitors in Silicon Valley. Innovation and creativity arise anywhere on the planet where smart people reside, and that is everywhere. But entrepreneurship is a profession with a best practice, and that best practice seemed to be centered in Silicon Valley. Today I am impressed by how advanced the global entrepreneurs have become in a mere decade. The Internet and media have disseminated the details of best practices to every corner of the planet. Those practices are recited in endless books, blogs, videos, conferences, competitions, hack-a-thons and news services. So today, the regional challenge is not one of an unfair information advantage, but rather an experience gap and a lack of suitable mentors who can bridge the experience gap. I have a great deal of knowledge and experience in the generalized area of entrepreneurship, but I look for specific answers by reaching out to the smart people who surround me. They have the perspective and knowledge I lack.


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Sometimes, people are afraid of failures too much. Sometimes, people romanticise failures too much. What are people actually able to learn from failures?


No one should set out to fail. And no one should take the risk of failure lightly. But innovation is about trying things that have not been done before. It is about experimenting and struggling to challenge the status quo. It is about creative destruction. Most change fails just as most mutations are evolutionary dead ends. If we are ambitious we will fail often before we succeed. Silicon Valley has distinguished itself in part because of a culture that does not punish failure. If you fail for some reason other than being stupid, lazy or corrupt, then SV wants to put your experience to work again as soon as possible. You learn a lot succeeding, but failure seems to sharpen the senses even more. And I have come to understand that disappointment is not always failure. Was Edison’s 900Th filament a failure or merely a disappointment; more knowledge on the way to success? It all depends on whether you stop trying. Failure in the context of innovation needs to be defined differently as we all fail toward success.




All the resources on the earth are available to you, what would you like to create?


An energy ecosystem that supports a prosperous but sustainable planet. A food ecosystem that feeds a growing population without taxing the earth and future generations. An educational ecosystem where everyone on the planet can reach their full potential. Hopefully, these three accomplishments will further our collective peace, fairness and happiness.


If you start everything from scratch again without any money, status, and network, but with your wisdom that you have now, what would be the first thing you work on?


I would first work on myself. To find the peace of mind and inner strength so that I can undertake the challenges ahead. I would combine my inner journey with opportunities to teach and mentor the next generation of leaders. I would look for those opportunities that can make a difference and to which I can contribute meaningfully. I would resist the urge to race ahead with the herd chasing the Next Big Thing in the hope that I can find my own way.


Make a call to 20-year-old Randy Komisar, what kind of advices you would give to him?


Trust yourself. You don’t have to become someone else to succeed in life. Define your own success and don’t surrender to the expectations of others. Don’t worry about what you can’t change and don’t concern yourself with the ultimate questions of life’s challenges, focus instead on the here and now. Know yourself in order to know others. And don’t be fooled by money. It can empower greatness if you are truly great, but it comes at a steep cost and can be a burden that keeps you from living a meaningful life. In the end, it’s the relationships with others and your help for those who need it that will define your happiness. Trust in goodness.


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If you can leave one message to make the world better, what would be your message?


Be kinder. Move beyond yourself and deeply empathize with others. We are all in this life together and no one will get out alive. While our generation is obsessed with how we can make and consume more, twenty-five hundred years ago the world’s best thinkers on every continent wrestled with a much more powerful question, “how should we live our lives?” I think it starts with losing your ego and being kinder to each other in the process.


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©Masaaki Hasegawa




The beauty of entrepreneurship

Written on January 27, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

If you have a secured job like “attorney”, do you have a courage to jump into an entrepreneurial world? Sarika Doshi, the Co-founder and CEO of Rank & Style, one of the biggest and greatest websites for fashion and beauty, shares with us the essence to be a successful entrepreneur. No romanticized story, but the truth.


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Why did you decide to change your career so drastically from an attorney to an entrepreneur?

SD: I always had had a dream of starting my own thing. For me, it was just a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’. When I graduated a law school, I knew I was going to practice for a couple of years. The legal education and an experience of being an attorney is really helpful for what I do now because my job now is negotiating and convincing people to believe in me and to work with us. After a law school, I committed to work in a corporate world for a couple of years, I thought you can learn a lot about how the world works in those settings. I felt very strongly that before I did my own thing it was important to learn how others built and run a company. I’ve spent five years at a venture-backed company in London and New York, shadowed the founders, the CEO, the COO and other senior managers there, and learned everything I could from them. It’s a very different company, very different industry but the skills were the same around recruiting, operations, business development, strategy. My goal was to have that experience, Then, I focused very much on coming up with my own idea and worked on it nights and weekends. Working there gave me great experience and fueled my fire to be an entrepreneur.


What was the right timing?


