Conscious Business | Aspen Entrepreneurs
Love. To introduce our panel, I'm in awe of everybody. I've. Known Steve Wilson. He's right here um he's the founder of forum. 5 which is a architecture. Firm here in Aspen they. Do incredible, work on the, Steve purposely, started his company with. Culture being in mind and will sort of draw, on that as we go forward he's had a banner year of, awards, recognizing. This so I'm, sure that will come up in this conversation. Gerry. Murdoch who, many. Might know is in, this particular scenario Gina's, husband. Fool. You. You, know Gerry, founded. Aspen, Technology Group back in, 1987. Yeah. Is that right and then I did a little research and I was like hey what was going on in technology back, then and, the, World Wide Web hadn't. Yet been launched. So that just gives you some purview about how long Jerry's been in the game. From. A place of from. A place of honor, and. And. Then went on to found. Insight. Venture Partners and. Again. Has. Done, tremendously, well with his group and I think I read a statistic that they have over 13, billion in assets under management so, he has a lot of experience, bringing. Companies to life and being, part of those teams so I'm excited to hear you know your purview on all of this and, then, Gina, Stryker. Is I, just. Talked to you for the very first time the other day and what a force of life and from. She owns Gina Kachina which is a food company. Here in the valley and, it. Seems like wherever she goes she creates community around food and, then about. What three years ago launched. Into making this a business so we're excited to hear from her, and then, last but not least, dr.. Jerome burt who I've. Had the pleasure of meeting before. Skippy. Actually invited him to, come to Aspen and, be part of our launch for Aspen entrepreneurs, this summer and it was really incredible so. I'm excited to have you back and, and. Jerome's. From. Nashville, has, a, degree. In clinical psychology, and before, that I learned, that he was actually a personal. Trainer so one. Could say he's been a therapist, for a lot longer. Exactly. So much. Like I'm. Sure you heard a lot when you were a personal, trainer as well and. He. Also did a TED. Talk recently called how a dinner party can can. Save your life and so we'll hear a little bit about that further and, we. As asked when entrepreneurs had, the opportunity, to partake, in an evening that. Was. Curated with intention, and it was pretty remarkable so, thank you for that and, you. Know part. Of the thing that Raj talked about yesterday is, that, 88%. Of, American, workers feel, that their, business, doesn't. Care about them as a human and you. Know that's just kind of a crushing statistic. And so, what I'm really excited to talk about today, and to listen to is a group, of people who actually have brought businesses, to life with the purpose of what. Raj also said was healing. As a business, and that a businesses, can do that for us even if that's not their specific. Intention, and. So you know better to start with or. Who better to start with I should say Steve. Steve. Started his own architecture firm in, 2006. But prior to that he. Worked for another firm here in the valley and made. A conscious, decision that. He wanted to start his own firm and I just love to hear like how did you come to that decision to. Take that leap of faith oh. I. Don't. Know that it was necessarily, a leap of faith or something I felt that needed to do. But. It. Was one of those in. Architecture. You have to work for a number of hours to gain licensure, and so you're kind of beholding to work for somebody else for quite some time and after I've completed these hours and I felt like I was being an effective, leader in the company and I wanted, to know where my future was going so I sat down with the owner announced, it are, you taking on partners you. Know what's what's my future looked like here and. The. Answer wasn't one. That had a lot of feature in it for me my. Name on the door this is my company and what. Happens when you retire yeah well, I guess, you get a new job oh. Okay. Well, that, wasn't necessarily, you. Know what I was hoping for in the, next 20. Years of your life behind something why. Would, it be to, go, get another job in 20 years that just didn't seem like it well what I wanted to do, so. I I was 25, at the time and thought, to myself well I'm, really, good at being broke I don't, have a lot of responsibility. Right now this. Seems like quite the opportunity, to take some risk so, why, not and so. I decided to start the company that I wanted, to work for, with.
The Goal not, putting my name on the door not doing any of those things but with the goal of capturing. The future means to hand it off to. Thank. You and. Then Gina. You've. Had quite a wild ride from. Idaho. Where you grew up in a small town and then he went to Florence, and then from Florence you went to New York and, then from New York you went to LA yes. So. You. You've. Had obviously. A huge breadth and experiences. And. La. Having I just moved I lived in LA for 20 years and I'm just new to the valley for the past year and a half so I would say la, is not the epicenter, of culture. Or great. Workplace culture, as. We can read, and, see and. In news. With someone, like Harvey Weinstein. So it, sounds like though your experience, in the film industry because, you're coming from love was was quite, the opposite of that yeah, I think it was fairly blessed I started with a, man. Of integrity Frank, Marshall who Shepherd. Me through my career in. The film industry and I worked with him for six years and you. Know certainly, there were. Situations. That I got myself in that were uncomfortable. But Frank was always there he's like get away from her you know so yeah yeah so you, know it's Hollywood, is a hard place and and. It's. Hard being a woman on the I was on the business end I was you know so it was a it was a, difficult. Place to kind of forager, your own place in in, the entertainment. Industry as you know yeah, and. Then from that did you have experiences. Where at some point you. Felt like maybe you would start a business or some of the lessons learned through your experiences. That you then are now taking, on to your own business. After. Six years of working for. Stephen. And Frank and Katharine yeah I left I started out on my own so I was a gun for hire at that point, because. I didn't want to work, for anybody specifically. And I wanted to be able to say - no two jobs that I didn't feel were, jobs I wanted to be involved with I did. Not however force see where I'm at today so, so, that was that. Was a you know although from. The, time I was about 15, I was told you need to be in the food you know do, something with food you need to do something with food I, said. You know what I need to do some with film which you. Know I did for 15, years I guess and then we my husband and I moved here with our two four. Year old boys and. And. Then had another set of twins and. Ten. Years in I started, Gina Kachina you know just. A few years back. Great. And then, I'm Jerry so, you, know when you started. I think, it's. Madana. Tech business, before many of us even knew there was, such a thing when. You started Aspen technology, agree with it tell us a little bit about now I mean now in. Respect you you really care. About. Creating. And investing companies that have social impact, back, then did you have an awareness about creating, you, know conscious workplace culture, I just. Needed to pay the bills. And. I needed you, know to find something, that I could do and so. Curiosity. Was. The thing that led me to technology. Because technology, represented. How. The world was going to change and so my interest was how, does this stuff and software. Was the thing I was interested in 1987. I was, interested in it because of the. Potential, of it moving you know, through, across networks across machines, and, how, it could impact lots of existing, people. And organizations, and, so to me it was an exciting time I mean. The. Macintosh, hadn't been launched three years earlier, so you're, in the middle, of this PC, revolution. Human-beings. Are being empowered for the first time to. Be able to connect, to each other and through, this technology, and it was exciting time so but, literally I needed to find a way to pay the bills and I and I was curious and so those two things matched, up with. With. What I did and, then how how, did you grow your team over times you were you I think you were there till 1995. And had many different ways yeah, the. Thing that that was important, that I learned early when, I hired my first manager was that the. Person was going around telling our team oh this is what Jerry thinks this is what Jerry should, do this is how we do it here and I. Realized that wasn't gonna scale so. I made sure that, what. Our mission was in my company and our principles, were, explicit. Not. Implied, because when they're implied in an organization. Then, middle, managers, people begin, to say well I'm the person that can tell you how to do, well here and that, wasn't scaling, because, however, they interpret, it was never, gonna be a hundred percent the right way and so you want people to feel it in their heart they, want people to feel from inside themselves, that they know what they're doing they don't to be told what to do and so, that was one of the things that I learned, that, we needed to do in order to scale the business.
