The Entrepreneur Podcast
The Entrepreneur Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Community-centric Entrepreneurship

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In May, 2021, Zita Cobb became the first social entrepreneur inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. As a social activist, she was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2016, for her hand in revitalizing the community of Fogo Island. Not too bad for someone living out their second career.

Above all these accolades, Zita Cobb is a community builder. After a fast-paced career in the technology space, Cobb, retired in her early 40s before founding the Shorefast Foundation in 2013, based in her hometown Fogo Island, in Joe Batt's Arm Newfoundland. Shorefast has a mission to create a diverse economy on Fogo Island through a variety of social businesses, including the Fogo Island Inn, a luxury hotel, outfitted by local craftspeople, and featured in international media outlets like National Geographic, GQ, and CNN.

In this episode, Eric Janssen speaks to Zita Cobb about entrepreneurship for the purpose of more than just profit, asset-based community development, why community is important and how one can build it - All of which seem incredibly relevant in an age when almost two thirds of millennials feel disconnected from community (a sixth not knowing their neighbors names), and almost 70% want to be more active participants.

...mm. Mhm. Yeah. You're listening to the entrepreneur podcast from the western Morrissette Institute for entrepreneurship powered by I. V. In this series. Ivy entrepreneur and ivy faculty member ERic Jansen will anchor the session. Zita Cobb can be described in many different ways. An entrepreneur having been inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame in 2020. A social activist, having been made a member of the Order of Canada in 2016 for her hand in revitalizing the community of Fogo Island. But in addition to that and perhaps above all else, she's a community builder. After a fast paced career in the technology space said a retired in early forties, she stopped just in time to catch your breath before founding the Shore Fast Foundation in 2013. Based in her hometown, Fogo Island and joe batts arm Newfoundland. Sure Fast has a mission to create a diverse economy on Fogo Island through a variety of social businesses, including the Fogo Island in a luxury hotel outfitted by local craftspeople. And featured an international media outlets like National Geographic GQ and CNN, and is frequented by high profile celebrities and politicians. This is not just any hotel built by Newfoundland born architect Todd Saunders. This hotel is a work of art, sitting atop a mound of jagged rocks and is consistently ranked as one of the top hotels in the world. In this episode, I talked to Zita about entrepreneurship for the purpose of more than just profit, asset based community development and why community is important and how you can build it. This episode is particularly relevant at a time when almost two thirds of millennials feel disconnected from the community. 1/6 don't even know their neighbors names Yet almost 70% want to participate more in their communities. Please enjoy this master class in what might be the future model of entrepreneurship with MS. Zita. Cobb. Fogo Island Inn is a reflection of the islands culture, from the quilts to the food. Every object inside the end carries a piece of the island with it. The 29 1 of a kind rooms were all hand built by Zito with her image in mind, a place where people could go and immerse themselves in the surrounding nature, forgetting about material things and reminding themselves of what's truly important To further her contributions to the community. Zita donates 100% of the operating surpluses of the Fogo Island Inn. Back to Fogo. The Inn is currently ranked as Canada's number one hotel and the third best worldwide. Please join me in welcoming the founder of this amazing venture Zita Cobb. I know you've had a lot of introductions in your day Miss Cobb, but what do you think? I don't know, I think that's got to be the best one ever. That's really cool and I can see some product opportunities and placing people in the rooms like that. I mean you could have actually laying on the beds and like a real goldilocks. I love that. And I didn't miss the Alan Doyle at the beginning either. You took note of that. That's a that's a personal playlist. Yeah, he's so he's such a great human. I mean good musician too. So if you don't mind I wouldn't mind starting rewinding way back. So a lot of the students in the class are 20, years old. Where were you when you were their age? What were you up to? Well let's see. I left Fogo Adams when I finished high school in 1975 and I came to Ottawa to study at Carlton. And uh yeah, I graduated from Carleton when I was 20, so when I was 21, I was working in Calgary in the oil patch. I mean, that is another thing that defines us new flanders, right? We all work in Alberta at some point in our lives. So I did right out of university. And how did you decide? A lot of students right now are sort of wrestling with what the first step looks like and they build that up a lot in their mind. So how did you decide what the right first step was for you? Right out of university? You know, I don't know that I wasn't being all that strategic about. I just wanted to start and I'm sure you'll feel the same way. But the most important thing about the first step is that you take one any step and it doesn't have to be the one that's going to define what you'll do next. But I arrived in Calgary in the fall of 1989 after having actually, it's a longer story, but my roommate knife university bought A used Ontario hydro van for $800. 1 of these things that, as they say, burn more oil than gas and decided we were going to go and see North America all of it. I'm not sure we saw all of it, but we saw an awful lot of it and the van broke down on a big hill near Cochrane Alberta on the way into Calgary, if anybody is from that part of the world. So we thought, well we better get a job because her mother wasn't gonna send us any more money and I had none. So we looked for jobs, can you imagine in 79 in Calgary, which was boom time, you really just had to be kind of show that you were alive to get a job. And so I started working at Texaco which was called the ugly sister for a good reason to I might say and then I stayed there. I mean there are a lot of it was such a crazy time, you...

