Proudly sponsored by: Victoria’s Small Business Festival
This episode is brought to you by Victoria’s Small Business Festival, happening across the state in August 2018. Check out festival.business.vic.gov.au to access hundreds free and affordable events to elevate, support and inspire you and your business.
Kylie: Today, we’re in the company of Daniel Bolotin, social entrepreneur and co-founder of Free to Feed and Now to Launch. Free to Feed is a cooking school and catering company employing refugees, asylum seekers, and new migrants. And Now to Launch is an incubator for food-related business ideas. Together with wife Loretta, both ventures aim to nurture the entrepreneurialism of refugees and new migrants who face significant challenges in gaining employment and starting businesses despite possessing incredibly enterprising attitudes and skills.
Kylie: Daniel and Loretta have come to understand that the recipe for business success starts with overcoming the isolation that often accompanies starting something new. Over the past few years, they’ve built a community that has an appetite for connection, reciprocity, social justice and using capitalism for good, all the ingredients for prosperous businesses and societies.
Kylie: So, welcome Daniel!
Daniel: Thank you.
Kylie: I’m really looking forward to our discussion today, to talk about all things Free to Feed and Now to Launch, but before we do launch into all of that, I was really wanting to just get a little bit of a background as to who you were as a young person and how that might have contributed or influenced what you do today.
Daniel: Well, I guess it’s hard to be objective about your childhood. I find it sort of hard to judge it in a way, but something I’ve been thinking a lot about is the culture of the family that I was brought up in, and when I say culture, I don’t mean ethnicity, I mean I’ve been reflecting on how influenced I was in the fact that my parents were newly arrived refugees from Uzbekistan. They came over in 1977 just before I was born.
Daniel: And the elements of my upbringing that really influenced me were kind of the openness, I guess in general, they had a really positive experience of migration, and obviously that influences my work today, and it’s not always the case that experiences of migration are positive, but they brought with them this sense of a fresh start. It’s kind of, “We can be anyone,” mentality, and it was also reflected in how they perceived Australian society.
Daniel: There are many faults to Australian society, but what they saw were all the opportunities that were available that this kind of failed communist experiment that they came from didn’t afford them, so it was very positive, creative, and I think that has influenced me today. Perhaps it gave me a sense of, I’m thinking to a downside to it, because it was quite positive, but perhaps sometimes overly idealistic and a bit maybe even naïve, because I still do carry that sense, despite all the problems that I see, that amazing things are possible.
Kylie: I think we need more people who have that attitude to actually, because in my experiences, people who do have that optimism and the idea that things can change are the ones who do change things, so don’t lose that. I think that’s something absolutely to hold on to.
Daniel: Well, as I said, in retrospect, it was ingrained in me from my upbringing, so I credit my parents for instilling those traits in me.
Kylie: Was food a big part of your family growing up?
Daniel: Absolutely not. My mom was a “liberated woman.” She’s an artist, which she also started her own design company and food was always just a kind of fuel that you need in order to get on with your projects and get on with life, so the focus on food in my current where I’m at in my career is very novel and new, and I’m learning a lot about it.
Daniel: When my grandma arrived about 10 years after my parents, she was the main cook in the house, and she lived with us. We were always eating Russian, Uzbeki fused with Australian food, so it was definitely there, but it wasn’t a focus.
Kylie: So, one of the things I do also ask all our guests on In the Company is to tell me three things you believe in and why.
Daniel: Well, I think fairness is one that comes to mind, because the idea that we live where there’s a level playing field out there is a bit of an illusion but I like to think that we should work towards, as far as possible, equal opportunity for people to follow their dreams, so I think the old Aussie fair go comes to mind.
Daniel: I also think being honest is something that I believe in. I think life’s really complicated as it is, so without adding that layer of deception, it just simplifies things.
Daniel: And for me, staying curious would probably be a third thing. It really drives my everyday life, the idea of staying curious and open minded, and it’s like a barometer of my mental health. If I am reading a book that I think should be interesting, and I’m just distracted or not into it, or if I’m watching a movie and finding I want to check my phone, it probably means I’m not doing so well, so that curiosity is like a barometer for how I’m doing.