SD: The right timing was the right idea and the right personal timing. It’s a big risk and a big sacrifice personally, professionally, and mentally. I was in a stable place financially, socially, and mentally. It gave me the foundation to shift my lifestyle dramatically. Starting a company from scratch turns your world upside down very quickly, and it requires all of your attention and energy. You’ve got to make it sure that all other things in your life are in stable condition and taken care of. Ultimately, there is no perfect moment. I tell people about that all the time. The perfect moment never really arrives. You’ve got to decide what your personal ‘readiness’ equation is. For me, it was a certain amount of money in my account and a certain amount of personal things that I wanted to work out. So I just worked on those goals and then once I got to that place, I resigned from my full-time job and took the leap.


Normally people, who have sort of a secure job, are hesitant to take a leap of face to start a new company.


SD: I tell people ‘Do your own thing and start your own company if you can’t ‘not’ do it.’ I came up with the idea and felt I really had to do this and make it happen. The thought of it made me jump out of bed everyday. It never felt like “I was working. .


When you quit that company, when you actually started your business, what exactly you did?


SD: It was really overwhelming. Suddenly, I didn’t have an office to go to, a paycheck, and a health insurance. I swear that having no backup plan is the best motivation to get things done and make things happen. Then you will find the way to make things work. Hustle and necessity do lead to an invention.. You become resourceful. You can make things happen.


Many people love to talk about entrepreneurship, but at the same time, most of them are looking for plan B. Only few people actually take actions.


SD: That’s what I tell people: a good idea is 1/3 of the way to there. The rest is all about persistence and follow through. It takes years to see the results of a good idea come to life. We live in the society that focuses on the immediate gratification. However, I tell people, ‘This is not the world to pursue immediate gratification. It’s just not.’ You don’t get it for a long time. You will get a lot more No’s and setbacks, than Yes’s early on.


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What was the difficulty you had in the beginning and how did you overcome it?


SD: Fundraising was really hard. Also growing brand awareness, user acquisition, taking customers as well. It sounds very basic, but I would say that the fundraising takes real persistence. It’s truly about being relentless and not giving up. You have to keep at it and, try a bunch of different things, and be thoughtful about it. The key is persistence. To me, there is no replacement for using your network. Leveraging your network has been the most helpful thing. I came from a very different background that I had no experience in media, fashion, beauty, or e-commerce. The power of Linkedin and in-person networking is huge. My entire social life for the 1st year was going to local meet-ups, making a name for myself, and quickly developing my network. There is no replacement for human help and contacts. Using social media is so easy, at the same time exhausting but it really does work.


In many cases, mental failure causes companies to fail. How do you manage your mental state?


SD: Building your first company is one of the most stressful and challenging things in your life. You want to be your best self for your company life. It can take your mental, emotional capacity. My recommendation is making sure that you spend meaningful time every day that is sacred and special. It should be truly an outlet. For me it’s working out. I love going to the gym. No matter how busy I get, it has been constant for me and I feel like I owe it to my business and to my investors to keep that time sacred, because it does impact your success. I’m a better thinker and entrepreneur when I’ve done it. For everybody, it looks different. It may be cooking, taking a walk or whatever. You’ve got to find your own thing and don’t compromise on it. When you start a company, you are forced to sacrifice most of the things for the first 1 or 2 years, but you’ve got to keep one thing that’s untouched. It doesn’t have to be million of things, it’s just has to be something that special and sacred.


How can you change your negative habits to positive habits?


SD: It’s about reflection. Sometimes I stop and say to me, “Wait, something isn’t working here”. For example, I was struggling to sleep because I never stopped thinking about work. So I asked myself “OK, how do I fix this?” and tried different things. I tried yoga even though I had never done yoga. Stop and then you can ask yourself, “OK. How do I make this work?” Just don’t ignore those signs and look within and always be focused on how I can make things better and more calm and stable for myself.


You are good at self-observation. If you had had the same amount of knowledge and experience that you have now when you started your business, what would you do differently?


SD: I would take more time to celebrate along the way. Sometimes good things would happen and you get excited. Then something bad happens and you feel so easily setback. I want to make sure we acknowledge and celebrate more along the journey.


That’s an interesting point. If you have a chance to make a call to 20-year-old Sarika Doshi, what kind of advice you would give to her?


SD: No worrying. I like to live a life without regrets. The only regret, I might have, is that I had a lot of time worrying. Second, be really grateful people for everyone you meet. They become your network along the way professionally and socially. They are your networks and your world. No matter what you do, whether start your business or maintain a traditional job, people will inform how meaningful and significant your experience and journey is.


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If you can leave a message to the next generation, next entrepreneurs to make the work better, what would you say to them?


SD: I think the key is that good ideas are just part of the way. It all comes down to a hard work and grit, and being gutsy and brave. If you are up for that, you’d be successful and you can make anything happen. It’s not about luck. It’s not about magic. It just comes down to hard work, persistence, and belief. It is wonderful because it means it is on your own control.


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©Masaaki Hasegawa

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