And. Then Jerome. From, your point of view you're you. Here, obviously. A lot of clients, in. Your in, your practice, and talk, about the things that trouble them or. Issues. Per se can. You tell us a little bit about how, much impact, the, workplace, has on, on, somebody's. Life. And happiness. And and also potentially. Suffering. It's. A big question it's a bit quiz huh and I can take care of it. No. Really I think, that, a lot, of people present with anxiety. And depressive, symptoms, that are usually masking. Some. Kind of relational. Conflict or, relational, discord, and. It. Can be in. Their personal life or in their professional, life and I. Think. That it, doesn't matter if you have one you just soon have both because, we, can't compartmentalize. We. I, mean we can intellectually, but, the, body keeps the score so, physio. Physiologically. If you. Are struggling with your spouse you go to work, cortisol, toxic, if you. Are struggling, with your supervisor. Or your boss then. You come home cortisol, toxic, so you, know that. Is. I've. You, know I I think really. That the. Latter, you. Know relational. And work. Distress, has. A greater, impact than. Actually. Romantic. Or personal. Distress, because. We. We. Need. A sense, of predictability, and. Control, to have a good, sense of well-being. Really. You don't have that you know have a strongest, sense of predictability and control at work as you do at home and, so it's sort of like a double, whammy and so that just further, emphasizes. The, influence. Of the, corporate. Culture, that. Steve. Smells because he he knows that his, people go, home feeling, with, the oxytocin, flowing O'Doul stuff because they are so happy at work but, really. They. Can really have an influence on, how. You roll outside, of work. Thank. You Steve, so when you started, form Phi just because, I did since we've talked, many times, I know that your. Workplace was either. Your car your apartment, and when. You went, to get your first client, you. Put out a blank sheet of paper. So. That. Kind of is predicted, predicted. Sort of how the rest, of your company was going to grow and practices. That you have in place today that bring everybody into the company. That. They have a voice can you talk a little bit about that experience and hug, how from the blank you've gone to oh we're. Still black there. You have it but. If I find that to be the. Freshest. Way to start any project you, know starting. Out of your basement, oh let's, come to your office and see what you've done I don't. Really have an office and I haven't really done anything but. How can I come to you and let's talk about what you want. Which. Turned, out to be a pretty good approach and not one that I guess most professionals, at least in my profession, we're taking and. So we would sit down with a blank piece of paper and start. From, the client start with their ideas and grow it together, and. It really became a collaboration, and. And it started with the clients, because. It was before I had employees but, as each, employee came on, it. Became important, to have that collaboration within, the office as well but we weren't necessarily having. We. Didn't have job titles I things. Need to get done if, you're good at um do, them if. You know do you think you can handle something or we need something new great, but it was just. Add to that blank slate let's let's, not have, expectations. Let's not have you. Know specific. Directions let's not put you in a box but let's let you kind of be. The you you want to be kind of let you find your special tasks, and that's always been an interesting thing for me is because I feel like. The. Employees always, find. Interesting things, and didn't know whatever exists, and, you. Know they. Come to me and said Steve I got this idea it's it's it's gonna be amazing it's like okay go do, it, here's, your blank sheet of paper go draw on it make it happen and and. That's really how from, that kind of open-minded, listening. Aspect, how we've built the company how we've built our employment, strategies, and how, even. We built that company cultures, letting, the letting. The employees Drive letting, the people, were serving Drive let, them find what they love and do it. You. Know Steve told me a story yesterday of one in his employee, singing, or that.