...know they used to say that most people change jobs three times a week at that point because there was such competition to hire people. And so I moved from Texaco. I stayed longer than a day. I think I stayed a couple of years and moved to Shell and I really realized very quickly that in fact it was a moment like this, you're all studying business I think right? Yes, okay. I was doing oil and gas accounting and when I was at Shell my job was to do the final month end close so we could send the financial statements to the Hague, which all sounds very glamorous, but really what it comes down to is your there at two in the morning, standing in a whole bunch of cubicles, you're the only one left. You and cleaners have arrived to get this thing sent off on time. And I looked around me and I thought, wow, if I stay here for, I don't know, five years and I was sort of in the center of the Shell tower is at 4th and 4th. And I was in the center of the big grid of cubicles. I thought if I used to hear five years I could get, I don't know, 10 ft closer to the window. And if I stayed 10 years maybe I would get within a foot of the window enough. I really stayed. If I was really lucky, I'd get an office next to the window and I thought this is not how I want to spend my life for what? And that's what I would say to anybody starting out a career, You really have one ultimately one currency and that's your time. And the most important decision we make every day is what the heck you're going to do at that time and certainly don't wish it away but don't waste it away doing something that doesn't mean a lot to you. So I started working for tech companies, small companies. And uh yeah, then I took another step in another step. So laddering up from starting at a small tech company, laddering up to progressively larger and larger and you ended up retiring. Yeah, I never really, I never wanted to join a big company again, but they just kept growing underneath me in a way. I mean we were uh yeah, and I come from a long line of people who die young and so I always assumed I'd never live past 40. And actually I think that's a good posture for everybody to adopt in a way because you don't waste any time. So I really wanted to retire as early as I could. And then the biggest decision, as I said is what to do with your time. And it's one thing to join something and it's another thing to start something always kind of knew I wanted to go home and do something at home. And so I retired at, I think I think I overshot a bit, maybe I was 42, I spent some time sailing and then I went home. So we had a class on the discussion, really focused for a lot of time on. Do you go like crazy when you're young to set yourself up for the rest of your life or do you try to maintain some semblance of balance throughout the entire thing? Uh Not that one is right. Uh Did you choose one of those past where you were you balanced throughout your 20's and 30s or did you just go like crazy with the goal of trying to retire early? Yeah, that's I mean, I don't know if I'm a good example because I'm probably not very balanced at all, but you know, I also didn't spend the life doing things that I didn't enjoy and I think I think there was balance but not within any given week or day. For sure. I never failed to take vacation and I never failed to travel. That is such an important part of what we do with our time. Because if we don't shift our perspective, I think we just end up looking at the same wall without realizing that's what we're doing. But uh I don't Yes, certainly I don't, I never assumed I was going to live long so I just figured I had to fit it all in and fitting it all in means, you know, you're gonna read all the classics. I don't care if you're studying business or engineering or what it is. You still have to read Shakespeare. I mean otherwise how would you be a well rounded human, you squeezed and squeezed in a full life into your by the time you were 42 then started your second act at that point? Yes. And you know that was I was always kind of second in the ranking. I was the chief financial officer most of my life. So I the person who took the heaviest fire or heat with the Ceo and CFO and to start when I started, I I really realized it's a big difference being the Ceo compared to the CFO. A really big difference involves a lot less sleep and it's uh I enjoyed both roles, but I think it works because I've always worked in really close teams. I mean I'm not a believer that entrepreneurs are people that are born once every 10 years on a blue moon and that their exceptional in some way, I think entrepreneurs are just people who choose to be anybody. Could you make that choice, even being entrepreneurial in your own life or in a bigger corporation, even if you're not the person who started the company. Exactly, exactly. Being entrepreneurial means, looking at what is in front of you and deciding that it can be better, it can...