Kylie: Oh, I love that. I’ve never heard curiosity frames like that, and as soon as you said it, the hairs on the back of my neck went up because I was like, “Of course!” Because one of the things that you do when you’re actually not feeling great is that you do lose curiosity in the world. You do want to kind of withdraw and you’re not necessarily stimulated in the way that you know that you could be, so I love that. That’s a fantastic idea to keep in the back of our mind.
Kylie: Now, knowing you as a business owner, I can absolutely say how those three beliefs have played out in the creation of the two startups, now, that you and your wife Loretta have created. So, I was wondering if you could give me a bit of background as to how Free to Feed maybe first came about and then how that led to Now to Launch.
Daniel: Well, probably the beginnings to Free to Feed were borne out of probably a sense of exasperation coupled with an intuition. So, if I explain that we felt an exasperation about the challenges that were being faced by people seeking asylum and refugees that are coming to Australia, and I know that we weren’t alone in that, but there seemed to be a disparity between our hearts and the hearts of people in Australia and the opportunities to do something in support of people who’ve taken that journey.
Daniel: But if I think back, we had no idea what Free to Feed was going to become or the evolution of it was a whole separate thing, but the very beginning, we just felt this intuition but there, even though we didn’t see many good solutions around us, that there had to be solutions to this sense of powerlessness that we felt in this space. So, I think that was a potent mix at the beginning, this sense of exasperation, but this intuition that there had to be a better way, and that was the kind of the very early context for what Free to Feed became.
Kylie: And so Free to Feed, for people who may not be familiar with it, can you just give us a bit of a idea of what it is that you do now?
Daniel: Yeah. So, Free to Feed, it’s a not for profit social enterprise, and basically, we were looking for a way of supporting people who are seeking asylum or refuge in Australia to be employed and to kind of break out of isolation, two issues that Loretta heard constantly come up in her experience as a case worker with people seeking asylum.
Daniel: And it’s funny. You ask me about the role of food in my upbringing, and as I said, it was not really a factor at all, but we realised that food is an amazing link for people that have taken that journey to Australia back to the home countries. It’s something that’s been carried with them despite all the things that have been lost on that journey.
Daniel: Free to Feed evolved to become a popup cooking school in which people seeking asylum share their cuisines and their stories. It started in our local café with the owner, Lauren, just out of the goodness of her heart, said, “Yeah, you can use our space to run this cooking class after we shut on a Sunday,” and it evolved from there. We now run dozens of classes per week in people’s homes, in organisations, in schools.
Daniel: What we kind of predicted is really the appetite for the experience that Free to Feed offers, and I mean appetite in many senses. As I was reflecting on earlier, there is a lot of curiosity in the community. It’s like an untapped potential that we all have and in a small way, in our classes, people get to ask their own questions and listen with their own ears to the stories of people that are coming, taste with their own mouths the beautiful food, learn with their minds about the journeys and also about the recipes.
Daniel: And in the end, we’re just a little less isolated as a whole, not just our staff, but the people that come along to the events. We’re all just a bit less isolated. It’s not the be all and end all, it hasn’t solved every issue, for example, that our staff face, but we’re proud that it’s part of a solution, we feel.
Kylie: Absolutely. And I should fully disclose that you guys actually catered for our end of year Thanksgiving dinner last November, and we had Hamed and Nayran cater for us and tell us their stories during the session, and it was a wonderful event we had so much feedback about the extraordinary food and the extraordinary company, and the stories, and the openness and vulnerability, and what we learned as part of the experience, and deeper empathy all around. It was amazing.
Daniel: Yeah, and it doesn’t have to be hard or even selfless to make a difference to people who are taking that journey to Australia, as that was a beautiful event at your space, and that’s what I enjoy about those events, that it’s sort of, you can access it from the point of view of just having a great meal, the social aspect, or you can go deeper and really understand the issues and problems, but either way, we’re showing that space. That’s the important part.
Kylie: Fantastic. And when you went on to launch Now to Launch. How did that come about?
Daniel: Well, two things happened over the last few years with Free to Feed. One thing is we’ve noticed that our staff, who are people seeking asylum, refugees, have capacity and aspirations and interest outside of running these cooking classes, so they’re doing a phenomenal job, and on the other hand, they’re bursting at the brim with their own ideas, their own enterprises and businesses.