Do. You recall so. It was a we. Had one outside. Magazine's best places to work in America last, year which, when my marketing, director started. She was like whichever which which award do you want to win fully, expecting, like a or, some designer work like that and I was like I want to be the best place to work let's get that outside of magazine work as she wasn't she did it which was amazing, first try, so. As. Part of that you get back the, feedback right that's, the sales model. Is hey but by the feedback that your clients gave or, your your employees gave to you and you. Know it tells you what's good about your company what you could change. When. I was I think I was expressing to you is what's. One of your favorite things about four and five and, one. Of the employees had, put. In their evaluation I can, unashamedly. Be myself every. Day and. That's I mean it was really powerful and to me it was really powerful because it's like she's saying that I can show self compassion, and self-love and have so much self appreciation. And I'm, doing this at work, and that's. The that's the kind of juice that you, know has a rippling effect the. Unit that we're talking about when you go home you know you're still you can extend compassion. And. Love. To others much more readily when you are feeling it. Yourself. Thank. You dude go, Steve yeah, that's I mean. It's. An amazing award to. Win and just. All the things that they look for and the. Teams. That are chosen let, alone the winner of it are pretty, incredible I mean it's all the way from like leadership to, how. You actually manage the company I, mean it's how, your employees feel the, perks that you give them. We. Have those things but it's not just about that it's about you know. Benefits. And profit. Sharing and, are, the. People in your company aware, of the direction and have they ever. Had a say and did they buy in and, it's. You know you make all these assertions as, an owner and then, they go and give, you accountability. And check it amongst your staff and, so, they, get a chance to kind of talk back to you it. Turns out we agree. Well. Then she and I know that from. We. Already heard thank you for for saying that. Gina's. Full-time job was two sets of twins which is a miracle. And. Then she. Had, the pleasure of cooking. For, rods. Retreats, here in Aspen for, close to a decade and, then finally, you. Decided to launch her company, so can you I mean truly your company, is born from love so. Can you talk a little bit about you. Know those early, days, of, going, from doing this for, you, know rods business, to your own. Huh. It total, and utter insanity, but. All four I mean I remember the first farmers market I attended, I woke, up my 13, year old come on come on we're gonna go sell soup but used to make mama really, and I'm like yeah we're gonna go do it so. It was and you, know I had my mean obviously my husband is huge support, and I had a group, of friends who are like you and including, my older brother as well like you've got to start jarring and selling your product, you've got to make a business out of this and and it, was really from a circle, of love and friendship, and that. Convinced. Me to take that leap to say okay I'm gonna try it and you. Know so that that. First morning it was in the end of July I woke up and I think jade and went with me the first time and. We. Sold out in an hour I mean, a hot soup in the middle of July and Aspen, we sold out whatever I was like and, we had more than a hundred jars I I mean it was like two around a hundred fifty jars and I was stunned and. But what we were doing is we were making, everybody taste it so, we're like okay here try it and what, we discovered, and it still holds true to this day if they try it they buy it because we. So clearly infuse. Everything. With love I mean the first ingredient, on our label was love until. The FDA came after. Love. Is not tangible you may not list it as an ingredient I'm like it's, the most tangible ingredient. On the label, so, our labels now don't, start with love but right under the top tagline, is love, is the first ingredient but, the FDA won't let us list it. Because. I was determined to, get it in there because I do believe, that. The. Way we're eating as a society. Has got to change and I think the better we feed people our, children and, nourish, them the, better their behavior, is going to be I see, to my children I see if they go out to a friend's house and they're eating Doritos and Hot Tamales and they came home and they're really unpleasant to be around you.
Know But if they're eating at Mama's table they're. A lot more fun you know and they're just more balanced so I do believe. You. Know we. Are trying to change the way people look at food and and there's no preservatives, than anything we do it's all processed and, it's. Important. To start from that basic, human need. To change the society and I think you know we, clearly. We, have a long ways to go but if we can contribute. To you, know in some small way I mean just in in the valley we contribute, to, every. K through eight school we, free soup, too on, you know on a monthly basis pretty much in and you can and it's just for the kids it's just in the freezer for kids who could show up and don't have having that breakfast to haven't had a lunch whatever, and we, just do that because. And, it's, linen here but we also give like to the homeless shelter it's, just. You. Have to start somewhere in it and then you, know that's kind of our our motto. The are aren't a are so. Purity sustainability, integrity, and love or the tenants of our company and we, try to match all four of those with, every step we take and if. We don't then we we kind of turn away from I mean kami, who's my partner Cameron right there she's, she. Spent eighteen months looking, for packaging, that was sustainable, we launched. Our online business and it was so overwhelmingly, successful we were like wait a minute wait a minute we're not ready for that because our, packaging. Wasn't, sustainable, and so. We kind of pulled back on it and then we spent the time to do chassé. Camera and spent the time to. Investigate. What was going to be sustainable, to to the point of we're loving. Our earth way okay so is is. Cotton. Packaging. Insulation, or cornstarch. Packaging, insulation which is less, impact. On the environment and, I mean. We went that deep because we wanted it to be from, we. Wanted to kind of walk our truths so. You. Know it's. Taking us maybe a little we're three years old it's taken us a little bit longer it's ago to but because we're very kind of methodically. Taking. Our steps. That's. Great so Jerry since, you. At this point sit on the investment, side of the, equation. Hearing. Stories like Steve's and, Gina's where companies, have you. Know very purposeful, mission or taking. Care of the. Environment their employees, and might grow more slowly or scale, differently, how do you look at that from an investment point of view well. I, can. Give you some stories on early 2013. I sat. In a little beach, house in Venice Beach with a, handful. Of the first snapchat, employees, and we're sitting there and having. Lunch and talking about what. This could be because, what. Could it be we had a handful, of users, compared to they have today and. They. Were what, impressed me is how Evan Spiegel and his partner Bobby were so focused, on the customer on the, user to create a connection, they, wanted to as different. Than than Facebook, at the time they wanted to create a connection. For people that wanted to be intimate, for, your true, friends, you, know and create some sort of intimacy. Where you could share how you felt, with each other and, they. Instead. Of being focused on what they wanted for themselves they. Were very mindful of the of the customers, that were using it and their passion, and curiosity was. Driven to how they could make better connections, between people and, what. I think, that's different about them and other companies with similar ideas, is. The discernment that they brought to that process because, you need to have a discernment, there's. Lots of things you can do but, you need to be able to prioritize. What. It is that, is important, right now because. There's a whole list of always a lot of things to do for an entrepreneur, but, halves figuring, out what's important, right now is, the. Thing that you want your culture, to help you figure out so, the culture was driven by that mission, to be focused, on the customer and I, think that is very powerful even a Twitter when I sat, around with the first thirty people in San Francisco, in 2009. They, too were, focused on big ideas like freedom, of speech and and that.