...be done better, it can be approached better and then having the energy or carry enough to say, I even though I don't quite know how to make it better, I'm going to dedicate myself to that. And you know, this is the other thing when you actually commit yourself to something, the world always moves with you, but the world doesn't move with dabblers and so many of the people who said, yeah, you know, I tried that, it didn't really work, so like, yeah, well you dabbled didn't go all in by dabbling. You mean they didn't, they didn't commit, they didn't give up, they didn't sacrifice, they didn't go all in on the thing. Yes, and any other first bit of friction that was like, well that's really hard. I think it's a perfect legitimate thing to dabble at a few things till you find what you are willing to commit yourself to. But you'll know the difference when you're in when you're in it. Yeah, so part of that is finding something that you may be true, that people dabble in things that they aren't passionate about because they're just trying things out. But when you find the thing that you're passionate about being willing or able to go all in, is that what brought you back to Fogo? I ask, sort of in a roundabout way, because I'm from a smaller town, left flew the coop, didn't say that. I'd never be back. I did end up coming back, but wanted to get out of dodge, wanted to experience some of the world and then did end up sort of gravitating back home, but didn't always have in my mind that I would be back. What was the story for you? Did you know, you'd be back at Fogo Island eventually. I don't know that I knew it as explicitly as that, but you know, I don't, I'm as a new philander and this is very common for people from Newfoundland labrador, we never really leave home and home never really leaves us, like it is a geographically a very powerful place and it digs into you and holds on to you. So I always have had a relationship with home, I always went home and I don't think I missed a year to go home, no matter where I was working, I think what I became passionate about wasn't that I became passionate about home because I always was what I became passionate about, was doing business in different ways And realizing, you know, that we have been on this wrong minded kind of globalization for more than 50 years. Thank you Mr Friedman. And it has caused the near destruction of human communities around the world. That's what I became passionate about and and I in a part of my career in the you know when JDS Uniphase was growing leaps and bounds, I saw a lot of this up really up front, I was buying companies all around the world and it matters who owns what I don't know eric if you want to talk about ownership and all that at some point in our conversation, but I started to realize we're not going to have a human community left that's intact. And even the one I came from which people for, you know, the people who settled on Fogo Island came in the 16 fifties from England and Ireland and community is everyday work. It's a it's a thing you do. Even Fogo Island, which you know, people have fought for for centuries was imperiled and so I thought no there has to be a better way to do business that is doesn't destroy community. And that's what our work is really about. Did that insight sort of build throughout your career or is this something that came to you when you gave yourself the space to think about it when you were quote unquote retired? No, it built as I was saying because my career was in a way corresponded with what I call this wrong minded globalization. You know companies were changing hands by the minute and companies were mostly seeking short term profits and moving manufacturing plants around the world. Oh it's you know, it's 10 cents cheaper over there. Let's move that place now. And this kind of treating place like it's some kind of a casino because every time a company gets up and leaves or closes plants, places harmed by that people in that place are harmed. Yeah. I think I just saw enough of it that I started to feel, I think I'm a part of the problem and that there was a better, you could envision a better way or you didn't know what it was, but you knew it wasn't what you were seeing exactly. And I know you can envision a better way and the better way. Actually, sometimes the answers are behind us. You know, some of the greatest companies in the world are companies that are family owned and have been for generations. Some of the great european companies are actually owned by foundations because you know, you have families that couldn't figure out how to pass it on to the next generation. Maybe there wasn't the next generation, maybe they didn't like the crowd they saw coming after them. So they put the company ownership into foundations and the goal of that those foundations is to keep those companies healthy for the long run. So they serve the places that they are in. And I think we are in a way, I don't know if you follow what's going on with the business roundtable in the U. S. Which is kind of a beginning of a new kind of a new kind...

...of contract, a new kind of relationship between corporations and communities and and and places. But I'm encouraged by a lot of that. We have to make it happen. It just doesn't have to be this kind of zero sum game with very short term focus. I mean, we know the destruction that's been done not just to culture but to to nature. You know, the world almost literally on fire. And I'm sure that hasn't escaped your notice. No. And what a huge goal or what a huge thing to try to look at and change. And I think what you've done is starting a business is hard. Changing people's minds is hard. What you've done is monumentally hard. Where did you start when you you you it took some time. You had the space, you were something wasn't rubbing you the right way about the way that business was done, It's not sustainable. Where did you even start to make change in the way that you envisioned? Mhm. Well, first thing I did was go home and I started what really turned into a seven-year conversation with the people on Fogo Island and many I knew, but many I didn't because I've been living and working away for 30 years at that point and I think people understood what we wanted to do was build another leg on the economy, but do it in a way that's respectful of the the inherent assets that are there. And yeah, the first thing I did was get myself educated about asset based community development. Like what is that? Because typically what happens when a community gets into trouble income to help for people and you know, what's what's wrong with all of you people, you know, well we don't have much education, we're poor, we we don't have good health, all of these litany of of liabilities, but nobody ever built a future based on what they don't know and don't have. And so when you really learn to do asset based community development, it's like somebody turns a big light on in your head because you can actually see what the community has. What do we have here? A lot of people looked at a place like Fogo Island and what is said, there's nothing there. I mean the card are almost all gone and the population is aging and the young people have all left and on and on and on. But if you have the eyes because everything starts with you have to believe something is possible. Of course. But if you have the eyes to see you ask these questions, these are the basic questions of asset based community development. What do we have? Surely we must have something. Okay. What do we know? Do we know anything? What do we love? What do we miss and what can we do about it? And as soon as you get to what can we do about it? Well now you're already kind of starting a business really and in the introduction you're talking about the scholarship program and kind of this challenge from this woman in the community that said, you can't, you do something to make jobs, you're just paying people to leave now for a while and doesn't have a university Newfoundland does of course. So people who want to get a university education have to leave home And not everyone is going to come back and maybe it takes them as it did in my case 30 years to come back. But I think that education is important, but not everybody on Fogo Island wants or needs to get a university education either. So it's how do we create meaningful employment, dignified employment for people? And you know, like communities have done all kinds of, you know, projects around around the world and around Canada, like call centers, all kinds of things to try and create economic activity. And I'm not here to say that any of it is bad as long as it's not polluting I guess. But but I think there is a real chance. I don't know if have you studied, you know what it's called now? Regenerative economics. It's sort of beyond sustainability. Sustainable means, please don't do your business in a way that breaks things. Regenerative means do it in a way that actually makes things better. And so if you come at it in that way and you say, hey, if we're going to and we started with art because art is about knowledge and hospitality and hospitality because fogo Islanders are culturally predisposed to great hospitality. And so how do we practice that in a way that actually strengthens culture, which is, you know, you were talking about, we made all the furnishings and furniture for the in well, that gave us a chance to put what we know because we were both builders always still are and textile artisans always still are. And so by giving a demand for that and giving a showcase for that. Well then we have more people building boats and making quilts and hooking maps and knitting and all of that because there is a need for it. I mean, it's kind of relevance of knowledge through use as opposed to going out and buying bed coverings from someplace far away. Why would you do that? And I think what is happening? And I think Covid is actually in some ways making us more aware of the local and I think what I'm not advocating a world in which everybody just retreats into some kind...