Daniel: But as a startup organisation, we had not capacity to support them in those endeavours, but we duly noted there’s an enormous capacity for them to do more. And then the second part of the equation was all the incredible guests and other organisations that have been in the Free to Feed community that have inspired us.
Daniel: We’ve noticed that they have more to give and more to offer than simply coming along to a class. We found many people are activated and inspired, but then, again, we as an organisation completely run off our feet just trying to run happy, healthy classes. We couldn’t really offer further opportunities for people within the Free to Feed community to support
more and to connect more.
Daniel: So, Now to Launch brings those two aspects together. We’re fortunate to have received a grant from Launch Vic through the state government, which basically have enabled us to create ways of allowing people to be part of the entrepreneurial journeys of refugees and new migrants. It’s an exciting kind of addition or extension to Free to Feed, but only made possible, as I said, by the capacities of our staff and by people around us wanting to do so much more.
Kylie: Fantastic. So, when you started Free to Feed, you set a completely self funded enterprise as well, because you mentioned before that, Now to Launch was made possible through a grant, through Launch Vic. How did you get Free to Feed up off the ground?
Daniel: Completely self funded. Loretta and I just had a space in our lives in which we, as a kind of life experiment, we wanted to try and do something in this space, and we’d both had, let’s say mixed experiences of working within organisations, so we were very curious about what would happen if we tried to go out alone, so to speak, and do something just as two people.
Daniel: We were very conscious of the risks and downsides of this, particularly in the refugee and asylum seeker space, because it seems like such an overwhelming and intractable, complex set of problems. It wasn’t obvious that we were going to be having this success going out alone, however, we had experienced some of the down sides of working in organisations, the bureaucracy and being subject to certain personalities, perhaps in managers, so the constraints there.
Daniel: So, because of those factors, we just decided to give it a go, and yeah, we were completely self-funded. And over the past few years, I’ve read more about lean startups and social
enterprise. I didn’t know anything about it when we went on that journey, but literally, we didn’t have our own kitchen until maybe a year in, so we were operating out of our lounge room. We used some of our own savings. We just started small. But it was definitely self funded.
Kylie: Fantastic. And so you’ve been around now for a few years. You’re on your second startup. As a small business owner yourself, what are some of the most valuable business lessons that you’ve learned along the way?
Daniel: I think one of really valuable things for us, which just happened, was the idea of putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. Now, we certainly didn’t think, this is me reflecting in retrospect, we badly needed a solution to the problem that we saw. We were out to customers for our own venture.
Daniel: We deeply wanted the kind of experience, we kind of craved the kind of experience that we were trying to create. This guided all sorts of decisions that we were making all the time. It wasn’t abstract. We really felt the need for what we were trying to create. Fortunate for us, we weren’t alone. It turns out many other people felt that same need, but I think the fact that our measuring stick, our guide for our decisions was very important, and for example, it made us put a big emphasis on authenticity that our instructors were actually well looked after, and it was actually free and comfortable to share their own stories and their recipes.
Daniel: And it wasn’t because we did market research and found out that 40% of people think authenticity is important in a service. We just felt that it was really needed. So, in retrospect, I guess you could say putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes was what we were doing, but we didn’t really think of it at the time. We were just trying to create something that we felt was needed.
Daniel: Another thing is quality. I think a big lesson that we learned is the importance of quality, and that’s probably really obvious thing that you have to offer, a quality service, but in our case, because we started with the cause, we started with wanting to help people, there was actually some really tough decisions. We had to choose who we felt we could help based on, for example, the likelihood that they were going to deliver a quality service, that their English was up to scratch, that they were actually good enough cooks to deliver a class.
Daniel: I think, in retrospect, the wider purpose really was that we did focus on quality, because instead of perhaps spreading ourselves too thinly, we’re not working with the smaller group in depth, and the fact that we were able to deliver a quality service from the very beginning, all credit to our staff’s skills and experience. I think that led to a really solid base of development.