They Were really trying to think about how can we enable better communication and. And greater. Sharing, of information and that's when. They were trying to invent, the product, and no, one knew back in 2000 I have Twitter was gonna be some. Little trend that just disappeared, off the face that a plan or not same with snapchat and in, both cases they. Showed at the early stages the. Right amount of discernment, and focus. On the customer, focus, on the other and there's, mindfulness. In that that, I found compelling. It. Was an investor, we have to think, about this and how do we work with people like this and, given. My experience at, the time because, besides the two companies I mentioned I also founded a software company, called open vision we wrote the business plan and I founded a t-shirt company in my 20s, and so. Having had this experience you, know they had asked me what do we do about this what do we do about that and, what. I did was never give them the answer what. I tried to do was to frame it for them, and how. They, should look at the problem, and let them do the math themselves. And I found that to be scalable, because people, then could begin to change their, perception, in my, business and a lot of people are smart, there's a lot of intelligence but. Intelligence. Is just a tool you, need perception. You, need discernment, to put, intelligence. To work in the right way and so I'd look for the patterns, and these early companies, where, you can see scalability. Because a lot of things are great, for a short period of time and then, they don't scale and that's the hardest thing is, really getting to some place where what. You want to do for people can happen on a mass scale and, that's when their kids value the fact that there's a hundred and seventy five thousand, people on snapchat every, day creates. Value for those, people that want to make that communication, and, you know I mean I think that. Being. Mindful about, other, people. Instead, of what you want, and, particularly. To make sure your employees are, focused. On that same mission, Jeff. Bezos who, was here last spring, talks about when, he started his company he. Was an analyst at da Shaw and he was trying to figure out what what. Is it I can do to, start my company what principles. Can, i base my company, on and, he said he found two things that he didn't think we're gonna change he, needed something to create a platform of stability for, at least a decade he thought and the, two things he came up with was, number. One people. Will never tired, of getting. Things at a, cheaper. Cost less, expensive, and people. Will never tire of getting things faster. And, if I make those two things happen. In my in my principles, and everybody, in my company thinks about that I'll have happy customers so, all of amazon has created. And its. Success, is because it's. Ruthlessly. Focus, on the customer. And what, and how much how to bring joy to, that people and in, their own way that's what they're thinking about so, I think that, you, know when you think about love. And and and compassion, for things it. Starts, when you think of the other person and not you and too many entrepreneurs I know it's all about them or, it's all about their idea and you, have to take that it can start that way but you have to move and to, think about the people that will use it and use, the sermon to be able to get momentum and, and. Creating, momentum in the Buddhist world they called wind wars that, momentum, comes when you're, relying with something greater than yourself and that's what we look for at Twitter as we look for it snapchat that's what I look forward flip board that's what I look for a lot of these investments. That, have have hundreds, of millions of happy, people using, the products. PS. He was part, of this, um. Which, is amazing, so I have a question for you Jerome. So when you were in school I think in University. Of miss Mississippi. And then. I'm. Just, I think theory personal, theories come over a series, of years and. I, love. That. You created a TED talk called and, you can also download this on his site, how. A dinner party can can save your life so, I would just be curious like how, did you come to that thesis I am dead serious about. That thesis as Gina said that, when. People when, you see kids eating Doritos into, such you, they don't behave the same as they behave when they are sitting around mother's, table and, so. That. That. We, have this we. Have pathways carved. Out it's the most primal, way to connect. With one another is, to break bread you, know we started out doing it around the campfire, I imagine, you, know. Would. It be thousands, of years ago but. You. Know there. When. You. Know.
When You're breaking bread when, you're sharing the. Same experience, because the research actually shows. It's, not just breaking, bread together it's breaking from the same loaf together, eating. Everybody. Have a mother's soup. When. You're doing that. You. Know you there's, something that says to your brain is signals to yours your brain that you are among. Your, people when, you're among your people, you. Drop. Your defenses, and, you. Know you can, that's. When the oxytocin, flows you, have the sense of bonding and the such so there's, no. Better. More, delicious, elixir. Than. Sitting. Among your people and breaking bread together I think it's what we've been doing since the I didn't think of this concept that. It. Started, with family dinner, you. Know there was a Harvard. Study I believe that, they. Tested or they wanted to understand. The. Students that were the most successful across, all demographics. Ethnicities. Religions everything. What. Did they have in common, it, was family dinner so. It was sitting down at the table every night and eating, as a family which I must say we do every night knowing, we. Have dinner every night 6:00 to 6:30 we sit down as a family and I think that that there's, so much truth and value in that there's, they. I mean it's documented, that. Everything. And. Again. It's not necessarily. What, you're having and, as, much as having. The same thing and that shared experience you. Know you can't really control for, it's. Like. You. Know what's really going on there is it the food it's the it's, probably the, the sense of community though and it's and, it also enhances. Your sense of belonging and that's, one. Of the things that that sense, of belonging and that, sense of community that it's wages, your, anxiety, not only at home but it also does it at work you, know you're talking about the company you, know there. When. You. Create. An environment where. People can where. People have a lot of autonomy. And can. Express themselves, and be, creative. They. Feel safer, you function, better when you feel safer and that's a sustainable, model Skippy. Asked me earlier is, like is, there any research to support that, you, know that. That's the better way to go you know because, fear. Will also. Help. You get things done but. That's not a sustainable model. I'm. Gina. I'd. Love to have, you tell everybody about the. FedEx award which, actually, comes. From the. Love of your fan base to start out with and then just through to. How. You, know breaking bread with FedEx. Who has had social impact, you know in conscious, leadership right. So in 2016. The, FedEx. Cameron. And I applied for the FedEx small business a grant and the, way to even get recognized. As you had to be, voted on and you had to get your fan base to vote on you so, there, were over 5,000, applicants, and we were and I'm like oh yeah we're not gonna and. They break it down first 600 so we made that cut we were like yeah go team go team and so every day we would please, guys vote for us again but verse again so then we made it down to the made. It down to the top 100 and, then. When the day came where we knew it was going to be they picked 10 winners annually, and that day came and it was 8. O'clock 9. A.m.. And. We hadn't got a coma-like. And then. The call came in and they, said is just Gina, yeah this, is Kelly Martin at FedEx, we've calling to let you know you won wait, I mean we were dancing, on the table I told we, told our children, our children, were dancing on the table it was so, amazing, to be recognized, by FedEx, and, they. Flew us to Memphis, and they treated us like royalty and, then they picked, our brains on how to help.