...of awful nationalistic kind of posture. What I'm advocating is what Gil Chin lim, who was the most remarkable man who unfortunately died too early. He was an urban planner. And he said, we have to figure out how to create a global network of intensely local places. And so it's a, it is about schumacher was right, small is beautiful and schumacher didn't mean that everything in the world has to be small. What he meant was you get too big by making a whole bunch of smalls and networking them together. You know, I've never believed that. Maybe this is like, you know, now I'm revealing my generation has been so different from yours, but you know, when I was your age, people were talking, oh, you know, I'm a global citizen and that's that's bs there's like there's no such thing as a global citizen. Nobody can love the whole world at one time. You can love a place at one time and the way you get to a strong world is placed by place and then networking them all so that we have intelligent commerce. We have intelligent exchange of ideas and never better than now because we have the telecommunications technology to do some of this that we couldn't do before. And so I think this question of how do I belong to the world? Well I need to belong where I need to belong to myself, first thing to belong in my own body and then I need to belong in my local whatever that is my local community and then I belong to my regional and so on. That's how I belong to the world. I have no idea how I got there. Eric this is this is at the beginning of that, this is what this is what I was hoping for. This is great. So the original conversation when I reached out to you was that my wife and I are we are passionate about community and you are very outspoken about the importance of community. We are also the people who have moved around a lot and have traveled a lot and I'll be honest with you, I don't know where home is right now. I'm in a physical space called London in my basement. We don't see a lot of people nowadays. And I worry that with my desire to see different places and give my kids different experiences that the soup kitchen won't have volunteers and that I won't know people and that my kids will never have a place that feels like home. So I worry about that. Uh, well I think and I have traveled and lived in lots of places as well. I think it starts with understanding a community is a physical, tangible geographic place where you happen to be with other human beings. So if you're going to spend, I don't care if you're only spending four months in Toronto or wherever you are at any moment, you were part of that community even if it's not forever time. And community is a place start with, don't forget it's not. And people talk about online communities. There is no such thing as an online community. There are online networks and they are hugely important. They are not communities. If your house catches on fire, you need the person next door to come over and help you. And so I think and community is it is a very complex adaptive coalition. If it was properly understood, it's a place that humans come together to fight, to compromise, to muck along together in in some kind of shared understanding of fate F A. T. E about how the future is going to evolve in that place. And so my relationship with Fogo Island has evolved over the years. I finished high school there and then I was mostly gone, but I participated in the community when I was able to be there. And so I actually gave a talk once in a big city and someone said to me at the end of the Q and A, they said, well, you know, you're really lucky because you know, you live in a place where there is a community and so where do you live the moon? And he said, no, no, I live in the suburb, you know, And I said, well, okay, do you know the people who live next door? Well, he didn't. I said, whoa, that's easy to fix. Right here is an active community. Go next door. Say hello, my name is eric. I live next door. If I can be of any help to you, this is my number, you can reach out to me, get to know people that is making community and for the time you're there. How I mean I think you got to teach your kids how to participate. Community is made by participating and so well for the time you're there wherever you are, show up, give of your time. It's funny I have uh I had a company in the home security business, we did surveillance cameras and alarms, those sorts of things for residential and commercial. And of course I had the most secure home in the neighborhood right? My host was decked out with all the equipment that I could get and yet there was a time where I went on vacation and I left my garage door open and it my neighbor peter local lawyer involved in local community theater came over, hit the button and shut my...