Kylie: There’s always tricky spots in startups. There are difficult situations and difficult calls that you need to make, and you sort of alluded to one there about the decision to help a smaller number of people, but what other difficult situations have you felt?
Daniel: One problem we’ve had from the beginning, which I guess is a nice problem to have, is keeping up with demand and the full on problems of that. We’ve been fortunate to be under more demand than we can respond to from the very beginning, and it’s linked to challenges of how do we actually expand sustainably? How do we manage change in terms of staff, in terms of office and kitchen space, so I think managing fast paced change when you’re sort of quite new to something has been a big challenge.
Daniel: And the other one I would just point to is, we’ve been in some interesting cross cultural situations and discussions with staff. As you can imagine, we have an amazingly diverse group of staff and it’s not all sweet and roses. There’s some challenges there with communicating and setting expectations. I have to say, they’ve all been great learning experiences, and because we see our role as being an inclusive organisation, those conversations and situations, no matter how challenging they are, are always positive because they’re going to help us be a better organisation that are dealing with those kind of situation. So, we wouldn’t want them to be swept under the carpet.
Kylie: And you would have had some fantastic opportunities to have some really good wins along the way as well. What have been some of the most rewarding moments that you’ve had?
Daniel: Not to be corny, but honestly, I get so much pride and joy at every Free to Feed class. And I’ll tell you why. It’s actually because each of them is a unique interaction between a group of people that have come along, instructor, some lovely volunteers. I’m fascinated by people, so it’s a beautiful human drama that gets played out and whenever I’ve been fortunate, obviously early on I was going to every single class, and now it’s more rare, but it’s always fascinating what happens.
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Kylie: Now, you and Loretta are both almost about to become parents for the second time, so how have you juggled a growing family and two growing startups all at once?
Daniel: Very imperfectly, I would say. I mean, I certainly wouldn’t offer any generic advice here. I think kids and marriage are each super complex projects in and of themselves, so when I think about my son Cohen, I really think that I work despite and for him, despite because it does take me away from spending more time with him, but I often think about him when I am working because I do want to be the best role model for him or for his future self when he learns more about what we’re trying to do, and I want him to believe, as my parents led me to believe, that things are possible.
Daniel: So, try to explain that to a three year old today why you’re not into the Legos as opposed to work, it doesn’t quite work. So, Loretta and I are married and work together, and because we have been led from the beginning by intuition and collaboration, I think our relationship has been a great space from which to make decisions.
Daniel: On the other hand, I would lie to you if I said that it didn’t cause strain and challenges, because we’ve felt our own pressure. It’s funny, you create something and then you feel pressure as a result of it, so it’s the trying to keep work talk out of family or other talk is difficult. There’s no simple answers.
Kylie: Do you have any tips around that?
Daniel: Well, one thing, I’ve got more of a public, because I actually find it hard to separate myself from my work. I very much infused my, and this is, again, I’m not advocating for this, but I do infuse myself, my work, and by corollary, my work is infused in me outside of the 9 to 5 in inverted commas although it’s never been 9 to 5.
Daniel: So, one thing I was going to say is, if your work is interesting and stimulating and arises from your values, then it’s not always a bad thing if it infiltrates your home conversations, although that can go too far, and, look, I’m still working it out.
Kylie: I think we all are, so you’re in good company as far as that goes. I’d like to just switch a bit now to the people that you do work with, so the asylum seekers and refugees that you do work with. Could you tell us about when and who they are and where they’ve come from?
Daniel: Yes. We’re fortunate to work with people from all over the world, and seeing as we work with people seeking asylum and refuge, it’s all the hot spots of places where people are seeking refuge from, so we have amazing people from Iran, from Syria, from Iraq, Sri Lanka and many other countries. They’re very, very international group of staff.
Kylie: And for people who may not understand what it’s like, what are some of the issues that people from diverse backgrounds have when they’re looking to reestablish themselves and start a new life in Australia?
Daniel: You know, there’s all sorts of issues and some of them are more individual to each person, but I think an underlying challenge is isolation. It’s something that kind of rears its head in different ways, but I see it as a consistent, underlying challenge to our staff.