Small. Businesses and they were really serious about I mean I sat on a set, up in front of thousands. Of FedEx employees, and they said so what can we do to help you and. I said. Cold storage, we need cold storage we need cold transportation. Guess, what they. Built a cold storage place in Memphis, they now they bought a freight. That's just cold storage. But, wow. You. Guys you, walk in the walk you know but, they. Invited. Us back to so they pick, the. They've only it's been four years that they've had the the I'm looking at Cameron because to make sure I'm right that it's four years that they've been running this grant, this, was 2017. Was the fifth year so there were fifty of us that have won so they invited us back as a team this year to sit. On the entrepreneur, board and. What. That means is five times this year they fly me to Memphis. Or Dallas or whatever to, sit and talk about how we can. Better. Help small businesses, like ourselves and. What. We did as you know is. Cameron. And I we have a strong, give. Back program, to any cause relating, to human trafficking, and, I. Had the ear of Dan, Malay Lee who's been a part of FedEx for 35. Years and he kinda just flies around on the jet now doing good and I sat down I said we're. Gonna talk and you're gonna see you're gonna train all your people, on how to spot human trafficking, and they. Are so. I. And, it was really. Amazing. A to have their ear and to be able to say that but they're, a company that actually they're, doing so many things around, caring. For the world I mean they they put me on hold for a few months because they were busy, in Houston busy and Puerto Rico busy, in Florida busy in California, they were just. Inundated with getting supplies. To these people so. You. Know as you said that was born of the love of our customers, they if they hadn't taken the moment to go online and vote for us directly, we, wouldn't have made that good there were other 5,000, other companies, that applied for this and, it really wasn't about the money because the money was nothing it was 7,000, dollars it was really about the relationship. And they. Have continued. To be as I was on the phone with them on Thursday for an hour and a half but they continue, to be, strong. Supporters, of us and it's brought about this kind, of an amazing relationship that, they're go to for everything if we need something we're like let's. Call Kelly Martin what can they do to help us you, know so. That's. Fantastic. Well. And it occurs to me so Jerry when you, know, the. Aspen. City of well-being has. You. Know been been. Around and finding. Your voice and, I'd. Love to hear why. Why. Now for, lead with love I. Was. My wife or a hundred percent I and she. Was, inspired by Deepak Chopra and Deepak said you, should do the city of well-being and she. Went out and found Jess and some other people and they. Did it all I mean I just sit back in awe and watch what a again.
There's A purpose, as a mission, that's underlying, lead with love and and the city of well-being and you, see that. Sort of intentionality in. The, efforts they do just, between who attended, this event last year yeah. It's, good and then we've got about half of new people so. This, is much. Much, more of a scalable. Enterprise this year there's much more going on this year and you'll, see the same next year because of the intentionality. Cuts. Through they could have done many different things you. Know would leave with love but what they are doing is is focusing. Their intentions, and they, work really hard at, it because it's an iterative process and then, what they're really doing is building a brand when you thought about Federal Express being, nice to you and do what you're doing is they're trying to extend, their brand yes right and in. Today's, world with everything on the internet, creating. A brand is first and foremost because it's a rallying, point under, which you. Can attract. Suppliers. Customers. The, things you need to succeed, and a, brand is and this, is something my friend Richard Branson said to me he said a brand, is not what you think it is it's. What the customer, thinks it is and that's. A classic mistake of entrepreneurs, they think oh I'm gonna do this it's never, about it's an iterative process of continuous, building it so Federal, Express has been around for rental 30 years or more and they're. Still working on it it's still a thing that's evolving. And that and, that evolution has to. Be if you. Want about consciousness. Conscious, leadership, it's. To stop thinking about yourself and think, about the, problem, you're solving for, others, and if it's a high value problem, you're, likely to be a successful, entrepreneur if, you have though if you apply the right mindful, skillset, to that but, you've got to pick the right problem to solve and that's, again, whether it's the eight limbs of yoga or the Eightfold way in Buddhism, it's, not what you do it's the way you do, it right. And if, the way you do things will, establish. Your brand and if. You do that in a way that's meaningful. The. World will be your admirer. So. Think. About that in all of your actions and there's nothing, in about building a business where. You have a moment not to be conscious, about it every. Decision, counts in my, opinion, having done this for 20-something, years it's. Decision, making, being. Conscious, the, M for the universe has always given you data and if, you're not awake you're missing, the moment to make a decision. So. You have to be conscious of what's coming through your way be. Aware of it and make. The decision, because, not making the decision, is, missing, that cubic, centimetre of chance that. You just might be the next step in your business, like, applying, for a contest, and winning it and, it was a game she taught us. Everything. Counts there's never a moment when you can go on autopilot you're. Always building, your brand the, way you do things, matters. Why. That. Brings, me to my next. Question and, this can be answered by everyone, is you, know the notion of when. If you want to know your true self and, have. Nowhere to hide become an entrepreneur and, start a business and, know. Yourself. At. The bank account at the end of months and say well how am i doing and then there's no one really to blame because, you're, authentically, the person that's. Making decisions. I'd. Love to hear just from. Your, point of view or, things, that tools that you've used along the way that. Have helped you. You. Know be the kind of consciousness, leader that you are today I. Call. Jerry. Scalable. No. I'm. Gonna be selfish haha. No. I good. I was just gonna say I think you have to start. As you mean to go on and, and. You, know pick whatever, those tenants, are that you choose for your company and each time you make a decision and Jerry really taught me this you look at those tenants say am i meeting this am i meeting this my meeting this if you're not don't do it and, and.