...garage door for me. Like it took a the technology can't trump the physical human just caring enough and trust. Actually we had such a relationship. You lived across our alley that he was comfortable enough to poke his head in say this looks weird that their car is not here. I'm actually going to close the garage door. It's just a small action. But it really made me realize like When I saw an article that something like 90% of millennials actually don't even know their neighbors names. We need neighbors still you can't out technology needing people, you know, it's a question of friction. This is that you cannot. And I think that is the danger of technology and of course, you know, JDS Uniphase. The company I spent most of my career with, we made little optical devices called WDM wave division multiplexing. They are the enabling optical bits for the internet and you know, we used to dream, you know, we're contributing to the creation of some kind of agora that, you know, people are going to be together with each other in new ways, which is a little bit true now, we hadn't anticipated were the platform monopolies that we're actually going to manipulate and control our very lives. But that's another story and the thing about the internet or being online, it is frictionless. I mean, we're together here for a short time, you know, I don't have to worry too much that, gosh, now I have to call that fellow back because, you know, he's expecting me to pick up his kid or whatever it is, Community takes a commitment and its relationships take commitment. Real human relationships are sometimes a pain in the butt, but that is where actually richness lies. And the quality of anybody's life is the quality of their relationships and the quality of our relationships is the quality of our attachments. And I think our most important attachments start with place and you can be attacked. I feel actually quite attached to more places than just vocal island, but when and all the places I've lived, I have formed a relationship with those places as a I don't know, it's kind of a habit. I think it's a Newfoundland thing. It's like maybe we're just nosy and you want to know who's next door and and of course when you pull a thread and I, you know, I see Andrew there and I want to know who who are you and and what's your story? Well, my life just gets better from that. Like, I think it's seen each other for what we are, which is enriching, I choose always is hard because it has more friction. It's hard to choose the real over the hyper real. I mean, he'd been off on the couch with a steady diet of netflix doesn't demand a whole lot of us. Doesn't give us much, ultimately, either. It's pretty unsatisfying. Do you know why people follow you? You did a really hard thing. You started a really hard thing, but there's of course a team behind it. I tried to do some digging and talk to some people. They have some theory. I talked to Todd Saunders dr Todd. I know that you still keep in touch with him almost on a weekly basis. He said like, wonderful human. How did you get people to follow you or why do people follow you? Well, actually, I don't know, did you find out any answers? I don't know. I think that maybe they feel sorry for me and I think oh my God, she's taken on such a big thing, I'd better help her and that's fine. I take that you know, I think the way I look at things as I try to understand, I have this ability, I think that I think it comes from my father to zoom in and zoom out and we all can practice this which is zoom into the smallest possible element. And I talked about cauliflowers a lot, if you think about a college bar. So when I left Newfoundland, I went to war as I said earlier, I have never seen a cauliflower because we could grow everything we ate, but we never grew cauliflowers. And I got a job as a part time job, working at Goldstein's idea on Elgin Street, not about anyone's from Ottawa and outcomes along my cash. One day comes this thing I've never seen cauliflower and so will you inspect the cauliflower? You start to realize that it's a fractal, right? It's a beautiful pattern that repeats and repeats. And at the time I was just starting to study business and I had witnessed the near loss of Fogo Island as a place because of the industrialization of the fishery. And I came to understand that Fogo Island is one tiny little Florence and Ottawa's bigger florida. Toronto's a bigger florida. And Mexico city is a bigger florida and keep going. But all of these florets, this is where we live, they're all held together by the stem that makes the cauliflower and there's one cauliflower and we all belong to it, the important part. And this is what kind of this epiphany I had at Goldstein's idea in 1975 is the stem has two jobs to do. Number one job is hold it all together. Number two jobs bring nutrition to the florets and a part of that nutrition is economic nutrition. And I realized that what was happening was in the fishery for sure...