Daniel: So, whether it’s practical things like not knowing where different services and things that they need are, but often, it’s a very emotional thing, being disconnected from one’s home country and not really being allowed or able to come back. Often, here, certainly without extended family and sometimes with no family at all. Isolation can be a really big challenge for just be happy, and let alone to be proactive.
Kylie: And so, are there many other issues that also facing them, I mean obviously, potentially a language barrier that they might also face. They might also be some trauma that exists from how they actually had to leave their countries and find their way here. Does that show up in your work with them as well?
Daniel: Definitely. Yeah. And if you add to that what you might call status anxiety or status challenge for some of our staffs, they’re on temporary visas. It’s very difficult to sink your roots in, in any way, when you’re having to regularly check in to see if you’re allowed to stay in the country, so I think that plays a destabilising role as well.
Kylie: I remember seeing Hamed’s Instagram post earlier this year saying that he’d finally got permanent residency I think it was.
Daniel: I believe it’s a protection visa as opposed to permanent, but it’s a very positive step forward. I don’t think it’s the permanent visa that we’re hoping for all of our staff, but it’s a good next step.
Kylie: It’s a good next step, and so he is one of the people that works at Free to Feed running the cooking classes, but he’s also someone who’s also started his own food business as well. Isn’t that through the Now to Launch program?
Daniel: So, yeah, he’s an inspiration to, again, why we started Now to Launch because he, I would definitely not credit his achievements in his own business endeavours to Now to Launch. Now to Launch is a new program that will support, for example, in his case, what he’s already doing, but yeah. He’s used his entrepreneurialism and his amazing talents to start his own coding business and he also is looking to start another business and hopefully Now to Launch will play a part in that, but just the kind of flourishing of his ideas and he’s entrepreneurialism is certainly and inspiration to why we want to create something like Now to Launch to support him.
Kylie: Yeah, so the isolation that you spoke about as being one of the major issues for people coming, if you’re seeking asylum and refugee status. What are some of the things that you do to actually help overcome that, or how do you reach people who need that the most?
Daniel: Now to Launch, which is the food business incubator for refugees and new migrants coming out of Free to Feed, is going to be, basically what we are doing is trying to design the kind of ecosystem that people were fortunate to be permanent residents need when they’re starting a business of new enterprise. When I think about what totally kept Loretta and I away from the brink of failing, of finding it too hard, whether an emotional and practical level, is the networks and the people around us, I’m talking very specifically, a friend of a friend who’s a professional photographer, or the lawyer friend who actually got her firm involved in incorporating us into a not for profit.
Daniel: All these other amazing people that actually made it possible for our little idea to become reality, what we’re going to do with Now to Launch is try to replicate that kind of ecosystem around new entrepreneurs, so in practice, there are different ways that people can get involved, whether by designing and delivering a tutorial, so we’re going to be calling out for people with particular knowledge and skills, and it could be all sorts of things, like the things I already mentioned relating to starting a business, and we’ve got a process in place where anyone who claims to have a sharable bit of knowledge or skill can actually design a tutorial and deliver it to the entrepreneurs.
Daniel: What we’ll do is we’ll find the right entrepreneur at the right time who needs that particular skill knowledge, so we’ll make those kind of connections. In some ways, it mirrors what we’ve been trying to do at Free to Feed, where each class is, apart from the eating of food and breaking of bread, is an opportunity for people to connect through, for example, a tutorial program. It’ll be an opportunity for people in the community to connect with entrepreneurs.
Daniel: We also realise that entrepreneurs need services and products sometimes, and we’re going to be calling out to businesses who are interested, not necessarily to go and teach something, because when you’re starting out, it’s actually pretty important, what Loretta and I found is that we couldn’t learn how to do everything ourselves. We didn’t have to become the professional photographer in order to have that photographer capture our first events and help us share that.
Daniel: So, we think that’s really important as well, so we want to provide an opportunity for local businesses, even individuals who want to deliver a service or share a product with our entrepreneurs. Again, the matching will be important. We’ll find the right entrepreneur at the right time, who needs that particular service or product, to give them that leg up, that next boost. So, really, Now to Launch is about creating that ecosystem and we’re trying to blow that isolation away. That’s the idea.