Stay. True to that as much, and it's hard I mean and he drilled it into me you stay, true to it because that's how you're going to build a successful brand and it is about, building your brand and the, brand is bigger than you and everything, else it is about the customer and ultimately if you don't have a customer you don't have a brand so. We. Try to at, Fir for Gena Cucina and my team is right there we we, try to, look. At everything from, integrity. Sustainability. Purity. And love and and. Move. Forward, and it's, it's sometimes. It's hard something it's easier to it would have been a lot easier if we had a gun with styrofoam boxes, let me tell you we could be at a different place right now but, we were polluting, the earth you. Know we would have probably had more than you know thousands, of customers because. But we stopped, we, we, pulled the plug because, we didn't feel good about us as a company, so. Start. As you mean to go on and, maintain it. You. Know there's, lots of people who design these high-end homes in Aspen, you know why come to us what makes us special and, to me. We. Established, very early on in our company that we were going to be giving back to the communities, that give so much to us and so. For, us we've always established, pro bono partners. Volunteer. Hours for our employees those sorts of things because nothing. Really supports. Of them like feeling like they give back to that, kind, of piece of service, where you're sending, that love out into the community, has, really helped us as a brand but, also for, retention for. Just, general well-being within the office that feeling, so we donate back like 15, percent of net profit every, year to. Give back to the community, we have, a week of vacation so, people can go, volunteer, specifically. So we've as a company, of third, well we just hired. 28th, or, 29th, employee, but. We've given back more than 5,000 hours to the community that's huge it's huge and and, we, get so much buy-in from the community and so. Much buy-in from the people we work with because, they feel that too well, and I know our we, just hired our third person. And. She specifically. Joined, us because of our give backs and that's what she was like wow I like what you're doing I want, to be a part of the team and and. I'm sure it was the flavor profile, right Rebecca yeah. But. You're right I think, giving. Back is I mean it's it's part. Of who we are as a company we've been doing it from the moment we were born as a company and it I think it helps everybody and I feel good about it I'd rather give them take I'm it's, much more pleasurable to to. Help you. Know and I think it it does raise your your, if. I'm giving I'm happy. And. That's kind, of I, think. That's a great point. If. You got a good thing going, you. Know, you, can get hijacked. Running. That good thing you, know and so, when. You said you're. Talking about your brand if it if it takes and, you. Know you're thinking about it a lot under. The hood your, dopamine work it, taps, your double energic system, I mean your dopamine rich and when your dopamine rich an achievement, oriented, then. You forget, the. People around you and. You. You. Negate, relationships. Because you just can't we're not hardwired. That way you don't do that but at the same time you don't have, oxytocin.
Flowing And open at the same time that just one, can out dopamine. Can. Diminish. Oxytocin. Or trough. Oxytocin, and so, I guess, what, I'm really saying though is that I think. That you, have to have systems, in place to. Remind you to. Be human and to, connect. And these kind of companies like he said that they do the community, building, activity. That. Reminds, them to. Be human, even, though they're busy building 28, homes at one time. Yeah. Wow. And, but. You know really having some systems, in place because you. Can, get so busy signing, the 50 million dollar deal. That. You don't show up for the 6 o'clock dinner that. That, you, know that your family has every night so, in in your company, you know you can get so busy. Meeting. Your goals and achieving. That. Unless. You have I like, to call it circle, ups or check-ins. To, see. To. Check back in today that the human person because. Really, successful. Hijack you as. Interesting. One of the systems we just put in place as, we've been growing and it's been kind of rapid over the last three years we were like eight 12 24. And it's gonna be 30 and it's. Going very quickly we opened a second office which was a huge challenge and how do you keep, that culture somewhere else mm-hmm and, this gets back to your breaking bread portion, of it but also kind. Of these circle ups at the same time yeah we. Started, requiring. Our managers. To. Spend. $300. A month yeah, in love. Support on each staff member grants, so we do that down, to our managers, and we can check it hey man you, got to take your team out to lunch you're, not spending your $300. An employee on on, just loving them like, the love them more and, that is when he gets $300. The. Managers, are in charge of distribution over, a staff below them okay so but everybody should receive at, least $300, a month where extra, love. But. They're so busy if you didn't have that yeah, you need a mechanism in your performance ratings, did you spend three, hundred you know if you don't have that there you won't you'll forget, to do it you just can't help but forget to do Jerry, that um have, you found in the companies that go like a Twitter or snapchat as, they grow from, two. Employees, to hundreds, is it, really challenging, to, sure keeps a culture. So. What, Evan does. He. Went to a special, high school I think ins and that high school took the kids and they, did a little retreat for two days so everyone, that's hard at snapchat today, all three thousand, of them the. Day they're hired a couple days around out whether it's a security guard engineer. Or receptionist. They, go together for, a weekend, and they tell each other story, and they get to know each other so, that they. Can relate and snapchat, is, not. A family it's. A team and a. Team is, driven, you, know to accomplish, things but, you but you put the humanity. Of these retreats, so that you are owned know everyone's, name and, when they tell their story then there's something to have the name it's pretty hard to say okay I know everyone's name in this room but, if I know your story I'll remember who you are I'll. Have a sense, of connection.
With You because we've told each other's story which, is at the core of snapchat and, so. He, really you, know did something which really lines up with his principles, with what he's trying to build and what, gives the real momentum beyond, the handful of initial, people is a. That, you know who you're going, to work with every day and. You're. You're you're you're driven, by, your shared, mission if, you're, on a mission to do something, and change the world every body. Counts. Every. Body manner and and everybody in the company knows that they're, an extension of the brand their. Behavior, outside of snapchat matters. What. They do inside, snapchat, matters, and so there's a sense of you. Know. Awareness. Of. That, I am part of something bigger than me and I feel good about that, and these. Companies don't spend money taking me about the lunch because they all have lunch indoors, they. Twitter, or them they have their own cafeterias. Because they all want people to, sit down and connect, and share ideas. So. It's not just enough to go out and have fun and drink a beer and watch the baseball game or something but it's it's, really fun while they're doing what they do to. Share ideas because. They're in the business of. Creation. And creating, things and it starts, with, consciousness thoughts. That, lead to ideas and, so, if you have conscious, workers. You. Can get better thoughts, and better ideas, and you're gonna make more money and you're gonna scale and, you're gonna do more for the world and you're. Gonna be better at solving those problems so. We. Do children's theatre together the musical theatre, company. With. Our kids, once. A year it's. Why I find, ha. Terrifying. But I think the other half of that is ownership. That listens, yeah. Right all of this communication can, come up the boat but if it's if, it's not list listens to it's not received, well here's what here's the way snapshot, goes to is they acquire, other, entrepreneurs. There. Is too young man if you met Daniel. And David Lieberman, well he acquired the Lieberman, and brothers company which, also includes, two Lieberman sisters so the four, of the nine children are in one company and they, just had a meeting organized. By the, lieberman's which is all the founders, that work inside snapchat. To, recreate. And and, rejuvenate. The founder, feeling, so, what you have to do is not lose. That. Sense, of urgency. That. Sense of impact, I mean. We. Only have so many years on our working life we why, not do something that that one. Is a, path with heart you're, passionate about that you feel good about and two, why. Not do something that creates impact. Right. And those. Are part of the values, the other thing we talked about here principles and you have values, that derive, for from, the principles, that drive you and if you have those values in the right order you're, gonna have happy people you're gonna have people that feel this, is meaning if it's important, I come to work and it's, an adult organization, people come to work when they need to there's no time clock or anything like that so. I think, that if I look at places like snapchat, it's. There, they're pushing the envelope they're changing, the, way people come. Together in unique ways and, it's, gonna be messy, at times but. The, impact, is extraordinary across, the world and. That's, awesome you're gonna have even, happier, people if, you're approachable, if you posture.