...is that the companies who were operating those monster ships that were off our coast, they were depriving fogo island of economic nutrition by just basically stealing all the fish and taking them away. And so when I talk about zooming in and zooming out, we call this cauliflower thinking for everything you're going to do or contemplate doing or are doing, think about the impact on the whole, think about the impact on the floor it you're in and think about how does that affect all the other florets? How does it affect the cauliflower? And I think this questioning always by zoom in zoom out. I think that that is something that when you practice doing that, it's just like some kind of a brain shift. And so I think when people will start to work that way, it's kind of addictive in a good way, because then you can't stop seeing once you see, you can't stop seeing. I mean, you could be very willful and make a choice to live in a silo, all of your own. It's going to be a lonely place. There were some opinions I know that you and Todd have a very, you've stayed in touch. You have a really, it sounds like a very tight relationship. And he said, when he gets a lot of gets a lot of calls nowadays from people who wealthy people who want beautiful things built and he says no to pretty much all of them. And so you're, I don't know how you first got in touch but your contact with him was was different. He connected with you as a person. He connected with the mission of shore fast and he connected with, I think it also aligned with his personal why he really cared about the place. You know, it wasn't there was there was you, there was the mission and all of those sort of checked out. But he also had and wanted to get personal meaning of being part of something bigger than what he was working on. And so that that's I think what originally drew him in. Yeah. And I think it's something in what you said also if we and I keep coming back to you want to get to decide what to do with your time. That's the most important thing. If you're working on something that is for you and about you. Mm Really? Why would you do that when you could put your time into working on something that is about bigger than you. Something that will go on beyond your life. Like that is like such a fulfilling thing. And I think that's why people are drawn to the work on Fogo Island because it's it has has a purpose that started long before I was born and will never end. And I'll give you an example of the way we hired Todd. So, for people that maybe don't know, Todd Saunders is the architect of the focus on the end of the studios on the island. So when we were thinking about, okay, we're going to hire an architect and beauty is important. Design is important. Design has the job of beauty and aesthetics generally it also has the job of helping us carry the past, because things can help us make meaning. And I think what we're all questing for in some way is a deeper kind of materialism. I mean, if the things were buying or just transactions like you might imagine that Jeff Bezos is not my favorite human because he is setting us up for a life of transactions, not a life of relationships, If everything we bought had some meaning because you understood where it came from, who made it, why they made it, where the money goes, then your life will be richer. And so architect, like when you're gonna put up a building in a city or a town somewhere and too many have been put up in with reductionist thinking, because that's what's the cheapest thing I can throw up. And without thought to, you know, how long is it gonna last or how is it going to affect the people that walked by it or drive by it? Is it going to be beautiful? Is it going to make people's days better or is it just gonna be some piece of crap that actually makes our lives feel meaner and more shallow? Like that kind of bad real estate development I think has such a corrosive impact on our psyches anyway when we were starting. So I think thinking about architects, the typical thing you do is you go out and you ask a whole bunch of architects to give you a proposal. Well that seems like the wrong thing to do because what I really wanted to do is to find someone who cared the most and had the most talent. So start with cared the most. It would have been good to have a new Finland Architect because I thought they would understand the culture more and they would feel the burden of getting this right because can you imagine if we had built something on Fogo Island that was crap like our ancestors would get to the grave and wring our necks. So I was really struggling with this because new Zealand is a fairly small place where half a million people on a good day and not that there, I just haven't found the architect I wanted. I was on an Air Canada flight and this is a here's another lesson, life lesson. Always read the in flight magazine, a great one. And so I pick up the in flight magazine and I saw a little photograph...

...like a tiny little picture with a caption that said, and it was a beautiful little wooden building and it said, Newfoundland born architect Todd Saunders. I hadn't had never heard of him because he never practiced in Newfoundland. He studied at McGill and his practices in Norway. I knew right then that is who we're gonna hire. And I don't know if he told you this, we never had a contract because he had a very simple design brief. I mean he understood that he was doing work for a charity and so be responsible and I trusted him to be responsible and he was, I also didn't expect him to work for nothing, He's got kids to feed and all of that too. And with the design brief was you have to figure out how to express in contemporary architecture, but we have learned in 400 years of clinging to this rock. And so I think that's so important for for cultures to adopt to modernity. I mean so many incredible human cultures have been left behind because they haven't made the adaptation to bring the essence of it forward and architecture can help with that. And I actually went to Norway, I visited some of his projects. It was pretty clear that even though he'd never done anything of this scale of this, he was he was really quite young but he said it is quite young. It was a big risk and I know if you haven't seen the film strange and familiar, it's really worth watching because you see Todd, you see Todd and I fighting a lot which is not a bad thing and you see him struggle with the enormity of this project. It was a great watch my wife and I watched it. I want to zero, this is about the students on the call so I am going to save about 15 minutes for them to ask some questions. So Arnica, this is your cue to start sorting the ones that are the most popular are getting uploaded. But Zita, while she cute some of those up the students who seem to take this the way that I'd sum up this class is sort of everything that you didn't learn in business school, in business school. So this is a very different class that attracts a very different type of student. We do a lot of work on personal development and figuring out what motivates you as a person and how to make you good before you take on whatever's next. Knowing that these are the types of people that are going to take big swings and are probably more entrepreneurial minded any advice as they just get their career started. Yeah, we were talking about passion a little bit earlier and I'm making a new book on passionate a lot going on about passion these days and who is the guy that wrote the book? That's got a word that you're not supposed to say? Like, like, f blank blank. There's there's a book about this and it's in a career now, I've forgotten his name. Sam, I know, I know what you're talking about, but yeah, anyway, he says in a different way, basically that passion is not something that overtakes you while you're lying on the couch. Passion comes from doing doing doesn't come from passion. Well it does, but it doesn't start, nothing starts with passion. It's everything starts with doing something because we are well, for sure, we are the sum of all that we've done. Each and every one of us is better than the worst thing we've ever done. But we heard of some, like, in other words, I really believe, okay, I didn't get that right, we're gonna be better tomorrow. But we heard of some of what we do and yeah, I think it's about doing my, my father was all about that. You are what you do and I think when you do things, passion grows it can't not if you're using your time wisely, that's great, great, great advice. So I'll turn it over, I'll turn it over to student questions. Do you what's being up voted the most there? First we're going to hear from Terni. Perfect. Well, first off, thank you so much CDA for taking the time to speak with us today. You're a huge inspiration to young woman like myself. So thank you so much on the break, I googled you and read that you hope your addition the short fast Foundation signals a change in focus across the country. So my question for you is in a world full of amazons and Facebooks, do you ever foresee a world where businesses can shift priorities to have a social focus? I know you alluded to it when discussing that round table in the U. S. And then additionally how can we as consumers and hopeful future business leaders spark that transition towards triple bottom line accounting. I do believe Turney that that companies can change will change but the change starts with you and me and I was on a talk a little while ago and I was recommending a book which I'm going to recommend that book to you right now and the book is called the third pillar by a fellow, he's an economist. Last name is raj in his first name is a really long name but he calls himself raghu Raghuram rajan and I think he's based in Chicago now. He may have been the economist for the I. M. F. I'm not exactly sure. But anyway, the third pillar, his premises society is based on three pillars government business and community and and we talked about...