Kylie: Fantastic, and I love the insight, also, that you don’t have to be the experts at everything, and that’s actually a good way to break down any isolation that you might have because it’s often, you’re thinking you have to do it all yourself, that keeps you isolated from reaching out and making connections, and getting help to actually move yourself forward.
Daniel: Yeah, and you can imagine without those links, it would heighten your sense of needing to do everything yourself, which could be-
Daniel: Cripplingly overwhelming, whereas just having those links makes you realise the people around you and the things that are possible with their help that you just wouldn’t know. You wouldn’t know that someone can quickly design a simple website for you if you didn’t have those links, and then you would probably spend weeks or months trying to learn that yourself instead of working on all the other parts of your business that badly need you.
Kylie: Yes, one of the questions that I ask a lot in my coaching practice with my small business clients, because there is sometimes the temptation to try and do it all themselves, and it’s not actually the best way for them to progress. It’s questioning that, making them think more deeply about, “Well, who do I know that I could actually call on or ask or outsource.”
Kylie: Once you give yourself permission to think, “I don’t have to be the expert and do all of this myself.”
Daniel: Yeah, but that’s the key, isn’t it? That question, who do I know? We want to provide answers to that. We want to have people on the other side of that question, so that, just like you’re saying, so that someone isn’t expecting or needing to do everything themselves.
Kylie: Fantastic. It’s almost like, to me, it sounds like a smorgasbord of contacts and bringing all that together to, as you said, cut through the isolation and actually give people the best possible chance they can to stand on their own two feet.
Daniel: Yeah. And look, it’s going to be a lot of fun. We feel like mad scientists in a way in designing this ecosystem because there isn’t one proven track for an entrepreneur to take their idea from now to launch. It’s going to be a very dynamic and interesting community where people are tapping in and helping different people at different times, so it’s going to be interesting. We’ll see what happens.
Kylie: And I love that. That’s the true spirit of entrepreneurship. It’s like we’re not quite sure how it’s all going to come together, but this is the vision and we’re just pushing in that direction and we’ll work it out as we get along.
Kylie: So, just on that, if people are interested in becoming involved or offering any services or insights, where can they go to find out more information?
Daniel: The main thing to do would just be to go to the Now to Launch website, which is nowtolaunch.org.au, and you can get a bit more information. There’s a simple form to start your journey with us, because as we’ve been reflecting on, there are different ways of getting involved, different people. There’s a simply initial form to start off, and then each of our entrepreneurs has a coach that works for them and identifies their needs, and as that gets fed into us, we’ll look at the, if you like, the smorgasbord, as you said, of people that put their hand out with something to offer, and we’ll make those connections. The way to start is to go to the website and register.
Kylie: Yep. Fantastic. I’m sure that there are people who are listening who have a whole bunch of skills and talents and desires to also want to make a contribution that could be potentially helpful.
Daniel: I should also note that one-off kind of assistances are welcome. What we’re designing is an eco system where people can just design and deliver one tutorial or perhaps just come in and deliver one service to one entrepreneur. Our idea is that not one of us have all the solutions and all the answers, but together, if you think about the spectrum of skills and knowledge in the community, together we actually do have all the solutions and all the answers. They’re all around us, so we’re going to do that coordinating work, so we don’t want people to feel overwhelmed with the challenge for each entrepreneur to go from where they are now to launching something, because that journey’s made up of 1,000 steps and we’re grateful for anyone contributing to any one of those steps.
Kylie: Terrific. So, we’re getting on in our discussion and I was just wanting to start wrapping it up. I would like to know what are three things that you would like people to take away from our chat today?
Daniel: Well, firstly, the idea that you can make a difference. It’s a bit of a cliché, but on one level, if someone has the time and space in their life to really dedicate to a cause they believe in, I actually really am a believer in the social enterprise model now that I’ve, through experience, understood it a bit better. I think it’s a really sustainable and sensible way of trying to flesh out your contribution to a cause that you’re passionate about.
Daniel: So, you can make a difference through dropping whatever you’re doing and starting a social enterprise, or I think there are a lot of ways within your current business that you can make a difference, and I think, in my world, Now to Launch is a example of where you can offer your skills and knowledge and experience, but I’m sure there are many other ways you can do that, but whatever your skill or knowledge is, for example, in our space there are people that need that.