In Such a way like you said ownership, that listens yeah, people. You. Don't get to hear the truth unless, you act like you want to hear the truth there are people in power now that you, have to say what they want to hear you know I don't think they're being the. Emperor's not being told that they're wearing they're not wearing a color those are dead bodies. When. Management says I want, only want to hear I always, want you to say what I want to hear those are dead and, outline and and and and I would argue that there, are some companies where their people could hear even more if. They. Were, approachable. You might be hearing some things but you might get to hear even more if you are. Approachable. Well. So that brings me to my last question which is you, know I'm sure there's a lot of people sitting. Here who are wondering, like how do you how, do you listen I mean Roz talked about yesterday that there's, people suffering, at our happy companies and unless, you're looking for them they, can hide themselves so. I'm curious, how you start, to spot as a leader when somebody in your organization, is suffering, and needs help like, what what tools can people use as a leader. Again. Know small questions, I know. First. Were small enough. To. Me I have a personal, relationship with, just. About everybody at our company, and. If I don't I have, a personal relationship with somebody who's their manager. One. Of the tools we've found this we've grown is, this. Is part culture a part of the culture is caring and. So, we, establish, internal, mentors and so. When. You start in the company you have your trainer your technical, mentor this is the person that's gonna help you out with you. Know the stuff you need to know and then, there's a personal, mentor and, somebody. Who's kind, of maybe not in your technical. Aspect, of that profession, but, who can kind of show you the ropes be an ear for you to listen on specifically. Isn't in your project, team isn't in your group so if you have to vent if you have to understand. Why maybe, you're off the rails or you're not understanding, something you, have somebody with a bit more objectivity, that you can talk to and the point of their and.
Incorporation. Is that they talk to you on that level. And. I would say listen. To your, wife when. You are, complaining. At, night, about. About. Somebody or something at work someone, at work and you. Know and, and, she makes a point that well. Maybe. This, or that you know that you take feedback from all sources and, that, start. Listening, by also, you, know by. Being hurt and by, allowing. People to give you feedback and, and and, then going, and talking. To those people that. Not. Just the mentors, but just the. People that you're complaining about I mean, listen, to them by listening, to whoever, is, around you that's mean, I, think, what. Scales, and, my company, inside and what happened most of portfolio companies is they, create. Small. Teams, don't. Don't. Allow. Things. To get too big, keep, the small team so the people if, someone's, suffering, on the team it's obvious. To the rest of the team and they can intervene and they can say hey you know take, some time off do what you need to do because. Everyone. It, can't be accountable, to a room of twenty five but. You can certainly be accountable, to a team of five and so, for whatever business you have keep. The team small, and and, and that way they're accountable, to each other as well. As the larger organization. And that's, something that people need to think about as they grow how, do we grow in small, teams. And. Do, something to let people know that you were heard that, they were heard you know when, you listen you. Know well reflect. Back or make some changes I mean. There. Are three of us we said it a triumph we, said in a triangle, I know what's, going on you. Know so. But you know it is I think part of part. Of that is the, ability to listen, and if, you. You. Know I have four kids I my, life is listening, so. That's. How you see. If someone is is, in. Some kind of a difficult time and you just you just have to be aware and listen and that's, part of being conscious as Jerry said and if we are going to change the world and make a, better. Society that we can all raise our children and grandchildren, and then just move forward and give you know hand it off then we have to start. There, because. We're. On a rocky. Path and. You. Know leading. With love his. Key. Importance, right now there's. A couple in the audience that. Do. Couples, therapy for. Couples I overheard them talking but. I imagine they would agree that. Whatever. You learned in couples therapy if you've had, couples therapy. Read. Anything about it whatever you learned there, generalizes. To the workplace, and, you. Know and we teach a lot of active, listening skills in. Couples. Therapy and that's. How you listen at work as well, oh I'll. Leave one, thought that I've said, this many times before but I'll say it I'll never tire of saying it. At. Least here in America. Most. Of us, have. Grown up, believing. A leader is. Someone else in the room and, not. Mentality. Pervades, companies, the. Thing about being an entrepreneur and. This. Is the thing about what. Jess and Jen are doing with lead with love as social entrepreneurs is there. They're bringing leadership, to the front if you. Have small teams everyone. As a leader everyone. Can participate right. Everyone. Needs to learn it everyone, needs to be an entrepreneur what snapchat, is trying to do is to, not lose, that entrepreneurial. Spirit because. By definition. An. Entrepreneur. Is not looking, to a boss to tell them what to do they're. Taking, the leadership of their life they're taking the risk they're taking the. The bet. On themselves to, say I can go do this but. No. One does it alone. Not. Not sports. Players no, one there's always a team behind them, and so, the team is an. Opportunity, to share leadership, and for everyone to participate with, that sort of sense of responsibility.