...this earlier that when we hollow out the pillar recall community, we're putting us all in trouble and the business really can't succeed and nor can government in anything we do. None of the climate change initiatives are going to work unless they land where people live and get up taken. Anyway, I was recommending this book and then someone said, well I'm going to get that, I'll get I'll have it by tomorrow. And I said how are you going to get a book by tomorrow? We're in a freaking pandemic. Oh I'm gonna order from amazon just a second, didn't we just spent an hour talking about community and the importance of local business, the importance of where the money goes. You are not ordering it on amazon, Jeff Bezos will change when we stop buying stuff until he changes. He could get up tomorrow and decide to turn amazon into a social business. It can still have a former profit motive. And I do believe that capital deserves a return all of that. But he he could run it as a social business meaning cognizant of the whole cauliflower, making sure like for example what if he wrote an algorithm that promoted things close to you and promoted small producers? What if he did that? It could be a game changer. I still don't think you should buy from amazon but but it could be run and so could the Walmarts. They could be run a lot more responsibly toward people in planet than they are. But we are the ones we can't buy from them and then complain about them. I'm not saying you do that to me and I think there are business people that do care and are willing to make the turn. We just have to stay with them as they make the turn. I mean, you know, the whole idea of fast and cheap is deeply seductive and that's what he knows. Thank you as much as I want you to read the book. I think it's perfectly fine if you wait a week to get it, I'll wait the week, wait the week to um next question is from Andrew Day. Yeah, thanks so much for coming up bound the pieces on community that you talked about. Very interesting. My question was basically just could you expand on the impact of globalization on community and well being. The second part of my question was can we have the benefits of globalization while maintaining community and what would the change look like? That's that that would be necessary in order for that to happen? Mm I think if we see the world as a whole construct of yours and I know in business school we get taught a lot of you know it's an either or decision. I don't see the world as either or I see the world as and and if what I'm feeling is an or that tells me I need to go down level that I'm working at the surface. So I think it's an end and I think the kind of localizing the global is the process we're going through. I think it depends on who we just want to talk about commerce for a moment. I think if we are buying, if you take a bed covering because we've been talking about if we are by if I need to buy a bed covering and I am living in a place which is actually pretty skilled at making bed coverings. Although they're not the least expensive bed coverings in the world. I should buy a bed covering from there now on folks wanna now let's say I want to buy, I don't know, an electric stove. Uh huh. I'm probably not going to buy it from the local and I as I said I'm not all about, let's be nationalistic. And so I think the amount of things crossing oceans needs to go down. It needs to go down for the climate of nothing else. It needs to go down so that we can stimulate local economies. And so I think we need to be more thoughtful about what's moving. I think we need to have trade agreements that have more to do with an intelligent planning of who's best at what and where and how things should flow. As opposed to companies that are just chasing around the planet to get cheaper, cheaper, cheaper, cheaper, cheaper. I think that globalization, let's go. I've talked about commerce, but let's talk about knowledge and and sharing of ideas and collaborating together. I mean we are facing such enormous challenges as human beings that can only be solved together and we need to belong together in the big cauliflower to do that. I I really believe that we need to strengthen some of our global institutions and even though they've come under lots of pressure from wrong minded politicians in recent years, I think these are really important ways of collaborating and so I think it's we just need to be more sensible about and and think about what we're buying and how we're participating in the world and it is one world, it's one cauliflower, but it's got to be made up of healthy little florets. So I think it's an end. Thank you. Next is Cullen. Yeah, Hi...