Kylie: And perhaps being mindful about where you source your services and supplies and catering from!
Daniel: Yeah. Totally. There are choices out there. The second thing I would say, the thing that I’d like to tell your listeners is to look for the good in people, because we live in a diverse society where all sorts of views and attitudes out there, and of course, the media and politicians often reflect certain views and attitudes, not others. But what I just wanted to say was, if you aim to cater for the good in people, then in doing that, whatever service or product you’re putting out there, you will encourage and nurture that good and then you’ll sort of find yourself living in a better world or at least a bubble of a good world, so I think looking for the good in people and catering to that is-
Kylie: Sometimes, in corporate speak, I hear that is having a generosity of positive intent, like approaching the world-
Daniel: Let me write that down.
Kylie: (laughs) You know, approaching the world with looking for positive intent or seeing that as a first place of a relationship with someone, until proven otherwise, I guess.
Daniel: Yes. Good until prove bad. And thirdly, I just think the idea of staying curious has always been important for me, so I just encourage people to be open to new and better ways of doing things.
Kylie: Do you have a vision or opinion on the difference between passion and curiosity?
Daniel: I think so, because passion, to me, feels a lot more self interested, not even in a bad way, because I think it’s really important to explore what really drives you and what you’re passionate about. But curiosity often is about letting go of whatever is driving you and just looking at what is actually driving others and what’s driving the world around you. So, I think they work well together. If you can be passionate and also very curious. I think you’re on to a winner.
Kylie: Yes. I’ve talked before about the difference I see between passion and curiosity and kind of the obligation that we have on passion to solve our problems, whereas curiosity gives us permission to explore and find out and not be attached, necessarily to a specific outcome, but to continue to be curious to explore what the potential is and to keep iterating and changing.
Daniel: Yeah. I concur.
Kylie: (laughs) Good to know. Alright, so we’re going to wrap up with our 10 by 10 questions. This is where I have 10 questions, you have 10 seconds if you need it to answer each question. We might get through that a bit quicker, but are you ready to go with our 10 by 10?
Daniel: I’m ready.
Kylie: Alright. Let’s get going. Number one. What I like about myself is…
Daniel: My perseverance.
Kylie: I beat procrastination by…
Daniel: Just enjoying it when it happens.
Kylie: Oh. That’s interesting. Okay. A song on my life soundtrack is…
Kylie: The world needs more…
Daniel: People pondering big questions like what the world needs more of.
Kylie: Well played. A phrase I live by is…
Daniel: He not busy being born is busy dying, which is a Dylan quote.
Kylie: I see a theme here.
Daniel: Should also include she.
Daniel: They, they not busy being born are busy dying.
Kylie: Thank you for that correction. Something everyone must do is…
Daniel: Go to Free to Feed class and volunteer at Now to Launch. I get paid to say that, so.
Kylie: It’s all okay. A book that changed me is…
Daniel: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. It’s been about 20 years since I read that, I think.
Kylie: May be time to pull it out for a re-read.
Kylie: Fear and I…
Daniel: Are intimate acquaintances.
Kylie: Something that always makes me feel good is…
Daniel: Jumping in the ocean, and I miss living close to the ocean.
Kylie: And we’re recording this in the depths of Melbourne winter, so…
Daniel: Dark depths, yeah.
Kylie: Windy, grey cloud depths of Melbourne winter, so I hope you can get into the ocean very soon. The last question is, number 10, my legacy will be…
Daniel: Not for me to see, but in the eyes of the beholders at some future date.
Kylie: Daniel, thank you so much. It’s been an absolute delight to speak with you. All the best to you and Loretta when number two arrives, who’s just around the corner, as we kind of speak, you actually could be waiting for a phone call while we’ve been recording this podcast.
Daniel: Probably. I’ll go check in.
Kylie: So, thank you for your time.
Daniel: Thank you so much.
Kylie: All the best to everyone involved in both of the programs and thank you for doing the work that you do. It’s really important and I’m really excited about the next stage, too, for both of you in the business.
Daniel: Thanks, Kylie. Thanks for the opportunity.