And That sense. Of direction. And. That's how companies become great. Like. Amazing. Like. The word, mindfulness now, means so many things no one knows what it means the, venture capitalist has so many no one knows what it means I was, a entrepreneur. Before as a venture capitalist, and I, did it a long time ago when in my, world of software it. Was a tiny world. You know we had dirt kicked in our face for the first two years raising. Our fund and we stuck by our guns because we just believed, despite. The fact that you no one believed in us and so it's, our own personal, journey I think never, looked. To a venture capitalist, just like don't look for a banker to be empathetic with your life look, for a human being that has had experience, that resonates, with you and it's, it all comes down to the individual, and the. The title or, the brand, of the company doesn't necessarily. Translate. Into the right person and who, has values, my. Philosophy. My activity. Is a direct, result, of my experience on. Both sides of the equation. So and. The, best people I know in the, business you. Know we, have we all have blind, spots but you find and understand, someone, what. Their blind spots are and hopefully you, can manage around them. For. Me I tackled. Kamryn on the schoolyard playground, because. I had, heard she lived in that in Venezuela, for nine years and I thought she's. A pioneer she's, gonna be handled, yeah well the Endel what I'm doing so, for me it was really about uh I, needed someone who was going to get in the trenches with me who is not afraid who was fearless and who, could jump in and just do whatever needed. To be done because. There. As a, start-up. You. Do everything, I mean. I'm washing dishes as much as I'm creating recipes you, know so I'm mopping, floors at, 3:00 in the morning. So. As. A beginner I actually looked for that person, who I believe, could handle, what. I was embarking. Upon someone, who could jump in with me and and who wasn't gonna bail ship because it was too rough because I knew it's gonna be rough I knew. It was gonna be rocky so, as I move on I don't know what I mean Rebecca is another one she came in just as because. She loved what we stood for so. So, far thus far it's been people. Based and and, knowing we needed help and knowing we needed someone who'd say let. Me do that I'll do that let me do that I'll do that and it was because. We you do have to be a team player, and I, am nobody's, boss we, are I, mean that's not how we operate at, all um.
It Is very much, a team and I. Will finish with it, started, with people for me which is what my whole company's. Based on it is about the people involved and the people were feeding let. Me say that my experience, is that's one of the hardest problems a startup. Has and, it's. Hard because the, entrepreneur when. You start off it's you and a partner or you and a couple people and you wear all the hats and. What's really hard is to take off a hat that you've been wearing and give it to someone else, and say okay. I'm gonna trust you with this hat and I gotta let, it go and. So that's. A challenge and, the way you solve, that problem. The. Way it's been solved by the great companies, of the world is. Laser. Focus. On the customer. Which. Gives you laser focus. On the problem, you're solving and. The. Customer. And the problem, you're solving will. You what you need more focus on so. Why yes you you have maybe two or three different hats you want to take off and have other people but, if you're truly delivering. A quality, product, quality, solution, service, to. The customer. The. Problem, will dictate, to you what you, need right. Now and that's, the hat you take off and hopefully. That. Clarity. When. You find that person either in the supermarket, or playground. Or wherever ah you'll, know but you have to know in your mind first, and you have to have the the, process. By which you know and if. You don't have the possibly which you know that it's wishy squishy, I'm not, sure and that's that, doesn't help anybody doesn't help the person applying. For the job or you picking them make. Sense okay. Yeah. Jump in real quick we. Failed with this, early. On I got, hired for the job I hired. I need one of these and no, way that was terrible, you get one of those and that's not how, you got to be where you are you got to be where you are because you have your special sauce you're unique, and so, we huh started. Hiring people who, were like us are, our. Special sauces are people right we're a service based industry, and you, know we're doing it different we can't hire industry, standard people otherwise, we'll end up being industry, standard not that's not where we want to be, so. We hire the people and, figure. Out what they're very good at and then give them the hats to wear and I, find that they, will come up with roles that you didn't know you needed and are going, to be desperately, lost without. The. The. Problem that I had when I started was to just imply. What we were doing. You. Need to take the. Vision and as you things happen, so and. And make it explicit, so, there's no interpretation. Or guessing, games, we, are here to do this this. Is the problem we solve this, is the way we want to solve it and as, you grow.
Continuing. To make things explicit. Allows. People to come into your company, and know, right away what, it is they don't need some. Intermediary. To say okay now this is how you have to do it right. Let me give an example so if, I'm, at Amazon, and I'm, selling books I'm gonna employ and, all sudden they're like wow you. Know we're. Not just selling books anymore we're selling computers, I thought. We're a bookseller. Jeff. Bezos principals know we're here to give, customers, an, experience. Of getting something less, expensive and something. That, gets there faster if you do that right you can sell books you can sell movies, you can sell anything right. And so but the people that first started there that got fired a lot of them thought. They were booksellers. And. What we sell books here don't we and the people in the warehouse like I thought we're just loading books I don't know how to do this and that thought was the if the people that understood the principles. Then. You. Can evolve, and change and. That's what you need to do because at the end of the day, all. Entrepreneurship. Is an, improvisation. Don't. Ever forget that and, we have to be willing. To be flexible and. Deal with the changing, times emotion. You know there's a 2001. You know terrorist, attack and while, everything changes, what are we doing now but, if you have the principles, like Jeff Bezos it doesn't, fall apart, so. That's, what he did he said the customers, first here's, the problem, we solved that's the thing you need to be explicit the problem we solve isn't getting books better to people no, the problem we solve is to making people happy giving things to them that they need and getting, them faster, and getting them cheaper that's what we do and that, was explicit. So, as they add on new things as, they improvise, it. Scales. Because, people don't get hooked on the wrong things with the implied. Part. Of a business. Listen. To me so with. That exercise I hear stuff or without movement of some type you, know and and, the. Research would suggest that you don't do it. You do it every single, day maybe, seven minutes some days or but. Whatever, your practice, is do, it every day just like you're brushing your teeth it becomes a habit because if you, do it two or three times a week or, you take two days off when you're on vacation then. You. Get back and it's snowing and it's, so like like, being, really committed, to, health. And doing. Some kind of practice, and having data, to suggest that you're to, back it every day. My. Experiences, stresses. Win. The when you when you're mistakenly. Outcome, driven results, oriented. People, stressed, themselves, out because many things cannot. Be controlled, so. The. First thing is to shift from wake. Up in the morning I have to do this, too. I have. To do the best I can do and some. Things you'll realize, that the energy isn't gonna happen today you, know and you just be aware be conscious, you look at the emails you're like okay this. Isn't gonna get solved today I'm, gonna move to something else so it. Sort of being results, driven and trying to control your degree stress by being processed what's. The process by which I go to work what's, the process by which I do what, I do, and focus. On that process. Recognizing. That. You. Can only do, what. The universe is gonna lie to you that day or that week or, that month and, so. Responsibility. Gets misinterpreted, too. -. Winning, or getting, the right answer or. Solving. A. Unsolvable. Problem, and the, what you want to do is focus on a process, by which you address. The problem address. The outcome and your stress will lower on. A practical, basis, sometimes you're thinking, you're in a level of intensity, in the morning take. A you can take a break at your desk and breathe, for. If you need a five-minute, breath you know do a li