Zita, thanks for coming in. So this questions along the same lines as Tierney's question about amazon. But you know, I agree with you that Jeff Bezos will change when people stop ordering from him. But given that a lot of people probably will never stop ordering from him and maybe not enough to make a difference to him. What do we do about these? Like meghan corporations if anything? Or is this mega corporation dystopia just our future? I don't think it is. I think to back to rajan's book column that says the society is native government. I mean the pillars of society of government, business, and community and you start to see it happening. I think governments need to wake up and realize that they are, they have allowed citizens to be served up to these giant monopolies without creating any buffers. I mean, I don't mean we do live in an unfiltered on buffered, networked, highly networked world. I think we need some buffers and just as I don't think it's okay for governments to serve citizens up to industrial food companies that serve us non food and it's cheap, cheap, cheap and highly addictive. I think government has a role in that. And I think we're beginning to see governments wake up, it's not gonna be easy. There's a great Canadian designer, Bruce Mau, I don't know if you know his work, he's missed Sudbury, another beautiful community. Anyway, said Bruce, he's in Chicago these days I think, but he said, you know, the people that we need to regulate into the question you're asking around platform monopolies. He said they operate like liquids and the people who are trying to regulate them operate like crystals and this is a problem. So I think government needs to mature to its real job and I think we are going through a technological revolution that is really at the beginning. I also, I want to ask some very fundamental questions about technology. I still haven't figured out why we're working on driverless car. Like what problem are we trying to solve? What's the problem? I think we should be working on electric cars and this whole idea that we're going to use technology and displace, you know, human effort and for the people and we on this color probably among them who think, oh well, you know, who cares? The truck drivers don't have jobs, you know, we're educated people that's not going to do with us, Ai is going to replace mental labor. So as my father would say, when, when the fishery was collapsing, he said, well what are we gonna do with us all dramas all in the harbor? So I think we need to really have a big think about technology and I think government has a role to play there as well. Why are we working on a driverless car? Does anyone have an answer? Oh, you're getting you're getting volunteering participation here. Hands are going up. So that's the street. That one is rhetorical and try to make the best use of our last four minutes here. Maybe Arnica. Let's get one more question. Yeah, we can end it off with yan. Thank you. Hi there, Zita, thank you so much for talking to us and I'm kind of an estate just like you. I think it's super refreshing to hear a perspective that supports architectural beauty, beauty in general rather than the indistinguishable mcmansions we're kind of used to hearing about so kind of in keeping with that theme. What's the story of the art piece behind you? It's beautiful. Are you familiar with the the painter or the creator et cetera? What's the story there? It's so funny you asked this question because I'm not at home today, I'm actually in Toronto and I'm in a friend's apartment and normally I get to be able to tell you everything about this art piece. But my friend whose apartment, his loving to use his apartment is also a big fan and purchaser of art, but what I do know is because I think it looks vaguely like Newfoundland though, don't you think? Anyway? It's a Cuban artist and he was in cuBA and bought the work there. It's a really remarkable piece. But that that's all I know about. I'm sorry, but I'm glad you asked about it. Because it lets me say a thing about art, if you have a meaningful relationship with our please make one, because it's a different way of seeing and knowing and you know, that that quote by Mark Twain is not what you don't know. That's the problem is what you think. You know, that just ain't. So art always shifts what we see and the job of artists is to question and point to things that you wouldn't see as a business person or I wouldn't see as a business person. And if you don't understand it, that's fine, live with it and live in the questions. That's uh I think it's just uh it makes us function better because it appeals to us as humans beyond just our brain. You shouldn't trust your brain too much because there's a whole body that has knowledge to thank you. See that you've been incredibly generous with your time.

Is there anything that these future next generation of leaders can do to help you help shore fast? Help us? What's your ask of us? I would say pay attention to the smaller places in the world because the path we're on, we're all going to be living at the kind of young and Ellington's of the world. And not that we don't need great cities, but great cities need great rural places too. And I think that we can use network effects to link the smaller places to medium sized places with the city's in a way that it's not one or the other. I mean when people, I really get upset, when people talk about the urban rural divide, it's like what divides we need each other. And there will be times in your life that you will choose to live in the city and there will be times in your life you will choose to live in smaller places. So just think about as you do your work, what can we do, What can you do? And it doesn't mean that you gotta move to vote while and start a business. It could just have to do with how you do sourcing. I have to do with how you travel. Pay attention to those places and there's a richness there. We'll see to thank you so so much for your time. We really appreciate it. I think Arnica will turn it over to you for one last word from the class. Yeah, I think I'll is actually going to give us the last word. Go for a Kyle. Yeah. Thank you so much for your time today, Zita, you've shared a very unique story with all of us and I think all 60 of us are going to walk away from this class with some new perspectives to think about for a long, long time. So as a small token of our appreciation will be making a $40 donation to shore fast. We hope every little bit can help go a long way on fogo island. It absolutely does Kyle. Thank you. It was nice to sort of meet all of you and who knows? Maybe we'll bump into each other out there in community world. Thank you so much. See that we appreciate it. Thank you. Take care. Bye bye. The entrepreneur podcast is sponsored by quantum shift 2000 and eight alum, Connie clarity and closing the gap healthcare group to ensure you never miss an episode. Subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast player or visit entrepreneurship dot w dot c a slash podcast. Thank you so much for listening Until next time. Yeah. Mhm. Yeah. Mhm.

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